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 of the proceedings of His Majesty's Commissioners for promoting the trade of this Kingdom, and for inspecting and improving his plantations in America and elsewhere, from the fourth of January, 1731/32, to the twenty-eighth of December, 1732.
Journal, January 1732
A letter from him, dated the 2nd of November, 1731, was read,
and the papers, therein referred to, were laid before the Board,
Account of stores of war in the fort, taken the 12th of July, 1731.
Abstract of the accounts of the number of inhabitants of the several cities and counties in the province of New York.
Naval Officer's list of ships entered, from the 25th of March, 1731, to the 30th of September following.
Minutes of Council and Council in Assembly, from the 29th October, 1730, to the 30th of September, 1731.
Minutes of Assembly, commencing the 25th of August, 1731, and ending the 30th of September following.
Nine printed Acts, passed at New York in September, 1731.
Copy of a representation of the President, Council and Assembly of New York to His Majesty, relating to the trade of the northern colonies and sugar plantations.
The Secretary laid before the Board the account of petty expences and incidental charges of this office, between Michaelmas, 1731, and Christmas following, amounting to three hundred thirty-five pounds one shilling and sixpence.
|Account of petty expences, from Michaelmas, 1731, to Christmas following||169||4||8|
|The stationer's account for the same time||75||11||7|
|The postman's account for the same time||34||11||3|
|Wood, coals and candles||55||14||0|
Ordered that a letter be wrote to Mr. Oxenford, Assistant Inspector General, for several accounts of imports of sugar from Barbadoes and other islands, and of the re-exports hence, as likewise of exports to the northern colonies.
The Board, taking into consideration the draught of a representation, mentioned in the Minutes of the 23rd of the last month, relating to the Swedish trade, made some progress therein, and gave directions that Mr. Oxenford, Assistant Inspector General of the Customs, should be directed to attend the Board to-morrow morning, in relation to the duties payable here on Swedish deals.
An Order of the Committee of Council, dated the 1st of November last, referring to this Board the petition of Mr. Cutler, a minister of the Church of England, in behalf of himself and several others of the clergy residing in the Massachusetts Bay, complaining of several laws passed there, which subject the members of the Church of England to pay to the support of the members of other persuasions, was read; and directions were given for referring the same to Mr. Attorney and Solicitor General, and for reminding them of the Secretary's letter of the 14th of November, 1727, referring to them the petition of several clergymen in the Massachusetts Bay upon the like subject.
An Order in Council, dated the 23rd of December last, was read,
referring to this Board, for their consideration, the four following
Acts, passed in the Massachusetts Bay in 1731, viz:—
An Act for the better regulating of swine..
An Act for the better curing and culling of fish.
An Act for encouraging the killing of wild cats.
And an Act for apportioning and assessing a tax of six thousand eight hundred and eighteen pounds, and for assessing a tax of twenty pounds laid on the town of Weston, for not sending a representative, and also for apportioning and assessing on other tax of four thousand one hundred and nine pounds six shillings, paid the representatives for the year 1730–1, and a further tax of one thousand pounds emitted and appropriated for the payment of His Majesty's Council in this present year 1730–1.
The Secretary then acquainted the Board that Mr. Mathews, Mr. Blake's solicitor, desires a day may be appointed for hearing what he has to offer, in support of Mr. Blake's petition, referred to the Board by Order in Council, read the 1st of December last, praying that an Act, passed in St. Christophers in 1712, may be repealed, entituled, An Act for settling the estates and titles of the inhabitants of this island to their possessions within the same. And their Lordships, after reading Mr. Fane's report upon this subject, appointed Tuesday sennight, and gave directions that all parties should have notice thereof.
Mr. Oxenford attending, as he had been desired, their Lordships had some discourse with him concerning the duties payable on deals imported from Sweden before the year 1725, and those made payable by the last Book of Rates, and desiring he would inform the Board, whether those duties were not now increased; he said, that before 1725, Swedish deals imported were charged with a duty of £1 4s. 8 14/20d. for every 20 shillings value, on the oath of the importer, but that by the new Book of Rates, every 120 deals of 20 feet in length or under were charged with a duty of £1 3s. 7 10/20 d.: that before the year 1725, deals imported from Stockholm were generally valued at £4 per hundred, and the duty thereon was to 25 per cent., which is ¼ less than is at present paid, and that Gothenburgh deals were generally valued at about £2 10s. per hundred, upon which was paid the 25 per cent. duty, so that at present Gothenburgh deals, according to that proportion, pay a double duty. But their Lordships desiring Mr. Oxenford would acquaint the Board whether the present valuation of Swedish deals, viz: £5 per hundred, was not, at a medium, a just computation of their worth, he said, he would inform himself, and wait upon the Board in a few days.
