America and West Indies
January 1724, 1-15

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor) and Arthur Percival Newton (introduction)

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1936

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1-18

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'America and West Indies: January 1724, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 34: 1724-1725 (1936), pp. 1-18. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72379 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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January 1724, 1-15

Jan. 2.
Dover in
Cadiz Bay.
1. Commodore Cayley to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following. Signed, T. Cayley. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Feb., Read 6th March, 1723/4. ½ p. Enclosed,
1. i. Answers to Heads of Enquiry relating to the Fishery and Trade of Newfoundland, 1723. Art. (iii) No balast thrown overboard to the prejudice of the harbours. (iv) Most part of the flake timber is burnt by the inhabitants in the winter. (v) Several complaints (as to engrossing flakes and infringing the rules of the Fishery) made, but relieved by the Commanders of H.M. ships. (vi) No complaint. The fishing ships leave all for the benefit of the next comer. (vii) No complaint. (viii) The by-boat keepers hiers room from the inhabitants for making their fish. (ix) The by-boat keepers do not bring certificates with them, neither are they qualified with green men. (x) The inhabitants do not employ the number of green men being very chargable to bring them over. (xi) No complaint. (xii) No woods destroyed but for the use of the Fishery. (xiii) No complaint. (xiv) The Admirals give an account to the Commanders of H.M. ships (of the ships and men employed in their harbours). (xv) Persons aggrieved by the judgment of the Admirals, appeal to the Commanders of H.M. ships. (xvi) They sell more liquor on the Lord's Day than any other. (xvii) No aliens have any trade. (xix) The country produces but very little, they have most of their provission from Ireland and America. (xx) The inhabitants are supplied with tackle, cloathing etc. from Great Britain and not otherwise. (xxi) They allow their servants from £8 to £12 per annum and pay them in fish. (xxii) The charges of one boat amounts to £150. (xxiii) The servants are wholly employed in the Fishery. There is no difference in the prices of fish caught by the inhabitants and the fishing ships and by-boats. (xxiv) They employ their servants in the winter in fetching timber for the next year's fishing. (xxv) No furrs taken but at Bonavista and to the No'ward of that place. (xxvi) There is no obstruction by the houses. (xxvii) The inhabitants lay claim to no stages, cook-rooms etc., but what they possessed before 1685. (xxviii) Flakes are estimated according to the ancient custome and allow ten flakes for one boat about 150 ft. each in length. (xxix) The inhabitants' rooms are butted and bound. (xxx) The fishing ships provide themselves with necessarys from England, except salt. (xxxi) No ship arriving from any foreign part admitted to be Admirals unless cleared out of England that year a fishing ship and complyed with the Act. (xxxii) No boat keepers put in possession of any ships rooms. (xxxiii) The boat keepers go home every fall, and at their return next year hier room of the inhabitants. (xxxiv) The fishermen are generally hired by the voyage from £12 to £16 the season. The charge of such a ship (100 tons with 50 men and 10 boats) amounts to £1100 sterl. (xxxv) No complaint (of illegal trade). (xxxvi) What commodities are disposed on hire in Nfland are expended on the Fishery. (xxxvii) Large quantities of American goods brought here and expended in the Fishery and no such goods exported for Spain. (xxxviii) The merchants of New England dispose of their goods in Nfland for fish and sell it to the sack ships for bills which they remit to their correspondents in Great Brittain, the value of goods sold by them amounts to a very considerable value. (xxxix) More publick houses in St. Johns than in all other parts of the land and wholly kept by the inhabitants who seduce seamen and fishermen to spend their wages and by this means are forced to stay behind or go to New England to the prejudice of the Fishery. (xl) The inhabitants usually trust their servants for more than their wages and by that means are obliged to serve them the next year or dispose of them to whom they please. (xli) The by boat men and inhabitants generally pay for their passages out 50s. and home 30s. and pay in fish or train oyle. (xlii) No complaint (of debauching or plundering fishermen by this method of trusting them etc.) (xliii) Masters of fishing ships generally carry home the men they bring out, unless those that desert and go to New England or remain here. (xliv) The New England vessels carry off seamen and fishermen, but not by the assistance of the inhabitants. (xlv) Some New Englandmen enter into obligations and they are wittnessed; no ships belonging to New England left at St. Johns after the convoy sails. (xlvi.) The fish caught on the Banks are altogether as good as those caught nere the shore but something larger. 10 hhds. of good salt is sufficient to cure 100 quintals. (xlvii) Great number of French ships fish on the Bank. (xlviii) What French inhabitants remain here have taken the oaths, and are supplyed with all necessaries from the English and not otherwise. (xlix) The French build hutts necessary for drying of fish to the North, but leave no persons to winter there. (1) No complaint against officers of the garrison at Placentia as to disposing of fishing rooms, beaches etc., or hiring out soldiers to fish. 18 ½ pp.
1. ii. Scheme of the Newfoundland Fishery for 1723. Totals: Fishing ships, 221 (10 from America); burthen, 17,554; crews, 3,365 and 1,367 passengers; boats kept by inhabitants etc., 966; by-boatmen, 1092; quintals of fish made, 139,756; carried to foreign markets, 73,390; train oil made, 801½ tons; seal oil, £6,025; furs, £780; stages, 356; trainfats, 218; number of inhabitants, 3,411, of whom 2,756 remained in the country last year. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Feb., 1723/4. [C.O. 194, 7. ff. 203, 204v.–214, 215v.–216v.]
