America and West Indies
November 1731, 1-5

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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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308-328

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'America and West Indies: November 1731, 1-5', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 38: 1731 (1938), pp. 308-328. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72590 Date accessed: 30 October 2014.


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November 1731, 1-5

Nov. 1.
Whitehall.
460. Order of Committee of Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report thereon. Signed, W. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd. 30th Nov., 1731, Read 5th Jan., 1731/2. 1¼ pp. Enclosed,
460. i. Petition of Rev. Timothy Cutler, Minister of the Church of England in Boston to the King. Refers to former petition (v. C.S.P. 14th July, 1727 and A.P.C. III. No. 119) against several acts of the Massachusetts Bay, obliging members of the Church of England to pay to the support of Presbyterian and Independent teachers. This petition was referred to the Lords Commissioners for Trade, but they have not made any report thereon, occasioned as petitioner (conceives "by the Assembly having so soon as they were informed of the said application passed an act in addition to the sever all acts for the settlement and support of Ministers (1727) whereby, after imposing a generall tax on all the inhabitants of every town parish or precinct, it is provided that all members of the Church of England who reside within five miles of a Society of the Church of England where there is a person in orders according to the rules of the Church of England abiding among them and performing Divine service so that such members of the Church of England can conveniently and do usually attend the publick worship there, that in such case the taxes collected of such persons be paid unto such Minister of the Church of England. But in case of any deficiency happening by such payments to the Ministers of the Church of England in the salary covenanted to be paid to them by any town, parish or precinct to the Ministers of the Churches therein by law established, it is then and in such case enacted that such deficiency shall be made up within two months by such town, parish or precinct generally which will take in all the members of the Church of England. Petitioner humbly conceives it was apprehended this act would in a great measure free the members of the Church of England from the many oppressions brought upon 'em by the severall acts complained of etc., but it is very common for the people in New England to go ten or fifteen miles to Church so that this last act by limiting the exemption to five miles is very far from removing the grievance complained of etc. James Ellis of the town of Cambridge, a member of the Church of England and who hath a pew in petitioner's church at Boston where he duly attends the Divine worship of God and who pays towards the support of the said Church hath been greatly distressed and is now actually confined and imprisoned in Cambridge gaol for not paying towards the support of the established Minister of that town by reason that his place of residence is upwards of five miles distance from petitioner's church etc. Submits whether the Governor and Council are warranted by their Charter to pass any law whereby to tax the members of the Church of England or any other perswasion to the support of the Ministers of what they have taken upon them to establish as the Provincial Church. Prays that the acts complained of may be repealed, as being not warranted by the Charter, and that the Governor be strictly enjoyned not to pass any act whereby any tax shall be laid on the members of any one perswasion for the support of the ministers of any other etc. Copy. 6 pp. [C.O. 5, 874. ff. 3–6v., 8v.]
Nov. 1.461. Governor Belcher to the Duke of Newcastle. Abstract. Acknowledges letter of 14th Aug. brought by Mr. Shirley, who is so strongly recommended by His Grace for a pleader to the several sets of Judges etc. Continues: As they are under my appointment, I hope my influence with them may be of service to him etc. He will, as desired, be watchful to suggest anything by which His Grace may further contribute to Mr. Shirley's encouragement. Repeats report of wreck of Spanish galleons, and that this was the richest Fleet that ever went from the Spanish West Indies. What turn this disaster may give to the affairs of Europe can't easily be seen. Will transmit affidavits etc. Expresses gratitude for the honour done by His Grace to his son Jonathan and for his favour to himself in the affairs of his government, and affirms his zeal and loyalty. Continues: My brother Mr. Partridge gives me a very particular account of your Grace's favour and kindness to me in the matter of my support from this Government, and that you have been very ready in obtaining H.M. royal leave for my taking the money last granted me by this Assembly etc. Returns thanks and requests that when matters relating to him come before Ministers Mr. Partridge and his son Jonathan may be notified to appear as his agents. Continues: "My son after spending the last seven years at our little University in Cambridge chose to attempt the study of the law for his future business in life, to which end I have sent him to the Temple" etc. Asks for his patronage of him etc. Signed, J. Belcher. 3½ pp. [C.O. 5,898. No. 97.]
Nov. 2.
Whitehall.
462. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. There being six vacancies in the Council of New Hampshire (enumerated) recommend, to fill the room of the deceased and absent Councillors, Benning Wentworth, Richd. Waldron, Anthony Reignolds, Benjamin Gamblin, Theodore Atkinson, and Joshua Peirce. Conclude:—And whereas some doubts have lately arisen whether yor. Majesty's Lt. Governor of New Hampshire for the time being is to be reputed a Member and sit in Council there, when yor. Maty's. Capt. General shall be resident in that Province, propose that Lt. Governor Dunbar, or the Lt. Governor of that Province for the time being, may be added to the list of the Council, and take place as the first Councillor there. [C.O. 5, 916. p. 434.]
Nov. 2.
New York.