Mr. Oxenford being withdrawn, their Lordships took into consideration that part of the report, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, upon the Swedish trade, which relates to the East India Company, established in that kingdom, and agreed to the draught thereof.
The Board taking into consideration the several proposals for preventing the running of wool, mentioned in former Minutes, as also another anonimous proposal received this day, made some progress therein.
Mr. Oxenford attending, their Lordships resumed the consideration of the duties payable here on Swedish deals, mentioned in the Minutes of the 6th instant. And their Lordships desiring he would inform the Board, whether the present valuation of Swedish deals, according to the Book of Rates, viz: £5 for every 120, was not, at a medium, a just computation, he said, he believed it was, and that he would give the Board a state thereof in writing.
Mr. Smith, an importer of Swedish deals, attending, their Lordships desired he would inform the Board what the price of Swedish deals was per hundred, and he said that, at a medium, the price per hundred was about £7 10s.
The Board then took into consideration the letter from Mr. Morice and several other merchants, inclosing an account of several cases that have happened in some of the plantations, where, as the law now stands, the merchants are left without remedy for the recovery of their just debts, or have such only, as is very partial and precarious, and resolved to consider further thereof to-morrow morning, at which time ordered that Mr. Wood, solicitor for the merchants, be directed to attend.
The Lords Baltimore and Fairfax attending, desired the Board would appoint a day for hearing what they had to offer, against the petition of Mr. Stauber for a grant of land behind the mountains of Virginia, and the Board appointed Tuesday, the 1st of next month, and gave directions for acquainting all parties therewith.
Mr. Coram attending, with the Master and others of the Hatters' Company, acquainted the Board that the said Company having petitioned the Parliament against the making of hats in the plantations, they desired this Board would give them their protection, upon which they were acquainted, that it was proper to lay before this Board a state of the facts, upon which they ground their complaint, which they promised to do accordingly.
Mr. Wood attending, as he had been desired, the Board took again into consideration the merchants' letter, relating to their recovery of debts in the plantations, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, and acquainted him, that the Virginia Act, passed in 1705, declaring how long judgements, bonds, obligations and accounts shall be in force for the assignment of bonds obligations and directing what proof shall be sufficient in such cases, and ascertaining the damage upon protested bills of exchange, did not prescribe for the merchants trading to Virginia any method of proving their debts due from persons there, and therefore the repeal of this law could not have been of any prejudice to them in this particular, as they alledge in their memorial. Mr. Wood then said, that all the merchants desired was that such proof, as is allowed sufficient here in cases of that nature, might by law be deemed sufficient in the plantations.
Mr. Brudenell communicated to the Board a letter from Mr. Davers, one of the Council of Barbadoes, signifying his not intending to return to that Island, which being read, a representation was signed proposing Hugh Hall, Esq., to supply his place.
A letter from the Duke of Newcastle, dated the 12th instant, signifying His Majesty's appointment of Colonel William Cosby to be Governor of New York and New Jersey, with directions to this Board to prepare draughts of commissions and instructions for him, was read, and draughts thereof were ordered to be prepared accordingly.
An Act for vesting certain intailed lands in William Randolph, an infant, which were purchased by his father, Thomas Randolph, gentleman, deceased, of John Sutton Farrer, and for settling other lands and negroes given in lieu thereof of greater value to the same uses.
An Act to confirm the title of Richard Randolph, gentleman, in and to certain intailed lands purchased by him of William Ligon, and for settling other lands, and two negro slaves of greater value in lieu thereof to the same uses.
An Act to enable Henry Cary to sell certain intailed lands in the county of Warwick, and for settling 306 acres of land with the appurtenances in the county of Henrico, and the moiety of 3942 acres of land with the appurtenances in the county of Goochland of greater value to the same uses.
An Act to confirm the sale of certain intailed lands in the county of King William made by John Douglass to John Frazer in fee simple and for settling other lands in the county of Brunswick, and two negro slaves of greater value to the same uses.
Their Lordships then took into consideration the letter from the merchants, relating to their recovery of debts in the plantations, mentioned in the Minutes of the 12th instant, and made a progress therein.
