America and West Indies
March 1686

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Institute of Historical Research

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J. W. Fortescue (editor)

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1899

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157-168

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'America and West Indies: March 1686', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 12: 1685-1688 and Addenda 1653-1687 (1899), pp. 157-168. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=70500 Date accessed: 21 October 2014.


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March 1686

March 2.588. Warrant of the Proprietors of Carolina for the delivery of three thousand acres of land to Josias Forrest. Signed, Craven, P. Colleton, Tho. Amy. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 77.]
March 2.589. Henry Guy to William Blathwayt. Forwarding the reply to his letter of 19 February. Annexed,
589. I. Commissioners of Customs to Lords of Trade and Plantations. On the claim of instructions from the Governor of Bermuda sent to us on the 22nd ult., we understand that the penny per pound on tobacco is a tax on that commodity in that country for the necessary support of the Government, and we therefore do not see how it will affect the King's revenue in the trade of this kingdom. Signed, W. Dickinson, Ch. Cheyne, Jo. Werden, D. North, N. Butler, J. Buckworth, T. Chudleigh. 1 p. Dated, March 1 1685–6.
589. II. William Blathwayt's letter to Henry Guy, of 19 February (see No. 573). 1 p.
589. III. Copy of the draft clause of the instructions enclosed therewith. ½ p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., Nos. 34, 34 I.–III., and (letter only) Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XVII., pp. 184, 185.]
March 2.590. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. The King's letter of 11 October respecting transported rebels read. The Secretary instructed to attend to it. The Lieutenant-Governor read the duplicate of Sir Philip Howard's Commission. The following payments ordered: £500 to the Lieutenant-Governor for three months' salary; £90 to Chief Justice Bernard for the same; £75 to the Auditor-General for six months' salary; and £92 to the Naval Officer for disbursements. Copy of the King's letter of 11 October 1685, and of his letter of 19 October, transmitting the duplicate of Sir Philip Howard's Commission. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXVI., pp. 106a–108a.]
March 4.
Jamaica.
591. I. Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth to William Blathwayt. Since I have received the copy of the Spaniard's commission (see No. 570), I conclude that it was sufficient to justify him in taking the traders, for the restriction therein as to the English is only to do nothing contrary to the treaty of peace, and trade being therein forbidden, I conclude it does extend to it. However his seizure of the Bonito's boat and eight men will be sufficient to condemn him for piracy, besides his share in the sack of New Providence. Whether on condemnation I shall proceed to execution will depend upon the instructions which I am daily expecting. The owners of the vessel that took the galley have made her over to me for the use of the Island, she being very well fitted to clear the South Cays and that part of Cuba from such enemies as destroy our trade and fishery in these parts. I shall use her for that purpose so far as my instructions permit me. This February Court, one Charles Hudson, a silly, illiterate sot, who cannot write his own name, was condemned for high treason, for speaking treasonable words at about the time when we had the first news of Monmouth's rebellion. He was not tried until now, this being the first court since the arrival of my new commission. It appears that he was very drunk, a common thing with him, when he used the words, the treasonable language being (so far as I remember) that James, Duke of York, was not the rightful King of England, and that Monmouth, if God blessed him, would make work with him. He was recommended to me as a fit object for the King's mercy by all the judges, no other undutiful thing being known against him since he came to the Island, which was, I think, with the first army. He has acouired a pretty good estate, but is so little master of his reason that he has several times been giving it away to strangers: to prevent which his wife has caused it to be settled on a married daughter. I have reprieved him till next February Court, awaiting the signification of the King's pleasure.
I have duly received the duplicate of Sir Philip Howard's Commission and the King's order for the discharge of Lieutenant Butler, and have communicated them to the Council. I have also received your letter of 20 October (see No. 421) respecting transported rebels, and have taken every precaution to prevent their return to England. When the Assembly meets I shall propose to them the Act which you suggest; indeed. I should have proposed to call an Assembly before now were I not still awaiting the King's instructions. Recd. 3 June 1686. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXI., pp. 144–148.]
