America and West Indies
June 1731, 21-30

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor) Arthur Percival Newton (introduction)

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1938

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138-151

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'America and West Indies: June 1731, 21-30', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 38: 1731 (1938), pp. 138-151. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72573 Date accessed: 01 October 2014.


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Contents

June 1731, 21-30

June 21.
Boston.
246. Governor Belcher to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Since my last (of which you have duplicate herewith) several ships are arriv'd from London without a letter from your Lordships except a few lines purely in favour of the bearer Mr. Reynolds, son to my Lord Bishop of Lincoln, who not finding the collection of N. Hampshire to answer his expectations returns by this conveyance. Had he remained, I should have given him all the assistance in my power etc. Continues: H.M. Council and House of Representatives send to their Agents by this conveyance the bill they have past for my support, with their Address to H.M. that I may have leave to take it, and they think they have made a great step, inasmuch as the bill they have now past is after the rate of 3000l. a year from my arrival etc., whereas they us'd to give Govr. Shute no more than 1000l. a year and that was voted only half yearly. I am really of opinion they will not give less for the future, and that they'll do it at the beginning of the year which practice will make the Govr. independent from year to year. Let that be as it will I don't suppose H.M. will withdraw his Instruction etc. Yet I can't see the reason, justice or honour of his Govr. being starv'd or consuming his own substance while he is defending the cause of the Crown etc. Hopes for the royal leave to take his support as the Assembly will give it etc. Continues:—As to the 30th Instruction I cannot think it consistent with the King's honour to part with the power reserv'd to the Crown in the Royal Charter, and I really think in that article the House of Representatives thirst after a power that by no means belongs to them, and cou'd they come at it, it wou'd give them such an overbalance of power as wou'd greatly weaken the just authority of H.M. Govr. and Council, and tend to the destruction of the present happy constitution of H.M. Government here. I, therefore, hope your Lordship[s] will rightly represent this matter and prevent the mischief that might be consequent upon their obtaining what they aim at. In my next I shall give my reasons more at large against the House of Representatives having anything to do with passing or paying accompts. The Charter certainly intends that matter shou'd always be with the Govr. and Council. Signed, J. Belcher. Endorsed, Recd. 27th July, Read 4th Aug., 1731. 2½ pp. [C.O. 5, 873. ff. 58–59v.]
June 21.
Boston.
247. Same to Mr. Popple. Abstract Acknowledges letters of 24th Feb. and 5th April, with the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General on fines and recoveries, which he will communicate, as there shall be occasion, "though I hardly know an instance of any such things being attempted in their Government." Repeats complaint that he has not heard from the Board, which makes the Assembly imagine that the affair of the 27th Instruction is over etc. Repeats part of preceding, the expense of his voyage, commission and supporting the King's honour here to make it necessary that he should be allowed to accept the Assembly's allowance. Concludes:—The appointment of the new Lieut. Governor of N. Hampshire after his so vilely traducing me, has been a great weakning of the King's authority in my hands, nor do I believe it will be the least strengthning of him in his other office. I wish you Sr. very happy in every article of life, and shall be glad to render you any acceptable service in this part of the world. Signed and endorsed as preceding. 2¾ pp. [C.O. 5, 873. ff. 60–61v.]
June.
11–22.
248. Memorial by M. Desruaux. Sta. Lucia is used as a depôt for trade betwen the French and English, whose ships arrive there daily and exchange cargoes etc. Urges necessity of settling the disputed soverainty of the island etc., and explains its value. Signed, Desruaux. French. 4½ pp. [C.O. 253, 1. No. 62.]
[June 22].249. Extracts from several letters from Jamaica relating to the rebellious negroes and the two Regiments.
(a) Col. Thomas Townshend to Mr. Walmesley, late Agent to Br. Newton. Port Royal, 12th Feb., 1731. Three companys of ours, and three of Col. Hayes's are embarked for Port Antonio, where it has been said the runaway negroes have been troublesome, altho' I do not find so much in that, as has been reported, and if it were, as they have 120 miles of mountains to range in, it seems very impracticable to destroy them, the people do not seem to value them, nor do they for the most part seem well pleased at our comeing.
