America and West Indies
July 1724, 13-15

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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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157-166

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'America and West Indies: July 1724, 13-15', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 34: 1724-1725 (1936), pp. 157-166. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72391 Date accessed: 17 September 2014.


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July 1724, 13–15

July 13.
Jamaica.
Spanish
Town.
261. Governor the Duke of Portland to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Having receiv'd no letters from England since I had the honour to write to yor. Lordships. I will avoid being troublesome as much as I can etc. Most of the people here have been dispers'd at their respective plantations, ever since the last session of Assembly, and very busy (as this is the season of the year) in getting in their sugars, I believe I shall see but few of them, except it be by accident upon business, till I receive answers or full directions, about what I have sent over last. I could wish, as I took the liberty to mention then, that what has been done here, might deserve approbation, considering the care, pains and trouble I have been oblig'd to be at, in getting people to concur so near, as they call it here, in everything that was expected from them, however I shall patiently expect what directions and instructions may be thought proper to be sent me, wth. a full resolution punctualy to obey H.M. commands to the utmost of my power, but am oblig'd to say that the power one has here, is very moderate, next to none at all, there is nothing to reward any body or encourage anyone to distinguish himself in the service of the publick. The Patent Officers think themselves entirely independant from the Governour, except it be just in the execution of their office, and brag of it in private that their patents are given to them by the King, in the same manner as the Governour's Commission is, and that they have nothing to do with the Governour, by this your Lordps. plainly see what can be expected from them, particularly wn. their own interest leads them to make private friends to themselves. The Deputies who are here, are generally such persons as that nothing can be expected from them; all other posts by which one ought to keep up one's interest, and keep the people in some awe, are only feathers and have formerly been so mismanag'd, that there hardly is any body who cares for them, and they say if one thinks to influence them by it, that they had rather be without them, because of the trouble and the charge that attends them; I think it plainly appears (since it is not in one's power to encourage any one by the hope of a reward, nor to awe by shewing resentment) how necessary it is that those who are instructed to see a due regard paid to H.M. Instructions, and that they be comply'd with, ought to be supported and countenanc'd at home. It has been wth. the greatest difficulty that a prosecution has been carried on against a ship and a small vessel call'd a scooner that had broke thorough the Acts of Trade and Navigation; I have had reason for some time past to suspect sevll. illegal practises, but all my endeavrs. to find it out by the industry of those concern'd have been frustrated till [ ]n these two, the first for importing a great quantity of East India arrack, and selling it publickly, the other for importing snuff and other goods for this place, belonging to and navigated by foreigners. I send over to yor. Lordps. all the papers concerning these prosecutions, but as the party's concern'd make a good deal of noise about it, I hope you'l excuse me if I desire some notice may be taken concerning some things that happen'd and don't appear in the papers or depositions; What I mean is relating to the vessel call'd the scooner, the ship will admit of no dispute, because she publickly sold the arrack she had brought in and got on board, out of some ship or ships she had met coming from the East Indies, but as to the scooner, when she came in, she was sent here by a gentleman, to the South Sea factors or agents. This gentleman is a factor or agent also and was here last year himself, upon some business as he pretended and came over in a foreign vessel. At his arrival he desired I would give him leave to land such goods only as were his own, and to dispose of some to such small value, as might be necessary for his suppor t which I allow'd him; under that pretence the whole and intire cargo of the vessel was sold and dispos'd of; unknown to me at that time. Now this scooner came from the same Gentn. consign'd to the South Sea Factors here, wth. bills of loading and a lett pass for this place, they try'd all the ways they could think of to obtain my consent, that she might land her cargoe, wch. I constantly refus'd, but they take no notice that I told them and offer'd it, that since the goods belong'd to H.M. subjects I wo'd grant them leave to go out again, when, and how they pleasd, wch. not answering their purpose they