463. President Rip Van Dam to the Duke of Newcastle. Duplicate of letter to Council of Trade and Plantations following, mutatis mutandis. Signed, Rip Van Dam. Endorsed, R. Jan. 15. 4½ pp. Enclosed,
463. i. Representation of the President, Council and Assembly of New York to the King. Continues:—With grief and concern we have heard of the monopoly aimed at by the Sugar Colonies, which, if obtained, will, we conceive, tend to the ruin of this Colony, and be prejudicial to the trade and navigation of great Britain : For there's yearly imported into and consumed in this Colony, a very large quantity of the woollen manufacture of great Britain, for our cloathing and preservation, from the excessive cold of our winters, and so great is our consumption of those commodities, that we have reason to believe, the whole sugar Colonies (excepting Jamaica on account of the Spanish trade) do not consume the like quantity, and should we be disabled to pay for that manufacture, we must be reduced to nakedness, or to make our own cloathing. The product of this, and the neighbouring colonies of New Jersey and Pensilvania, is provisions, horses and lumber which are exported to the British and foreign sugar Colonies, and in exchange for them are had monys, rum, sugars, molasses, cocoa, indigo, cotton wool etc., whereof the rum and molasses, are chiefly consumed in this Colony, and the monys and other merchandize, are mostly applyed to make good the balance of our trade to great Britain, and so great a part of that ballance, is paid in mony, that, we have reason to believe, that all the British sugar Colonys together (excepting Jamaica) do not import so much silver and gold into Great Britian, as this single Colony. We are well assured that the British sugar Colonys cannot take off the one half of the provisions, which this and the other two bread Colonys do export, nor are they able to supply the Northern Colonys with the rum and molasses there consumed, without vastly diminishing the quantity of sugar which they now make; and tho' we be not by express words, in the monopoly aimed at, restrained from exporting our provisions to the foreign sugar colonys, yet the restraining us from taking any part of their product in exchange, will as effectually do it: Wherefore, we have reason to apprehend, that if the monopoly aimed at, be obtained, our product now exported to the foreign sugar Colonies, will be as lost to us; and that we shall have little more from the British Sugar colonys, for all our provisions that they can consume, than the rum, molasses and sugar, which we want to consume amongst ourselves, seeing the glut of our product with them must greatly lower the price thereof, and the great demand of rum and molasses, must vastly enhance the price of them; and disable us to pay for the British manufactures we have already had, and owe for, and to pay for any more; must diminish the consumption of the British woollen manufacture, and the navigation now employed in bringing it to us, and in carrying our product to the foreign sugar Colonys, and in carrying what's got in exchange for it to Britain, must diminish the quantities of sugars, made in the British sugar Colonys, and enhance the price thereof, so much, that Britain will probably be disabled to export any part of it. Gracious Soveraign, We implore your most sacred Majesty, the father of all your subjects, who has the care and prosperity of all of them equally at heart, and who will be far from countenancing any indeavours, to make one part of them the slaves and bondmen of another, with whatever specious pretences it may be aimed at; to have pity and compassion upon us, your poor, but most loyal and dutiful! subjects, of these bread Colonies; upon the merchants of Great Britain, to whom we are greatly indebted; upon them, and the many tradesmen and seamen of great Britain, who get their living by the British trade, with us : and to grant your most gracious protection against this attempt, which in its consequences, would tend, as we humbly conceive, to deprive them of their just debts, and future support; and to cut us off, from being of any other use, to our Mother Country, than to be the bondsmen and slaves, of her sugar Colonies; by confining us to them, for the vent of the produce of our industry, and in consequence, oblidging us, to take what price for it they please, and to give what price they think fit, for what we have in exchange from them etc. Signed, Rip Van Dam, President, 8 Councillors, and Ad. Philipse, Speaker and 25 Assemblymen. 1 large p.
463. ii. Nine Acts of New York, passed Sept. 1731. Printed. 25 pp.
463. iii. Journal of Assembly of New York, 25th Aug.— 30th Sept., 1731. Printed. 22 pp.
463. iv. Naval Officer's list of ships cleared and their out- ward loadings, Port of New York, 26th March—30th Sept., 1731. Signed, John Lindesay, Nav. Off. 20 pp. [C.O. 5, 1093. ff. 174–176, 177v., 178, 179–191, 192–202v., 203v., 204v., 205v., 206v., 207v., 208v., 209v., 210v., 211v., 212v., 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222.]
Nov. 2.
New York.
464. Rip Van Dam to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Abstract. Refers to letter of 11th Sept. The Assembly ended their session on 30th Sept. Encloses Journal of Assembly, Minutes of Council and Acts passed vizt. (i) An act to support the troops at Oswego and to regulate the Indian furr trade. No answer having been received to the representation of the Assembly to H.M. relating to that affair, and as that house would have fallen to destruction if no provision were made for another year, etc., a duty on the trade there was thought the most proper means to supply that place for another year in expectation of H.M. further directions concerning the same etc. Has since received letter of 28th Oct., after the Assembly was adjourned to second Tuesday in Dec, "which will not be a proper time for them to meet, because the rivers by which near a third part of the members must come to this place are then frozen up." (ii) An Act to impower Samuel Baker and others to employ proper persons for the service of this Colony at the Court or Parliament of Great Britain. His reasons for passing this act are fully expressed in the preamble and preceding Address (encl. i), "for it must be manifestly apparent to all unbyassed persons that if such an Act of Parliament as the Sugar Colonies solicited the last Sessions should pass, it would in a short time prove the ruin of all the inhabitants of this continent and entirely impoverish them, and thereby hurt the manufacture of Great Brittain and disenable the inhabitants of this Colony from sending yearly a considerable sum of cash for Great Brittain etc., and in case of a war with the French this Colony would by reason of the poor condition it would be reduced to become wholly unable to defend itself and become a certain prey to the Ennemy, more especially since the French have already encroached and built a fort at a place called Crown Point from whence they may in three days march to Albany" etc. (iii) An Act continuing an Act for regulating the Militia etc. (iv) for fortifying the city of Albany etc. To secure the city and frontier till a fort can be built etc. (v) to prevent damages by swine in the County of Orange (vi) to provide able pilots etc. between Sandy Hook and the Port of New York. (vii) An Act to explain part of an Act to repeal some parts of an Act and continue others and for granting duties to H.M. for supporting his government, 1728–1733. A ship belonging to this colony with a considerable number of negroes on board her, in her voyage from Africa, touched at Antigua to purchase some provisions and refreshments but landed none of her slaves there, and then came to New Jersey, where there is no duty paid for any slaves imported, but the owner of the vessel being desirous to import the greatest part of them into this province, if he might be allowed to pay only the duty of five ounces of plate for every head, which seemed to be a doubt in the Act for the settling the Revenue abovementioned, being it was said the ship did not come directly from Africa altho' the intention of the Legislature in that former act was only to encourage the African trade and so laid a double duty on slaves imported here from the West Indies which are generally refuse and very badd and could hardly be applicable to such slaves coming from Africa and had been nowhere landed etc., I therefore considered that if I did not pass that law none of the slaves would have been brought hither etc. (viii) An act continuing an act to farm the excise of strong liquors etc. (ix) to release Andrew jr. upon surrendering his estate etc. Continues: The French continually encroach on this Province and have lately settled a fort on the Crown Point from whence they may in three days march to Albany etc. The Assembly addressed me to lay this information before H.M. and the neighbouring Governments etc. It is my humble opinion that if no care be taken they will yet further encroach from time to time and in case of a warr might prove fatall and now in time of peace it is the only meanes they have to draw the Indians from us, mine our trade and secure all to themselves and untill the limitts be settled between the two Crowns actions of this nature will happen every day and will always be to their advantage and our detriment, because they have a great number of people that runn amongst the Indians and are much like them and so agree better with the Indians than our more civilised inhabitants can do besides the continuall infatuation of their priests amongst Indians who are taken with the outward pomp of religion makes a greater number of proselytes than it is possible for us to do, and therefore I most humbly begg your Lordshipps to lay this before H.M. that the limitts between the two Nations may be settled and a fRecdom of trade with the Indians be reserved to H.M. subjects and that such late encroachments be removed" etc. Refers to enclosures. Since taking the enclosed list of inhabitants "neer 800 are lost by the small pox and daily more dying." The stores in H.M. Fort George are in a very miserable condition, the powder all damnified. Prays that a supply of stores of war may be sent etc. Set out, N.Y. Col. Doc. V., pp. 925—929. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Dec, 1731. No signature. Read 4th Jan., 1731/2. 5 pp.
464. i. List of stores of war in Fort George, July 12, 1731. Signed, Phillip Cortlant, James Lancey. Same endorsement. 1½ pp.
464. ii. Census of the inhabitants of the Province of New York. Totals: Whites, 50,242; Blacks, 7,202. Set out, N.Y. Col. Doc. V., p. 929. Same endorsement 11 pp. [C.O. 5, 1055. ff. (abstract, 208), 210–212, 213v.–215, 216, 217, 219, 220. 221, 222, 223, 224, 225–226v.]
Nov. 2.
Phila-
delphia.
465. Mr. Browne to Mr. Popple. Encloses remarks etc. (cf. Aug. 12, Oct. 1st). Concludes : Their Lordships cannot have a stronger proof of my innocency, than the inability of a Govr., with a whole Magistracy entirely, and the ministeriall officers of the Government partly dependant on him, to convict me of the least crime judicially" etc. P.S. The Register, who is a creature of the Govr's., denys me a copy of the fees of the office; I have sent to N. York, but none being in print, as I am at this distance, it is difficult to procure a written one, but I shall by some means soon procure and transmit one to you, Sir, etc. Signed, J. Browne. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Jan., Read 5th May, 1732. Mem. Mr. Browne's remarks etc. were sent with the Board's report of 5th May to the Lords of the Committee. Holograph. Addressed. 1? pp. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 83, 83v., 84v.]
Nov. 3.
Bedford
Row.
466. Mr. Wilks to [? Mr. Popple]. Encloses following in behalf of the Council and Assembly of the Massachusetts to be laid before the Board. Proposes to attend the Board upon this matter and that of the lands between Kennebec and St. Croix etc. Signed, Fra. Wilks. Endorsed, Recd., Read 4th Nov., 1731. 1 p. Enclosed,
466. i. Some reasons in support of the Address of the Council and House of Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay, humbly praying H.M. to withdraw such part of his thirtyeth Instruction to his Governor as excludes the House of Representatives from passing accounts for payment. (1) The House of Representatives have allways readily come into the imposing and levying proportions and reasonable rates and taxes and from time to time have chearfully supported the publick Treasury with such sums of money as were sufficient for the necessary defence and support of the Government and preservation of the inhabitants and they humbly conceive no part of the publick money so raised by them ought to be issued but for such accounts as are establish'd by law, or such as have been pass'd on by the whole Court, except for expresses dispatch'd for the service of the Govr. in recess of the Court, or such other necessary and unforeseen charges as demand prompt payment in which case the severall draughts on the Treasurer ought to express out of what fund and for what service the same is issued, for shou'd the Govr. with the advice of the Councell only have power ad libitum to dispose of the people's money without having the service or accompts for which the money is to be issued examined and pass'd on by the House, it might prove of very fatall consequence to H.M. good subjects of the Province. And as it is more peculiarly the province of the House to lay taxes on the people, so they humbly conceive it is incumbent on them to take care that there be no misapplication thereof, which they have no effectual way of doing, but by being made acquainted with what accounts and demands are made on the Province, and passing thereon before payment be made etc. Argues that this is in accordance with the Charter, and that "it hath been the constant usage for the Assembly to determine on the said accounts and demands, whether they shou'd or shou'd not be paid before the money hath been issued, and to prepare the same for presentation to the Govr. in Council for his warrant on the Treasurer etc. No manner of inconveniency hath ever attended the exercise of this power etc. Without it, a door might be opened for the misapplication of public money, which the Assembly could no ways remedy etc., but which might disable the Province from providing for its defence, etc. 3¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 873. ff. 244–246v., 247v.]