(b) Col. Robert Hayes to Major Sowle, his Agent. Port Royal, 14th Feb., 1731. After 7 weeks passage from Gibraltar, we arrived here the 7th etc., the regiment in very good health, but begin now to be very sickly. No oven sure was ever so hot. I find it affects my eyes very much, and still have the gravel very much, and my legs swell. We have yet only 14 companies landed etc., for I find we are an unexpected guest. The affair of the Blacks I took upon to be quite a Bam, for I can find nobody that has either seen or felt them in a wrathfull manner; we shall very soon be dispersed about the Island, not a company together, after that I know no business I have here except to sacrifice my health and impoverish my fortune, for realy twice my income will not maintain me as a Collo. ought to live, and I have only the same allowance here as an Ensign which is 20s. pr. week.
(c) Col. Townsend to Col. Cope. 2nd March, 1731. The accommodations of the two Regiments here, I am affraid will not be very good: at our landing no manner of provision had been made, for I cannot find that anyone expected us, and I am very sure that at present there is no occasion for us: the affair of the rebellious negroes is a triffle, they have force sufficient of their own twenty times told, to put an end to that whenever they have a mind to exert themselves; nor have they ever been known to appear fifty together in armes etc. In the mean time we are a burthen to the Island of about 15,000l. a year etc. Both regiments are at present ill of feavers and fluxes; I expect to have bad account of them within these 3 months etc. Everything here is excessive dear, twice dearer than at Gibraltar, no species of money less in value than a royale of plate, which is prodigious hardship upon the soldiers.
(d) Same to Mr. Walmesley. 3rd March, 1731. To same effect as preceding.
(e) Col. St. Cornwallis to Lord Cornwallis. 5th March, 1731. Most part of the regiment will be dispersed about the country in many places where there never was a rebellious negro ever heard of, so that two regiments here are no more wanted, except they have a mind to make planters of us, (especially since we are so well with Spain), which I believe some of them have hopes off, for most of them say they are glad we are come because they want white people and not for fear of the blacks, for no one pretends to say that thirty of them were ever seen together etc. This is the most expensive disagreeable place under the sun etc. Our people begin now to be sickly, tho' 'tis at present the healthiest time reckoned etc. Regrets that so many young men should have been sent, when the people were surprized at their coming, and there is now nothing for them to do etc. The troops to be sent to Port Antonio are forced to live still upon last provision, for there is at present neither provision or lodging for them, so they keep on board the ships still etc. Concludes:—I fancy if you mention this to some of my friends one may have a chance to come home, etc.; if we stay, they must provide better, but by that time perhaps above half may be dead.
(f) Same to Same. 10th March, 1731. We have buried the Major of our regiment, and I fear every account will be worse and worse etc. for our men are sent to the quarters in the county, before they have provided barracks etc. Within these two days the inhabitants of the two towns have petitioned to have two companys each, paying their lodging themselves, else they would have been dispersed in like manner. In short the upper sort of people of this island are such brutes, and the Governour so mild, that we shall suffer most terribly, for as the majority of the last Assembly did everything to vex him, we are sadly used by that means, for they have taken from him the power of quartering the King's troops as they ought to be, for he says he could not help it, and that the Assembly would do it in spight of his teeth etc. We have an account from the party that was sent after the negroes, who say they went to their settlement, and fought several hours, and have burnt their town, but in this terrible engagement they have neither killed nor taken any one of the negroes, so presume those they pretend to have fought with so long were men in buckram etc.
(g) Col. R. Hayes to Major Soule. 11th March, 1731. Both men and officers fall sick very fast. The regiment is dispersed all over the island, and no surgeon can go from quarter to quarter to attend them etc. Complains of their very miserable condition etc. Half a crown in England will go farther than a pistole here etc. I shall think myself well off if this expedition costs me only 1000l. extraordinary: I have taken a little house here at a place called Ligony, the pleasantest part of the island, but no better than an English barn which I am obliged to pay 200l. a year; for my cook, which is a very indifft. one 50l.; and everything dear in proportion etc.