constantly refus'd, and insisted in hopes of prevailing by their repeated importunities to land the cargo, wch. at last oblig'd the Naval Officer to seise the vessel and cargo. The Prosecution has been attended wth. so much noise, clamour and even threats, so as that I was uneasy at the Vice-Admiralty's Court sitting or being held in any other town, but where I was myself, it was accordingly held in this town, that I might prevent all tumultuous proceedings, finding a disposition towards it, at last by the indefatigable care and industry of Mr. Attorney Genl. the ship and scooner have been condemn'd, I dont question but by his resolution and constancy, he has drawn the ill will and resentment of sell. persons upon him but if that is to be minded there must be an end in trying to put the laws in execution, and the King's Officers may have nothing else to do, but to submit to people's pleasure and be witnesses how the laws are evaded and constantly broken through. This also is a proof how necessary it is, that those who do what they can, to have the laws comply'd with and to obey instructions should be supported. I have receiv'd an Order some time ago from H.M. in Council concerning one Brown who just before my arrival had been fin'd by the Grand Court and condemn'd to a years imprisonment. I did extend mercy then as far as could be expected, but finding that he has apply'd to the King and Council, I communicated to the Council here the Order I had receiv'd wch. was immediately obey'd, but the Council was surpris'd to find that the allegations and suggestions in Mr. Brown's petition upon wch. he obtain'd that order were all malicious and fictitious, so they desir'd to draw up a true state of the case in their own justification, that it might be sent to your Lordps. and be lay'd before H.M. in Council. They don't question but that it will sett that matter quite in another light, and think themselves ill us'd and injur'd by a man who has always, as they say, deserv'd the worst of characters. P.S. (in the Duke's own hand) The state of Mr. Brown's case has not as yet been brought back to me from the Council etc. I am obliged to delay sending of itt, till the next opportunity etc. I am sorry there should appear such negligence, but itt is, what I am pretty well us'd to, tho I do what I can to cure itt. I hope all will mend in time, and that patience will overcome severall things. Signed, Portland. Endorsed, Recd. 21st, Read 30th, Sept., 1724. 4 pp. Enclosed,
261. i. Mr. Dalzell to Messrs. Rigby and Prater. Puerto del Principe. Feb. 10, 1722. Encloses bill of lading of cargo snipped on board a French golet, taken by a corsair and brought into Cuba. Describes his proceedings in connection with that vessel. Signed, Gibson Dalzell. Copy. 1 1/2 pp.
261. ii. Petition of Richard Rigby and Edward Pratter, Agents to the Royal British Assiento Company, to Governor the Duke of Portland. The schooner Esperanza freighted by the Assiento Factory at Havana was taken as in preceding, and being found to have been employed in the Company's service, was discharged. For the greater security of the effects, Mr. Dalzell ordered an English master and several sailors aboard, who had been there taken prisoners, with directions to bring the vessel hither to petitioners, the intended voyage having been broken and disappointed by the supra cargo, who was appointed to direct the same, having quitted the vessel. The said schooner was seized by H.M.S. Winchelsea. Petitioners do not find the least grounds for any charge against the Master or mariners, but the schooner belonging to the French, petitioners cannot break bulk without H.E.'s special licence etc., for which they ask, in order to pay charges and wages etc. Signed, Richd. Rigby, Edwd. Pratter. Copy. 1 3/4 pp.
261. iii (a). Petition of John Stewart and Jonathan Perrie, Agents to the Royal African Company, and consignees of the ship Chandos, to Governor the Duke of Portland. Said ship, arriving with a cargo of slaves from Whydah on account of the R. A. Company, and having duly entered, and taken in part of her loading for England, was seized by John Manley, Naval Officer, for supposed breach of the Acts of Trade by John Kerfoot, late Master, or some of the mariners. Complain of delay in the trial and ask for an appraisement to be made in order to petitioners giving security according to the Act, whilst the ship continues on her advertised voyage etc. Signed, John Stewart, Jona. Perrie. April 6th, 1724. Kingston. Copy. 2 1/2 pp.
261. iii (b). Opinion of the Attorney General of Jamaica on above petition. St. Jagodelavega. 11th April, 1724. The Naval Officer has not affected any delays in prosecuting the seizure, which, it is much suspected, have been occasioned by the practices of petitioners etc. They misconstrue the Acts, which have not the words "or value thereof" etc. The granting of their prayer might obstruct the proceedings of the Court and divert the Naval Officer of his part of the forfeiture, and be a commuting of the penalties etc. which I apprehend cannot be done by your Grace's authority etc. Signed, Willm. Monck. Copy. 1 p. Nos. i–iii endorsed, Recd. 21st Sept., 1724.
