Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations: Volume 9, January 1750 - December 1753. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1932.
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Journal, January 1750
Monday, January 8. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr; Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
A new Commission under the Great Seal, bearing date the 21st of December last, appointing George Dunk, Earl of Halifax, Robert Herbert, John Pitt, James Grenville, Esquires, Thomas Hay, Esquire, commonly called Lord Viscount Dupplin, Francis Fane and Charles Townshend, Esquires, together with Andrew Stone, Esquire (in the room of Sir Thomas Robinson, Knight of the Bath), Commissioners for promoting the trade of this Kingdom, and for inspecting and improving his Majesty's Plantations in America and elsewhere, was opened and read.
This day being appointed for taking into consideration the several proposals laid before the Board by the Royal African Company, the merchants of London, Bristol and Liverpool trading to Africa, and the gentlemen interested in and trading to the American Colonies, for the extending, improving and carrying on the British trade to Africa, their lordships proceeded therein; and being informed that Mr. Vaughan, Sub Governor, Mr. Crammond, Deputy Governor, and several of the directors of the Royal African Company attended without, they were called in; and being asked what they had to offer, they acquainted their lordships, that since the proposal now before the Board from the African Company was given in, there had been a new election of Governor, Sub Governor and Deputy Governor, and directors of the said company, and that they had something to offer different from the purport of the said former proposal, and therefore desired a further time to attend therewith, which was agreed to by their lordships, and Fryday next, the 12th instant, was appointed for that purpose, when they were directed to attend; after which the merchants of London, Bristol and Liverpool trading to Africa, together with the gentlemen interested in and trading to the American Colonies attending, were called in, and the letter from his Grace the Duke of Bedford, inclosing the resolution of the House of Lords for an address to his Majesty that he will give directions to this Board to prepare a scheme for the better securing, improving and extending the trade to Africa, and to lay the same before both Houses of Parliament, and signifying his Majesty's commands that this Board do comply therewith, was read, as also the several proposals, which had been laid before the Board by the aforementioned merchants of London, Bristol and Liverpool, the Royal African Company, and the gentlemen interested in and trading to the American Colonies; after which their lordships acquainted the several parties attending, that they should proceed in the further consideration thereof on Wednesday next, when they should be ready to hear what they had to offer in support of their respective proposals.
The several parties then desired they might respectively have copies of the said several proposals, which was agreed to by the Board, and copies were accordingly ordered to be made and delivered to them, and then they withdrew.
Tuesday, January 9. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend, Mr. Stone.
Andrew Stone, Esquire, appointed one of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in the Commission read yesterday, attended and took his seat at the Board.
Read the following letters and papers lately received from the
Honourable Edward Cornwallis, Esquire, Governor of Nova
Letter from Colonel Cornwallis, Governor of Nova Scotia, to the Board, dated at Halifax, December 7th, 1749, relating to the supplies of provisions for the settlers.
Letter from Colonel Cornwallis, Governor of Nova Scotia, to the Board, dated at Halifax, the 7th of December, 1749, giving an account of his further proceedings in the administration of his Government, the progress of the settlements, and the attempts and designs of the French, and transmitting the following public papers, viz:—
Copy of a letter from Monsieur de la Jonquière, Governor of Canada, to Colonel Cornwallis, dated Quebec, 28th October, 1749, vindicating the attempts and proceedings of the French with regard to the Province of Nova Scotia, Prisoners of War, etc.
Copy of a letter from Colonel Cornwallis, dated at Halifax, the 1st of November, 1749, to Monsieur de la Jonquiere, Governor of Canada, in answer to one from him of the 25th October, 1749.
Copy of a letter from Monsieur du Briel de Pontbriand, Bishop of Quebec, to Governor Cornwallis, dated 28th October, 1749, relating to the exercise of his ecclesiastical function in Nova Scotia.
Copy of a letter from Colonel Cornwallis, dated at Halifax, the 1st of November, 1749, to Monsieur du Briel de Pontbriand, Bishop of Quebec.
Ordered that the aforementioned papers be copied, to be laid before his Grace the Duke of Bedford, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, and that the draught of a letter to his Grace be prepared for inclosing the same.
Ordered that the Secretary do transmit a copy of the first mentioned letter from Colonel Cornwallis to the Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and desire him to lay the same before that Board.
Mr. Mauger, lately arrived from Nova Scotia, attending without, was called in, and being desired to inform the Board of the state and condition of the settlement, he acquainted their lordships that he came from Chebucto Harbour the 14th of December; that the people were then in good health and spirits, and their numbers increased by many families from New England, and that several children had been born and christened, and several persons married, and that he believed the whole settlement consisted of about 3,000 persons; that they were very easy and behaved with great decency; that the people from New England chiefly intended a fishery, and were people of substance, and many did not accept of the Governor's allowances except lots of lands; that they expected a great many schooners from New England in the fishing season; that two vessels were building at Halifax for the fishery; that there was great plenty of fish in the harbour and bason, chiefly cod and lobsters; that they had also plenty of salmon and trout in the season; that two schooners were employed to fish for the settlers; that there was great plenty of fresh provisions from Minas, beef and mutton exceeding good at 3d. per. pound, which was given to the settlers by Mr. Townshend's agent; that the wool of the sheep was not so good as in England, being shaggy and hairy; no garden stuff or corn had been yet put in the ground, but that they had carrots and turnips very cheap from Annapolis Royal; that there were hares, partridges, wild pigeons and geese in the different seasons; that they had some hogs, and cows enough; that a new brewhouse was erecting to brew spruce for the settlement, and that in the meantime molasses was delivered to the people to brew for themselves; that their beer was exceeding good and wholesome and fit to drink in two days.
That with respect to the town of Halifax, it was situated upon the side of a hill of a gradual ascent, upon a good soil of reddish clay, with several rivers of fresh water within and round it; that it consisted of about 400 houses, built of wood and covered with shingles and chimneys of brick or stone dug up there. That there was a line round it with four forts double picqueted and proof against anything but cannon, with eight swivel guns mounted on each, besides which there was some large cannon and a great quantity of Ordnance stores from Louisbourg aboard the Baltimore, which was to remain the winter but on a new contract; that the land round the town was cleared a musquet shot distance from the road, which was an exceeding good one, as good as if it had been made a hundred years and barricaded; that the road to Minas lately made was a very fine one, twenty feet wide, and had five bridges upon it.
That the wood about Halifax was chiefly maple, birch, beech, ash and a little oak, but that up the bason there was very fine pines fit for masts of thirty inches.
That there was a house built and some land cleared upon Cornwallis' Island by Captain Rous's brother.
That the harbour of Chebucto was one of the finest in the world, that ships in it were safe from all winds, and the fogs in summer, thought thick at the harbour's mouth, never entered it.
That the saw mill erected by Major Gilman was but in an indifferent condition, and of little use.
That as the forms of Government were established, a Council was appointed, several Justices of the Peace and inferior officers, and that a little time before he came away the Governor had assembled the settlers, formed a Militia and appointed officers, and was preparing to deliver arms to them.
He further acquainted their lordships, that the day before he came away an account was brought down from Minas that an officer of Philips's Regiment and twenty men, who were gone from a fort erected there, were surprised by the Indians, who fired upon them, killed two and made the rest prisoners; he further informed their Lordships that about 160 of the French inhabitants of Minas had left the province, and retired to Louisbourg, when the French took possession there, and having nothing further to offer, he withdrew.
Mr. Kingslaugh, also lately arrived from Nova Scotia, was called in, and acquainted their lordships, that he was an officer at Louisbourg, and went from thence to Halifax in Nova Scotia, from whence he came the 14th of December last; that the people were in good health and very industrious, and their numbers increased by 7 or 800 families from New England, and that more were expected with schooners for the fishery, and that one gentlemen was preparing to come down with £20,000; that there was also some people from other places; that 300 houses were already tenantable, 400 covered in, and the frames for 700 up; that there was plenty of provisions of all sorts, and the settlers were supplied with fresh provisions two days in a week; that there had been some frost and snow, but that it was broke up when he came away, and the weather fine and warm. He likewise informed their lordships that there were mines of coal and copper in the province, and that some of the latter had been brought to Halifax, and confirmed the several particulars before related by Mr. Mauger; and having nothing further to offer, he withdrew.
Wednesday, January 10. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
Mr. Martin, Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Maynard, Mr. Spooner, Mr. Southwell, Mr. Fane, Mr. Harman, Mr. Brereton, Mr. Hardman.
This day being appointed for hearing the arguments of the gentlemen interested in and trading to the British American Colonies, and the merchants of London, Bristol and Liverpool in support of their respective proposals, for the better securing, extending and improving the trade to Africa, and the several parties attending, were called in, and being acquainted by their lordships that they would first hear what those gentlemen, whose proposals were for establishing the trade to Africa in a Company with a joint Stock, had to offer.
Mr. Martin, in behalf of the gentlemen interested in and trading to the American Colonies, represented that he should offer several reasons to their lordships in support of a joint Stock, and 1st: that a joint Stock would have a permanent interest in the forts, as the repositories and bullwark of their trade, where they would always have goods ready for demand; that an open company being without a Stock to cement their trading interest, could not furnish proper goods at all seasons for the natives; that transient persons, not being there at all times, the natives would apply to the Dutch and French; that a joint Stock Company would have a constant open shop for the natives, who came down with slaves at all seasons; that a regulated company would be rivals in trade, and would have no interest in preserving the forts, and that, therefore, the placing the direction of them in such hands might be prejudicial; that the regulated company proposed were to be under no penalties for the execution of their trust, which, therefore, they might abuse by embezzlement and partiality in trade, when a joint Stock for their own sake would avoid all maladministration.
2nd. That a joint Stock was the only means of extending the inland trade, by establishing inland factories, making alliances and getting the respect of the natives, which private traders having no fund could not do, and that if the natives attacked the forts in one place, another would not assist them, whereas, if all were under one direction, it would be impossible for one fort to be attacked without receiving assistance from the rest; that in answer to the question, how to know that a regulated company will not succeed? He would ask, how far an inland trade may be extended? That there was a large tract of country abounding with gold, ivory, dye woods, cotton, etc., the trade for which might be greatly extended by a company, and that the opening such a trade would be a great and laudable enterprize, and might be so far extended as to produce as much gold as the Spanish West Indies.
3rd. That by a joint Stock Company, multitudes of negroes would be procured from inland countries, the supply whereof would be greater and cheaper to the Colonies than ever, without lessening the profits of the private traders, who by buying cheaper, would be enabled to sell cheaper, that from 20 to 30 per cent. would be saved by dispatch only, and that this trade to the inland country would be opened without interfering with the separate traders in their branch.
4thly. That all the objections of the separate traders centred in one point, viz:—the apprehensions of the company raising a competition whereby their profits will be lessened; that such a competition would be a reciprocal advantage; that indeed a competition between different nations was a rivalships for trade, wealth and power, which was the case between ourselves, the Dutch and French; that these nations give all possible encouragement to their companies; that our Colonies stand upon the same footing as theirs, and if not supplied with Gold Coast negroes, the French must have all the sugar trade, which would throw the ballance of power and wealth into their scale.