(h) Col. Cornwallis to Lord Cornwallis. Port Royal. 15th March, 1731. One can't set 24 hours without hearing of some of the corps being either sick or dead. I'm sure there is not an officer here but with pleasure would go to the most desperate seige rather than stay in this damned unwholesome place etc. They say everybody has a seasoning, and that seasoning has hitherto carryed off everyone that has had it etc. I fear that I shall have a dismall acct. from the country quarters, having already heard from some that they have been very cruelly used and have had no care taken of them.
(i) Extract of a letter from Port Royal to a merchant in London. 19th March, 1731. The regiments have lost several of their principal officers (named): abundance of the men die etc.
(j) Col. Cornwallis to Lord Cornwallis. Port Royal. 20th March, 1731. Since my last my Coll. is dead, if ever one is to be preferred, now is the time, for no service is equal to the barbarous usage, we here suffer etc. The new negroes were never used in so ill a manner as we are. I would this moment give my commission to be in England, to represent what ill usage so many of H.M. subjects meet with, for the sake of, I fear, a few people, for I can't be an hour in the day without hearing of some of the Regiment being either sick or dead etc.
(k) Extract of a letter from Port Royall, 20th March, 1731, communicated to Lord Torrington. Deplores the sickness and losses of the Regiment etc. The whole endorsed, Recd, (from Mr. Henry Popple), Read 22nd June, 1731. Collected by the order of Sr. Win. Strickland, H.M. Secretary at War. 6 pp. [C.O. 137, 19. ff. 25–27v., 28v.]
June 23.
Whitehall.
250. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We have lately had under consideration three Acts passed in New Jersey (i) for shortening law-suits etc. (ii) concerning the acknowledging and registering deeds and conveyances of land etc., and (iii) for the frequent meeting and calling of the General Assembly and for the alternate sitting thereof etc. The two first are in substance the same with two Acts passed in 1715, which were afterwards repealed etc. Quote from representation of Jan. 10, 1722. Continue:—Governors of Plantations are expressly forbid by your Royal Instructions to re-enact any laws which have formerly been repealed by the Crown unless they first receive your Majesty's permission for that purpose, or do insert therein proper clauses declaring them of no effect until they shall be confirmed by your Majesty. As to the last mentioned Act whereby the Assembly is made triennial etc. this is an Act of a very extraordinary nature importing a great change in the constitution of the Province, and if your Majesty should be pleased to allow of any such alteration therein, we cannot but think it very fit that it should take it's rise from the Royal authority wch. first gave being to the form of Government established in New Jersey, and not from the Assembly of that Province. In this Act likewise the suspending clause is omitted, and therefore we humbly lay it before your Majesty, together with the two first, for your disapprobation, all of them having been passed contrary to the Governor's Instructions, the two first being destructive of the jurisdiction of the law courts in New Jersey, and the last of a nature too much encroaching upon the Prerogative of the Crown. [C.O. 5, 996. pp. 270– 273.]
[June 24].251. Merchants of London trading to Virginia to the Council of Trade and Plantations. An act of Assembly, 1726, for laying duties on liquors imported, was continued by another act in 1730 till June, 1734. By a clause in the last act no more than half the duty is to be paid for any liquors imported in any ship or vessel wholly and solely belonging to the inhabitants of the said Colony. This clause is not part of the Act of 1726, and such exemption is a very partial proceeding, and is assuming a power of taxing H.M. subjects at large to a higher degree than themselves etc., and a setting up the shipping of that Colony in opposition to, and in great prejudice of the Navigation of this Kingdom, etc. Pray for repeal of latter act, and that the Governor may be restrained from passing any act laying any higher duty on the goods or ships of H.M. subjects residing in this Kingdom, than on those belonging to inhabitants of the said Colony. Signed, Micajah Perry and 13 others. Endorsed, Recd, (from Mr. Wood) 24th Read 29th June, 1731. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 5, 1322. ff. 164, 164v., 165v.]