261. iv. Case of the Esperance. Signed, Richd. Rigby, Edwd. Pratter. Kingston, 10th March, 1723(4). Copy. 2 3/4 pp.
261. v. Petition of Richard Rigby and Edward Pratter to H. E. Ask for order to Naval Officer to proceed to speedy trial of the Esperance, and that meanwhile they may land the Company's effects and pay charges therewith etc. Signed as preceding. Copy. 1 p.
261. vi. Deposition of same as to the Esperance etc. 26th Feb., 1723/4. Signed as preceding. Copy. 2 pp.
261. vii. Deposition of Capt. James de Neuvaine, master and owner of the schooner Esperance, as to her voyage etc. 26th Feb., 1723(4). Signed, Neuvaine. Copy. 1 p.
261. ix. Deposition of John Teat, mariner. He was taken prisoner by a Spanish vessel, 26th Dec, which afterwards captured the Esperance, whose people declared that they were bound from the Havana directly for Jamaica, etc. 26th Feb., 1723/4. Signed, John Teat. Copy. 1 p.
261. x. Attorney General of Jamaica to H.E. March 18, 1723(4). Upon the petitions etc. supra, iv–ix. Advises that the seizure of the Esperance is a legal seizure, she being foreign built and owned by foreigners, and the cargo originally consigned from the Havanna to the petitioner. Nos. iv–x endorsed, Recd. 21st Sept., 1724. Copy, 1 1/2 pp.
261. xi. Proceedings in the Court of Vice-Admiralty, Jamaica, in relation to the condemnation of the schooner Esperance, 31st March-30th May, 1724. Leave to appeal granted. Endorsed as preceding. Seal. Copy. 70 pp.
261. xii. Proceedings in the Court of Vice-Admiralty in relation to the condemnation of the ship Chandos, 25th March-19th May, 1724. Leave to appeal granted. Same endorsement. Seal. Copy. 100 pp. [C O. 137, 15. ff. l-3v., 4v.–13, 14, 15, 15v., 22v, 23r.–92v, 93v, 94r.–192v]
July 13.
Jamaica,
Spanish Town.
262. Governor the Duke of Portland to Lord Carteret. Duplicate of preceding covering letter. Endorsed, R. 23 Sept. 4 pp. [C O. 137, 52. Ff. 75–76v]
July 14.
Whitehall.
263. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Representation upon petition of merchants against the renewal of the Act of New York for the encouragement of the Indian trade etc. (v. 30th April). We have been attended by the Petitioners who inform'd us, that they have found this Act by experience to be so great a discouragement to the British trade, that there has not been by far so considerable a quantity of beavor and other furrs imported into Great Britain from New York since the passing the said Act as heretofore, nor half the quantity of European goods exported thither, in consequence whereof the price of furrs is raised 25 and 30 per cent, to the great prejudice of several British manufactures. They likewise affirm'd that it was impracticable to hinder the French from supplying the Indians with European goods, for tho' N. York should not furnish them, the French would find another way to be supply'd therewith, either from some other of H.M. Plantations, or it might be directly from Europe, that it was of dangerous consequence to force this trade into a new channel, many of the goods which the Indians want, being as easy to be had directly from France or Holland, as from Great Britain. They further added that it was not likely the Act should produce the effects expected from it, more particularly that of securing the five Indian Nations firmly to the British interest; because if the French should once get a supply of the goods necessary for the Indian trade from any other place, as the five Indian Nations are settled upon the banks of the River of St. Lawrence, directly opposite to Quebeck, two or three hundred leagues distant from the nearest British Settlement in New York, the vicinity of the French would furnish them with the means of supplying even the 5 Nations with these goods, and consequently of alienating their affections from the British interest. And that there was no prospect of obtaining a trade with the French Indians by this means, because the French would always be able to prevent their passage across the lakes and River of St. Lawrence, to our Settlements etc. On the other hand, the preamble to the Act sets forth, that it was found by experience that the French of Canada, by means of Indian goods bought from that Province, had not only almost wholly engrossed the Indian trade, but had in great measure withdrawn the affections of the Five Nations from the inhabitants of that Province, and rendered them wavering in their allegiance to your Majesty, and would, if such trade were not prevented, altogether alienate the minds of the said Indians, which would prove of dangerous consequence to the English interest in America. Quote Governor Burnet's report on the good effect of the Act v. supra. Continue:—Upon the whole, being doubtful of some of the facts alledged by the merchants, and considering how far the British trade may be affected by this Act on the one hand, and how much the security and interest of your Majesty's Colonies in America, may be concern'd on the other, We are humbly of opinion that no directions should be sent to New York upon the subject matter of this Act, till Mr. Burnet shall have been acquainted with the objections of the merchants thereto, and his answers and observations receiv'd thereupon; for which end, if your Majesty shall be graciously pleas'd to approve of this our proposal, we shall forthwith send him copies both of the merchants' Memorial and of what objections they have made before us to the subject matter of this Bill. [C O.5, 1124. pp. 346–352.]