March 5.592. Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth to the Earl of Sunderland. I have received the duplicate of Sir Philip Howard's Commission, and the King's orders respecting transported rebels, but I am embarrassed from want of the Instructions, which have not yet arrived. The order for the dismissal of Lieutenant Butler is not yet come, but unless it arrive within a few days, I shall act upon a copy sent by Mr. Blathwayt. The King's directions as to punishment of offenders in his pay and on actual service are very welcome to the magistracy. I have written at large to Mr. Blathwayt. Signed, Hder. Molesworth. Holograph. 3 pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 35.]
March 5.593. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message from the Assembly. We hope that the Act for a pound an acre and for an impost on liquor will suffice to pay contingent expenses. We wish for an account of the country's debts from the Treasurer. We desire your concurrence in a measure to regulate the building of towns, that thatched houses may not be erected near those that are well framed and shingled, to the general danger. Answer of the Council — We concur as to the regulation of building. You are adjourned to the 23rd inst. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 49.]
March 8.594. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Colonel Cony's letter of 3 January (see No. 533) ordered to be abstracted. Report of Commissioners of Customs on the instruction as to laying a penny a pound on tobacco read. The instruction approved, and read together with the rest of Colonel Cony's instructions (see No. 589).
Sir Richard Dutton's answer to the petition of John Goldingham and Ralph Lane read (see No. 550). The Lords agreed on report (see No. 595).
Colonel Molesworth's letters of 17 November and 16 June read (see No. 463).
Memorandum of documents read and received. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVIII., pp. 247–250.]
March 12.
Whitehall.
595. Order of the King in Council. Report of Lords of Trade and Plantations. We have considered the petition of John Goldingham and Ralph Lane (see No. 494 I.), and judge that Sir Richard Dutton's prosecution of them appears altogether vexatious. We recommend that the fines be remitted and all issues and estreats thereon discharged. Ordered accordingly. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 356–357.]
March 12.
Bermuda.
596. Captain William Coward to Lord Dartmouth. On our way to Pennsylvania we were driven into this port, where we find the inhabitants in great distraction, being tormented by some ill instruments, and most of them in arms. They allege, in defence, that when they heard of the late rebellion in England they demanded the King's magazine of the Governor, saying that it was their right. They have kept two castles from him by force, and have many times assaulted him, so that he would probably have been murdered but for the arrival of Captain Bartholomew Sharpe, whom he was obliged to retain for his own security. He has about a hundred men and we thirty, so that by diligent watch we manage to secure the King's interest, though we expect an attack every hour. We hope that you will move, for the Governor is in a deplorable condition in want of assistance. The country brought the enclosed [wanting] to the Governor, saying that it was sent them by the King's command. The difference between Governor and people has been heard by many masters and merchants. He will not give them the Crown Lands, nor allow them to defraud the Customs. The Governor has not an officer that stands by him, civil or military. All will connive at anything in the country's interest against the Government. Signed, Wm. Coward. 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 36.]
March 12.
Bermuda.
597. Attestation of William Kett. That on the 11th March he heard the drum beat and the report of thirty or forty small arms in Pembroke tribe. Certified copy. Scrap. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 37.]
March 13.
Jamaica.
598. Instructions of Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth to Captain David Mitchell. The Ruby being dismantled you will impress the ship Sancta Rosa for the King's service, and fit her out, which done you will sail to the Isle of Ash, taking H.M.S. Bonito in your company, or wherever else you may understand the pirate Banister to be, and endeavour to take or destroy him. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 38.]
March 16.
Dublin
Castle.