Jan. 2.
N.
Providence.
2. Governor Phenney to Lord Carteret. By a letter I had the honnr. to receive from the board of trade I had their orders to send a scheme for the forming an Assembly which their Lordsps. allow to be necessary altho' there had been some objections made to it. To which I've answerd that the motive first inducd me to request an Assembly was from ye custom of H.M. other Colonys etc. Quotes his reply to Council of Trade, Dec. 24, 1723. Continues: I hope if my measures are not thought sufficient that others more effectuall may be taken to exclude those wicked people who have been the ruin of this place by depriveing it of its reputation and continue publicly to disswade and deter honester men from settleing among us; They murmur to see the fort riseing into form from a heap of rubbish well knowing it will be a bridle against future enormitys their way, and preserve this place from being reduc'd to its former anarchy; some of these men haveing had an education superior to the common West Indians have art enough to mislead the ignorant, and are generally found at the head of any irregularity; haveing so far poison'd some especially the women that they call those their good days when fine silks lace and other rich commoditys were so plentifully brought in here by the pirate crews. These are sad truths My Lord that I only lay before your Lordship, it being from your wisdom and goodness that I hope redress, that this place so considerable for its scituation, and which may prove so in time for its trade, may be securd for H.M. service. I humbly desire your Lordsp. will be pleasd to appoint us a Surveyor we haveing great occasion for such an officer to set out the bounds of our plantations, and distinguish our lands. P.S. The ship Dorothy being stranded in Sept. last on the edge of the bahama bank bound home from the Honduras the mate got hither from So. Carolina and I sent out and have saved the majr. part of her cargo being logwood, and hope yet to recover more for the legall claimants. Signed, G. Phenney. Endorsed, Rd. 14th May. 2 pp. [CO. 23, 13. ff. 157, 157v., 158v.]
Jan. 6.3. Richard Partridge, Agent for Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, to Sir Charles Wager. I am perswaded the informations against [Rhode Island] from Governor Shute and Judg Minzies were taken for granted the same were true without hearing what we had to say in our defence etc. First as to the ship Porto Prince being piratically employd is utterly untrue, of which I have affidavits by me of persons taken by Roberts the Pirate and who came with the said ship into New England. And there are also several other affidavits to prove that this ship belongd to Flushing in Zealand and was taken by Roberts and afterwards given with her cargo to one B. Norton who brought her into Tarpaulin Cove in the Province of Massachusets, and when he arrived there conveyd part of her cargo into Rhoad Isld. which very quickly was securd. by means of the Governor of Rhoad Isld's. Proclamation for seizing the same, wch. they took due care of for the interest of the right owners when they should appear, and could by no means judg it safe to part with the effects out of their hands to Judge Minzies to be by him conveyd out of the Colony, looking upon themselves responsible hereafter and to be called to account for the same by the Proprietors whose Agent here in London has declared his satisfaction with our people's management and care and of the Governor's industry and honesty therein and complaines very much of the hardship and mismagemt. of the ship and other part of the effects wch. were carried to Boston. The sd. Flushing Agent is Thomas Hyam merch. of this Citty who was empowered to claim the ship and cargoe, who accompanyd by the Holld. Ambassador obtained through the Secretary of State, Lord Carteret, H.M. Orders to the several Governors in New England to deliver them up to the Proprietors upon due proof etc. The Agent here sent these orders to Governor Cranston constituting him Agent there for the Proprietors and the Assembly in June, 1722 ordered said goods or the value they were sold for to be delivered accordingly. After this comes over the King's second Order, dated in Sept. following, to deliver the sd. effects to Judg Minzies (who by the way is a person of no extraordinary character and very obnoxious to our Governmt.), and if they had been deld. him a great part would have been expended in charges and much adoe to get it out of his hands again, as appears by a prosecution lately carried on in Boston by the claimants' Agent in recovering their right in that ship and cargoe which was carried (thither), which last order came too late etc. And as to our Governor and Council's being concernd with the said Benj. Norton or in ye lest with any pirates, is notoriously false, for the matter speakes itself plain in their vindication, for as soon as the rumour was at Rhoad Island of some of Norton's goods being brought in there, the Govr. issued his proclamation for not only seizing the goods but also the persons concern'd there-about on suspition of unfair practices, and imprisond them till they were set at liberty upon there appearing no ground or proof of guilt. And besides can it be supposed if any of our Governmt. should be concern'd in such a heinous offence as has been suggested against them that they would ever have ordered the ship into the Govt. of the Massachusets and not into their own Colony etc. The Governmt of Rhoad Island have all along in time of warr done more execution agst. the privateers than any of the King's Governmts. on that Continent and been more ready and expeditious in sending out vessells of warr in quest of the pirates (when that coast has been infested with them) than any of their neighbouring Provinces without any charge to the Crown. And now lately they have been at upwards of £500 charges of their own country money in the tryal etc. of the late pirates brot. in there by Capt. Solgard. But the true reason of our Governmts. being so misrepresented and calumniated by Colo. Shute and Judg Minzies appeares to me to be much oweing to Governr. Cranston's being appointed Agent for the Proprietors of ye aforesd. ship and demanding a restitution of what they have in their hands of the ship and cargo at Boston, etc. Signed, Thy Friend, Richd. Partridge. Addressed. 2 ¾ pp. Enclosed,
3. i. Governor and Council of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to Lord Carteret. Acknowledge H.M. letter of 25th Sept. 1722 and defend themselves against misrepresentations in case of the Porto Prince, as in preceding. Signed, by order, Richd. Ward, Secry. Copy. 3 pp.