That, however, a competition between subjects of the same prince, was the foundation of all perfections in trade and manufactures, and that no trade could be carried on to extent without a competition; and, therefore, supposing such a competition was to exist, and the profits of the separate traders thereby reduced from 100 to 50 per cent., it would be so much advantage to the nation.
Mr. John Sharpe, in behalf of the gentlemen interested in and trading to the Colonies, represented to their lordships, that there was one point, not mentioned by Mr. Martin, on which he should make some brief observations, viz:—the trade to the Gold Coast, the negroes of which were most valuable and absolutely necessary for our Colonies, and unless their lordships should be of opinion that a joint Stock Company should be established, the planters give up that trade as lost; that the nature of the trade is such as cannot be carried on without a large quantity of goods always lodged upon the coast, because the inland nations come down at different seasons in large bodies, perhaps 4 or 500 miles, and want various sorts of goods, and if there be no supply, or, if they want twenty different sorts, and you have but eighteen, they will not trade with you, but go over to the French; that the ships of separate traders have not always proper assortments and cannot always be there, whereas a joint Stock Company would always have trade there; that this company not being exclusive, could not be disadvantageous to separate traders; on the contrary, that their interests would be mutual, and that it would be for the company's benefit to supply the separate traders with negroes; that dispatch would be a great advantage to separate traders, and that the company will always have numbers of slaves to sell, and at cheaper rates than in the common course of slaving, and that the difference to the Colonies in having great plenty and at reasonable rates would be prodigious.
That another national consideration, was that more manufactures were carried to the Gold Coast and Whydah than all the rest of the Coast.
That the inland trade is of great consequence, and cannot be carried on by separate traders, and only by a company; that no one could say what advantage this might be of; that if, therefore, this trade to the Gold Coast is of so great importance, it did require time to consider which is the most proper method of settling it; that he averred it could not be carried on by separate traders; that the negroes of other parts were not serviceable in the Colonies, and that he asserted the separate traders had not for many years sent a single cargo of Gold Coast negroes, only to the Sugar Colonies; that the reason was obvious, because they get negroes cheaper and easier on the Windward coast; that if the Gold Coast trade had been neglected, if it was of more consequence in every respect than that of the Windward, as well with respect to the consumption of our own manufactures as to the enabling the Sugar Colonies to supply the markets, and the only way of importing the produce of Africa into Great Britain, it was not to be doubted, but that a company with a joint Stock was the only method; that this trade could not be carried on by separate traders; that when all the proposals were considered, it would appear that trade could not be carried on, but by a company with a joint Stock; that some of the proposals say that no goods shall be admitted into the forts, if so, how could the trade be carried on; that if it should be considered who were the different parties concerned, the planters of all the Sugar Colonies, who were most essentially concerned, and some few merchants of London, with those of Bristol and Liverpool; that it was to be weighed, which most likely to lay that scheme before the Board, which would most effectually tend to the national advantage. Planters say, trade cannot be carried on, but by a company with a joint Stock, and several of the merchants of London concurred with them except in some Minutiæ that the interest of the planters was the most national interest, and that if the negro trade was lost, the Colonies must be lost; therefore there could be no doubt which was most eligible, the Plantations being the great object; that he spoke the sense of all the planters in general, who saw nothing but destruction in any establishment, but a company with a joint Stock; that as to such a company being a monopoly, it was improbable; that if the trade was only in one hand, there might be a monopoly; that as to any apprehensions of the company's not letting their separate traders have slaves at a reasonable rate, it was impossible, because it was the interest of the company to get them off their hands, and not to send them to the West Indies themselves; that if the trade was placed in the hands of the separate traders alone, they might demand what price they pleased.
Mr. Sharpe then proceeded to call several gentlemen interested in the Sugar Colonies, to give an account to their lordships of what they knew concerning the way of a proper supply of negroes in the said Colonies.
Mr. Whitaker said, that as to the assertion in the Liverpool representation, that more negroes have been carried from Anamaboe in one year than from all other parts of the Gold Coast is true; they did not tell the Board what their numbers were, and of what kind; that he would assert that 9/10ths of Barbados and the other plantations were now distressed for Gold Coast negroes; that he was agent for several gentlemen in England, whose estates were greatly unstocked for want of Gold Coast and Whydah slaves, that used to be imported twenty-five years since. That the supply of these sorts had continued to decrease for twenty years; that the separate traders indeed do give out that their ships come from the Gold Coast, but if the planters go abroad, they never can purchase above a 6th or 7th part that are really Gold Coast slaves, and that it was flinging away their money to buy others; that he could give in the names of six persons, who want 370 slaves each, had cash to stock their estates, but could not get slaves; that himself would willingly purchase 300, if to be got; that he remembered a ship of Captain Pigott, belonging to Mr. Lascelles, that did bring, he believed, 500 Gold Coast slaves, which were all sold in one day; that one reason why the Gold Coast trade was neglected, was because the separate traders know the Windward slaves die sooner; that there was no way but planters' scheme of having slaves from the Gold Coast; that the planters had rather give £40 for a Gold Coast slave than £20 for a Calabar; that the ships abovementioned belonging to Mr. Lascelles sold her cargo for about 36/10 a slave.
Mr. Maynard said, that he has both as an agent and for himself bought slaves from Whydah in the time of the Floating factory, but that since that time there were none to be bought; that he had given £25 for children from Whydah, when he might have had slaves of Calabar, Angola, etc., for £26; that he remembered a cargo of slaves brought to Barbados, when he was there, by separate traders and given out to be Gold Coast slaves; that he offered to go on board and take the real Gold Coast slaves at £40 per head; that he did go on board, found a few, and bought three Gold Coast slaves, two for £40 each, and one for £38; that not one in thirty of slaves brought by separate traders are real Gold Coast slaves; that it was the interest of the planters to give £40 for a Gold Coast slave, rather than £20 for the other sort; that he had known 500 slaves come together and not one Gold Coast slave amongst them.
Mr. Martin said that he was lately come from the West Indies, where he had been eighteen months; that he was both at the Island of Antigua and St. Christopher's, where there was the same complaints for want of Gold Coast negroes; that himself would willingly purchase a hundred, if he could get them; that during his stay there he could not get above five real Gold Coast negroes; that the reason why the traders from Bristol and Liverpool rather bring Calabars, etc., is because they give but three or four oz.; whereas they cannot get Gold Coast slaves for less than eight or ten, and therefore choose to go to Calabar, etc., for the sake of greater profit; that the Angola and Calabar slaves were insufficient for our Colonies; that as to the Spaniards they considered only shape and beauty; that our Plantations would be ruined by them; that Mr. Morris imported more Gold Coast negroes into our Colonies in two or three years, about twenty-eight years ago, than all the merchants of Bristol and Liverpool. That the company were disabled from carrying on the trade by the great expense of the forts, and that the arguments against them were not good against another upon a different establishment as proposed by them of a company with a free trade.
Mr. Martin being asked if the want of Gold Coast slaves in Antigua arose from any difference about the price, or from no slaves being offered, said that no Gold Coast slaves were offered; and being further asked whether upon any ships coming into Antigua and giving out that they had cargoes of Gold Coast slaves, he ever went aboard and examined, he said, he did not, but examined them when they came ashore.
Mr. Grey acquainted their lordships that he left Jamaica in 1746; that he left orders and also money to the amount of £3,000 to buy Gold Coast negroes, but has not been able to get more than twenty; that in the year 1740, indeed, Mr. Lascelles had three ships from the Gold Coast; that all the planters in Jamaica are in want of Gold Coast slaves.
They all alleged that no ship coming to the Colony with Gold Coast slaves ever went off without the slaves being purchased.
Mr. Maynard said, that one reason why Gold Coast slaves were more eligible, was that they find in the Colonies the same kind of food and living as in their own country, which was, he apprehended, a great advantage; being asked, whether it was a fact, that few or no Gold Coast slaves have ever been carried away from Barbados, he said, that, when the price has been extravagant, he believes they may have been taken away.
Mr. Martin said, that it was usual for ships to go from one Colony to another to get the best price, but not one did so while he was there, and that he would have given £30 sterling for a slave of Gold Coast.
Captain Hill, called upon by Mr. Sharpe to give an account to the Board of what he knew concerning the trade of the Gold Coast, acquainted their lordships, that he had been many years concerned in the trade to Africa, and was master of a sloop in the year 1716; that the negroes on the Gold Coast are brought down 4 or 500 miles; that they come down at different and uncertain times, and if they find no English to trade, must go to the French, or Dutch; that they require more sorts of goods, than any one private ship can carry; that he had received protection from the forts; that, when he was concerned for the private traders of London, he carried out at one time £12,000, and traded for 2,000 ounces of gold, and 700 slaves; that when he first entered into trade, the French had none on the Coast; that he had full assortments, but often wanted a better; that he had been Supercargo of several ships; that there were more British manufactures carried to the Gold Coast than any other part; that 7/8ths of the Floating factory were in gold and teeth, and that not one-fifth would have otherways been brought home; being asked, if in any year of his trading to the Coast, he ever was with any considerable number of Bristol and Liverpool ships trading to the Gold Coast with proper assortments, he said, he could not say he was; and, being further asked, if the Bristol and Liverpool ships carried any slaves from the Gold Coast, he said, he could not say, as he was only a transient trader; that there was no trade at Whydah; that the trade from Bristol and Liverpool was greatly increased; that the French carry double cargoes, and unless some body of men undertake the trade it will be lost; that the Dutch forts are worse supplied with goods now than heretofore, and that when they begun to fail in their supplies, they gave leave to interlopers to trade; that in his time the French did not use the Dutch forts, and seldom came to the Leeward of the river.
That he had sometimes gone on board ships, that were upon the Gold Coast during his being there; that nobody can restrain the natives from going off to the ships; that the separate traders went chiefly to the Windward and bring a half of their cargoes from thence; that he had, in the course of his trade, been upon the Windward coast, where slaves were to be had cheaper; being asked, what proportion of negroes he brought from the Windward coast, he said, sometimes more, sometimes less; that the Windward slaves do not stand so well on board, and are not so good to the planters; being asked, how long since he left off trading to the coast, he said thirteen years; he was further asked what marks of distinction there are betwixt negroes of the Gold Coast and those of the Windward; and said that the Leeward slaves have particular marks; but that he had sometime sold Windward slaves for Gold Coast, the planters being often deceived.