June 24.
Whitehall.
252. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Committee of Privy Council. Have heard Counsel for and against the confirmation of the Act of Pennsylvania for the establishing of Courts etc., referred to them 14th May, 1730. Continue:—The principal design of this Act is to repeal certain powers supposed to have been vested in the Supream Court of Judicature in Philadelphia by a former law for establishing Courts of Judicature passed in 1722 etc., "which is almost in every other particular the same with that which the petitioner desires to have repealed, and as we are of opinion that the continuance of this new law might prove highly prejudicial to H.M. Revenue in Pennsylvania, and be an encouragement to illegal trade in that Province by putting the Officers of the Customs under great difficulties in prosecutions upon seizures made of contraband goods imported to contrary to law etc., propose its disallowance. (v. A.P.C. III., 193). [C.O. 5, 1294. pp. 31, 32.]
June 24.
Whitehall.
253. Council of Trade and Plantations to Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. Request payment of Office expences and Officers' salaries for quarter ending Midsummer. Account annexed. [C.O. 389, 37. pp. 329, 330.]
June 24.
Boston.
254. Governor Belcher to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Argues, from clause in the Charter as to the disposal of money by the Governor, that it was never intended that the House of Representatives should have the passing of public accounts or paying of them, or that the Governor should be merely a servant to the Assembly to pay the debts of the Province in exact conformity to their orders etc. Believes the Assembly will rise in a few days, when he will transmit their Journal etc. Signed, J. Belcher. Endorsed, Recd. 27th July, Read 4th Aug., 1731. 2¾ pp. [C.O. 5, 873. ff. 62–63v.]
June 24.255. Petty expenses of the Board of Trade, Lady day to Midsummer, 1731. (v. Journal). 5 pp. [C.O. 388, 80. Nos. 6–8.]
June 27.
Barbadoes.
256. Governor Worsley to the Duke of Newcastle. As the French in this part of the world seem very intent in making new settlements, I think it my duty to give your Grace an account of the French which have settled at St. Lucia as well as of the English; By the common computation there are supposed to be three hundred French familys. I can't learn there are above five or six English, it is also computed there's as many French at Dominico, and a great many at St. Vincent's, both English and French imploy themselves in raising of stock, sowing corn, and cuting timber; I don't find that the French have any grant for the land that they take up, but the Governour of Martinique gives them leave to go thither to cut timber and fish, and as they clear away the ground they plant it with corn, and breed great quantities of stock, two or three of the French familys have taken up a great deal of land, and are grown rich; one or two I am informed applyed to the Governor of Martinique for leave to plant canes, and erect cattle mills to make sugar, but he would not grant it; the few English that are settled at Sta. Lucia took up the land which they thought convenient for them, and clear the timber which they bring hither for sale and plant corn, and provision to support their negroes which they keep there, as well as for sale here, I know not any of them have any grant or permission from the Duke of Montague, one of them Mr. Batt built a small vessell of about fifteen tons, and applyed to me for a register etc. Refers to former letter. Continues:—I have been informed that the Governour of Martinique some times talks of removeing the English from off that Island. On the Island of Tobago there are no French familys yet settled, but the French go thither to catch turtle, and whilst they stay there make huts to live in, during the time of their fishing, the intention of the French seems to be to people these islands gradually, and as they can live much more hardy then the English, are more able to make such settlements, than they. In November last I advised your Grace that a French guardecote of Martinique had taken some English vessells at Sta. Lucia etc. Encloses the Governor's reply to his letter (encl. i). As the Assembly in their Minutes of 13th Feb. last, mention that I had demanded of them 2000l. and upwards for the pretended repairs of Pilgrims House I herewith transmit to your Grace their Addresses to me upon