3. ii. A Vindication of the Governour and Government of H.M. Colony of Rhode Island etc. From the unjust Aspersions and Calumnies of John Menzies, Judge of His Majesty's Court of Vice-Admiralty in the same: Relating to the Proceedings of said Government, in the Affair of several slaves, and other Goods Imported into said Colony, from a Ship lately lying at Tarpawlin Cove, etc. Sign'd, by Order of the Governour and Council, R. Ward, Secretary. Printed. 12 pp. [C.O. 5, 10. ff. 376–379, 380, 381–385v.]
Jan. 7.
Whitehall.
4. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Submit Governor Burnet's proposals for election of Assemblymen, New Jersey, and enclose following, to which the Proprietors of the Jerseys have no objection etc. Enclosed,
4. i. Draught of H.M. Additional Instruction to Governor Burnet, as to redistribution of seats. v. C.S.P. Jan. 31st, and A.P.C. III. No. 56. [C.O. 5, 996. pp. 128–133.]
Jan. 7.
Whitehall.
5. Mr. Popple to Mr. West. Encloses, for his opinion in point of law, three Acts passed in Barbados, Oct., 1723 (i) for allowing the solemn affirmation of the people called Quakers etc. (ii) to enlarge the time allowed by the supplemental Act for laying a duty on sugars imported etc. for proof as to goods seized etc., and (iii) to prevent the danger of contagious distempers from foreign vessels etc. [C.O. 29, 14. p. 384.]
Jan. 8.
Whitehall.
6. Same to Same. Encloses for his opinion in point of law, Acts of St. Christophers, 1722, (i) for enjoyning all vessels or persons infected with the plague, small-pox or other contagious distempers, to perform a due quarantine, and to prevent as much as may be the danger with which this island is at present threatned by the small-pox being already therein; (ii) An Act for the relief and release of John Sedgwick and others, poor distressed prisoners for debt etc.; (iii) An Act for regulating Vestries and for erecting into a parish part of the quarter called Basse Terre, by the name of the parish of St. George Basse Terre, and for repealing the Act for regulating Vestries passed in the 10th year of her late Majesty's reign, and for annexing other parts of the said quarter to the respective parishes of St. Mary Cayon and Trinity Palmeto Point. And an Act of Montserrat, 1723, for granting H.M. etc. certain duties upon the impost of beef, pork, herrings, etc. towards the defraying the annual expences of the Honble. Charles Dilke, Esq., Lt. Governor etc. [C.O. 153, 14. pp. 123, 124.]
Jan. 11.
Whitehall.
7. Daniel Prevereau to Mr. Popple. On behalf of Lt. Governor Hope, recommends Samuel Rayner for the Council of Bermuda etc. (v. C.S.P. 30th July, 1723). Signed, Daniel Prevereau. Endorsed, Recd. 11th, Read 21st Jan., 1723/4. 1 ¾ pp. [C.O. 37, 11. ff 6, 6v., 7v.]
Jan. 11.
Barbados.
8. Governor Worsley to Lord Carteret. Encloses Act lately past to raise a levy and to establish a method to supply the want of cash for the payment of the publick debts. Continues: As the publick, and private credit here, occasioned by the want of currant cash, is very low, and as the publick debts of this Island, which amount to between 20 and £30,000, which, if this Act is confirmed, will be immediately paid off, and the usual annual revenue will, for the future, defray the yearly charges of the Government, I was induced to give my assent to the above said Act, but with the limitation that it should not have its effect till it was approved of, and confirmed, by His Majesty. The merchants here, at first, opposed it, in that the country notes carried no interest, and that it was not general, i.e., it was not to be received in the levy for the support of the honour and dignity of this Government; but when these objections were removed, the former by allowing six per cent, per annum interest on all the notes above twenty shillings till sunck, which they will all be in six years, and the latter by my assenting to receive them as money in the payment of my additional annual allowance, the bill past the Assembly nemine contradicente, and but one of the members of the Council opposed it. Encloses Minutes of Council, 8th Aug.–26th Nov., 1723; of Court of Chancery, 13th Oct.–7th Dec, 1723; of Assembly 24th Sept., 1723–9th Jan., 1724; Addresses from the Grand Jury etc., and depositions by Henry Hunt, late Commander of the Delight galley, and Thomas Blackston, chirurgeon, in relation to several of his ship's company, who were forced into the pirats' service, when he was taken by them. Continues:—I have put on board of Capt. Barry four Portugueze mulatos who were taken by Low the Pirat, off of the Island St. Antonio, one of the Cape Verde Islands, who put them, with other Portugueze inhabitants of those Islands taken at the same time, on board of Capt. James Peare, master of the Thomas and James sloop of Bristol, who sold them, at Sta. Lucia, to Capt. Bains, an inhabitant here, and gave him a bill of sale for them: Upon their arrival here they applyed themselves to me for their liberty, alledging they were freemen, Christians, and subjects of the King of Portugal, and could not be sold as slaves, upon which consideration as also of their being piratical goods, if they had been slaves, I took them under my protection, and have ordered Capt. Barry to deliver them to your Lordship's order. The inclosed deposition of theirs relates also to several others that were taken with them, and also delivered by the said pirat to Capt. Peare, who likewise sold them at Sta. Lucia. Signed, Henry Worsley. Endorsed, Recd. 12th Mar. 6 pp. Enclosed,
8. i. Presentment of the Grand Jury of Barbados, to the honble. William Lesslie, Chief Judge. 10th-12th Dec. 1723. Represent need of a strong prison and of providing for the repair of the highroads leading into St. Michael's, and that several of the wharfs are being rendered useless by buildings on them. Signed as No. v. 1 p.