July 15.
Treasury
Chambers.
264. Mr. Scrope to the Council of Trade and Plantations. My Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury agree etc. to the establishing an officer to attend at your Office in the quality of a porter until a doorkeeper or Messenger's place in your Office becomes vacant, at a salary of £40 per annum etc., notwithstanding my letter of May to the contrary etc. Signed, J. Scrope. Endorsed, Recd. Read 15th July, 1724. Addressed. 3/4 p. [C O. 388, 78. ff. 101, 102v]
July 15.
Whitehall.
265. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Quote Attorney and Solicitor General's opinion (Nov. 30, 1723) upon gold and silver mines in New Jersey. Conclude:—As wee conceive, the matter referr'd to us, to be only a point of law, depending upon the words of their Charter, we have nothing further to add. [C.O. 5, 996. pp. 134, 135.]
July 15.
Whitehall.
266. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Having had under our consideration the drat. of an Act sent from Jamaica for granting a Revenue to H.M. etc., we take leave to acquaint your Grace, that it will require much more time to form our judgment upon it, than was at first imagin'd, because we find by perusing the said Act, and the Attorney and Solicitor General's report thereupon, that the clause for the continuance of their laws, is so worded, that all temporary laws now in force in Jamaica, will be thereby made perpetual, excepting only some few particularly mentioned in this new Act, which will make it absolutely necessary to look back into all their temporary laws before we can give any opinion upon this Act; Besides we have reason to apprehend, it will be lyable to some objections as well from the nature as the insufficiency of the funds granted for H.M. Revenue. Considering therefore how difficult it will be to represent upon this Act, time enough for the same to pass before the present Revenue Laws and the Acts depending on it will expire, even tho' there shou'd be no objections to this Act, we think it necessary, considering the importance of the case, to apprize your Grace thereof in time, that some expedient may be fallen upon to prevent so great a confusion as must naturally happen to the Island of Jamaica, and to all persons concerned in trade there, if the Laws depending upon the renewal of the Revenue Act, should expire. The consequence of this expiration would be, that without fresh authorities for that purpose from the King, no Assemblies can be held there, the Law for establishing Assemblies being one of these that expires with the Revenue Act. Those likewise for regulating the proceedings of Courts of Judicature, being of the same number, it will be impossible to have any proceedings in the Courts of Justice there, of which matter that your Grace may be more particularly inform'd, we send you enclosed a copy of the Attorney and Solicitor General's report etc. The most natural expedient upon this occasion, in our humble opinion, would be, that the Duke of Portland should be instructed to pass an Act for continuing the Revenue and Laws of Jamaica depending upon the present Revenue Act for the space of one year, or until H.M. pleasure shall be known thereupon, whereby there will be time for duly considering a matter of so great consequence, and for proposing such particulars as shall be thought necessary for securing the quiet of that Island, and for settling a sufficient Revenue for the support of H.M. Governmt. there. [C.O. 138, 16. pp. 480–483.]
July 15.
Jamaica.
Spanish
Town.