Nov. 4.
Whitehall.
467. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. State dispute between Governor Belcher and Lt. Govr. Dunbar, concerning Col. Walton etc. Continue: Mr. Belcher endeavours to justify the orders given by him to Col. Walton [not to suffer Col. Dunbar to enter Fort William and Mary in quality of Lt. Governor of N. Hampshire], from the 36th article of your Majesty's Instructions to him, wherein it is provided that he shall receive his whole salary, as Governor of ye Massachusets Bay and New Hampshire, altho' he shou'd go upon your Majesty's service into ye Colony of Rhode Island, to view and regulate ye militia there, or whenever by your Majesty's special order he should be commanded to repair into any other of your Majesty's Provinces in Anerica, and from thence inferrs that the powers of Government likewise remain intire in him, notwithstanding ye lie absence; But this indul- gence is meerly an exception to ye general provision of ye said Instruction, whereby your Majesty is pleased to direct that in case of ye sd. Governor's absence from his Government, one full moiety of his salary, and of all perquisites and emoluments whatsoever, which would otherwise become due unto him, shall during the time of his absence from your Majesty's said Provinces, be paid and satisfied unto such Governor, Lt. Governor, Commander in Chief, or President of your Majesty's Council, who shall be resident upon the place for the time being, which your Majesty is pleased to allot to them for their maintainance, and for ye better support of ye dignity of your Majesty's Government in ye said Provinces respectively, and ye said provision would certainly have belonged to them in ye Gover.'s absence from either of ye sd. Provinces, but for this exception, wch. refers only to salarys and perquisites, and has no relation to matters of Government, wch. would otherwise have been mentioned in it, as well as the salary. But Mr. Belcher endeavours further to justify his conduct from ye last clause of your Majesty's Commission to Colo. Dunbar, whereby he is directed as your Majesty's Lieut. Govenr. to obey such Instructions as he shall from time to time receive from your Majesty, or from your Majesty's Capt. General of New Hampshire, now and for the time being. On the other hand, Colo. Dunbar insists, that by one of the clauses in your Majesty's Commission to him, he is directed, in case of the death or absence of your Majesty's Captain General and Governor in Chief of New Hampshire, to take upon him the exercise and performance of all and singular ye powers and directions, contained in your Majesty's Commission to ye sd. Capt. General; and that also by ye last clause in your Majesty's Commission, to Mr. Belcher, all officers and ministers civil and military together with all your Majesty's subjects in ye Province of New Hampshire are required and commanded in case of the death of your Majesty's Capt. General or in his absence out of ye Province, to give obedience to ye Lieut. Governor or the Commander in Chief of ye said Province. Wherefore Colo. Dunbar conceives that it is his duty whenever Mr. Belcher shall goe out of New Hampshire to take upon him and execute all the powers and authorities contained in your Majesty's Commission to your Capt. General of ye province of New Hampshire, with wch. your Majesty hath been pleased to invest ye Lieut. Govr. for ye time being provisionally, during your Majesty's royal pleasure, or untill ye return of the Capt. General, into your Majesty's sd. Province. And further, Collo. Dunbar insists, that altho' he is obliged by your Majesty's Commission, to obey such orders, as he shall from time to time receive from your Majesty, or from ye Capt. General for ye time being, yet that ye sd. clause can only be understood to have referrence to extraordinary occasions, and not to ye ordinary course and administration of Government; and that even extending the said clause further than the natural sense of it imply's, yet that all orders wch. Mr. Belcher may send into New Hampshire, when he himself shall be out of that Province ought always to be directed to your Majesty's Lieut. Governor for ye time being, and no person in that Colony, much less any military officer, should be exempted from obeying such orders, as ye said Lieut. Governor shall give them, for your Majties. service; or that the forts and places of strength, should be taken from under his command. This dispute being a matter of very great consequence to your Majesty's service, and to ye peace and good government of the Colony of New Hampshire, we would not take upon us to decide between Mr. Belcher and Collo. Dunbar without receiving your Majesty's pleasure thereupon. But we would humbly propose that your Majesty should be pleased to declare it to be your royal intention, that al ye usual and ordinary powers of Government, in New Hampshire shall be exercised there, by your Majesty's Lieut.Governor, and Commander in Chief of that Province for the time being, whenever your Majesty's Capt. General shall be or reside in the Province of ye Massachusets Bay, or in any other place but ye said Province of New Hampshire. That such extraordinary orders, as your Majesty's Capt. General shall think fit to send for your Royal service to New Hampshire from the Massachusets Bay or elsewhere, shall be directed to your Majesty's Lt. Govr. or Commander in Chief of New Hampshire for ye time being only. That ye said Capt. General during such his absence from New Hampshire, shall not take upon him, to exempt any officer, civil, or military, from paying obedience to the orders of your Majesty's Lieut. Governor, or of ye Commander in Chief of that Province for ye time being. Annexed,
467. i. List of papers enclosed with above representation. [C.O. 5, 917. pp. 1–8.]
Nov. 4.
Whitehall.
468. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Committee of the Privy Council. Reply to reference of 7th July of Address from the Massachusets Bay etc. Represent that, the practice of striking and issuing bills of credit in lieu of mony, hath been attended with very bad consequences, in several of H.M. Colony's of America, and we conceive, ye ill effects of it are visible in the province of ye Massachusets Bay, since notwithstanding the flourishing state of New England, and ye considerable figure she hath made for many years past in Trade and Navigation yet the current mony of that Colony is at present at so great a discount that £340 of their mony is only equal to £100 sterling whereby the British merchants trading to that country have heretofore been considerable loosers. These were the reasons, which occasioned ye Instruction first complained of in ye Address; Yet H.M. was graciously pleased to allow a paper currency in this Province, provided ye same should not at any time exceed ye sum of £30,000, to be issued in bills of credit for ye support and current service of ye government of ye Massachusets Bay, and this condescention on ye part of ye Crown ought we think to have sati[s]fied their Assembly especially as they have not inform'd H.M. : and we are yet ignorant of what funds they have, or might propose to establish, for the discharge of such new bills, as they desire to add to their present paper currency, and in what proportion and by what methods the same shall be cancelled. The detail of these particulars would be very necessary for our information, and according to ye present sence we have of this matter, we can by no means be of opinion that H.M. 16th Instruction to His Governor of New England ought to receive any alteration. As to ye complaint that is made in ye Address concerning the 30th Article of ye Govr's. Instructions, we take leave to acquaint your Lordships that ye pretention of ye House of Representatives to a right of raising mony for ye supply of the Treasury, by a vote, or resolves, instead of an act of Assembly, with ye power of determining what accompts shall, or shall not be paid, even after the services are perform'd, is a point, which hath already been very solemnly debated before H.M. most honble. Privy Council, and was given up, even by the Agents of New England, as a pretension yt. could not be maintain'd. Whereupon the said Instruction was issued, and first bore date so lately as ye 8th day of May 1730. We would further observe to your Lordships that should H.M. withdraw his Instruction on this head, the Assembly of New England, wou'd be left in possession of a power superior to any which ye British House of Commons lays claim to, in cases of ye same nature, and wch. ye Assembly hath fallen into ye practice of, in direct contradiction to ye tenour of their charter, whereby they are empowered to raise mony for ye support and defence of the Province by acts of Assembly only, the distribution of which mony is expressly reserved to the Governor for ye time being, wth. the advice and consent of the Council. We cannot be of opinion therefore that this article of the Governor's Instructions ought to receive any alteration, and if the Assembly of New England, when they come to be acquainted with H.M. measure [? pleasure] upon this subject, should either refuse, or neglect to supply ye Treasury of that province in a legal manner, so that neither the fortifications can be kept up, nor ye dignity of H.M. Government supported; it is not the King, but the Assembly who will remain answerable for ye ill consequences of their own conduct. [C.O. 5, 917. pp. 9–12].
Nov. 4.
Whitehall.
469. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Describes Lt. Governor Dunbar's complaint against Gov. Belcher for constituting Col. Walton Commander of Fort William and Mary in N.H., and forbidding him to take orders from Col. Dunbar etc. Mr. Belcher endeavours to justify his orders by his 36th Instruction, but this is merely an indulgence and exception to a general rule relating to the Governor's salary, and has no relation to matters of Government, which would otherwise have been mentioned in it as well as the salary. Continue: But Mr. Belcher endeavours further to justify his conduct from the last clause of your Majesty's Commission to Col. Dunbar, whereby he is directed to obey such Instructions as he shall from time to time receive from your Majesty's Capt. General of N. Hampshire. On the other hand Col. Dunbar insists that by one of the clauses in your Majesty's Commission to him, he is directed in case of the death or absence of the Governor etc., to take upon him all the powers of the said Governor, and that by the last clause of Mr. Belcher's Commission all H.M. officers and subjects are required in that case to give obedience etc. Wherefore Col. Dunbar conceives that it is his duty whenever Mr. Belcher shall go out of New Hampshire to take upon him and execute all the powers and authorities contained in your Majesty's Commission to your Captain General of the Province of New Hampshire etc.; and further insists, that altho' he is obliged by your Majesty's Commission to obey such orders, as he shall from time to time receive from your Majesty or from the Captain General for the time being; yet that the said clause can only be understood to have reference to extraordinary occasions, and not to the ordinary course and administration of Government, and that even extending the said clause further than the natural sense of it implys, yet shall all orders which Mr. Belcher may send into New Hampshire, when he himself shall be out of that Province, ought always to be directed to your Majesty's Lt. Governor, and that no person in that Colony much less a military officer should be exempted from obeying such orders as the Lt. Governor shall give them, for your Majesty's service, or that the forts and places of strength should be taken from under his command. This dispute being a matter of very great consequence to your Majesty's service, and to the peace and good government of the Colony of New Hampshire, we would not take upon us to decide between Mr. Belcher and Col. Dunbar, without receiving your Majesty's royal pleasure thereupon. But we would humbly propose that your Majesty should be pleased to declare it to be your royal intention, that all the usual and ordinary powers of government in N. Hampshire shall be exercised there, by your Majesty's Lt. Governor and Commander in Chief of that Province for the time being, whenever your Majesty's Capt. General shall be or reside in the province of the Massachusets Bay, or in any other place, but ye said province of N. Hampshire. That such extraordinary orders as your Majesty's Captain-General shall think fit to send for your royal service to New Hampshire from the Massachusets Bay or elsewhere, shall be directed to your Majesty's Lt. Governor or Commander in Chief of N. Hampshire for the time being only. That the said Captain General during such his absence from N. Hampshire, shall not take upon him to exempt any officer, civil or military, from paying obedience to the order of your Majesty's Lt. Governor, or of the Commander in Chief of that province for the time being. [C.O. 5, 752. Nos. 52, 52 i.].
Nov. 4.
Hartfd.