599. The Earl of Clarendon to the Lord Treasurer. Several merchants of Ireland have complained to me of the revival of the law concerning Plantation goods. Two merchants of Cork in particular, have acquainted the Commissioners of Revenue as well as myself that if they be compelled to enter outward from England and return thither again they will positively give up their trade, for it cannot be carried on without loss. I have discoursed at large with the Commissioners, who, at my desire, have represented the whole matter to you at length (see No. 567), giving also an account of the duty deposited here by your order of 18 April last, for such goods as were imported directly from the English Plantations up to Christmas last, with the exchange of the same at seven per cent. From this you will see the advantage that the dispensing with the Act will bring to the revenues of both kingdoms. Though I am Chief Governor of Ireland, I hope I shall never propose anything of seeming advantage to this kingdom which could be of the least prejudice to England; but if I can propose anything for the enriching of this wonderful and improvable country without prejudice to England or to the King's revenue there, while infinitely augmenting his revenue here, I hold it to be my duty to support it. Such a thing I hold to be the matter in question, notwithstanding the debates which I heard thereon in England, and which were not as ingenuous as I could have wished or as such debates ought to be. I think it very demonstrable that the dispensing with the Act would be of no prejudice to England or to the Customs there, since the duties imposed by law might as well be paid here and returned to England without loss to the King from exchange. If that be granted, no one can deny the advantage to both kingdoms, the Irish ships being so much nearer home as they come from the Plantations, while the merchants can have much quicker returns, and send out their ships to another voyage much sooner than if they were forced to put in and unload in England. And delay means loss to the King's revenue here. As to the legal aspect, I shall add nothing to the report of the Commissioners, except that I remember that the late King did once dispense with this law. The revenue was then in farm, but I do not find it pretended that England suffered by the dispensation. I therefore urge that the law may be dispensed with for one or two years, which will be sufficient time for a trial to be made. If it then be found upon impartial examination of the Plantation books, that the revenue of England has suffered in the least (quite apart from any improvement of the revenue here) then let the dispensation be withdrawn. Such a trial would give the King the best proof of the truth of the case, and will be no injury to his individual interests, for what ought to be paid to him for his duties will be received here, returned into England without charge as part of the revenue of England under a separate account, and no notice taken of it in the produce of the revenue of this country. I regret that the multitude of letters to be despatched has prevented me from forwarding the Commissioners' letter before. Signed, Clarendon. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCVII., pp. 178–183.]
March 16.600. Minutes of Council of Barbados. George Hannay produced the Royal letters patent for the post of Provost Marshal and was sworn. The Lieutenant-Governor acquainted the Council that some Irish servants had been sent to gaol and others held to bail on suspicion of privity to the intended rising. The Council agreed that they should be tried before the Court of Pleas of the Crown. The Assembly attending, the Lieutenant-Governor informed them—1. that the intended insurrection was not so serious as had been supposed. 2. As to the effect of their late address to the King respecting the additional duty on sugar. 3. The Lieutenant-Governor moved them to consider the question of collecting the laws of the Island. 4. Reminded them of the arrears outstanding before 1676. 5. Proposed that the sums paid by the smaller trading vessels in lieu of powder should be expended on match. 6. Commended to them a project for cleansing the bar in St. Michael's port. 7. Acquainted them with a petition for the raising of a levy for the repair of St. Philip's church.
March 17.The petitions of John Hallett and Peter Phippard as to rebate of excise, and of Thomas Morris, read and printed. The Assembly attended with the following answers to the Governor's proposals. 1. Thanks to the Governor for his care. 2. That the correspondents who gave the account of the address be thanked. 3. That the laws be collected by a joint committee. 4. That the appointment of the committee for accounts does not affect accounts adjusted. 5. The House agrees. 6. That a joint committee consider of it. 7. That the case is sufficiently met by the Act concerning vestries. The salary of the Clerk of Assembly was passed. List of the joint committees of the two Houses. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., pp. 676–685.]
March 16.601. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. The Governor made several recommendations to the House (see preceding abstract), which were maturely considered.