8. ii. Deposition of Henry Hunt and Thomas Blackston, described in covering letter. Signed, Henry Hunt, Thos. Blackston. 21st Dec., 1723. Copy. 1 p.
8. iii. Address of the Grand Jury of Barbados to the King. 10th–12th Dec., 1723. Loyal compliments. Signed as No. v. 1 p.
8. iv. Address of the Grand Jury of Barbados to Governor Worsley. Praise the administration of Justice, and H.E.'s zeal for the publick welfare in recomending to the Assembly the support of publick credit, repair of the fortifications, and the prevention of that clandestine running of wines which has been too long practiced to the public detriment, and his care to prevent illegal trade, so that the fair merchant may be encouraged. Signed as No. v. 1 p.
8. v. Address of the Grand Jury to C. J. Leslie, 10th-12th Dec. 1723. Compliments. Signed, George Adamson, George Abyvon, jr., Nathan Worrall, Tho. Wood, Thos. Lacey, Jno. Hall, Hugh Williams, Jno. Parkes, jr., Jno. Brewster, Benja. Bissell, Willm. Barwick, John Parker, Samuel Brewster, Rob. Bowcher, Christophr. Lacey, Jno. Redwar, Geo. Worrell. 1 p.
8. vi. Deposition of Thome dos Santos, Manuel Pires, Sabastiano Fernandes and Diogo do Rosario, 2nd Dec., 1723, Portuguese mulattos, as to their capture by Low the Pirate etc. v. covering letter. 2nd Dec. 1723. Signed, Thome dos Santos, Manual Pires, Sabastiano Fernandes (his mark), Diogo do Rosario (his mark). Portuguese.pp. [C.O. 28, 44. Nos. 65, 65. i.–vi.]
Jan. 11.
Barbados.
9. Governor Worsley to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Duplicate of preceding letter. Endorsed, Recd., Read 27th Feb., 1723/4. 6 pp. Enclosed,
9. i.–vi. Duplicates of preceding Nos. i.–vi. Endorsed, Recd. 26th Feb., 1723/4. [C.O. 28, 18. ff. 36–38v., 39v., 40–41, 42, 43–44v., 45v.–47v.]
Jan. 11.10. Proceedings of Court of Chancery, Barbados, 30th Oct. 7th Dec. Enclosed in preceding covering letter. 11 pp. [C.O. 33, 27. No. 1.]
Jan. 14.
St. James's.
11. Order of King in Council. Referring to a Committee Act of Massachusetts Bay for apportioning of tax of £6,232 13s. 11d. etc. v. Dec. 20th, 1723. Signed, Temple Stanyan. Endorsed, Recd. 29th Feb., Read 1st April, 1724. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 869. ff. 9, 10v.]
Jan. 14.
Bermuda.
12. Lt. Governor Hope to Lord Carteret. Begs that a fit person may be appointed Collector of the Customs. Continues: The present incumbent has been distracted these many years. It is near a year since I signified it to the Lords of Treasury, without any answer etc. The duty has been discharged by one whom he hired at 2s. a day, which since I have been appriz'd of, I have put a stop to. John Carter is his present deputy etc. I have already recommended to your Lordship a proper person etc. Signed, John Hope. Endorsed, Rd. Feb. 22. 2 pp. Enclosed,
12. i., ii. Copy of Lt. Governor Hope's letter and replies to queries of the Board of Trade Jan. 14. (following.) [C.O. 37, 28. Nos. 19, 19. i., ii.]
Jan. 14.
Bermuda.