470. Governor Talcot to the Council of Trade and Plantations. By your favour I received the opinion of H.M. Attorney and Solissitter General; upon a Querie; whether fines and recoverys pass in England of the intailes lying in the Plantations; for which favour I desire humbly to acknowledge your Lordships benificence. 'Tis a pleasure to me to be informed by Mr. Popple's letter of May 31st past that your Lordships have received my answers to your Queries etc.; and I am concern'd that the Book of our Laws from Govr. Saltonstall came not safe to your hands; I remember I heard his Honour say he was about sending over a sett of our laws but whether he sent them or whether they miscarried I can't tell etc. To make good and to answer Mr. Popple's letter of 10th June, sends the whole set of laws, "by which your Lordships will se that our laws do not incumber the commerce, navigation or trade of Great Britain altho' by reason of our poverty and want of a staple commodity wherein to make our returns we are not able to manage any great trade directly to Britain which if it were otherwise with us we should rejoyce to do. Your Lordships will be best inform'd of the reason, necessity and usefullness of our laws by considering the state and circumstances of our country so very many ways differing from that of England. The book of laws I send you have been some time out of the press since which some laws have been altered and some repeal'd which notwithstanding I am forc't to send with the rest unless I should print the book anew for this purpose which I fear would delay the time beyond your Lordship's expectation. With respect to our manufactures and publick transactions I know not what I can add to that of my answer to your Queries; those things being now as they ware when those answers ware made. But if anything further shall occur worthy your Lordships' notice you shall not want the intelligence of it. Signed, J. Talcott. Endorsed, Recd. 18th Feb., Read 4th Oct. 1732. 3 pp. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 114–115v., 117, 117v. (with abstract).]
Nov. 4.
Whitehall.
471. Mr. Popple to John Sharpe. Encloses two copies of Mr. Ocks' petition "for a grant of some lands to the westward of the great ridge of mountains in Virginia, to be communicated to my Lord Baltimore and my Lord Fairfax." If their Lordships have any objections, desires the same in writing as soon as conveniently may be. [C.O. 5, 1366. p. 80.]
Nov. 4.
Bermuda.
472. Lt. Governor Pitt to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to letter etc. of July. Continues: I now humbly beg the favour of your Lordships to interceed with H.M. that the independent company of whom I am Capt. may returne from Providence, assureing your Lordships they are intirely necessary here, the inhabitants are not able to supply the forts with sufficient guards, and as the pirates are very numerous, and often come into the latitude, the Councill and assembly who some time since represented their losses they had sustained by the pirates, and there are now several negroes borne in these islands aboard their ships who are excellent pilotts and know every creek and bay belonging to it, they humbly request your Lordships to interceed with H.M. that a small man of warr may be stationed here. I need not informe your Lordships of the consequences of these islands to the English trade in America and how essential both the Company and a small ship would be, but do myself the honour of referring your Lordships to the Honble. Capt. Forrester of H.M.S. the Dursley who hapily for them came in here in a most distress'd condition. I gave them all the assistance lay in my power while they were refitting etc. Requests their support for his application for salary in lieu of licence for whale-fishery etc. Signed, John Pitt. Endorsed, Recd. 8th Dec, 1731, Read 12th Sept., 1732. 1 p. [C.O. 37, 12. ff. 102, 103v.]; and (abstract) 37, 24. pp. 34, 35.]
[? Nov. 5.]473. Representation of Council of Virginia to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Whereas we have received advice by a letter from the Agent of this Colony to H.M. Lt. Governour that a petition is prepared and designed to be presented by sundry British merchants to the next session of Parliament, praying that an act may pass to hinder any law from being made in the Plantations that may affect the Trade or Navigation of Great Britain: that the lands here may be made liable to the satisfying all kinds of debts: and that appeals which are now limited to £300 may be allowed for any sum not under £100; and having seen the extracts of a late letter from H.M. Lt. Governour to your Lordships (v. 8th Sept.) containing many just exceptions against the passing any such act, we beg leave to lay before your Lordships our reasons against every part of that petition. (i) An Act of Parliament in such indefinite terms forbidding the Plantations to pass any law that may affect the Trade or Navigation of Great Britain, will in effect deprive them of the most valuable privilege granted them by the Crown as an encouragement to their first settlement; because our whole employment as well as interest bears so near relation to our Mother-country, that it will be almost impossible to frame any law that may not be construed some way or other to affect the Trade or Navigation of Great Britain. We can't, for example, lay any tax for the support of H.M. Government: we can't confine our coopers to a reasonable guage in the setting of tobacco hogsheads: nor can we make any provision for the improvement of our staple commodities; for preventing the making or false packing of unsound and unmerchantable tobacco, pitch and tar; or for the just payment of debts in good and valuable commodities (in all which the interest of the British merchants is equally concern'd with our own) without violating so general an Act of Parliament. There is already a very positive and full Instruction from the King to all Governours, to suffer no such law to take effect till it shall be assented to by H.M. 'Tis therefore very strange, that the merchants who have thus the happiness to be much nearer the throne than the planters are, and are commonly sent for when any such law appears, should so far distrust H.M. paternal care in this particular as to petition for an act of Parliament to releive them. Besides, it seems to be more for H.M. service, and for the interest of Great Britain, to prohibit the passing all such laws by a roial Instruction, than by an act of Parliament: because the King by the advice of his Council, will from time to time be perfectly able to judge of the expediency of any such particular law; while it will be hardly possible to form an act of Parliament that will distinguish every case, and provide against every inconvenience relating to this matter. It is certain that in the construction of laws, that are framed with the greatest exactness, men's judgments often vary: It is therefore possible that a law may pass in the Plantations, equally beneficial to the British and Plantation Trade and Navigation in general, which yet may thwart the private interest and conveniency of particular persons; and yet it would be injurious, even to the petitioners themselves, to prevent the passing such a wholsom law, by an act of Parliament, or condemn it when made, only because it concerns the Trade and Navigation of Great Britain, with which, it seems, the petitioners do not intend