March 17.Committees appointed to collect the laws of the Island and to consider the project for cleansing the bar at St. Michael's port. The answers to the Governor's proposals (see preceding abstract). Address for payment of the Clerk's salary. Copies of the Acts for appointment of a Committee of accounts and of a Treasurer, and for governing the transported rebels. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XIV., pp. 147–156.]
March 18.
Bermuda.
602. Governor Richard Cony to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Repeats his letter of January 21st (see No. 552). On 28 January last a vessel arrived from Barbados with a packet for Samuel Trott and William Righton, superscribed, "These for his Majesty's service." Hearing of this packet, and that a letter from the King to myself was enclosed in it, I sent for Righton and asked for it. But he refused to do so unless the letters and certain articles exhibited against me by himself and William Milbourne were first recorded. I refused, and after a long dispute and my threatening to commit him, he told me that perhaps he might show me the King's letter as a favour, but not the articles nor my complaints against the country. Finally he gave me a copy of the letters, but would show me no more. I therefore committed him, and the Deputy-Sheriff, John Hubbard, bailed him. Several copies of these documents are distributed about the country, but I cannot get a sight either of the articles against me or of my complaints. Captain Francis Tucker of the Council, has seen several copies, and has told me that no two of them agree. He, Samuel Trott, Richard Stafford, William Peniston, and several more of their faction met and debated whether they could not bring me to examination and trial before the arrival of the King's real letters to me, and they had certainly done so, notwithstanding the readiness of Captain Sharpe and his men to defend me, had not Captain Conaway, of the ship Prosperous, arrived in the nick of time and "outdured" their insolence. We are forced to keep watch day and night against an attack of this faction. By the help of Sharpe and Conaway, I recovered two forts taken from me by Bascom and Keele. I also imprisoned them, but they made their escape, and the country keeps a strong guard to protect them from recapture. It is hard measure to know only my accusers and not what they accuse me of, and that my accusers should be also my judges, such men as Righton and Peniston. The latter is a fifthmonarchy man and is branded on the shoulder. He was in Venner's rising and escaped here to make new mischief. Some years since he defrauded a merchant in London of his estate here, and now, having accused me, he is fled to New England, where he follows his trade of preaching, as he did here, though a fisherman by calling. Righton, once a tailor and servant to Hugh Peters, has also been a preacher in Bermuda and a boaster, and for many years, as I know to my sorrow, a disturber of the Government. The sending of the King's letters and of the articles to them privately and not to me, has so encouraged them and discouraged my friends that I hardly know where to find the latter. I have gone though many troubles in this Government, but am conscious of no disloyal act that my enemies should have this advantage over me. I imagine that neither you nor Lord Sunderland know anything of the despatch of this private packet. I cannot think how it came about, except clandestinely through some of the agents whom they have for years employed about their quarrelsome affairs. Could bribes have prevailed with me to betray my trust I should not have wanted them, for I was offered them at my coming, and often since. What with a knavish Deputy-Sheriff, and a Secretary that either does not or will not understand his business, and a false perfidious people, the King is much injured and I myself am in no comfortable position. If there be war with France there is great danger that these Islands will be betrayed by the inhabitants, for they are treacherous and disloyal, and abhorrers of any government but of their own raising. By the assistance of Captains Sharpe and Conaway, I have been brisk with them, and have imprisoned Richard Stafford on board Sharpe's ship, for our gaol and Provost Marshal are one as rotten as the other. I have plenty of evidence against Stafford and Hubbard, even in their own party, who now daily impeach both of them and begin seemingly to conform in hope of pardon. I am unwilling to send the evidence by this ship, as she is leaky. I hear that the Rose frigate is bound hither from New York. I heartily wish for her arrival to settle matters. Stafford accuses Bysshe of seducing him; and so does Trott, and I know it to be true, but both are old disturbers of the Government. Stafford was always professing to protect the people against the oppression of the Government, though never a penny of levy has been paid since my arrival, however urgent the need for money. Yet they have freely contributed to pay two gentlemen to be their solicitors in London. Righton told me they were six hundred pounds out of pocket, fifty of them to Mr. Burghill, and that they hoped the King would re-imburse them. So they have proceeded, Stafrord hoping either to be elected Governor himself or that Burghill, from whom they hoped for all kinds of indulgence, would be appointed. What is attested against Stafford by his own party is this: "Let us lay all animosities aside and with one shoulder heave out this Governor;" and they went very near to do it. Now some of the people begin to refuse a sea-brief, boldly tell me that they want none and sail without it. They have generally turned their houses into garrisons with resolution to oppose any orders of mine for the arrest of any of them. It is the late rebellion in England that caused this. At this instant some of the people have offered to farm the whale-fishery for ten pounds. I offer it for five and twenty, but they cannot afford more than ten pounds [per boat]. I had better take the offer than lose an hundred pounds. I believe that some of the grantees in the late Company's time would take the farm. The fishery might be made very considerable if undertaken by men who would go through with it. I have no account of last year's fishing, though I daily expect it now Sharpe is with me. He is very zealous for the King's service, though the people have offered him large sums to desert me. Signed, Richard Cony. Holograph. 3½ very closely written pages. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 39.]