13. Same to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to enclosed replies etc. Continues:—By replies iii & iv your Lordps. may perceive that the trade with foreign Plantations is very much practiced by the Bermudians; (but for the advantage of the other British Plantations who does imploy them), and that the illegal trade of this place is so trivial, that it has never been thought convenient to put a stop to it. I have sent inclos'd to Mr. Popple a copy of the tryal of a sloop condemn'd here for illegal trade etc. She is the first vessel that ever was condemnd here upon that section of the Act of Parliament: and I desire your Lordps. to remark that the Attorney Genl. was obliged to make use of the 89th Article of my Instructions, or else the Judges wou'd not have condemn'd her. The Judges own'd to me, that the vessel stood forfeited, by vertue of the Act which she is libell'd upon: But that the Law in this point had always been wink'd at; However in obedience to my 89th Instruction, they wou'd put the law in execution. What sort of creatures I have to deal with; how trade has here been managed, your Lordships will (by this) be best able to form a notion of. My Lords, This is really the true state of this little Colony ; and I should be as ready to chime in with this politick of over-looking their underhand practices (as at present I must do) as any Governor that ever was upon the place, were it not that it has a consequence, which is melancholy to reflect upon. Pyrates in former days, were here made very welcome, and Governors have gain'd estates by them; nor has there of late, been that severity shown to those vermine, and their abettors, which the constitution of this country requires. I am very sorry to say it; but these people do not look upon those monsters with that abhorrence which they ought to do: and I find that when we do fall into those villains' hands, our treatment is not so rough as that which other people meet with. The Bermudas sloops are such sailors, that, if they are anything large, the pyrates never part with them: but the small ones they generally sett free; and in both these cases, we seldom are losers, tho' it is impossible for me to demonstrate: For after a Bermudian has been in a pyrates' hands, he is sure to make the best of his way to a foreign Plantation, (whose behaviour on this head are all of them scandalous), and what they have got, they then dispose of it. Refers to execution of two pirates (v. C.S.P. 4th July, 1723) on the evidence of some sailors belonging to a ship which put in here in distress. Continues: Their execution was no sooner over, but several people own'd that they knew them to be pyrates, for they had been taken by them, but their conscience was so tender, that they wou'd not have the blood of a man to lye at their door; besides it was to be fear'd that this very execution wou'd make our vessels fare the worse for it, when they happen'd to fall into the pyrates' hands. I am certain these two fellows brought considerable effects along with them, tho' they denyed it at their death, but it has not been possible to discover it. The new law relating to accessarys was not then arriv'd, else the man who brought them here shou'd have been try'd by it; and it was doubtfull whether or not the old law wou'd have condemn'd him had he been sent home. I have repeated this story to your Lordps. on purpose to show that if the trade of this place was narrowly look'd into, by proper Officers controlling one another, such grievances might in some measure be redress'd. But I am still at a loss, where to find a fund to support the charge of doing it. My Lords, if ever it is thought proper to put this affair upon a right footing, there must be a fort built at the narrowest place of that Cut where the vessels come in at the west end of these islands, and in that fort there must a Custom-house Officer reside. I wish my answers to the 14th and 15th queries may be satisfactory, for I am able to make no other, further than to observe that what has been done towards the fortifying of this place, was all performed by the Propriety Governors; and that nothing has ever been thought upon of that nature since the Crown sent Governors hither. What they did with the publick revenues, does not appear by any records; and for these twenty years past, I have already acquainted your Lordships that the bulk of this revenue has been imploy'd in defending of a law suit which one Jones has against the former Governor etc. How my predecessor has contriv'd to mismanage this affair so long, is unaccountable; but he certainly did his duty in suspending of him; for that Jones deserv'd severer punishment for what he was guilty of, as well as for his insolent behaviour to Mr. Bennet etc. By the answer to the 16th Querie, your Lordps. may perceive that there is a great deal wanting, and requisite to be done. And by the answer to the 14th, the utmost extent of the funds it is to be done upon, which to tell the truth, may very well defray the expences of this Government, provided the Governor does his duty. But the salary of this Government is so small that it is not worth an honest man's while to be ambitious of it; and when power is put into other hands the consequence may easily be understood. As to what relates to the trade and interest of the place, or how far it may be made usefull toward the advancement of the trade of Great Britain; I must own to your Lordps. that I know nothing of the matter; it having been my lot to be brought up to a profession very foreign from speculations of that nature. What is said upon this head in the answers, is only from what conversation I have had with the natives, for there are but few strangers who trade hither, that deserve the name of merchants. But the service that this place may be of in time of warr etc., is a matter worthy of your Lordships' consideration. The wholesome climate that these Islands are bless'd with, makes it the fittest place in all the West Indies for a garrison, or what is call'd a place of arms, and consequently the best place of refreshment, for soldiers, and seamen, who never fail of contracting fatal distempers every where else in the West Indies; where if they happen to continue, they dye like flys; whereas daily experience