the Plantation Assemblies shall in any case intermeddle. But, to shew the further unreasonableness of this petition, we humbly presume the petitioners don't intend to exclude the King from judging how far the laws made in the Plantations shall be conformable to such an act of Parliament (for 'tis certain there must be some judicature to determine the controversy), and if so, what greater effect could such an act of Parliament have, than H.M. instruction hath already. And herein we beg leave to represent to your Lordships that as the laws heretofore made in this Colony, which in any degree affect the Trade and Navigation of Great Britain, have always allowed a reasonable time before their commencement, for the merchants to make their objections, and for H.M. consideration of the justness and usefulness of them, we hope the interest of our Mother-Country is so fully secured thereby, that there is no need of such an act of Parliament, but that we shall still be indulged the same privilege in the making laws for ourselves, as this Colony hath enjoyed from its first establishment; and that such laws shall be allowed to continue in force until H.M. shall see fit to signify his disapprobation thereof, (ii) As to lands in the Plantations being made subject to the payment of debts etc., it would make too severe a distinction between H.M. roial subjects here, and those in Great Britain, by subjecting the lands of the planter to the demands of the British merchant, at the same time that the merchant's lands will not be liable to the demands of the planter. Our lands here are held by the same tenure, and are under the protection of the same laws, as the lands in England are: and seeing, in the course of the Plantation business, the factors are as often in the planter's debt, as the planter is in theirs; for this reason, if he hath not an equal remedy against them, it would be against Justice, which always holds the scales even. And therefore the consequence of so partial a distinction must necessarily tend to create uneasiness in the minds of a loial people, when they find they have not equal justice with the rest of their fellow subjects; especially since it can't be denied even by the petitioners' themselves, but they are as dutiful to H.M. and as useful to their Mother Country, (iii) As to appeals etc., the expence a planter must of necessity be at, in going to England to support the judgment he has obtained here, and the damage he must sustain by being absent from his business and family, can never be valued at less than £100: It should therefore seem a little absurd to desire that appeals may ly for so small a sum as can hardly be supposed equal to the charge of recovering or defending it. Besides, the reducing of appeals from £300 to £100, will open a door to very great injustice and oppression by sacrificing the poor to the rich. A man in low circumstances must in such cases submit to give up his right to a more powerful adversary, rather than be dragg'd to England for so small a value, where he must spend more in pursuing his claim than it can be worth. And lastly, in appeals between the planter and the British merchant, the latter will always have the advantage of living upon the spot, and consequently of prosecuting his claim at a much smaller expence. He may therefore afford to appeal for so inconsiderable a sum as £100, at the same time that the planter who has the misfortune of living as a great distance from the fountain of Justice, must be a great sufferer by it. This makes the planter's case very compassionate, and lays him under a manifest disadvantage with respect to all appeals between him and the merchants at home; and more particularly where the sum appealed for is so small as an £100. For all which reasons, we humbly hope that no such law will pass etc. Though we have to our great satisfaction seen by the printed votes, that the bill which was prepared last session of Parliament on the solicitation of the gentlemen of Barbadoes and the other Sugar Islands, came to be rejected in the House of Peers, yet we are still apprehensive new endeavours will be used to obtain a law which gives the Sugar Colonies so great an advantage over all H.M. Plantations on the Continent. We entreat your Lordships to permit us to add our reasons to the many judicious remarks etc. in the Lt. Governor's late letter etc., which he has been pleased to communicate to us. Such a bill as is proposed, must in a great measure discourage all the Trade and Navigation of all H.M. subjects on the Continent, and prove the ruin of many families, who now subsist comfortably by the sale of their provisions to the merchts. trading to the West Indies. For (i), tho' the bill as it was last prepared lays no restraint on the carrying provisions to the foreign Plantations, yet the prohibiting the importation of rum, sugar or molasses from thence, doth as effectually restrain that trade, as if provisions had been particularly mentioned; since those forreign Plantations afford no other returns than such as by this bill are entirely forbid to be brought thither, (ii) Much of the land now possess'd on the Continent, is unfit for the production of any commodities that are suitable for the British market, and yet are very proper for pasturage and Indian corn: it seems therefore extremely hard to take from the possessors of such lands the means of their subsistence, by restraining the export of their commodities only to H.M. Sugar Colonies, which cannot consume one half of the provisions which the people on the Continent can well spare, (iii) As the Sugar Colonies have been constantly supplied with provisions, lumber and horses, and may be so still at a reasonable price, and very often for less than those commodities cost at the place of their first purchase, can it be reasonable to hinder the British subjects on the Continent from disposing of their commodities elsewhere, when the Sugar Colonies are overstock'd and have no need of them? (iv) If by the bill proposed, the British Sugar Islands are to have a monopoly of all the lumber and provisions exported from the Continent, and people there only to be supplied with rum, sugar, and molasses from the said British Islands, the consequence is very apparent; they will have it in their power to exact what prices they please for their own commodities, and to depretiate those on the Continent; besides enhancing the price of sugars sold to the British merchts. trading to those Sugar Islands. For since at this time, sugar and rum are at a very extravagant rate in all the British Sugar Islands, it is easy to conceive that the prices must be considerably encreased, when all supplies from the forreign Plantations shall be prohibited. Lastly, we are humbly of opinion that if the proposed bill should pass as it was prepared last session of Parliament, it would no wise distress the French or Dutch Settlements; because those forreign Colonies would still be supplied with lumber, horses and provisions from H.M. Sugar Plantations: and there seems to be a door left open for such kind of commerce as that bill was then framed. For the penalties are only on the British and Plantation vessels, and masters carrying horses or lumber to the foreign Colonies, but no provision made for the punishment of such as shall furnish those prohibited commodities to forreign vessels hovering upon the coasts of the British Sugar Islands. And since it is