March 19.
Whitehall.
603. The King to Lieutenant-Governor Stede. Understanding that foreigners have made a settlement in St. Lucia without our leave and pretend to be the only proprietors thereof, whereas we are the rightful owners by discovery and purchase, we order you to instruct the captain of our frigate on your government to fall down as soon as may be to the Island. You will, if necessary, cause a fit number of men to be put on board. Some of the men must be landed who, by proclamation or otherwise, shall assert our title to the Island, retake possession thereof, and erect durable ensigns of our sovereignty. All foreigners not acknowledging our sovereignty must be ordered to depart. You will on all occasions assert our claim or possession of the Island. Countersigned, Sunderland. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., p. 363.]
March 19.
Whitehall.
604. Order of the King in Council. Referring the petition of Charles Henderson, an infant, for restoration of his inheritance in Antigua, taken by one John Gunthrop and others, to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. Endorsed. Reed. 12 May. Read 20 May, 1686. Annexed,
604. I. The petition referred to. The estate in question was taken by Governor Sir Charles Wheeler from petitioner's uncle, Archibald Henderson, on false pretences in 1670, but was ordered by the King to be restored, which was done; but the estate was again seized by a more arbitrary order of Governor Philip Warner. On the death of Archibald, his son James started for Antigua to claim the estate, but died on the way, and it was then seized, with the connivance of Governor Warner, by one John Gunthrop. Prays restitution of the estate. Copy. 3 pp. [Col. Papers. Vol. LVII., Nos. 40, 40 I., and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., p. 199.]
March 22.
Boston.
605. Protest of Elisha Hutchinson, John Saffin, and Richard Wharton, as representatives of John Winthrop and Major Atherton, against all who shall trespass upon their territory in the Narragansett Country. Printed sheet. Endorsed. Recd. 17 June 86. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 41.]
March 23.606. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Nevis. Deputy-Governor Sir James Russell's Commission read. The Governor proposed the passing of a Bill for the restraint of the convict rebels transported from England. Copy of the King's letter of 15 October 1685 on the subject forwarded by Sir William Stapleton in a covering letter of 10 October, wherein he urges the immediate passing of the Bill. In reply to the Assembly, the Governor and Council deferred answer to the proposals made at last meeting. Agreed that the persons appointed to audit the accounts do also draw up the Bill to restrain the convicts. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVI., No. 43, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVIII., p. 60.]
March 24.607. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Lords were informed by the Customer of Gravesend that several ships been lately cleared with servants to be transported to the Plantations who are irregularly bound, contrary to the rules of Order in Council of 13 December 1682. Agreed to recommend the renewal of that Order.
Draft Commission to Colonel Dongan as Governor of New York approved, and ordered to be laid before the King.
Order for draft Commission and instructions to be prepared for New England.