That the manufactures used on the Gold Coast were perpets, serges and says, bays, long ells and some few of the like quality to the Windward, but that the goods for that trade were guns, gunpowder, brass, spirits, cloaths, shirts, checks, etc.; that as to the difference of price betwixt slaves of the Windward and those of the Leeward coast, he could not say exactly what it was, as the price differs according to the demand; that he never carried any Windward slaves to the Plantations, his cargoes being chiefly for the Gold Coast; that the method of trade was buying the slaves of black factors, who get sometimes 10/ a negro, sometimes more; being asked, whether, if proper assortments of goods were taken out by ships trading to the Gold Coast, which he apprehended would be the cheapest way of trade, he said, he could not tell, but was of opinion that the African Company's forts were of great utility, and never obstructed him, but on the contrary saved and protected his goods; and being further asked, whether he apprehended a trade might not be carried on by a regulated company, and with proper assortments, he said, that without a capital, the trade would be lost, that any people with a capital lodged on the coast might carry on the trade to the Gold Coast with advantage, but not without some joint Stock under one direction; That Mr. Morris's ships amounted from 6 to £12,000; that the floating factory traded to greater advantage than any one private trader; being asked, if he knew what quantities of negroes the Plantations were supplied with by the floating factory, he said, he did not; that the trade from Anamaboe to Whydah was lost, and that the Leeward coast trade was almost lost, and in his time the Bristol and Liverpool did not trade there; being asked, if the floating factory traded with the Portuguese, he said they did for European goods; being further asked, whether, if a joint Stock Company was established, he did not think he could carry on a trade with the natives as well as without it; he said, he could not see what could obstruct it, and that it would be of advantage if negroes could be landed for fifteen or sixteen days, it would save many of their lives; that the company must take a proper price for the negroes; being further asked, what capital he apprehended to be necessary for this trade, he said about £150,000, but that £300,000 would be so much the better; that a great advantage would arise to the separate traders from a joint Stock Company by the saving of demurrage, the difference whereof in one month would be 10 per cent., as also from the company's buying their refuse cargoes; that under such a company the inland trade might be extended, which would be of advantage; being asked, whether goods would not spoil in lying ten or twelve months, he said, that they would not, and might be preserved both on board and on shore; he further said, that it would be more for the interest of the company to sell their slaves to the separate traders, than export them themselves; that tho' the price of negroes at the forts would be half an ounce more than …,yet it would be worth separate traders' while to give it; that the capital on the coast should be from 50 to £80,000; that if the company was not allowed to sell negroes to the French and Portuguese, nobody would subscribe; should sell only refuse negroes to the French; that a great advantage might be made from importing rum on the coast, many of the natives would give it the preference.
Mr. Martin then observed to their lordships, that he would propose, in addition to the planters' scheme, that the company should be limited not to trade with any foreigner, but the Portuguese, and that only for tobacco and gold, and that the same restriction should be laid on the separate traders.
That as to the proposition that the company should be limited not to send any slaves to the West Indies, it was unreasonable; that the company should not borrow money upon bond.
Their lordships then acquainted the several parties that they should proceed further in the consideration of this affair to-morrow morning, and should be ready to hear what the merchants of London, whose proposal was in favour of a company with a joint Stock, had to offer in support thereof, and then all parties were ordered to withdraw.
Thursday, January 11. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
The merchants of London, whose proposals are in favour of an open trade, attending, together with the merchants of Bristol and Liverpool, and the gentlemen interested in and trading to the American Colonies. Mr. Hardman acquainted their lordships, that he was authorized by the merchants of London, whose scheme was in favour of a company with a joint Stock under restrictions, to acquaint the Board, that several of them being out of town, and others engaged in business, they submitted their proposal to the Board's consideration, having nothing to offer upon it.
Mr. Ord then desired leave to lay before the Board some observations in support of the proposal from the merchants of London in favour of an open trade, which, being granted, he observed, that he should not, in what he had to offer, confine himself alone to the London scheme, but desired it might be understood that he spoke equally in favour of the Bristol and Liverpool proposals, all three being upon the same principle, tho' perhaps, differing in some minute points.
He then laid before the Board an account signed by the Secretary of the Island of Jamaica, of negro slaves imported into that Island yearly, from the year 1702 to 1749, observing, that when large numbers of negroes were imported into Jamaica, it was the same into other Islands.
Whereupon, he acquainted their lordships, that the reason of his producing that account, was to shew how that trade has increased; that when the trade was in an exclusive company the supply was very small; that when the duty of 10 per cent. was laid on, it increased and flourished still more at the expiration of it; that in 1718 and 1719 it was again a little stopped by a piratical war upon the coast; that in 1720 the South Sea Company made an agreement with Assiento contractors for 3,000 negroes annually; whereupon the company sent out sixty or seventy sail, but they were not able to comply with the contract, furnishing not above 1,000 annually, on which the separate traders supplied them; that it appeared that in 1747 upwards of 10,000 negroes were imported into Jamaica, and that when he came from Jamaica, about six months since, they were then well supplied; from whence it was evident that the separate traders were the only support of the trade. That altho the company with a joint Stock now proposed was not to be made exclusive, yet they would certainly become so upon the Gold Coast, having the disposal of all public money and the appointment of their own officers, who would certainly promote the interest of their principals in opposition to that of the separate traders; that it would be the interest of such a company to buy goods from separate traders as cheap, and sell their negroes as dear as possible; whereas it was plainly the interest of the separate traders to sell their goods as dear as they could, and buy as cheap. That it was proposed that the company should carry on trade by sending out goods in their own ships, with a restriction not to send any negroes to the West Indies, but such as they could not sell upon the coast or a limited number; that it must therefore be considered that their ships must return empty to great disadvantage, which would enhance the price of goods, the consequence of which would be that the company would, to obviate this disadvantage, raise the price of negroes upon the separate traders, by whom, if refused, they would make it a pretence of sending them to the West Indies themselves; that goods upon the coast are also liable to spoil, and cannot be kept above five months; therefore their supply must be constant, but not large, and as it frequently happens that trade is interrupted on the Gold Coast by wars amongst the natives, the goods must spoil for want of sale; that the Bristol and Liverpool people were not against a company, if they were only to have a liberty of trade without any benefit from the public money, nomination of officers or liberty of putting goods into the forts; and that he considered such a company as not advantageous.
That as to what had been said of an inland trade, the gentlemen had not marked out any method of carrying it on, that it was impracticable to carry it on in any other way than it is now carried on; that if a company with a joint Stock was established, they would be in competition with the black factors, who at present carry on the trade betwixt the Ashantees and the ships, with a profit of about two in seven, but if Ashantees come and trade under the forts would afford the slaves for six; that it was impossible to trade at Whydah, there being no number of negroes to be had, or if there were, the Portuguese, who give better prices, would take them.
No want of Gold Coast negroes in the Islands, proved by a number of ships calling at Barbados and other Islands, and not finding a market, were obliged to go down to Jamaica.
That in 1748 the Phoebe with 230 Gold Coast negroes could not sell them at Barbados and came down to Jamaica; in 1749 the Alexander with 350 Gold Coast negroes, except about 60 purchased to Windward, offered her negroes for £24 sterling at St. Christopher's, no one would give that price, so she came down to Jamaica. The Jamaica Packet with 350 slaves, half Gold Coast, half Windward, offered her cargoes at St. Christopher's for £24 sterling, could not sell them, and came down to Jamaica. The Jenny, Capt. Derbyshire, with 470 negroes, 350 at least Gold Coast, could not sell at Barbados, and came down to Jamaica. The Alexander of Bristol, purchased 370 negroes, all except 50, on the Gold Coast, went to St. Kitts to sell at £24 per head, but got no price, though at the same time Calabar negroes bore a price.
That the reason why slaves were not so plenty to Windward, as at Jamaica, was plainly therefore, that they would not give a price; that he had lived long in Jamaica, had been long in trade, had purchased many negroes for exportation; that he never indeed bought any Gold Coast negroes, but had been offered them at a little higher price; that as to Mr. Grey's evidence, he had heard that his plantation was not only well stocked, but that the slaves were fed so well as to contract distempers; that he believed Gold Coast negroes were best esteemed, but that Windward slaves were very useful in many services. That Gold Coast negroes are fitter for labour, but at the same time, are of a dangerous rebellious disposition, and promote disturbances, and therefore it was necessary, for sake of security, to have others.
That he had had the care of two plantations, but nevers purchased any Gold Coast slaves, the others always did very well, and did not contract any distempers; that Gold Coast negroes were not plenty at Jamaica, where traders can have part of their returns in money.
Mr. Briscoe, in behalf of the merchants of Bristol, represented to their lordships the alterations that had been made with regard to the trade to Africa; that if an exclusive joint Stock Company was established, all the rest of his Majesty's subjects would be excluded, and other parts of the coast opened to the French; that as the people of Anamaboe are factors betwixt the Ashantees and the ships, they will prevent any fort being erected there; that if a joint Stock Company without an exclusive right was established, the trade would still remain at Anamaboe; that if an open company was established without a joint Stock, the trade would be brought to the ships by Ashantees, who by receiving a better price, would be encouraged to bring slaves, which now they sell to the French and Dutch.
That the Board of Trade in 1707, as appears from a representation then made by them, were of opinion,
"That an open trade with just regulations, like that of the Turkey Company, or such others, as your Majesty in Parliament should judge proper and necessary, will effectually prevent those confusions and abuses in traffick, which usually do arise from different and contending interests in trade, that it will establish our credit with the natives, prevent the trade from falling into the hands of other nations, and, we hope, may tend to the carrying on a more extensive trade in Africa, to the increase of our exportation of the woollen and other manufactures of this Kingdom. That the Portuguese formerly had a Joint Stock, but had now altered that method. That we have had a sufficient experience of both a joint Stock exclusive, and a joint Stock in the method now proposed."
That as to the inland trade, it was chimerical, it being impossible to carry goods up into the country, no person ever going above ten miles from the coast; that a noble fortune was sunk in an attempt of this sort; that nothing of this sort was ever done by the company; that the charge of settling factories in the country, would, under such a scheme, be impossible, and would make negroes excessively dear; that as to gold and other produce, all that can be procured is brought down to the coast.
That as to Whydah trade, it does appear that in the year 1738, 6,000 negroes were exported from thence, but it has decreased every year since, occasioned by the tyranny of the King of Domo, who has destroyed and depopulated the nations; that the high duties there make the cost of a slave amount to £16 sterling, and besides, the Portuguese give a higher price than that, for slaves to work in their mines.
That small quantities of British manufactures are vended there, except guns and gunpowder; that the principal articles of trade are tobacco, brandy, silesias and iron bars. That the Dutch had a factory there in 1734, but have quitted it entirely, finding the trade very disadvantageous.
That as to the complaint of not being supplied with Gold Coast negroes, they have always got as many as they could purchase, and more ships have been sent thither than negroes could be had for.
That the St. Philip of London, and Tryton of Bristol, have been upon the Gold Coast eighteen months for 900 slaves, but the last advices say, they have not been able to purchase near their quantity.
That the method of ships trading to the Gold Coast is to pick up a few slaves to Windward, but that not one-fifth of the cargo is purchased there, the rest being purchased at Anamaboe and on the Gold Coast.
That as to what had been said of the little value of Windward slaves, there was very little difference in the price given by the planters, and that in the Leeward Islands, no encouragement was given to sell them.
That according to the best computation that could be made of the number of slaves necessary for the Plantations, they require as follows:—
|Jamaica at a medium of seventeen years||4,780|
|Barbados at a medium of three years||1,700|
|North America about 3,000.|
That it appeared by a list of the ships belonging to Bristol that the number of slaves brought from the Windward and Gold Coast in one year amounted to 5180, and by a like list from Liverpool that the number brought by them was 7040.
Mr. Hardman, in behalf of the merchants of Liverpool, represented, that he considered the arguments made use of in support
of a company with a joint Stock as reducible to the five following
1st. The extending and improving the trade of the Gold Coast.