well known that the Island of Barbadoes lyes so near to Martinico and St. Lucia and the Leeward Islands contiguous to Guardaloupe and other French settlements and to the Dutch islands of Saba and Eustatia, sloops or other vessels from either of those forreign islands may in one night's time take in and safely land in their own ports, both horses and lumber without the danger of a seizure by any of the officers of H.M. Customs: and in the same manner may the sugar and molasses of forreign islands be clandestinely run into H.M. Sugar Colonies; and when mix'd with their own native product can scarce be distinguished the one from the other, nor liable to condemnation, where no evidences are to be found but negroes: so that the people of the Continent will still be furnished with forreign sugars and molasses, but at double the price they now have it. Upon the whole, we humbly submit to your Lordships whether it is fit altogether to prohibit a trade which encourages the seating of lands that without it would remain as a desart, which employs so many of the British subjects in the Northern Colonies and the Island of Bermuda, in transporting the produce of the labour of many of our inhabitants, and often affords such returns as enables them to purchase negroes for enlarging our tobacco manufacture: which furnishes our neighbours who have few native commodities of their own, with beneficial remittances to Great Britain; and withall encreases the export of the British Sugar Colonies to their Mother Country for the supply of the European markets at the same time that it lessens that of the forreign Sugar Islands. We are far from desiring a licence to transport to the forreign Plantations any of the commodities already prohibited by the Acts of Trade, nor any other whatsoever prejudicial to the trade or manufacture of our Mother Country. But as for all other product[s] of our labour which no way interfere with the British trade, and which neither the people of the Continent have occasion for, nor the British Sugar Colonies can possibly use, such as, all kinds of provisions and lumber, and even horses too (when neither the one can employ nor the other desire to purchase them) it is humbly hoped H.M. subjects on the Continent shall still be allowed the liberty of sending them to such markets where they are most vendible; especially when it is considered that whatever is gained by this commerce must at last centre in Great Britain, or be laid out in the purchase of British commodities. It remains that we humbly offer to your Lordships some few considerations in relation to the vote of the Honble. House of Commons of the 5th of May last, for laying before that House a state of H.M. Colonies in America, with respect to their laws, manufactures and trade, which may affect the Trade, Navigation and Manufactures of Great Britain. And herein permit us to inform your Lordsps., that nothing but inevitable necessity will ever induce the people of this Colony to go upon any kind of manufactures interfering with those of their Mother Country. When tobacco bears but a moderate price, every planter can be supplied with all the necessaries he wants, out of the produce of his crops, at much easier rates than he can furnish himself by any home manufacture: But the price of tobacco having been continually declining for divers years past, it is not to be admired, if many poor people no longer able to gain cloathing for their familys, by their crops, have tried to raise cotton and flax, and to make a kind of coarse cloth and linnen wherewith to supply the wants of their indigent familys. This is a shift they have often been put to upon the like occasion, and will no doubt, have the same duration as it had then: for no sooner did tobacco begin to rise in value, than all these newfangled manufactures vanished; and the land which before had been used for cotton and flax, immediatly converted into tobacco ground; and so it will again, whenever we shall be so happy as to see our staple commodity rise to its former value. This is the only kind of manufacture at present in this Colony; and the principal means to divert the people from it, is as has been said before, to advance the credit and value of our staple; towards which a very good law pass'd last session of Assembly, and is now ready to be put in execution: and if that has not the effect which is hoped for, we know no other way of enabling the people to subsist, than by some abatement of the high duties on tobacco, which are at present very burthensome both to the merchant and planter. In the mean time it is impossible to propose any means to prevent people's endeavouriug to cloath themselves, when they have nothing to purchase the same; and no choice, but to make it themselves, or go naked, a condition which we are persuaded H.M. would not wish the worst of H.M. subjects to be reduced to. As to new trades set up here, we know of none, except four iron works now employed in the running of pig iron, which is all exported to England, there being no attempts hitherto made towards setting up forges for making it into barrs; nor if it were, is there any probability of it's being manufactured into any utensils, which cannot be had at a much cheaper rate from Great Britain. Besides these, there are now some copper mines lately discovered, not without a probability of success: but these are of so late a date, that besides some parcels of ore sent home to England for experiments, little else has hitherto been made of them. These are all the manufactures or trades set up or discovered in this country; and as we hope the one will administer no occasion of jealousie to our Mother Country; so there is no doubt the other may with due encouragement add considerably to its wealth and conveniency. We should not have troubled your Lordsps. with so long a representation, had it not been to obviate the misinformations of those who endeavour to acquire advantages to themselves, at the expence of their fellow subjects; and to give your Lordsps. the best lights we could, in relation to those enquiries, which seem to be intended in the next Session of Parliament. For the rest, we beg leave to referr your Lordsps. to what Capt. Isham Randolph shall have the honour to lay before you, in relation to the several matters herein mentioned, who having gone from hence to London, fully instructed as to what relates to this Colony, with the trade and circumstances whereof he is perfectly well acquainted; and withall a gentleman of great probity; we entreat your Lordsps. will be pleased to give him a favourable hearing in all such matters wherein he shall have occasion to apply to your Board. And as it is our unhappiness to have no representative, in the British Parliament, we beseech your Lordships to take us under your protection; and to lay our case in so favourable a manner before H.M., that the loial inhabitants of this British Colony may still continue to enjoy those privileges which have been granted them by the Crown from the time of their first settlement; and may be protected in their estates equally with the rest of H.M. subjects. Signed, Robert Carter, James Blair, W. Byrd, Cole Digges, Joh. Robinson, John Carter, John Grymes, W. Dandridge, Jno. Curtis, William Randolph, Hen. Harrison. Endorsed, Recd. 17th, Read 18th Jan., 1731/2 9 large pp. For date assigned, see Lt. Gov. Gooch's letter, Dec. 22 infra. [C.O. 5, 1322. ff. 194– 198, 199v.]