Petition of John Daniel read and referred to Sir Richard Dutton for his reply (see No. 637).
Memorandum of documents sent and received. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 251–255.]
March 25.
Whitehall.
608. William Blathwayt to Samuel Pepys. I beg to remind you of the King's resolution to send a fifth-rate frigate instead of a ketch for Virginia and Maryland. Draft. ½ p. [Col. for his reply (see No. 637).
March 25.
Jamaica.
609. Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth to William Blathwayt. The Spanish captain referred to in my last (see No. 591) has been found guilty of piracy, for robbing a sloop from Nevis and stealing Capt. Stanley's boat. For reasons relating to our Spanish trade, and understanding that he had treated those under his power well and had apologised to Captain Stanley, soon after committing the fact, for not knowing his to be a King's ship, I have granted his reprieve. I am since glad that I did so, for I find that the Spanish Governors will be very much concerned for him, and particularly those who have obliged me most by granting restitution of prisoners. Lately I have received a letter from the Governor of Santiago, in Cuba, demanding him in the same manner as I have demanded prisoners, and making such excuses for him that I conceive, if he had been executed, it would have passed current among Spanish Governors that he had suffered only for carrying out the Spanish King's Commission. This would have raised a great clamour against us and would have endangered all our traders who are or may in future fall into their power. I have therefore reprieved him till the King's pleasure be known. The galley became the King's, and is a proper vessel for defence of our trade. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXI., pp. 149–151.]
March 25.610. Two lists of convict rebels delivered in Barbados, 12 March 1686, one showing the names, the other the allotment of the prisoners. Attested copies. 25 March 1686. Large sheet, [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., Nos. 43, 44.]
March 26.
Whitehall.
611. Order of the King in Council. For enforcement of Order in Council of Dec. 13 1682 (see preceding volume, No. 846), regulating the transportation of indentured servants, and checking the evil practices of the people called "spirits." [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCVII., pp. 175–177.]
March 26.612. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message from the Assembly. We desire to know what Acts are in force. We asked at out last meeting for an account of the country's debts. We desire that all officers, civil and military, who have not taken the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, may do so forthwith; and we ask your concurrence in farming the impost on liquors to Mr. John Lucas for 35,000 lbs. of sugar. Answer of the Governor and Council. We have sent the Treasurer's Accounts and concur as to the farm of the impost. We recommend the payment of arrears to Mr. Cole. Message of the Assembly. On perusal of the Treasurer's accounts, we think the pound an acre and impost on liquors sufficient, and desire your concurrence in farming the impost on liquors to Captain Robert Carden for 36,000 lbs. of sugar. Answer of the Governor and Council. We think that the pound an acre and impost on liquors is insufficient, considering that some support is due to the Governor. We concur as to the farming of the impost. We are surprised that you think the Act for a pound an acre and for impost on liquors, passed in General Willoughby's time, cannot be used for the payment of matrosses. Answer of the Assembly. We are still of opinion, in this last matter, that this Act was not designed for the payment of matrosses. If this Act will satisfy the contingent charges, we are satisfied and will raise no more. We never promised anything to the General, and have particular instructions not to vote money to the Governor. We desire an order for payment of our clerk. Message of the Governor and Council. We beg an order for payment to Major William Barnes of the sum you promised him in consideration of his care for your affairs at home. Answer of the Assembly. We have read the Royal Instructions as to raising of revenue, and are satisfied with them. We have made such heavy levies on the country that we desire to raise no more. We wish to know how long Major Barnes has been an agent, that we may know how to pay him what is due to him. We are without the means of paying the matrosses, without a new levy on the country, which we are unwilling to make. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 49.]
March 29.
Custom
House.