that head, by the first of which your Grace will observe that they desired me to lay before them, an account of the charges of the repairs of Pilgrim House which I did in Nov. 1724, and after they had examined the accounts and receipts they addressed me 11th of May 1725 in these words, "It appearing to us that your Excellency has laid out, paid, and expended the sum of 2070l. 14s. 1d., current money in and about the necessary repairs of Pilgrim House and buildings" etc. The Assembly mention in the same Minutes that there was but 87 barrels of powder in the great Magazine tho' there were wont to be 800. I have transmitted to your Grace their address to me the 12th day of October 1725 by which your Grace will observe, that on account of the ruinous condition of the old magazine, they desire me to appoint a proper place or places for the keeping the said powder, and stores, till the Magazine should be re pair'd, or a new one erected, and accordingly I order'd it to be remov'd into the several forts, but I do not so much wonder at this proceeding since they say in the same Minutes that they know that I opposed their Sugar bill at the Board for Trade and that Mr. Sharpe my Agent opposed the same, my letter to your Grace as well as the Board for Trade will justify my conduct upon this head, and as to Mr. Sharpe's opposing the same tis now notoriously known that their Agents in England first employed him, and then dismissed him by orders from hence, and Ireland and the other Colonies immediately retain'd him. The Council here some time since were very much exasperated at the treatment they met with from the Assembly, who called them incendiaries, and it might have been carried to great lengths had I not kept my temper, and conducted it calmly, but at present the Island is very quiet, etc. Signed, Henry Worsley. Endorsed, R. 27 Sept. 4 pp. Enclosed,
256. i. Governor of Martinique to Governor Worseley. Martinique, 22nd May (N.S.), 1731. In reply to encl. iii, has waited for enclosed reasons given by M. le Procureur Général for the condemnation or release in the Admiralty Court of English vessels seized at Sta. Lucia. With regard to the complaint lodged by Mr. Farel against the Captain of the French coast guard-ship Domaine, he was ready to hear their case, but they have not pursued the matter any further as they should have done etc. Signed, Champigny. French. Copy. 2 pp.
256. ii. Findings of the Admiralty Court, Martinique, (i) The English bark Anne of Dartmouth (Capt. Shepheard) was released with costs and damages from day of seizure, it being proved that she had loaded and cleared from Barbados and had only been 8 hours at anchor at Sta. Lucia, (ii) The bark Jeanne Marie d'Amboye was released, with costs and damages against the Domaine. The master had no papers to prove that he had really loaded at the island of Iscap [sic], so that it appears he was generously treated on the assumption that he had been forced to put in at Sta. Lucia, (iii) The bark Two Brothers had no papers on board and was condemned and confiscated with her boat for trading at Sta. Lucia, her crew having been rowing a boat laden with a keg of brandy, (iv) The Good Intention was likewise confiscated, it being proved that she had come from Barbados in ballast and being found laden with produce of the French islands, (v) The Fortune was confiscated, for having no papers and trading at Sta. Lucia, being laden with goods admitted by the Captain, Isaac Royal, he had taken off Sta. Lucia. Copy. French, 1½ pp.
256. iii. Governor Worsley to the Governor of Martinique. Barbados, 19th Feb., 1731. The ship Anne, John Shepheard master, which, after leaving Barbados for Newfoundland, put into Sta. Lucia, having on board no cargo except 9 barrels of sugar loaded at Barbados, and its own stores, was seized with several other English vessels by a French coast-guardship and taken into Martinique. I am convinced that, if my information is correct, you will not approve this conduct, but order the immediate restitution of the said vessels etc. Signed, Henry Worsley. Copy. French. 1 1/3 pp.
256. iv. Address of the Assembly of Barbados to Governor Worsley. 26th Nov., 1724. Request account of charges for repairs of Pilgrim's. Signed, Robt. Warren, Cl. of the Assembly. Copy, ¾ p.
256. v. Address of Same to Same. 12th Oct., 1725. Request removal of powder whilst the magazine is being repaired etc. v. covering letter. Signed, as preceding. 1 p.