shows, that the air of this place alone cures those very distempers of the most virulent nature. This is the best place for intelligence of any in America: for the number of sloops belonging to thesse islands, continually trading backwards and forwards from the Southern and Northern America (and tho' they seldom enter yet they always call in) makes it, that we know much better, what passes in the western world, than any other Colony in it. In all the rest of the British Plantations, there are scarce seamen sufficient to man the merchants' vessels; but here there are always four or five hundred good seamen to be depended upon, which may serve to recruit those ships of war, that may attend this station. Were there five, or six light frigates and sloops, from thirty guns, to sixteen, station'd here, and close correspondence kept by the Governors of Jamaica, the Leeward Islands etc. with the Governors of Bermuda; it is plain that the whole trade of the foreign Plantations to their native countrys, in a great measure might be cut off. For as I have already acquainted your Lord ships etc. that all homeward-bound vessels must pass within twenty or thirty leagues of this place, so daily observation convinces me, that they cannot help coming near, by the number of vessels that are seen to pass by with the naked eye. The galleons of Spain have often come to an untimely fate, amongst these rocks with which we are surrounded: and certainly the riches which lye buried here, are immense, cou'd they be found. This last flottilla which by the newspapers I find are safely arriv'd at Cadiz, very narrowly escap'd us, for in Dec. 1722 about six a clock in the morning (then dark) we heard some guns from the sea, and when day began to break, we saw fourteen tall ships close in with the rocks; one of them struck, which was the reason of her firing; and had it been but one hour longer to daylight, every one wou'd have been ashore. I mention this passage to show, that notwithstanding all the precautions that mariners take to shun this place, yet they very often make it (as they call it) when they do believe themselves to be at 40 leagues distance from it: the reason which is this, there is a current to the west-ward of these islands, which sometimes runs South, and some times North, irregularly; but so rapid sometimes, that it is not to be believ'd how far some vessels to my knowledge, have been drawn out of their latitude, in one nights time, after having made the land the night before. By which it is easie to be accounted for, why so many homeward-bound vessels, do pass so near these islands, without its being in their power to help it. And it is very plain that most of them might be cut off, by an armament which wou'd cost but very small expence. The sea-officers are the properest persons to be consulted with upon this project (I wish it may not be looked upon as a project) and I make no doubt, but if duly consider'd, this little Colony may in times of warr, be found to be of considerable service to Great Britain. My Lords, I shall now beg leave to conclude my answers to these Queries with an observation upon the nature and constitution of the natives themselves. And I must beg of your Lordps. to believe, that whatever illegal, or criminal practices, these answers may seem to charg them with, it is not meant by me as any reflection upon the people; for I must say, they are a sett of handsome, sturdy, English seamen; not altogether so rough, but of as good understandings. They have a greater share of natural honesty, than most of our Creols are endow'd with. And the greatest faults they have, is what they have learn'd by the behaviour of their betters, and the looseness of the Government they have liv'd under. Signed, John Hope. Endorsed, Recd. 12th March, Read 2nd April, 1724. 9 pp. Enclosed,
13. i. Lt. Governor Hope's Answers to Queries from the Board of Trade. (i) The trade of these islands consists chiefly in building of sloops of 100 tuns and under, in which they transport the productions of the Plantations in America from the one to the other. They have not substance of their own, nor do these islands (now) produce anything where withal to employ them, so that they are generally upon freight; and their main view being to bring their vessells to a good market, that they may get home to build another. There are at present belonging to these islands; two ships, one brigantine, 60 sloops, and by the registers of sloops built since June 1707 there appears 435 vessells, which is 27 sloops built every year. As many able-bodied men and boys as stand upon the account of the number of inhabitants, and upon the muster returns, so many there are that go to sea. Refers to (ix). List of vessels and tonnage annexed, (ii) There is imported every year to the value of £10,000 sterl. in dry goods from Great Britain and the Plantations. Gives invoices of goods suitable for Bermuda. (iii) These islands have no trade with any nation in Europe except Great Britain, but the best trade they have is with the foreign Plantations in America; for in them it is where the Bermuda sloops give the best price. What commodities they carry (besides) cannot be answered but by hearsay (viz. flower, Indian corn, biscuit etc. provisions of all kinds) for no vessels ever clear out from hence for a foreign Plantation, (Madera excepted). They generally take their clearance for some of the Northern British Plantations where they take in the above mention'd commodities, and from thence they proceed to the foreign Plantations, under colour of a clearance perhaps for Barbados, the Leeward Islands etc. If they return here in the same sloop, they for the most part enter in ballast (vid. 4 Quer.) under the protection of the abovementioned papers: for none of the foreign Plantations, except Surinam, do examine their papers, or give any clearance. And if they do import any goods, they declare upon oath, that these goods were imbarqued at Curacoa, Statia, or St. Thomas's. By the Collector's books, it appears, that some have been allow'd to enter goods of the growth of the French Plantations; But, since the publication of the 5th and 6th Articles of the Treaty of Peace and Neutrality, and of the 89th Article of the present Governor's Instructions, no vessels