2nd. The having supplies of goods at the forts.
3rd. The towns protected and paths kept open.
4th. The carrying on an inland trade.
5th. The making alliances with the natives.
That as to the first, the trade of the Gold Coast was never higher than now, that the number of ships belonging to Liverpool, trading to Africa, was seventy-five, twenty-eight whereof was for the Windward and Gold Coast. That forty-seven ships traded from Bristol to Africa, seventeen whereof were for the Windward and Gold Coast. That six traded from Chester, Lancaster, Glasgow, Plymouth, and six, as it was supposed, from London; that besides these, there were supposed to be about twenty from America, there having, according to the last advices from Sierra Leone, nine Rhode Island ships passed by that place; that the abovementioned twenty-eight Liverpool ships trading to the Windward and Gold Coast go for about 7,040 negroes and the seventeen Bristol ships for 5,180, making together 12,220 negroes.
That according to the best computation that could be made from the list of negroes imported into the Sugar Colonies or the number of hogsheds of sugar made in each Island, the number of negroes annually required for each Island was as follows, viz:—
|Jamaica at a medium of seventeen years||4,782|
|Barbados for three years last past||1,700|
That as no Gold Coast negroes were wanted for the Northern Colonies, he should distinguish them separately and compute them at about 3,000.
Mr. Hardman then laid before the Board the following papers,
List of ships belonging to the port of Liverpool in the African trade, 1749.
List of ships employed in the trade to Africa from the port of Bristol, 1749.
A computation of negroes required for the use of the American Plantations.
That six of the aforementioned ships from Liverpool to Africa traded at the River Gambia. That as to the proportion of Gold Coast slaves, he must acquaint their lordships that from May to September, 1748, the Snow Phoebe, Captain Lawson, purchased 251 negroes, 76 whereof to Windward, 170 at Anamaboe and 5 at Commenda; that in the same time the Jenny, Captain Derbyshire, purchased 513 negroes, 60 whereof to Windward, 452 at Anamaboe, and 1 at Cape Coast; that from February to January 1749, the Ellis and Robert, Captain Rollinson, purchased 319, 307 whereof at Anamaboe and 12 at Cape Coast and none to Windward; that the negroes upon the Windward coast are better than any, except the Gold Coast, nay are preferred in the Plantations to Gold Coast for many services.
That as to the difference of goods and manufactures sold on the Windward and Gold Coast, the Gold Coast indeed required more woollen goods, but the Windward a greater variety, such as iron bars, baffs, callicoes, chelloes, guns, gunpowder, niccanees, etc., that the produce of the Windward coast was no less valuable, consisting of various sorts, such as bees-wax, guinea grain, etc.
That as to the second point, viz:—that the forts would be supplied with goods better by a company.
He must observe that if the scheme of the separate traders was established, more goods would be sent out than by a joint Stock Company; that many persons would go and settle there, as they have already done upon the Windward coast; that settlements might then be made amongst the natives, and owners of ships would send people to settle; that it would be more eligible to the negroes, as all trade would then be free, and that the reason why all the trade now centred at Anamaboe was because the present company was a monopoly, watching the negroes to prevent their trading with the ships, and seizing their goods, if detected; that if goods were kept upon the coast, they would in a little time become ten per cent. worse, whereas ships would always be ready with proper assortments; that as to the forts protecting the towns, it would be better done by an open company, with the same privileges as to the forts, and the same aids from Parliament for the support of them; that complaints have been made of the company's passing no accounts, which, under the regulations proposed by the separate traders, might be depended upon, and that the money would be laid out upon the forts only.
That as to arguments that the trading paths would be better kept open by a joint Stock Company, experience had already shewn that a company have not carried on any trade; that as to alliances with the natives it was chimerical and an imposition; that as to the assertion that an inland trade might be extended, all trade carried on upon the coast was inland trade, and that if the coast trade was extended the inland trade would be likewise extended; that as to settling a trade within land it was impracticable, and although such an attempt had been made by a late noble duke, yet to his great cost he found it impracticable.
That the scheme of a joint Stock Company, as proposed, could not be carried into execution, in as much as no person could engage in such a company if there was no liberty of carrying negroes to the Plantations, or, only a small limited number not more than 2,000, while the rest must be sold to the separate traders or the French.
That besides, such a company must frequently refill their forts with goods, and that if the ships they sent out for this purpose did not go to the West Indies, they must return empty; that it must be a joint Stock without any restrictions, or else the scheme impracticable; that if the company be allowed to carry negroes to the Plantations, they will carry the best and sell the worst to the separate traders; that they may also sell to the French, and so throw this trade into their hands; that when the present African Company traded, they carried the best slaves to the Plantations, and sold the worst to the separate traders; that a joint Stock Company would also deny the use of the forts to the separate traders; that it would also be a monopoly, since it was proposed that the company should buy the negroes and sell them to the separate traders; and you must depend upon the establishment you make, whatever it be; that the money granted by Parliament would be laid out with much greater frugality according to the plan of the bill brought into Parliament last year; that as to the priviledges, which it had been said the French give to their company, the representation of the Council of Commerce in the year 1720 plainly shewed their opinion was against a company; that he should now take some notice of several disadvantages, which he apprehended attended this trade to Africa; that a ninth or tenth of every cargo consisted of India and other goods, the prices of which were greatly advanced; that India prices were advanced sixty per cent, that gunpowder was 50s. the pound in Holland and £3 10s. here, he would, therefore, propose that, when there was any want of these sort of goods, there might be a liberty of importing them from Holland.
That the Dutch and French have always constant supplies, the traders in France to Africa having large priviledges, such as free importation and exportation, whereby they were enabled to give a better price for their negroes, and sell them better in the West Indies; that the rivalship of the French now made the forts necessary, and that the best method of preserving them to the nation was by the separate traders; that if monopolies were now the question, it should be considered how great advantages the French have over us in their Canada trade, Turkey trade, African trade, and South Sea, which by us are carried on in Companies; that the French had a floating factory at Angola; that if any persons had a desire of trading with a joint Stock, he knew of no law against it; that the advantages of having the trade open will be, that the Colonies will be supplied cheaper and better; that experience of four score years has shewn, that there was no supply at all, and therefore there was no way left but to leave the trade open; that as to the planters, who were the proposers of a company with a joint Stock, they did not understand the nature of the trade; that the outports could carry on the trade ten per cent. cheaper than a company.
Mr. Hardman being asked whether the people of Liverpool traded to the Gold Coast more lately than heretofore, he said that twenty years since they had but twenty ships in trade, but a greater proportion of these traded to the Gold Coast than does now, having been discouraged by the floating factory and the French, who were able to give a better price.
Mr. Hardman then called Captain Campbell to give an account of the state of the Windward and Coast trade; who acquainted the Board, that he had been eight voyages to Africa from Liverpool, that the first of these he went to Cape Coast and the second to the floating factory, but met with discouragement there, the French, who never traded before, having then eight ships trading with them; that there were twenty-five English people at Bannanas and that they had driven the French from Bissaw; that the African company had once a fort at Sherborough, but they deserted it, since which the trade has been greatly extended by private adventurers; that the slaves to the northward of Sierra Leone were as good as any, and chose rather than others for porters, barrow men, etc.; that the Portuguese like them as well as any, and that they were often sold as Gold Coast slaves; that there were fifty capital places before ships went to Windward; that out of the eight voyages he made, he never missed but once of going upon the Gold Coast and then he sent a tender down, and that one-third of his cargo was generally Gold Coast slaves; that it had been recommended to him to bring Windward slaves to Barbados. That generally two-thirds of the cargoes of Bristol ships consist of Gold Coast slaves, but he could not tell the reason of this difference betwixt Liverpool and Bristol; that they had different cargoes for Gold Coast; that they had a particular assortment as far down as Anamaboe; that their cargoes were generally mixed, and that half of them upon an average were sorted for the Gold Coast; that he never heard the planters complain of any want of Gold Coast slaves, but has heard traders complain of the want of markets, and has known a cargoe of slaves sold at Barbados for £16 round, though many Gold Coast slaves amongst them; that himself sold a cargoe at £18 round in the year 1739; that the price for Gold Coast slaves upon the spot was from £8 to £10 and £7 for Windward slaves upon an average; that he had sold a cargoe of Gold Coast slaves, not without a mixture of Windward ones for £38. That the limited price in time of war was £27; that he could not say what the price of slaves were, never having traded there, but that he believed they were sold from £22 to £25 when others were sold for £27.
Mr. Hardman then laid before the Board the following paper
which was read, viz:—
An account of the price slaves sold for in the Plantations in 1748 and 1749.
Mr. Campbell then proceeded to inform the Board that there were a species of slaves purchased at Anamaboe called Duncos, that some people could distinguish these from others, though not generally; that the French rather chose them than Cormantees, which nation as well as the…… were almost exhausted, and that he generally gave the same price for them if equally good, and has sold them to the French at Barbados, who come there to purchase, Whereupon Mr. Maynard acquainted their lordships, that the slaves sold to the French at Barbados were only refuse slaves.
Mr. Campbell being asked if he was ever refused slaves by the floating factory, said he never applied to them for slaves himself; that the reason of his leaving the Gold Coast trade was that the price of slaves was advanced from five to eight; that the trade was engrossed by the floating factory, who employed small vessels and traded with Brazil tobacco; being asked, if, when he had a cargo of Windward slaves to sell in the Plantations, he did not give them out to be Gold Coast slaves, he said, he did not, but generally declared that he came from Windward and Gold Coast, but believes it is customary for Captains who have only one-third of cargo Gold Coast slaves, to advertise the whole as such, but that purchasers always know the difference.
Mr. Hardman then called Captain Hughes to give their lordships an account of this trade; who acquainted the Board, that in the year 1740 he was master of a vessel belonging to Alderman Gildart and went out with a cargo, two-thirds of which was assorted for the Gold Coast, that he offered the floating factory six and seven ounces for slaves, which they refused, being in contract with the French, whom they said gave them nine and ten ounces, which was more than he could afford to give, so as to get any profit in the West Indies, but that it would have been a great advantage to him to have been supplied at that time.
The several parties were then ordered to withdraw, and desired to attend again to-morrow, when their lordships agreed to proceed in the further consideration of this affair.
Friday, January 12. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
Their lordships, pursuant to yesterday's minutes, took into consideration the arguments of the gentlemen interested in and trading to the British Colonies in America, and of the merchants of London, Bristol and Liverpool, in support of their respective proposals for extending and improving the trade to Africa.