Mr. Mathews, solicitor for Mr. Blake, attending, as he had been desired, against an Act, passed at St. Christophers in 1712, entituled, An Act for settling the estates and titles of the inhabitants of this island to their possessions within the same; and Mr. Sharpe attending likewise, with Mr. Brown his counsel, in behalf of the said Act, as likewise another for the same purpose, passed there in 1718–9, 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 vexations suits at law. Upon both which Acts Mr. Fane's report, mentioned in the Minutes of the 5th instant, was again read, as also an Order from the Committee of Council, read the 1st of December last, referring to the Board the petition of Patrick Blake, of St. Christophers, Esq., and Martin Blake, his son and heir apparent, by Mary Anne his wife, deceased, and an infant of the age of 17 years, humbly praying that the said Act of 1712 may be rejected; and their Lordships desiring these gentlemen would inform the Board what they had to offer for and against the said Acts, Mr. Mathews said, that there were two clauses in the aforesaid Act, passed in 1712, to which he apprehended there were several objections, the one enacting that all the lands and plantations in the English quarter of that island of any French man or woman, who quitted or deserted the same upon our retaking the said island, and went off with the other French subjects and died, or then survived in the dominions of the French King, as well as all the lands of any Irish or other natural born subjects of Great Britain, who, in the year 1689, appeared in rebellion and received the protection of the French, were justly forfeited to and legally vested in their late Majesties, King William and Queen Mary, their heirs and successors, notwithstanding any deficiences for want of proceeding thentofore neglected, for the more regular and formal confiscation of their estates; that the other clause enacted that no want of method, or of sufficient or legal words to create inheritances to them and heirs, nor any impropriety of speech, who thro ignorance of former times are frequently found in old deeds, shall any way vitiate or make void any deed, grant, etc.; that he did not object to these clauses from any hardships they might lay his clients under, but as many of His Majesty's subjects might be affected thereby; that he conceived the first of these clauses was contrary to the law of England, as it inflicted penalties and forfeitures on persons for crimes committed many years before the Act was passed: that by several laws of this kingdom, of which he particularly mentioned those passed the 25th, 28th and 34th of King Edward the 3rd, no person can be attainted after death: that, as this Act of St. Christophers was, for that reason, repugnant to the laws of this kingdom, he conceived it contrary to the King's commission to the Governor of the Leeward Islands, and therefore ought to be repealed: that he hoped the Board were of the same opinion, since they had directed the Governor of the Leeward Islands to endeavour to get a new law passed, not lyable to the objections, which Sir Edward Northey, when Attorney General, had raised thereto.
Mr. Brown on the other side then said: that he did not conceive the said Act of St. Christophers repugnant to the laws of this kingdom, the Act of King James the 1st for punishing the persons concerned in the powder plot, the Act of King Charles the 2nd for punishing the regicides, the Act passed on account of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, and some others, which Mr. Brown particularly named, being instances that the Parliament of Great Britain have often taken the same method to punish crimes of the same nature, after they had been committed: that in the present case the petitioners had little reason to complain, since they were in possession already of the plantation, and that it was necessary for the defendants to prove that some of the petitioners' ancestors had actually been in the rebellion in the year 1689, to bring them under the penalties of the law complained: that as by this means the petitioners must have an opportunity of clearing themselves, they had a greater indulgence shewn them, than has been shewn in parallel cases in this kingdom: that as this law could not therefore be thought an unreasonable law, he hoped the Board would not report for repealing the same, and the rather, since many titles to estates in St. Christophers depended thereon, and that no complaints had been made against the same, except the present case, since the passing thereof in the year 1712.
The Board taking into consideration the letter and memorial from the merchants, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, relating to the recovery of their debts in the plantations, the following papers were read.
A letter from Major Gooch, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia,
dated the 10th of July, 1731, was read, and the papers, therein
referred to, were laid before the Board, viz:—
Minutes of Council, from the 28th of October, 1730, to the 10th of June, 1731.
Naval officer's lists of ships and vessels entered and cleared, from Lady Day, 1729, to Lady Day, 1731.
The Receiver General's account of the revenue of 2s. per hogshead, from the 25th of April, 1730, to the 25th of April, 1731.
The Receiver General's account of the revenue of quit rents, from the 25th of April, 1730, to 25th April, 1731.
Copies of several proclamations issued by Major Gooch in 1730 and 1731.
The memorial says, that, by a law passed in Virginia in 1705, declaring how long judgments, bonds, obligations and accounts, shall be in force for the assignment of bonds and obligations, directing what proof shall be sufficient in such cases, and ascertaining the damage upon protested bills of exchange, provision was made for the recovery of debts in that colony, which law being disapproved on account of some clauses in it of another nature, the Assembly would not pass another law concerning the recovery of debts, by which the merchants have suffered.
The Board do not apprehend the merchants have suffered by the repeal of this law, as they have suggested, because it did not prescribe for the merchants, trading to Virginia, any method of proving their debts due from persons there, as mentioned in the Minutes of the 12th instant.
An Act repealing such part of an Act of Assembly, entituled, An Act for laying an imposition on several commodities exported out of this province, as relates to the laying an impost or duty on furs and skins only, and for laying an imposition on pork, pitch and tax in lieu thereof.
An Act to oblige the several inhabitants of this island to provide themselves with a sufficient number of white people, or pay certain sums of money, in case they shall be deficient, and for laying a duty upon shipping, and applying the same to several uses.