have ever offer'd to enter any goods from a French settlement. But it comes all to the same purpose, as long as they are allow'd to enter without papers. The laws for regulating the Plantation trade and enumerated commodities, are very severe, upon British built vessels loading or unloading in British Dominions; and all manner of commerce with the French Plantations is discharged by the aforesaid Treaty; but there is no law to regulate, neither has the Governor or Collector of the Bermuda Islands any instructions concerning commerce with the Spanish, Holland, Danish or Portuguese plantations in America. So that it is impossible to know, where these commodities were produced or imbarqued. It is probable they may have been shipp'd in Martiniquo, or clandestinely put on board in Barbado's etc., and it is possible they may have been pyratically acquir'd. The goods which are imported here from foreign Plantations, in the manner above specified, are sugars, rum, mellasses, cacao, indigo, and logwood and brazelletto wood from the Bay of Honduras, and the Bahama Islands. (iv) The only methods for preventing illegal trade are the industry and vigilance of the Governor, Collector, and Searcher, which has not been effectual, for the follow ing reasons: The situation of these Islands is such, that without a competent number of Custom Officers (with appointments sufficient to put them above being brib'd with shillings and sixpences) it is impossible to hinder illegal trade here. N.B.—The Collector and Searcher have no salarys. What is meant by vessels entering in ballast (v. Quer. iii) is, that all such vessels as have been upon an illegal trade, and who have any goods that are seizable on board, they take care to come in by a channel at the West end of these Islands: and as there are many convenient creeks and harbours, which are hid, or land-lockt, it is easie to put these goods on shoar (before they come to the harbours where they are obliged to make their report) without its ever coming to the knowledge of any of the beforemention'd officers. What the nature of this illegal trade may be, is impossible to give an account of; for it has always been the politick here, to wink at these practices, for a reason commonly and strongly urged by the inhabitants vizt: that if such things were not allow'd, they could not subsist, and that if the laws on this head were strictly put in execution, the con sequence would be, that many of the inhabitants wou'd leave the Colony. How far this way of reason ing may be just, must appear from the answers to Quer. No. 1 & 5 viz: If the trade, production, and manufacture be of that nature, as to invite people to settle, and continue upon these islands; it is certain that without the connivance of the Governor and Collector, no illegal commerce can be carried on here, that can be prejudicial to trade. For in matters of consequence, it is their interest to do their duty; and as for the small smugglers, it is a question whither or not, if put a stop to, the profits arrising would defray the expence of the Officers: But as the case stands now, it is plain and certain, that the Governor, Collector and Searcher, cannot put an effectual stop to it. There is not a man in all these islands, that would give information of an illegal practice in trade, were he sure that his third of the seizure would make him the richest man in the country; and the reason is very plain, for there is not a man in the country but who is guilty as far as lyes in his power, (v) The only production of these islands is, Cedar trees, palmetto trees, and train oil. The sloops (v. No. 1) are built of the cedar wood etc. Tobacco, pine-apples, oranges, onions, cabages, (formerly the productions of this place in such quantities that they have loaded their vessells with them,) are no more to be seen but as rarities, (vi) No mines, nor no appearance of any. (vii) Refers to answers i & v. How long the manufacture of platt from palmetto trees may last is very uncertain, for the trees decay very fast and the slow ness of their growth gives no manner of encouragement for planting of them, for in 60 or 70 years it is not to be perceived that any plant has advanced an inch in height and most of the trees are 20 to 40 foot high. The oil made from the whale fishing amounts to 5782 gallons one year with another but since the Colonies to the northward have applyed themselves to that fishery the oil here has come to an indifferent market everywhere. Those fish which are killed here are not whales for they have no bone and the largest of them yields at most 1000 gallons of oil. What improvement may be made of this branch of our little trade (by an industrious person) is uncertain; but it is valued to the Governor at £100 sterling per annum, and by lycences from him there are two Companies who have the sole priviledge of the fishing (each within their limits) they delivering to him a third of the oil free of expences; it is certain the whole produce does not amount to £600 sterling for the present Governor has offered to farm his third at £200 per annum, but none will accept of it. Of cedar timber manufactured into sloops, £2,160 of palmetto tops into platt, £15,000; of train oil, £600 (Bermuda money), (viii) By the lists given in Oct. 1723, there are 4778 white and 3657 black inhabitants; (ix) An increase since 1721 of 71. Details given, (x) Number of Militia, 1009. Since Feb. 1722, the Militia has been reviewed every month of March, May, Sept. Nov. and Jan., and the greatest number that ever appeared under arms was 569, officers included; so that there are always near a half of those men absent at sea, etc. A very handsome body of tall, sturdy fellows, and certainly would do their duty to an enemy; for their behaviour on board their sloops has often been singular; but they never have been tryed on shoar, and it is to be remark'd, when alarms happen, that the number under arms, are much about the half of what appears at a review. The situation of these islands is such, that it is not easie to bring them together in a body, and there are a vast many places to defend. So that when five or six hundred men are divided in several bodys, and not in a possibility of assisting each other, it is obvious the number of men at one post, can