Mr. Hardman, in further support of the proposal made by the merchants of Liverpool, called Captain Lugment to give an account of what he knew of the trade to the Gold Coast; who acquainted the Board, that he had been nine voyages to the Gold Coast, and had purchased about 2,300 slaves, 50 of which in each voyage were Windward slaves, quantity four-fifths of cargo from Leeward; that slaves are brought down from the inland ports to the Gold Coast; that twice when he was at Anamaboe there were no other ships there; that the Ashantees are good slaves, but live not on the coast; that several ships arrived before his departure from Anamaboe; that negroes carry slaves where they can have the best price; that ships give better price than the forts; that separate traders are hindered by the Company's servants from trading on shore; that his ship lay under the guns of the forts; that he saw Mr. Crichton give four or five ounces for slaves each, and afterwards paid him six ounces; could have bought them of the natives cheaper, if permitted; that he had applied for liberty for the negroes to come off to him in 1746, and then only, and was permitted; that he began to trade in those parts in 1733; that the French before the war frequently traded with the Dutch forts; that the natives rather take five, if the forts had assortments of just such goods as they want, than seven of the ships; that ships may be protected at Cape Coast and Accra; that ships of burthen may come near the forts at Cape Coast and Accra and Dixcove; that in the course of trade when near Gold Coast, he never met with any ships of Liverpool; generally met them at Accra or Dixcove; that the number of ships from Bristol is greater than that from Liverpool; that he had once been on the Gold Coast when there were no Bristol ships there, but some came down before he left it; that the Windward coast is dangerous and inconvenient in rainy season.
Mr. [Hill] acquainted the Board, that he had stopped three voyages at Barbados, and once at St. Christopher's; that the stated price of negroes was £19; that he could prove from books that he got no price for Gold Coast slaves at the Leeward Islands; that if factories were settled, great advantages would be gained on the French; that the French trade with brandy; that he had bought slaves once at Whydah, but they were only the refuse of the Portuguese, who have the entire trade there. Being asked as to alliances with the natives, said, the floating factory had never made any alliance and had no occasion for any; said, that separate traders, if they had the liberty of forts and could settle under them, could supply the Colonies with greater number of slaves; that the slaves he had offered to sale at St. Christopher's at £19 per head, were four-fifths taken in at the Gold Coast, and two-thirds right Gold Coast slaves; that in 1736 he had offered them at Barbados at £20 or 22, but that he could not sell them there. Captain Hill being asked, what cargo Mr. Swymmer carried to Whydah, said it consisted of gunpowder, India goods, cowries, silezias.
Mr. Ottley lived at St. Christopher's, left the Island about six years; since factor for merchants trading to Africa, several ships consigned to him, sent several down to Jamaica for want of prices for negroes; price not limited; believes that several ships consigned to other people went away for want of sale; never heard any complaint for want of slaves, not for want of Gold Coast slaves; Gold Coast slaves did not bear proportion to others; cannot tell what proportion Gold Coast negroes bear, better price; planters chuse them, but others as good for several purposes, for porters, etc., great supply at St. Christopher's at the time Assiento company had their supply.
Mr. Woodcock has a plantation in Jamaica; 250 negroes; 100 Creoles, 80 Gold Coast, rest, Ebors, Calabars etc.; chooses a mixture; Gold Coast negroes a dangerous people; rebellion in Jamaica raised by them; greater plenty in Jamaica than ever; believes planters are well satisfied; he could always have Gold Coast negroes, when wanted, at a reasonable price; factors in Jamaica for supplying Spaniards, chuse Angola negroes. His plantation 1,000 acres, 300 acres planted, number of negroes sufficient; never lost any Ebor slaves, but by old age; always treated them well.
Question: did ever hear any planter complain for want of Gold Coast slaves? Has heard some; some people chuse Calabar negroes, some Gold Coast; in general believes they would rather chuse a majority of Gold Coast negroes; has heard in general a desire of further supply of Gold Coast negroes; hitherto believes supply equal to demand.
Question: how much of Jamaica uncultivated, and if uncultivated, for want of negroes? Great deal uncultivated, but not for want of negroes; rum great trade engrossed.
Mr. Gregory, an officer of the company's, lived at Whydah seven years, in 1732, 6,000 slaves sent from thence; decreased every year since; country depopulated; impossible to carry on any trade there with advantage; negroes of that place sold for £22 sterling; country depopulated 2 or 300 miles up; company's officers never allow black traders to go off to ships, if detected, goods seized; no separate traders at Whydah while he was there; duties at Whydah excessive.
Captain Smyth traded to Africa nineteen voyages; at Gambia in three Governors' times; in Governor Plunkett's time was there; offered to contract with him; Governor refused; would not permit him to go up river to slave; told him he would sink his ship, if he attempted it; did go up; shallop came up from fort to overbid him.
King William galley of Bristol, upon apprehensions of pirates, desired protection of Cape Coast; offered two ounces; refused protection, unless he would give two marks; £64 sterling; he carried slaves to Leeward Islands; one cargo sold; Ebors for £17, Gold Coast for £19.
Seven Bristol ships with a mixture of Gold Coast and Windward slaves went to Jamaica in 1736; could not sell them; lay there several months; obliged to go to Hispaniola, and sell them to great disadvantage.
Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
The Sub Governor, Deputy Governor and several of the directors of the Royal African Company attending, they, pursuant to the minutes of Monday last, laid before the Board a memorial containing proposals for the extending, improving and carrying on the trade to Africa, which having been read:
Mr. Newland, their sollicitor, did, in the name of the African Company, propose that a Joint Stock be raised for the support of the forts in a respectable state of defence, to carry on a sufficient inland trade and keep up the supply of negroes; he observed, that the present situation of the forts was not the strongest reason in favour of a joint Stock; traced the proceedings of the company from its establishment; that an exclusive charter had been granted to them; that they had purchased several forts, and built others; that from the gold brought from the Gold Coast in the first 25 years, 496,019 guineas had been coined; before which time there was no such denomination as that of guineas; that upon their meeting with interruption in 1689, they made application to Parliament; that after several disputes between the company and separate traders a Bill passed in 1689 for opening the trade, and the company were to have a consideration by duty of ten per cent for fourteen years, but this did not answer expectation, for the duty amounted to £75,000 only; the expence of forts was some years 36,000, 26,000, 24,000, and since 1708 (communibus annis) 17,000. That from 1712 to 1730 no allowance had been made to the company; a debt being due to them, they applied to Parliament in 1730, and £10,000 were granted for many years; in 1743 or 1744, upon application to Parliament for £20,000, the House of Commons reported that the company during the time of the allowance of £10,000 laid out only £100,000 more than they received; as to assistance given to separate traders, he said that the company had given orders for assistance and supply of necessaries, and that thirty-four certificates of Captains of ships asserting this had been laid before Parliament; then proposed an act for £20,000 per annum, and that a new stock of £200,000 for carrying on the trade be raised, out of the profits of which creditors might be satisfied.
Mr. Crammond then observed that if £20,000 were allowed for thirty-two years, there would be credit enough to raise a joint Stock; £3,000 would be set apart for their creditors, who in hopes of future advantages would be ready to assist; he then proposed the gentlemen planters of Bristol, Liverpool and London, should be of the direction; that the transferable stock be £300,000; the trust stock 100,000; 300,000 to be subscribed in at ten per cent; those who have bought at five per cent to subscribe in that stock at five per cent.; he said that £100,000 was sufficient at first; his opinion was 50,000 to be increased to £170,000.
Mr. Paterson then acquainted the Board, that the amount of the debts, the account of which has taken up four or five months in collecting, was about £50,000, exclusive of the directors of the old company; the estimate last year was £107,000.
The parties being withdrawn, their lordships agreed to proceed further in the consideration of this business on Tuesday next.
Tuesday, January 16. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
Mr. Hardman having laid before the Board the following
Ships employed in African trade, according to the evidence given at the Board of Trade
75 ships from Liverpool
47 ships from Bristol
6 Chester, Lancaster, Plymouth
6 supposed in London
Twenty or upwards supposed from America as by our advices from Sierra Leone they had nine ships belonging to Rhode Island past by them in a little time; twenty-eight of the above from Liverpool to Windward and Gold Coast, which go for 7,040 negroes; seventeen ships of Bristol to ditto, carry 5,180 negroes.
proceeded to call further evidence in support of the proposal made by the merchants of Liverpool; and Mr. Richard Smith acquainted the Board, that he had been a factor at Barbados in the Guinea trade from 1739 to 1749; sold in that time about 30,000 negroes; being asked at what prices:
after which slaves begun to run to about £30; had sent negroes from Barbados for want of market; planters never buy later than November, or earlier than March. Being asked whether the cargo in 1739 were all Gold Coast, said they came to him as such, but could not tell. Question: were they Cormantees? Answer: no. Did ever sell any Cormantees, and at what price? Has sold them sometimes for £40; never knew more than twenty in a cargo; limited price of slaves; before the war, £20 to £22, after the war, from £22 to £30; had not heard that negroes were decreased in plantations; believes not; but they want a great many more; no better pay in the world than planters.
Mr. Harman produced a list of fourteen ships trading to Gold Coast taken from trading books of Bristol merchants, distinguishing when the negroes were purchased; being asked, if those ships traded to Windward, he said they did. Question: what number of slaves were purchased at Whydah, and betwixt that and Anamaboe? He said, that there were purchased at Whydah 137; betwixt that and Anamaboe, 37. Question: were these ships taken from trading books the first that came, or picked out? Answer: if other ships had been taken, believes they would have borne the same proportion; Mr. Hardman said the trade was carried on in the same manner.
Mr. Harman: Gold Coast in this list commences at Cape la How; he also laid before the Board an account of the sale of negroes in Leeward Islands, taken from fourteen books of trade, shewing that Alexander of Bristol called at Antigua and St. Kitts, and could not sell at £24 per head; as also several affidavits, letters and extracts of orders, to shew the number of slaves purchased on the Windward and Gold Coast; and the prices sold for in the West Indies.