256. vi. Address of Same to Same. 11th May, 1725. Quoted in covering letter. Same signature. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 45. ff. 183–185v., 187, 187v., 189, 189v., 191, 193, 195.]
June 27.
Barbados.
257. Governor Worsley to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Your Lordships' letter of the 21st of October last, I received not till about a month since. Your Lordships in the same letter desire me to give you a particular account of the number of French, which are settled at St. Lucia, as well as of the English. Continues as preceding covering letter from, "By the common computation." Signed, Henry Worsley.
Endorsed, Recd. 3rd, Read 22nd Sept., 1731. 6 pp. Enclosed,
257. i–vi. Duplicates of preceding encl. i–vi. [C.O. 28, 22. ff. 116–118, 119v.–120v., 121v.–124v., 125v.–126, 127v., 128, 129v., 130v ]
June 28.
New.
Providence.
258. Mr. Bonnet to Mr. Delafaye. Encloses following. Mr. Colebrooke intends to appeal, but every fact alledged against him is plainly proved etc. Continues:—I am glad to hear you continue the Governor's friend, and hope all affairs here will soon go better, tho' the utmost clamour possible is made here; and false insinuations amuse the people; and I beleive facts that cannot be justified here are represented home, because no letters can be admitted in the vessel but from their own party, but seeing a small packett preparing from the Governor to be directed to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle on his Majesty's service which they could not deny the master of the sloop's carrying, I adventured this in it. Signed, Lews. Bonnet. l½ pp. Enclosed,
259. i. Duplicate of June 10 encl. ii (a) and ii (b). [C.O. 23, 14. ff. 189, 189v., 191–192v.]
June 29.
New.
Providence.
259. Governor Rogers to Mr. Delafaye. Refers to letter of 10th June. Continues:—The vessel by which this goes (in order to conceal the design of her proceeding to England) is cleared out for Bermuda to prevent my sending any letters in her, she being hired by Mr. Colebrooke, tho' in other person's name, as I apprehend to carry hence all that he can invent, or prevail on those of the party he has made here, to joyn in, by way of complaint against me, I find there is a necessity for my taking the liberty of directing this packet to you, for a further security of its being conveyed and delivered, which I hope you will be pleased to excuse. The prosecuting Mr. Colebrooke I humbly hope will be approved, and convince the Ministry what a mischievous person he has been, and how much he has obstructed the welfare and peopling of this Colony. For my part, I assure you, Sir, I never had so much uneasiness in my life as he has occasion'd me here; for instead of applying himself to the improvemt. and encouragemt. of trade (which was what he came abroad for) he together with four or five more who were his companions and dependents made it their whole study to injure and distress me by continually endeavouring to stirr up sedition and animosity in the minds of the people, and discontent and mutiny in the garrison which he attempted by all the methods he could think on etc. Requests that he may be given time to answer any misrepresentations etc. Is doing all he can for Mr. Bonnet. He has lately written to; "the good Lord Townshend" etc. P.S. Not being certain that this vessel goes for London, will not venture by it what he intended to the Duke of Newcastle and Board of Trade etc. Signed, Woodes Rogers. 2 pp. [C.O. 23, 14. ff. 193, 193v.]
June 30.
New.
Providence.
260. Same to Mr. Popple. Has sent preceding by another conveyance. A vessel will sail in about 16 days and bring such accounts as will satisfy the Board he has not been negligent etc. Mr. Colebrooke refuses to appeal in the manner prescribed in my Instructions, and has been above three weeks with two clerks writing all he can to justifie his actions etc. Repeats part of preceding etc. Signed, Woodes Rogers. Endorsed, Recd. 21st Aug., 1731. 1 p. [C.O. 23, 3. ff. 83, 86v.]
June 29.
Whitehall.
261. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Rogers. Acknowledge letters etc. of Oct. and Feb. 10th last. Have referred the acts enclosed to Mr. Fane and will take them into consideration on receiving his report. Referring to Capt. Phenney's bond (v. Feb. 10th and June 9th), "we are of opinion that the Assembly should not have put him under so great a difficulty, and therefore we have proposed to H.M. that this bond should be cancelled." Continue:—We observe by the Minutes of Assembly of 1st Oct. last, that upon a message from them, desiring that the Council books may be laid before the Assembly, you gave directions accordingly. Upon this occasion, we must observe to you, that as by your Instructions all laws to be pass'd by you are required to be consistent with, and as near as may be consonant to the laws of this Kingdom; so it would be proper that the proceedings of the Assembly also should resemble those of the Parliament of Great Britain, so far as the circumstances of the Colony and your Instructions will permit. And as the Council with you as in all ye other Colonies abroad have two capacitys very different in their nature, and design, so their proceedings as the King's Council in political matters should be kept entirely distinct from those wherein they act as one branch of the Legislature, and ought to be fairly entered in separate books. It would be a pretty difficult task to lay down a plan for the proceedings of your Assembly in future times, or to allot the particular limits to be observed by them. But in general we may observe to you that the Constitution of England owes its preservation very much to the maintaining of an equal ballance between the three branches of the Legislature, and that the more distinct they are kept from each other, the likelier they will be to agree, and the longer they will be likely to last. By the Minutes of the sixth of the same month, we find the Assembly desir'd Capt. Phenney's Instructions might be laid before them; But as the Instructions, which H.M. thinks proper to give to his Governors, are only for their conduct and guidance, you will be the proper judge which of them, and when they ought to be communicated to the Assembly. By the Minutes of 12th May, 1730, the Assembly seems to have been prorogued by the Governor and Council, but as this does not appear to be the case by the Minutes of Council of the same date, you must take care to have this amended in the Journals of the Assembly, and the rather because the Council cannot claim any right of proroguing the Assembly, and altho' this is a mistake, yet some time or other, if not corrected, it may be made a precedent to claim a power never yet granted to any of H.M. Councils abroad. We have consider'd what you write concerning Mr. White and Mr. Jenner, the former of which you have suspended from his seat in Council. Upon this occasion, we must take notice that you did very wrong to desire any Member of the Council to retire at a time that you had something to propose to the remaining Members, for everyone of the Council has an undoubted right to sit and debate at that Board, until H.M. shall think fit to displace him from thence, or he be suspended for sufficient reasons, in the manner prescribed by your Instructions ; and if after this usage, Mr. White has thought himself so much slighted, as to refuse to return to the Council, when you sent for him, we do not think this is a sufficient reason for suspending him. [C.O. 24, 1. pp. 201–206.]
June 30.
Whitehall.
262. Mr. Popple to Governor Montgomerie. Encloses duplicates of circular letters of 10th. inst. and packets to be forwarded for the Governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Abstract continued:—Those Proprietary Governments have long since been required to transmit authentick copies of their laws. Govr. Talcott, Governor of Connecticut, by his letter makes him not without hopes of compliance from that quarter, but Rhode Island has vouchsafed no answer to the General Queries sent them. If the laws of those provinces are printed, asks him to send copies by the first opportunity. Printed, N. Y. Col. Doc. V. pp. 921. [C.O. 5, 1125. pp. 171, 172.]