But several of the above laws, being of an old date, and no complaint having before now been made to them, the Board agreed to let them lye by for the present, and gave some directions for preparing the draught of a report upon the Order in Council, read the 24th of August last, referring to the Board the merchants' petition concerning the recovery of their debts in the plantations.
The Secretary informing the Board, that he had seen a letter from Mr. Randolph, one of the Council of Virginia, dated the 23rd of October last, giving an account of the death of Colonel Bray, another of the Council there, who died the 5th of the same month; a representation, recommending John Tayloe, Esq., to supply his place, was agreed and signed.
The Board taking again into consideration the two St. Christophers Acts, the one passed in 1712, entituled, An Act for settling the estates and titles of the inhabitants of this island to their possessions within the same, and the other, passed in 1718, 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 suits at law, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, agreed to propose the last for confirmation, and the first to be repealed, and gave direction for preparing the draught of a representation accordingly.
A letter from Mr. Scrope, Secretary to the Lords of the Treasury, dated the 13th instant, desiring a copy of the exemplification of a case, tried the 9th of May, 1730, at Boston in New England, and of the Act of appeal thereupon to the High Court of Admiralty here, was read, and a copy thereof was ordered to be sent accordingly.
A memorial from Mr. Isham Randolph, agent general for Virginia, with some observations on the case of the merchants of London, trading to the plantations in America, concerning the recovery of their debts in the plantations, was read.
The report upon the merchants' petition about the recovery of their debts in the plantations, agreed last night, was signed, as also the report for repealing an Act at St. Christophers in 1712, entituled, An Act for settling the estates and titles of the inhabitants of this island to their possessions within the same, and for confirming an Act, passed their in 1718, 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 suits of law.
An Order in Council, dated the 19th instant, referring to this Board the petition of the planters in and the merchants and traders to Jamaica, proposing to plant coffee in the said island, etc., and praying an encouragement to forward this design, was read; ordered that Major Ayscough be acquainted with the Board's desire of speaking with him, and any other gentlemen concerned in the Jamaica trade, on Wednesday morning next.
The Board taking into consideration the letter from the Duke of Newcastle, read the 10th of June, 1731, inclosing an address of the House of Commons for a state of His Majesty's plantations with respect to laws, manufactures and trade there, affecting those of Great Britain, made a progress therein, and read the following papers upon this subject, viz:—
The Board taking again into consideration the letter from the Duke of Newcastle, relating to laws, manufactures and trade of the plantations, etc., mentioned in this day's Minutes, made a further progress therein.
Mr. Ayscough attending, as he had been desired, with Mr. Harris and some other gentlemen trading to Jamaica, the Board took again into consideration the Order in Council, read the 21st instant, referring to them the petition of several merchants proposing to plant coffee in that island, and after some discourse with these gentlemen thereon, agreed to consider further thereof on Friday morning next.
A letter from Major Gordon, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania
dated the 10th of November, 1731, relating to the incroachments
of the French, and their dangerous practices upon our Indians,
with several papers on that subject, was read, and the said papers,
therein referred to, were laid before the Board, Viz:—
Copy of a letter from Rip Van Dam, Esquire, President of the Council of New York, to Major Gordon, dated the 9th October, 1731.
Copy of a letter from the Commissioner for Indian Affairs at Albany to Major Gordon.
Copies of votes of the Assembly of New York, sent to Major Gordon.
Copy of the examination of Jonah Davenport, an Indian trader.
Ordered that a letter be prepared to the Duke of Newcastle, for inclosing copies of the said letters and papers, as also an extract of a letter from Mr. Van Dam, President of the Council of New York, upon this subject, read the 4th instant.
The letter to the Duke of Newcastle, directed yesterday to be prepared, for inclosing copies of a letter and papers from Major Gordon, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania, as also an extract of a letter from Mr. Rip Van Dam, President of the Council of New York, relating to the incroachments of the French, and their dangerous practices upon our Indians, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Their Lordships then took again into consideration the letter from the Duke of Newcastle, relating to laws, manufactures and trade of the plantations affecting the trade of this kingdom, mentioned in the Minutes of the 25th instant, and agreed upon some heads for a report to the House of Commons upon that subject.
Major Ayscough attending, the Board had some further conversation with him concerning the production of coffee in Jamaica, as proposed by the petition of the planters in and merchants trading to that island, mentioned in the Minutes of the 26th instant, and gave directions for preparing the draught of a report thereupon.
The report, ordered to be prepared this morning, concerning the production of coffee in Jamaica, as proposed by the petition of the planters in and merchants trading to that island, was agreed and signed.
The Board then took into consideration the draught of a report to the House of Commons, ordered yesterday to be prepared, relating to laws, manufactures and trade of the plantations affecting the trade of this kingdom, and made a progress therein.