Mr. Sharpe called Captain Hill as to Whydah trade; who acquainted their lordships, that twenty years since depopulation a considerable trade had been carried on by floating factory in 1733; trade might now be carried on with proper assortments; that with large capitals it might be the most considerable trade; that large duties were paid there from 3 to £500, but trade might bear it with capitals of 8, 10, or 12,000 not less than £6,000; that it required large ships, with many men, as it was necessary to have a tent on shore; he remembered a factory also nine miles up in the country; being asked how long a ship would be making a voyage, he said, he remembered three ships that made it in thirty-three months; being asked when he traded there, and whether any alterations since that? Answer: in 1736. Alteration since that; and being asked if trade might be carried on by separate traders with large capitals, he said, he apprehended it might; that when Londoners traded there, considerable trade carried on. Question: did ever remember any Liverpool ships there? Answer: no, remembered one Bristol ship. That as to difference in value of Whydah slaves, he remembered that in 1727 or 28, went to West Indies with a cargo of Whydah slaves; met with a ship with large cargo of Gold Coast, kept her company fearing she might get in before him and spoil his market; that he got in first, sold his Whydah cargo, and the cargo of Gold Coast slaves were refused; being asked, if there were any Bristol and Liverpool ships upon the Gold Coast in his time, he said, he remembered some Bristol. Question: whether London or Bristol ships slaved soonest? Answer: whoever had best assortment slaved soonest. Question: any difference in the cargoes of London and Bristol and Liverpool? Answer: guns of London ships better; India goods better and larger quantities; goods of London ships better in quality. Question: if he thinks goods will not spoil in five or six months? Answer: has been eleven months, and suffered no loss; if care taken will not spoil, guns, brass, kettles and ironware liable to be rust eaten if landed. Question: if a company established, should send out cargoes to Africa in their own ships, such ships might not go to…… and in cargoes of Redwood to advantage? Answer: yes. Question: if ships might not go out in time to go to the West Indies and bring cargoes from thence? Answer: yes, Mr. Sharpe said that ship Speedwell belonging to Mr. Lascelles, was gone out with this view. Question: if not advantage to the separate traders to take company's goods? Answer: yes, should think it so himself, and believes it has been done. Question: if company would not take off refuse goods? Answer: believes it would be their advantage to do it; himself had done it with the floating factory. Question: if negroes not purchased at loss sometimes? Answer: yes, some old and infirm ones are sometimes mixed in the lots brought down; must take all or none. Question: if merchants of Bristol and Liverpool with a large capital of their own might not carry on the Whydah trade as well as Joint Stock Company? Answer: may, but assurance of such capitals necessary for security to the public. Question: if traded in capitals would have any interruption from the company? Answer: does not apprehend they would. Question: if the most considerable trade might not be carried on from Anamaboe to Whydah? Answer: more trade now at Anamaboe; trade depends upon shipping being on the Coast; if ships went to leeward of Anamaboe, more trade might be carried on. Question: where apprehends Gold Coast commences? Answer: from Cape Three Points. Question: did floating factory trade at Whydah? Answer: cannot tell traded. Question: what goods are proper for that trade? Answer: cowrys, silesias, guns, etc. Question: had Mr. Morris capital of £12,000. Answer: believed not. Question: did apprehend negroes enough at Whydah to supply the Colonies? Answer: no. Question: did Mr. Morris take in goods in Holland? Answer: yes, could get better assorted and cheaper. Question: if does not apprehend more advantage in taking in a cargo of negroes on the Coast, than going to the West Indies empty? Answer: yes, doubtless. Question: if Colonies settled refuse goods, would not be disposed of to them to more advantage than to the company? Answer: could not say; would doubtless be disposed of to the best bidder; when most advantage. Question: why London merchants, Morris, Chamberlayn, etc., left off trade? Answer: those that were concerned are dead; knows no reason why other do not trade. Question: if knows of any ships trading from London since 1736? Answer: no. Question: if apprehends that the French and Portuguese give better prices for negroes than the English? Answer: yes.
Mr. Hardman: should make a few observations on the proposal of the African Company. £20,000 per annum for thirty-two years alone, the foundation and dependence of their subscription; the payment of their debts; and carrying on the trade. That as to what Mr. Newland had said of the great expence they had been at in maintaining their forts for so many years, without any allowance from Parliament, it appeared from their own representation that they had from the public £243,000; that they had also been exclusive for years and that they had ten per cent. for fourteen years. This scheme will lay fifty per cent. upon separate traders; separate traders have £800,000 this year in trade; produce of trade amounts yearly to £1,200,000. That it has been represented as if Bristol and Liverpool were the only places concerned on this occasion; whole nation interested, if trade open; Chester, Lancaster, Glasgow and other places, who could enter into it five per cent. cheaper than either Bristol or Liverpool would engage; that as to what Mr. Crammond had said of separate traders being admitted into company, rather surprised that Mr. Crammond should engage in it. Mr. Crammond and the others unacquainted with the trade, but not with the Parliamentary allowance of £20,000 a year; if company established, trade would be thrown into new hands; price of negroes now from five to seven ounces; appears that floating factory sold slaves to the French for ten ounces a head; what law will prevent the company from selling to the French? If French give ten ounces, separate traders must also give it; great disadvantage of this to the planters; company and monopoly; this scheme only to draw the trade from Anamaboe to the forts; by private traders' schemes, Colonies will be established upon Coast, and trade be in fifty hands instead of one; Gold Coast nations will be better civilized by Colonies than by a company. As to the Gold Coast having been neglected by the separate traders it was a misrepresentation and proved so; as to the inland trade none carried on, but what was carried on upon the coast; Windward trade was not to be neglected; better slaves than any but the Gold Coast; great quantities of manufactures sent thither and valuable produce might be brought from thence such as Guinea grain, wax, etc; that by Mr. Newland's computation, charge of forts amounted to 30 or £40,000 per annum; no trade can support this, may be done cheaper by separate traders; that if company proposed anything for public advantage, it should be that they would sell slaves at six ounces per head; whereas by this scheme the price will be raised fifty per cent; that it had been proved that the traders had been used ill by the company's officers, though company said it was not by their orders; that as to what had been said as to the security to be given by separate traders for forts and trade, with respect to the first, propose to account to Parliament in the strictest manner; £10,000 in this way more effectual than £20,000 to company; company's establishments of officers, servants, etc., a great expence; as to security for trade an impertinent enquiry; if trade laid open, experience proves it will be carried on, whereas if company was continued, the Colonies would soon want negroes; if it is said that Joint Stock necessary; let the gentlemen subscribe to it now.
This is the test,
or else £20,000 the object.
That company's scheme propose the forts being kept in respectable condition; no objection to it; if £20,000 per annum necessary, separate traders will lay it out fifty per cent. cheaper than company; advantage to have trade diffused; that the whole end of company's scheme was the £20,000 per annum and raising price of negroes fifty per cent; no traders to Africa in the direction of new company; unacquainted with trade; method of carrying on trade by all nations was by shipping, except in Gambia River and on Gold Coast; without any charge or impediment of forts; better throw forts into the sea than establish company; general opinion of all traders; let trade be established with greatest economy; no more forts to be built but at Anamaboe; ships of war only true protection; can execute any orders that may be necessary to be given by the Government.
Mr. Briscoe: not trouble the Board with observations on African Company's proposal, as Mr. Hardman had already done it; mention only some circumstances of evidence; planters asserted want of sufficient supply of negroes; gave no evidence of it; sufficient supply proved; and that negroes offered at Leeward Islands for small prices, but could not get them; ships obliged to go to Jamaica; trade to Windward carried on only by Gold Coast ships, who only range down and pick up few negroes; none but some very small ships trade entirely to Gold Coast; reason of slaves not being purchased by planters; all planters in the room not purchase one single cargoe; all their lands, if sold, not pay what owing for negroes.
The several parties being withdrawn, their lordships agreed to consider further of this affair to-morrow.
Wednesday, January 17. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
Mr. Sharpe, in reply to what had been said by Mr. Hardman the preceding day, observed that what relates to the exclusive charter, the misbehaviour of the servants of the African Company, and the discouragements the trade in general labours under, is out of the case, and the fixing the limits of the Gold Coast is not material. The question is, what are the negroes who are the fittest for our Plantations? The facts agreed on are: 1st. That the trade to the Gold Coast and Whydah is the most valuable. 2nd. The great consequence of this trade and the necessity of the assistance of the legislature. 3rdly. That the French are now using their utmost endeavours to get the Gold Coast trade out of our hands. 4th. That the forts and settlements are necessary to be maintained, not only as marks of possession, but in a defensible and respectable state. 5th. That the trade should be free and open to all his Majesty's subjects. 6th. That the forts and settlements should be made use of for the protection and benefit of all his Majesty's subjects, and their trade equally. 7th. That warehouses or repositories for goods on the coast will be of great advantage to the trade. 8th. The necessity and utility of this trade being carried on by a company. Planters are unanimously of opinion that the trade can only be carried on by a joint Stock Company; and some merchants of London greatly concerned in the African trade agree with them; the separate traders of Bristol and Liverpool and some of London connected with them, are of opinion that it cannot be carried on so; and if it should be attempted, the trade would be lost. He observed that when the evidence was considered, the Board would find, that the planters had established what they advanced, and that trade to the Gold Coast and Whydah in a manner lost, could only be recovered by a joint Stock; that they had proved the Gold Coast negroes are the best, and absolutely necessary to the Plantations, and dearest both in buying and selling; that the Windward negroes are the next best, but not so fit for field service; that the plantations are in great want of Gold Coast negroes; separate traders estimate their trade for Windward and Gold Coast slaves at £12,000 in a year; of which the Gold Coast are, according to one person's account, one-third, and according to another's, fourfifths; that none but large ships have assortments to the Gold Coast, and that few ships from Liverpool go thither; that the slaves from the Gold Coast are not more than one of our Islands would take, and that the reason why those from Whydah found a market in the plantations, was because the ships would not bring Gold Coast slaves sufficient to supply their wants; that though it was asserted 12,000 were sufficient, the Board of Trade had stated in a report in 1708 their wants at double that number. Captain Smyth owned that Barbados was in want of negroes; there being an Assiento market kept at Jamaica and St. Christopher's, that might occasion a plenty there, though the other Islands were in want. Mr. Woodcock only said that Jamaica did not want negroes, he himself had a greater number of Gold Coast slaves than of any others, except Creols; that they were very robust, and of a temper not dangerous, if well used. That with respect to St. Christopher's, Mr. Ottley admitted, that the planters there had not Gold Coast slaves in the same proportion as before, and that other Leeward Islands were not so well supplied as that; that it had been proved, the separate traders have almost totally neglected the trade to the Gold Coast and Whydah; that they had extended the trade to the Windward but not to the Leeward of Anamaboe. Captain Swymmer said, that he had not seen a ship at Anamaboe in two voyages thither. That neither Bristol nor Liverpool trade wholly to the Gold Coast, but that the Bristol ships exceed those of Liverpool in number; there was a greater number of ships trading to Anamaboe in one year than to the other parts in ten; and the proportion of the best negroes there but small, seven or eight to one true Gold Coast negro. As to the trade to Whydah, the separate traders admit it to be neglected, and produce evidence to prove that it can be carried on by the Portuguese only, and Captain Swymmer said he could only trade for their refuse, and that at an extravagant price; but Mr. Sharpe observed, that the planters saw this in a different light, they think the trade there of consequence, and may be carried on, if proper means were used, notwithstanding the depopulation twenty years ago; that the Whydah negroes were better than all others; that the trade had been carried on in the country adjacent in 1738 and 1746, and by the floating factory with success in 1742; that separate traders did not care to run the risque, but that, by means of a joint Stock Company, the trade might be recovered and flourish. He then proceeded to shew that this trade to the Gold Coast cannot be carried on without factories well supplied with goods. This was sufficiently proved by the evidence of the separate traders. Captain Swymmer admitted, that the floating factory had great advantage over others only on account of a constant supply of proper assortments; that it would be of great service to have goods lodged in warehouses; that it would give the English the same advantage over the French as the floating factory had over the other traders; the natives would sell for 5 ounces to the English rather than for seven to the French, if the assortment be not proper. Captain Campbell said that floating factory had driven him from the trade; that they did not give higher prices, but had better assortments, which will draw the trade rather than the price. Captain S[w]ymmer said the ships on this account give higher price than the forts, because they have not so good assortments; that the separate traders shew the necessity of having factories by their proposal of erecting warehouses with proper assortments. As to the inland trade, it can only be extended by settlements; the inference from the above facts is clear in favour of a joint Stock Company, and that the trade can only be extended by that means. It had been asserted that the private traders were the only support of trade; Mr. Sharpe in answer said, that trade to Whydah, the principal place, was lost; that to the Gold Coast in general reduced only to Anamaboe, where the negroes are chiefly not the true Gold Coast negroes; that this was not only a loss to us, but a gain to the French; that if the French should get possession of it, it would be difficult for us to recover it; that the private traders avow they do not go there, because of the French, and therefore the trade would be wholly lost, unless put into the channel recommended by the planters, who would recover it for the honour and interest of the nation. In answer to the allegation, that if a joint Stock Company was established, their servants would prefer their masters' interest, he said this would equally be the case of the servants to the Committee; it having been said, the company would raise the price to the separate traders, he observed, that it would be for the interest of the company to sell to the private traders on the cheapest terms, and that they would be able to sell cheaper than the separate traders could buy of the natives, as the forts would be able to buy cheaper than the separate traders by proper assortments, and by great numbers coming down after a war, when few ships are on the coast, and separate traders will have dispatch in their trade; then should be obliged too to carry better assortments, as the London ships did when they were engaged in the trade.