267. Governor the Duke of Portland to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Though I was press'd th' other day to send away my letters, for fear of the man of warr's going away without them, and that by the haste I was in, I could not waitte, for to send the state of Mr. Brown's case, drawn up by the Councill, which they had took with them, to have itt drawn out fair, (v 13th July), but having recev'd itt since, and hearing in a manner accidentally that the man of warr is not yett sail'd (but without any certain information when she will sail being constantly an entire stranger to all the transactions of the men of warr, for private reasons of their own, which I can't help representing, as a diservice to the publick, and a great inconvenience to the Governt. here, besides exposing itt in a very great degree) I hope this will come time enough to go in her etc. Signed, Portland. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd, Read 30th Sept., 1724. Holograph. 1 p. Enclosed,
267. i. State of Mr. Brown's Case, drawn up by the Council of Jamaica. In obedience to H.M. Commands [v A.P.C. III. No. 55], we have allowed a writ of error to be brought by the Attorneys of Mr. Stephen Brown and assigned such Counsel as they desired and approved of, but in the mean time humbly beg leave to set that matter in a true light. Petitioner married the widow of Whitgift Aylmer, and in her right became one of his executors. In order to convert the whole estate to his own use and to defraud the creditors as well as the heir of Aylmer, in Nov., 1721, he drew himself a declaration against the executors of Aylmer at the suit of Rowland Eustace upon a bond of £6,000 sterl. which bond (as he pretended) was entered into by Aylmer in England. Brown did himself bring the said declaration to Mr. Verdon an Attorney and Clerk to the Clerk of the Supreme Court and desired him to set his hand to it as Attorney for the Plaintiff (which is the usual practice here) which Vernon did, and soon after Brown and his wife clandestinely and without the privity or consent of Dr. Charnock (another of Aylmer's executors and guardians to his child) confess a judgment upon the said declaration before James Campbell, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court, privately in his chamber, who was surprized into the matter and not aware of the fraud intended. Brown in order to bind the property of the slaves and personalty of Aylmer did tamper with the Provost Marshall to levy a sham execution upon them which he absolutely refused (v encls, ii, iii). Brown was at the time one of the Judges of the Supreme Court etc. When this was discovered it occasioned great clamour among the creditors and legatees of Aylmer, tho' Brown afterwards found ways to take off the legatees, and it was looked upon by the whole country to be a most dangerous president not only for the defrauding of creditors but also for the destruction of orphans, for the judgment not only swept away all the said Aylmer's slaves and personalty by which the creditors were left without any remedy, but also by that means deprived the orphan of her slaves without which the lands (tho not subject in this Island to the payment of debts) can be of no use or advantage to the heir. For which fraud upon application not only of the Council but of the Assembly also, Governor Sir N. Lawes turned him out of all his offices and ordered him to be prosecuted etc. Tho' he has suggested in his petition that he could get no Council to assist him, it appears that Mr. Lynch and Mr. Vale two barristers at law did plead for him and he himself who had been bred to the law was allowed to plead and Mr. Willson another barrister was also assigned him as Council, but he thought the cause so notoriously scandalous that he desired to be excused from appearing for him. Upon the tryal he could make no defence nor produce any letter of Attorney from Rowland Eustace to have enabled him to sue, and there was good reason to beleive there was no such person etc. He was so sensible of his guilt that he had not the confidence to apply either to Sir N. Lawes or His Grace for a writ of error, but applied by petitioner to His Grace to pardon his imprisonment and remit the fine, and it being the first instance which offerred to His Grace to shew his clemency, he pardoned the remaining part of his imprisonment and allowed him upon payment of £100 part of the fine down, a year's time to pay the other £400 etc. Signed, Tho. Bernard, J. Ayscough, John Moore, Ed. Pennant, Ezll. Somersall. St. Jago de la Vega, 9th July, 1724. 1 1/2 large pp.
267. ii. Deposition of John Verdon, 9th July, 1724, as to the recording of the declaration and confession of the debt to Rowland Eustace etc. v. preceding. Signed. John Verdon. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Sept., 1724. 1 p.
267. iii. Deposition of Alexander Forbes, 9th July, 1724. Stephen Brown attempted to lodge an execution in deponent's office at the suit of Rowland Eustace, but did not do so when deponent insisted on payment of his legal fee. Signed, Alexander Forbes. 1 p. Endorsed as preceding. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 15. ff. 193, 194v 195, 196–198, 199v]
July 15.
Jamaica,
Spanish Town.
268. Governor the Duke of Portland to Lord Carteret. Duplicate of preceding covering letter. Holograph. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 52. ff. 77, 77v]