613. Commissioners of Customs to the Lord Treasurer. We have duly considered the letter of the Irish Commissioners of Revenue of 15 February last (see No. 567). The first contention is that the dispensing with the law of 22 and 23 Car. II., will be advantageous to the revenue of both kingdoms. We reply that the true interest of England, as is also the usage of all nations, is to keep the Plantation-trade to herself. Again, tobacco imported through England to Ireland pays a halfpenny here in exportation and a halfpenny more on importation in Ireland, which is a whole penny more than if it came directly to Ireland from the Plantations; and the Irish merchants, so far as we were informed, were very well content to enjoy the benefit of the Plantation-trade through England. Moreover the revenue of Ireland profits, as well as that of England, as is shown by a letter from the Lord Deputy, of 29 October 1683. As a matter of fact, before the expiration of the Act referred to, Ireland was far more served with plantation goods from Bristol than since. An account prepared at Bristol shows that in the three years following the expiration of the Act the tobacco exported thence to Ireland was 1,341,684 lbs. less than in the three years immediately preceding it, or nearly one hundred thousand pounds per annum loss to the King in the receipts of that port by that particular commodity. We believe that the loss in other English ports was in proportion, besides losses otherwise sustained by the "obstruction of trade" between the two countries.
The second contention is that the whole Plantation-trade of Ireland will be lost if it must be carried on through England. There may be some seeming disadvantage to the Irish merchants in not trading directly with the Plantations, but it would be far greater disadvantage to the King's interest and the English merchants if the law were dispensed with and the restraint on Ireland taken off. The merchants of Ireland have no ground for their complaints. The ships bound for the Plantations are not bound to come to England to give bond, unless laden with goods enumerated in 15 Car. II. They may and do go to the Plantations direct with servants, horses, and provisions, and then give bond to return to England. So we deny the allegation as to payment of fivepence and the necessity for a bank of money, observing that when tobacco is imported for immediate re-export no more need be paid down than the subsidy, or one penny per pound, security being given for the remaining fourpence per pound duty. In this case the master's bond is generally sufficient; the collector takes the tobacco into his own hands until it is re-shipped, and on its exportation, on perfecting a debenture for the same, a moiety of the subsidy is repaid and the security for the additional duty is discharged. Again, the position of Ireland and the cheapness of provisions therein are great advantages to Irish merchants, so much so that if they were allowed to trade on equal terms with English merchants they would probably rob this kingdom in a great measure of this flourishing trade. On the whole we are of opinion that the law revived by Parliament last Session should not be dispensed with. Signed, Ch. Cheyne, N. Butler, Jo. Werden, J. Buckworth, D. North, T. Chudleigh. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCVII., pp. 207–213.]
[March ?]614. Petition of the Deputy-Governor of the Leeward Islands to Lords of Trade and Plantations. We are destitute of any means to support our office worthily, by virtue of an order from the late King which impedes the people's kindness to us, much to our detriment in the entertainment of visitors to these Islands. We beg you to forward the annexed petition to the King. Signed, Tho. Hill, Ja. Russell. Rd. Stapleton, Ed. Powell. Undated. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 45.]
[March.]615. The Secretary of Virginia to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I send the Journals of the Assembly and the Bills that should have been passed into laws. The Journals will explain why they were not so passed better than I can, as I was unhappily too unwell to attend to my duty at the time owing to gout. They will show also how near things were to a settlement when they were interrupted. But neither the burden of keeping a standing force, nor the favourable occasion of a plentiful crop to raise a levy, nor the expense to the country of maintaining a long Assembly could prevail with the Burgesses. Lord Howard will doubtless have informed you how far he went to accommodate the matter, but you will see how necessary it is for the Clerk to the Burgesses to be appointed by the Governor and paid from the King's revenue. The King has ordered quit rents to be collected in money instead of as formerly in tobacco. Should not the Act of Assembly on the subject be repealed by Royal Proclamation? The Assembly must not be expected to repeal it, since it concurs with their interest. I thank God we have a plentiful crop of tobacco, and no fear from home or foreign Indians. Signed, Nicho. Spencer. Holograph. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 7 May. Read 10 May 1686. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 46, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIII., pp. 99–102.]