Alledged: if there was no joint Stock Company, separate traders might buy cheaper. Answer: this would be only by buying bad negroes; experience shews, they would not launch out into trade with large capitals.
Alledged: goods would spoil in six months, and there were interruptions often for five months. Answer: Captain Hill said, that they would keep with care even eleven months.
Alledged: that inland trade was a chimaera and had ruined a great fortune. Answer: that great fortune, (the late D[uke] Chandoie), was lost, not in trade, but in hunting after mines, and that as great a fortune had been lost in the separate trade; that inhabitants were employed to go into the country with goods and bring down the trade; that it was obvious, that forts and settlements may enter into inland trade with success; on all former contests the separate traders always insisted that forts were not necessary, because they saw the necessary consequences, that if they were necessary there must be a joint Stock.
Alledged: that the Windward Coast was the best. Answer: that it may be so to the Liverpool merchants, but not to the nation; that it ought to be carried on, but the Gold Coast trade ought not to be neglected. The plantations will take off both.
Alledged: more goods would be taken off by the other scheme than by a joint Stock, if any persons may settle as they have done on the Windward Coast. Answer: this would not be advanced, if it had been considered that the Liverpool traders did not go thither, and that it had been admitted the separate traders could not stand in competition with the French.
Alledged: there was no reason why the trade should be settled at Anamaboe because the trade ought to be free. Answer: Nothing is suggested contrary to the freedom of trade upon any part of the Coast, if traders would go to the Leeward of Anamaboe they might find trade.
Alledged: trade will find its way to the best market. Answer: the separate traders will not be prejudiced, but will have the same advantage they have now with the addition of the protection of the forts.
Alledged: the scheme of joint Stock proposed impracticable; and that the company must sell to the separate traders or the French. Answer: if they must sell to the separate traders, they need not fear the raising the price; no reason to fear but that there will be a good harmony between them. Alledged: the getting ships to carry out goods would be a dead expence upon the company. Answer: a great quantity of shipping would not be wanting to carry the out-set cargoes for the forts; that it would not be the interest of the company to employ ships of their own, as they may hire ships upon freight, which going three or four months sooner, may bring cargoes from the West Indies, and they may hire a ship upon freight and send it to the Angola Coast, and take in a cargo of Redwood with a profit of 100 per cent.; separate traders may supply the company with goods, and the company supply them with negroes, and the harmony be preserved between them.
Alledged: that the separate traders would be deprived of the use of the forts. Answer: it is proposed that they should have the use of them, not only for protection, but as warehouses; if they are of no protection to the trade, why are gentlemen under apprehensions, that they may be instruments of destroying it; judge, what care will be taken of the forts, if entrusted in the hands of those who think them of no use.
Alledged: that the joint Stock Company must have directors and servants. Answer: upon the other scheme there will be committee men and servants.
Alledged: that greater expences would be incurred by additional warehouses. Answer: advantage to the trade will be proportionable. The planters, who are unanimous on this head, have no prospect of being well supplied with the negroes they want, particularly Gold Coast, but by the joint Stock Company.
Alledged: what law can prevent the company from selling slaves to the French for ten ounces, when they can have only seven from the separate traders. Answer: honour and interest will hinder them from selling to the French, except in cases where the refuse of a cargoe sold to the separate traders can be sold to the French; and how does it appear that the separate traders will not sell slaves to the French as well as the company? separate traders cannot be restrained by law, but a company can, whose actions must be public, and who may easily be made accountable; negroes are usually sold in lots, and the buyers must take all or none; if the separate traders do not take them, what disadvantage can there be in selling them to the French? How are the inconveniences objected to prevented by the scheme of the separate traders?
Alledged: separate traders and joint Stock company cannot trade together. Answer: they may act together, and trade be carried on to the honour and interest of the nation by both.
Alledged: that more ships would go out, if assortments could be had. Answer: then there is more occasion for factories resident on the coast, where stores may be laid up against a scarcity. When Indian goods are to be had, the company will buy them up, when separate traders cannot or will not.
Alledged: a joint Stock Company would ruin trade by undue preferences, and that a joint Stock is not opposed, but a company with a joint Stock. Answer: the proposal gives all a general admission to forts and warehouses, there will be a supply of negroes for all ships equally; as to a monopoly it is prevented by every part of the planters' proposition; the interest of the company is against a monopoly, nor did ever purchasers and consumers adopt a scheme leading to a monopoly. The suspicion lies on the other side, as separate traders may force negroes on the planters, and tell them they shall not have Whydah or Gold Coast slaves.
Alledged: the establishing a joint Stock company would be giving up the trade to the French. Answer: separate traders urge this with an ill grace, who have left the Gold Coast trade to the French and deserted Whydah.
Alledged: that several planters have refused to subscribe the
planters' scheme. Answer: the richest planters as well as others
have subscribed; they must be attached to the public interest,
as it is their own, and cannot be deceived in so plain a point, as
they know their own wants, see the consequences of their not
being supplied, and have no prospect of avoiding ruin, but in the
establishment of a joint Stock company; if opinions are of any
weight, that of the planters ought to have the greatest; if a large
capital is necessary for the support of the trade, this only to be
had by a joint Stock. He then proceeded to make the following
1. As to a regulated company, it is nonsense to talk of carrying on the African trade by that, because there are no houses of trade there, and the notion is a chimaera.
2. To support the opposition to this scheme, it has been in every instance misrepresented; no necessity to enumerate any particulars here.
3. If a joint Stock company be appointed, the Gold Coast trade will be revived, Whydah trade recovered, the exports of manufactures would be greater, the imports greater, and the Colonies of America better supplied, but the manner, in which the separate traders proceed, must throw the trade into the hands of the French.
Thursday, January 18. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane, Mr. Townshend.
Their lordships proceeded on the consideration of the trade to Africa, and Mr. Martin, in support of the planters' scheme, said, that the planters were the most impartial witnesses on this occasion, and that he should endeavour to take off the imputations that have been thrown on them.
Alledged: that the planters were blind to their own interest, because they prefer buying of a company. Answer: planters propose an open company, which should co-operate with the private traders, which will make their profits greater and the negroes cheaper.
Alledged: that the scheme is not the result of a consultation of the planters, but formed by others. Answer: that it was debated in a society of them, and had been under their consideration for many years.
Alledged: planters were poor, and in distress since the duty of five per cent. on sugars; those, who say this now, sometimes affirm they are rich, and so contradict themselves.
Alledged: that the planters owe more than the Fee simple of their estates would pay, this is not true; Bristol and Liverpool never give credit as London does, but take security here as to the time and manner of payment. To London merchants the Colonies are indebted, for the London merchants pay the Bristol and Liverpool men.
Alledged: that the planters are not proper judges, because they do not trade. Answer: this reflects upon every gentleman of education not bred up to trade; men who make general enquiries into trade know better than those confined to one branch.
Alledged: that there is no difference between Coast trade and inland trade. Answer: the difference is well known.
Alledged: Island trade is impracticable. Answer: if it be the same thing as the coast trade, it must be practicable, and may as well be carried on among African negroes as in North America among Indians.
Alledged: that the high price given by the French on the Gold Coast is a reason why we shall be beat out of the trade, because the company will not give the price they do. Answer: upon the establishment of the company proposed, the French will not have the advantage they now have by their brandy, because the company will have rum, which is preferred in that country. He then read some passages of the Bristol scheme; and as to that of Liverpool, he observed, that the whole tendency of it was levelled against the old company and their servants; what has been said against an exclusive company is not to the purpose; the planters mean only a company co-operating with the separate traders under control and legal restrictions.
Alledged: that ships offering negroes to sale at the plantations
have been refused. Answer: they may have come when the
planters have no crops going forward to pay or draw bills; that
great droughts make short crops, and that the common expences
are as much as can be paid; that there was a certain market at
Jamaica; that Mr. Ottley, who was abroad ten years, said, that
while he was at Antigua, not one single ship of Gold Coast negroes
was turned away, but in the circumstances before mentioned:
that it is agreed on all hands, that the trade to Africa should be
free and open; that this was the point the planters aim at in
particular, not only to every subject, but to a company, who may
extend the inland trade and bring negroes from the fountain head,
and sell them cheaper to the separate traders; that the separate
traders intend a monopoly of this trade, in exclusion of the London
merchants and the company, by giving a majority of votes to
Liverpool and Bristol; and as nobody, upon their schemes, has
a right to the use of the forts and warehouses but the committee,
except in cases of need, of which they are judges, by this means
they would favour their own friends and exclude the Londoners.
After the floating factory broke up, the London merchants thought
the trade might be carried on, if an open company was set up to
support the inland trade; that they now pay ten or fifteen per
cent. more than others, but if put upon another footing, they will
enter into the trade largely; that the committee, upon the scheme
of the separate traders, would not be subject to any one penalty,
nor to any jurisdiction, and wanted the fingering of money to
raise a joint Stock to carry on the monopoly to the best effect;
that it was impossible the company on the scheme of the planters
can be favourable to a monopoly. He then proposed the following
restrictions on a joint Stock company trading to the Gold Coast
of Africa, viz.:—
1st. That no proprietor shall have a vote in the company for a less sum than £500 capital, and though the capital stock of any proprietor shall exceed that sum ever so much, yet he shall have but one vote.
2nd. After the first institution of the company, no proprietor shall be entitled to a vote, unless he has possessed the qualification for one year.
3rd. That the company be prohibited by severe penalties from exporting more than 1,200 negroes from Cape Coast Castle or Whydah, and 800 negroes from Gambia to the British Colonies in any one year, either in their own or in hired ships or vessels in Britain.
4th. That the company, and all private traders also, be absolutely prohibited under the severest penalties from trading with all foreigners on the Coast of Guinea, except Portuguese, and with them only for tobacco or gold.
5th. That the African Company be subject to the inspection, regulation and control of the Lords of Trade, to account to that honourable Board annually, for the application of all aids granted by Parliament for maintaining the forts; and in case of fraud or misapplication the said Lords to have full power, by Act of Parliament, to take the charge of the forts out of the company's hands, and to appoint other trustees.