be but small. So that, upon an alarm, there are three places of rendevouz; which posts must be kept; so that at most there can be but 400 men brought together. Two of these parties may join, but the third cannot. Out of these parties, there are detachments to be made to five forts at least, which guard the channels; so that it is very plain, that if the place were to be attack'd with 500 men, there wou'd be work enough for the inhabitants. The greatest security this place has against invasion, is the Independent Company of 50 men, which Company have likewise produced another good effect, for the inhabitants, since their arrival are very respectfull to the Governor. Return of arms and officers, (xi) Return of guns at the several forts—Southampton Fort, Smith's Fort, Queen's Fort, West side Fort, platform in St. George's, several battlements upon the island of St. George's, and H.M. Castle. Note. All these forts etc., the Castle excepted, are nothing else but open platforms. The guns are ruined by rust in such a manner that it is not to be conceived but by those who have seen them. Most of the carriages are rotten and all manner of small implements and accoutrements are wanting, (xiv) Revenue:—Rents of the King's land, £130 15s.; powder money, £75; liquor tax, £460; 5 p.c. duty upon dry goods (now repealed) £390.=£1055 15s. Details of expenditure. Out of the 5 p.c. on dry goods has been built the Governour's house, not yet finished, (x) All the land that ever belonged to the Crown is still in the Crown, and is rented out to tenants at will, as per account transmitted home, 356½ acres, besides small islands never surveyed, which together pays yearly £130 15s. Besides which there are twelve shares of land, belonging to the Crown, possess'd by the Governor, for which there is £60 deducted out of his salary. Three shares of land, being the salary of the Capt. of King's Castle, whereof the Governor is Captain, yeilds to him yearly £14; 8 shares as a salary to the Provost Marshal and Secretary, both these posts being in one patent from the Crown; two shares each to the Captns. of Queen's Fort, Smith's Island Fort and Pembroke Fort; two snares to the person appointed to take care of the ferry. This is all the land belonging to the Crown. There are glebe-lands and school-lands, which are possess'd by the parsons, and by those who teach publick schools. But for all the rest of the land in this Colony, which is all manurable, it is possesst by the people who purchas'd it from the original Proprietors. There is no such thing to be found upon record as one of these original grants; but it is plain by all the subsequent conveyances, that the present possessors, are not liable to any quit rent, of any nature whatsoever. That piece of ground upon which the only town stands, is now all taken up, by virtue of grants from the Governors; of which it seems they have made the most; for all the quit rents reserved thereupon, are, from each lot, a pepper corn. Refers to letter of 12th April, 1723. (xvi) Refers to accounts sent 12th April, 1723. (xvii) Establishments of Civil and Military Officers. En dorsed, Recd. 12th March, Read 2nd April, 1724. 30 pp. [C.O. 37, 11. ff. 36–40, 41v.–44, 45–49, 50–51, 52–56v., 57v.; and (abstract of covering letter, with marginal notes for reply), 37, 24. pp. 18, 19.]
Jan. 14.
Bermuda.
14. Lt. Governor Hope to Mr. Popple. I here send you under a flying seal, a copy of the tryal of a sloop, which after the Lords Commissrs. have perused, I beg you will forward as directed. You will likewise receive inclos'd, the copys of all the publick accounts last passed; which if necessary you may send copys of to the Auditor. For I must here acquaint you, that it is not in my power to correspond with all these Ministers, Boards etc., having but two persons here, that are capable of writing fitt to be seen, and but one of those two fitt to be trusted with anything of moment: Besides, I cannot imagine, the necessity of my corresponding with so many different people. It is now two years almost since my arrival here, and except two letters from the Lords of Trade, I have never receiv'd one answer (to any I have writt) from any of them. I beg you will (in the most respectfull manner you can think of) let their Lordsps. understand this. There are idle clerks enough under your roof, (if not in your office) that may be usefull this way: Besides, as all the papers I send home, are paid for out of the publick revenue, it is a heavy burthen upon our funds. Signed, John Hope. Endorsed, Recd. 12th March, Read 2nd April, 1724. 1 p. Enclosed,
14. i. Trial of the sloop George and Elizabeth of S. Carolina, Admiralty Court, St. George's, Bermuda. 28th Nov. 19th Dec, 1723. Condemned for importing sugar, mollasses and rum from Martinique. Signed, Richard Tucker, Register of the Admiralty. Endorsed, Recd. 12th March, 1724. 30 pp.
14. ii. Account of the King's Rents, 25th June-22nd Dec., 1722. Receipts (detailed):—£65 7s. 0d. Expenditure, (detailed) £65 7s. 6d. Signed and sworn to in Council, Richard Tucker, Deputy Marshal. Endorsed as preceding. 3 pp.
14. iii. Account of excise duty, 24th Jan.–3rd Aug., 1723. Totals:Receipts, £873 Is. 4d. Expenditure, £870 0s. 9 ¾d. Signed and sworn to in Council, Henry Tucker. Same endorsement. 5 pp.
14. iv. Account of the 5 p.c. duty on dry goods, 28th Jan. 28th June, 1723. Totals:—Receipts, £113 13s. 8d. Expenditure: £61 19s. 4d. Signed and sworn to in Council, Richd. Jennings. Same endorsement. 3 pp.
14. v. Account of powder money, 23rd Jan.–28th June, 1723. Totals: Receipts: £40 11s. 8d. Expenditure:—£87 13s. 11d. Signed and sworn to in Council, Richard Tucker, Depty. Secretary. Same endorsement. 7 pp. [C.O. 37, 11. ff. 58, 59v.–74v., 75v., 77v.–78v., 79v., 80v.–82v., 84v., 86v.–87v., 88v., 90v.–93v., 94v.]
Jan. 15.
African
House.
15. Mr. Lynn to Mr. Popple. The Court of Assistants of the Royal African Company return you thanks for your letter of 11th inst., and as they entirely depend upon the judgment and justice of the Lords Commissrs. in the affair of the Virginia Act, they do not think of giving their Lordps. any trouble in that matter. Signed, Fra. Lynn. Endorsed, Recd. 15th, Read 17th Jan., 172 ¾. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 1319. .ff. 145, 146v.]