[June 30].263. Case of Francis Williams of Jamaica. John Williams, his father, being a free negro, and by his great fidelity and industry having acquired a considerable estate, he obtained an act, afterwards approved by the Crown, whereby it was enacted that no slave should be evidence against him, and that the said John Williams should henceforth be tryed by a jury according to the known laws, customs and priviledges of Englishmen and the practise and usage of that island. John Williams married with Dorothy a free negro by whom he had three children all sons whom he educated in the Protestant religion according to the Church of England and also gave 'em all other suitable education in a liberal manner. Another act was passed in Jamaica to give the like priviledges to the wife and children as to John Williams etc. But by an act passed 28th March for the better regulating slaves etc., severe clauses are laid on all free negroes in general; (i) That all free negroes shall in default of every free negroe's appearing at the vestry of the parish where he resides when thereunto summoned by a warrant from any J.P. in such parish in order to having their own and the names, ages and sexes of their wives children registred, such free negro for the first offence is to forfeit 10l., for the second 20l., and for the third his or her freedom and to be transported etc., on conviction before any two Justices of the Peace and three Freeholders. This clause is apprehended to be very improper and too much for the Assembly to take upon them to enact, as it directly takes away those libertys and priviledges given the family of the Williams by the several acts beforementioned etc. Besides to lodge such an extensive power in any two Justices and three Freeholders is much too large etc. Loss of freedom will of course carry with it loss of estate, which in the family of the Williams amounts to above 20,000l., which is too great a temptation to have a nefarious use made of this and the following clause; (ii) That all free negroes from the age of 15 to 60 shall be obliged on every summons or order of every custos next magistrate collector or next commanding officer in each of the parishes to appear when and where directed in order to be sent out in any party that shall be ordered out in pursuit of the rebellious and runaway negroes, and every free negroe who shall neglect to appear or refuse to go out in such party shall for the first offence be committed to jail for six months without bail or mainprize, for the second suffer 12 months imprisonment and for the third lose his freedom. This clause is likewise thought to be in contradiction to the said acts, no such penaltys being inflicted on any white men, besides this clause hath no proviso in case of sickness nor gives no permission for sending in their places one or more hunters or woodmen properer for the service than persons educated in England as the free negroes are to attend partys in woods and mountains almost unaccessible. It is also against the said acts, and also exceeding severe not to allow any bail or mainprize for a family who are in possession of several acts directing they shall in all cases be tryed as Englishmen and who are by all the acts of Jamaica bailable on these occasions and to punish or free people with imprisonment and loss of freedom for not appearing on those occasions in person when it may not be in his power and when he is ready to substitute one or more persons etc. is surely too hard and unreasonable etc., especially as the act has no proviso for women or children or such as are sick or absent, (iii) It is also enacted that no free negroe shall after the 2nd April 1730 wear any sword, cutlass, pistols or other arms or weapons whatsoever, excepting whilst on duty on the publick service or in the service of their employer under the penalty of 5l. (hunters and fowlers excepted), and that no free negroe do presume to buy or indent any white men under the penalty of 50l. This clause is directly levelled at Mr. Francis Williams, it being notorious that no free negroes wear a sword and pistols besides himself and what justifies him therein is not only the largeness of his estate but the liability of his being assaulted by everyone whom he sues for the recovery of his own. This clause may also be a temptation to ill-disposed people to spirit up the minds of their ignorant slaves to assault and way-lay Mr. Williams, and it is observable this law does not forbid the slaves to wear swords or pistols. Why should the free negroes then be prohibited? etc. The latter part of this clause is still more extraordinary etc., since by a late act passed in Jamaica every planter is obliged to have one white man-servant to every 30 negroes under the penalty of 26l. 10s. per annum, so that this present act etc. lays every free negroe who hath a plantation under a necessity of incurring the penaltys of one or other of these acts etc. (iv) It is also enacted that no free Indian shall work in any sort of silver or gold or keep any shop for the sale of any gold wares or merchandize or the produce of this island under the penalty of 50l. for every offence. This clause is also thought exceeding severe, for as the laws of Jamaica always heretofore indulged free negroes with buying houses and settling plantations, so it would certainly be very hard should they be now debarred selling the produce of these plantations, and when that produce is converted into money should be still debarred from investing that money in any goods, wares or merchandizes for the further enlarging their fortunes under such severe penaltys as are laid by this act. And there really seems a plain intention to oppress the free negroes by comparing these two last clauses together which amount to this vizt., they shall have neither bought nor indented servants to save paying the penalty of 26l. 10s., they shall neither buy nor sell any wares or produce etc., to pay such penalty and yet they must pay etc. Prays that the Act may be repealed. Endorsed, Recd., from Mr. J. Sharpe, Read 30th June, 1731. 3 closely written pp. [C.O. 137, 19. ff. 29–30v.]