Under these restrictions and such others as are necessary to keep the trade open, there can be no monopoly by competition. 1st. Because the country is of a very large extent, there is room enough for all. 2nd. The company, by going out of the way of competition may have great profit; that if there was a competition, no public disadvantage would ensue; besides that, separate traders get the better of companies by competition, as they can go cheaper to market, and that the chief advantage to a company is the inland trade, which is a distinct branch; that trade is best extended by a Joint Stock company for these reasons: 1st. Because they have a permanent interest in supporting the forts, whereas private traders may leave off trade. 2nd. They would have a constant assortment of goods fit for the upland trade; if they had not, the Dutch, who have more forts and a company with great encouragements, will have all the traders, who come down occasionally, go to them. 3rd. Profits of this trade will become more diffusive, as persons of rank may be subscribers. 4th. As the French give more for a negro than we by two ounces, we must set up competitors to do the same; company may have rum and beat out the French, computing the rum at the same price as brandy, and this may open a door for the consumption of the rum of our Colonies, who want assistance. 5th. Without a joint Stock company the competition with the French and Dutch cannot be supported. 6th. Company will always keep in their forts negroes ready to supply the private traders, so that they will be forced to stay three or four weeks only, instead of three or four months, and run less risque from the mortality of the negroes.
As to the old company, he observed that they had erected forts at a great expense, which had been the cause of their ruin; that they should be set free from all incumbrances whatsoever; nobody would embark his fortune in the hands of a bankrupt; that the forts must be supported at the public charge; that the legislature would not grudge a sum of money that would bring in 1,000 fold; that it was reasonable to pay the company for the expense they had been at of erecting and maintaining their forts; that they have large debts incurred by means of it, which upon a fair liquidation may come to 60, 70 or 80,000 pounds; that the public may get at a precise estimate of what may be necessary for the forts, by comparing the estimates for Gibraltar and Port Mahon; that he does not think a grant for a number of years the best method.
Mr. Crammond then observed to their lordships, that the separate traders were not competent judges of the expense necessary for the support of the forts, as appears from Mr. Hardman's saying, that the sum of 10 or 12,000 pounds was more proper to be allowed for that service than 15,000; that their own evidence proves the negroes they carry from the Gold Coast and Whydah to be 3,000, those from the Windward 9,000, and those from Angola, Benin, etc., 28,000; that the desire in the British Colonies to have Gold Coast negroes is an argument for supporting that trade; that, if there has been any misbehaviour of the company's servants, it has been contrary to the instructions given them, which require them to protect the private traders, and treat them with friendship and civility; that the company has no designs of excluding them from the trade; that though it has been alledged by the separate traders that their trade amounts to 800,000, yet more is wanted; that the company's only view is to preserve the Gold Coast and inland trade under such regulations and restrictions as shall be thought proper.
Mr. Martin observed, that the stock of negroes in the Islands was 215,000.
That upon a fair computation of mortality there are five in every Island out of 100 lost more than born, this makes 10,750 necessary to supply that mortality; that Antigua is not sufficiently supplied by one-third; that Barbados is in the same condition; St. Christopher's wants negroes, as do the Islands of Nevis and Montserrat; Jamaica is not one-tenth settled; each one with another want a third part, 71,000 to cultivate the lands as they now stand, without clearing the woods; if these wants are supplied in five years it will be 14,000 negroes per annum; separate traders assert they have imported about 12,000 Gold Coast negroes; on the computation of the Bristol and Liverpool trade, if they have in stock 800,000, this will make 6,650 ship and cargo, their invoice only 3,000.
All parties being withdrawn, their lordships, after some time spent in the consideration of this affair, ordered the draught of a report thereupon, to both Houses of Parliament in pursuance of their address to his Majesty, to be prepared.
Friday, January 19. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin.
Read a letter from Colonel Lee, President of the Council of Virginia, dated at Williamsburg, the 2nd of October, 1749, inclosing the proceedings of Sir William Gooch in the Council, with the reasons for suspending Colonel Custis, and acquainting the Board that in consequence of that suspension, the Government of that Colony devolved on him as eldest Councillor, and that he had qualified himself, agreeable to his Majesty's instructions, and had taken upon him the administration of that Government.
Read a letter from Mr. Grenville, Governor of Barbados, to
the Board, dated the 25th of November, 1749, acquainting the
Board with his proceedings upon an agreement with the Governor
of Martinique for a mutual evacuation of the Island of Tobago,
Articles of Treaty in relation to the evacuating the Island of Tobago.
Proclamation of Henry Grenville, Esquire, Governor of Barbados, for evacuating the Island of Tobago.
Letter from his Excellency, Henry Grenville, Esquire, Governor of Barbados, to the Marquis de Caylus, in relation to evacuating the Island of Tobago.
Commission from Henry Grenville, Esquire, to Commodore Holburne, in relation to the evacuating the Island of Tobago.
Letter from the Marquis de Caylus, to his Excellency, Henry Grenville, Esquire, in relation to evacuating the Island of Tobago.
Monsieur Caylus's proclamation for evacuating the Island of Tobago.
Minutes of Council, from the 12th of July to the 8th of November, 1749.
Minutes of Assembly, from the 11th of July to the 20th of October, 1749.
Ordered that the draught of an answer to the above letter be prepared.
The draught of a letter to his Grace the Duke of Bedford, inclosing the copy of one from Colonel Cornwallis, Governor of Nova Scotia, and also copies of several papers therewith received, having been prepared, pursuant to the minutes of the 9th instant, was laid before the Board, agreed to and ordered to be transcribed.
Saturday, January 20. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin.
Read a letter from the Duke of Bedford, dated the 19th January, 1749–50, signifying his Majesty's pleasure that this Board do prepare the draught of a Commission and instructions for Francis William Drake, Esquire, appointed Governor of Newfoundland.
The draught of a Commission for the said Francis William Drake, Esquire, having been prepared, was laid before the Board, and agreed to, and a representation to his Majesty thereupon, together with a letter to his Grace the Duke of Bedford, inclosing the same, were signed.
Ordered that a draught of instructions be prepared with all possible dispatch.
Read a letter from Mr. Corbett, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated the 19th of January, 1749–50, desiring that the usual heads of enquiry relating to the fishery of Newfoundland may be prepared for Francis William Drake, Esquire, appointed Commodore of the said fishery.
Ordered that the Secretary do write to Mr. Corbett, and acquaint him that the Board, having received his Majesty's commands to prepare instructions for the said Captain Drake as Governor of Newfoundland, the usual heads of enquiry will be ingrafted therein.
Monday, January 22. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin.
The draught of a letter to his Grace the Duke of Bedford, inclosing copies of a letter and papers from Colonel Cornwallis, Governor of Nova Scotia, having been transcribed, pursuant to the minutes of the 19th instant, was laid before the Board and signed.
Read a letter from Colonel Lee, President of the Council and
Commander in Chief of Virginia, to the Board, dated at Williamsburg, the 7th November, 1749, inclosing the account of his
Majesty's revenue of quit rents, etc., arising within that Colony,
from the 25th of April, 1748, to the 25th April, 1749, and transmitting:—
Account of his Majesty's revenue of 2s. per hogshead, etc., arising within the Colony of Virginia, from the 25th of April to the 25th of October, 1749.
Ordered that the draught of a letter in answer to the two last letters from Colonel Lee be prepared.
The draught of a letter to Mr. Grenville, Governor of Barbados, having been prepared, pursuant to the minutes of the 19th instant, was laid before the Board, agreed to, transcribed and signed.
Read a letter from Captain Rodney, Governor of Newfoundland,
to the Secretary of this Board, dated on board the Rainbow at
Woolwich, the 28th December, 1749, transmitting several papers
relating to that Island, viz:—
Captain Rodney's answer to queries contained in his Majesty's instructions to him, anno 1749.
Scheme of the fishery of Newfoundland for the year 1749.
A return of his Majesty's troops in the several garrisons in Newfoundland.
Remains of ordnance stores at Placentia in Newfoundland, the 1st of August, 1748.
Remains of ordnance stores at St. John's in Newfoundland, from the 1st of October, 1748, to the 30th September, 1749.
Remains of ordnance stores at Ferryland in Newfoundland, from the 1st of October, 1748, to the 30th September, 1749.
Remains of ordnance stores at Carbonier in Newfoundland, from the 1st of October, 1748, to the 30th of September, 1749.
Remains of ordnance stores at Trinity in Newfoundland, from the 1st of October, 1748, to the 30th September, 1749.
Read a letter from Otho Hamilton, Esquire, LieutenantGovernor of Placentia in Newfoundland, to the Board, dated there the 29th of September, 1749, inclosing copy of an order from the Governor of Newfoundland, strictly enjoyning the LieutenantGovernor, officers, soldiers, etc., not to concern themselves in the fishery at that place, etc.
Tuesday, January 23. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Fane.
The draught of representation to his Majesty, proposing the confirmation of the proceedings of the Lieutenant-Governor and Council of Virginia upon the suspension of Colonel Custis and likewise proposing that Colonel Beverly may succeed him, having been prepared, pursuant to their lordships' directions, was laid before the Board, agreed to, transcribed and signed.
The draught of a letter to Colonel Lee, President of the Council of Virginia, having been prepared, pursuant to yesterday's minutes, was laid before the Board, agreed to, transcribed and signed.
Tuesday, January 30. Present:—Earl of Halifax, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville, Lord Dupplin, Mr. Townshend.
The Right Honourable William Pitt, Esquire, Paymaster
General of his Majesty's forces, and the Right Honourable Henry
Fox, Esquire, his Majesty's Secretary at War, attending, the
Secretary laid before the Board the following papers relative to
the account of the expenses incurred in North America on the
intended expedition against Canada, viz:—
Letter from Mr. Scrope, Secretary to the Lords of the Treasury, dated the 19th of January, 1749–50, inclosing a memorial of Mr. Chauncey Townshend, relating to cannon and other stores of war provided for the garrison of Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, when attacked by the French.
Letter from the Duke of Bedford, dated the 26th December, 1749, transmitting, for the Board's consideration, the copy of a report from the Paymaster General and Secretary at War, relating to the case and demands of the nine American captains for raising and maintaining of troops for the late intended expedition against Canada and other papers relative thereto.
Ordered that a state of this case be added to the draught of the report to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, upon the demands of the several Colonies concerned in the expedition against Canada.
Read a memorial of Ezekiel Gilman, together with a state of his case, setting forth his having been appointed captain of a company in the regiment raised in New Hampshire for the intended expedition against Canada, but that when the expedition was at an end his name was left out of the pay rolls and his company given to one of Governor Wentworth's sons.
Their lordships took the said memorial and state of his case into consideration with the memorial and case of Captain Sherburn, mentioned in the minutes of the, and ordered the same to be stated in the draught of the report to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury upon the demands of the Northern Colonies on the intended expedition to Canada.
Mr. Shirley, his Majesty's Governor of the province of the Massachusetts Bay, attending, presented to the Board his report upon the demands made by Mr. Clinton for expenses incurred by him on the intended expedition against Canada, referred to him by the Board, and their lordships made some progress in the consideration thereof.
Read a letter from Mr. Scrope, Secretary to the Lords of the Treasury, dated the 23rd of January, 1749, to Mr. Hill, acquainting him that the Lords of the Treasury had given directions to Mr. Townshend, in pursuance of Colonel Cornwallis's letter, which he had, in consequence of Mr. Hill's letter, laid before them.