America and West Indies
March 1732, 16-31


Institute of Historical Research



Cecil Headlam (editor) Arthur Percival Newton (introduction)

Year published





Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'America and West Indies: March 1732, 16-31', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 39: 1732 (1939), pp. 86-99. URL: Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


(Min 3 characters)

March 1732, 16-31

March 16.
131. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. By this conveyance, H.M.S. Lyon, I have the honor to transmitt to your Lordships together with the duplicates of my last by Bradshaw of Bristol, the seven acts pass'd in last session of Assembly here, and the Journals and Minutes of Council and Assembly. The act for raising several sums etc. received my assent on the 29th of Jany. Before it receiv'd that the Assembly agreed to an expedient as to the clause relating to the high impost on convicts, that was an engagement to pass an act in the same session repealing that clause in the other act, which was accordingly pass'd and is one of the seven now sent. On the 6th of February following I receiv'd H.M. Instruction relating to dutys on slaves imported etc. There being in this act abovemention'd no other or higher dutys impos'd on slaves then what had been for a long course of years without complaint, and interfering with no Instruction of which I was at that time possess'd, I thought my self sufficiently impower'd and warranted to pass it. I however immediately lay'd that Instruction before the Council and Assembly. The effect it had was a joint address of both to H.M. with their request to me to transmitt it, which I accordingly did to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle etc. and now send a duplicate etc. I cannot make the least doubt of your Lordships recommending to H.M. a gracious condescension in the matter of that duty the apprehension of the consequences of that Instruction having struck such a damp upon publick credit that we know not where to find money for immediate exigencys not to mention the expens of the Government and contingencys, and altho' I am near to three quarters behind as to my sallary, had I not sent and procur'd a small loan for the use of the partys order'd out against the slaves, that service must have been disappointed and the rebels incourag'd to greater mischief. I think the other acts require no remarks only in the Additional Duty act which altho' it continues the additional pay to the Officers of the two Regiments strikes of that of the private men from the 8th day of February which was judg'd of no consequence seeing they were almost all inlisted in the Independent Companys or ingag'd in the country service, and that it was expected they should immediately imbark being assembled at Port Royal for that purpose, and nothing but Rear Admiral Stewart's being at Port Antonio prevented it. I shall use my best endeavours to get it allow'd somehow to the day of their imbarkation which is to-morrow. The party fitted out against the slaves consisting of 93 arm'd negroes and five overseers, white men 46 soldiers including officers and 28 baggage negroes march'd from Liguanea on the south side of the island fifteen days ago. I have no account of them or from them since their march. The other party from the north side or Port Antonio who were to have march'd off about the same time did not inarch till some day last week being retarded by the delay of the ship with provisions which by contrary winds was kept at sea above a fortnight. That party consists of 86 white and 131 blacks arm'd and 61 baggage negroes. Could they have attackt the rebels as it was projected about the same time on the opposite quarters I should have had good hopes of success, but as it is I cannot flatter myself or promise your Lordships that the affair' will have an issue answering the effort and expens. I expect every moment an account from them which I shall send whatever it be by the first ship for England etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 16th May, Read 12th Sept., 1732. 4 pp. [C.O. 137, 20. ff. 62–63 v., 64 v.]
March 16.
132. Governor Hunter to the Duke of Newcastle. Repeats part of preceding, of which he encloses copy. Continues : I assure your Grace the interests of this island require your attention and care; our publick credit sunk, the planter dispirited by the increase and success of the slaves in rebellion, the decrease of white people and decay of trade, the giddy measures of one part of our Legislature promoted by the artifices of a crafty man who's study it is to perlex and imbroil publick affairs, having the ascendant over a number of unthinking men and such as during the lethargy of others as I may call it got themselves by his interest elected merely for protection, these circumstances call for a remedy beyond the limits of my power or capacity, and make this island a proper object of H.M. compassion as well as paternal care. The precarious state of my health and the perplexity of my private concerns indue'd me humbly but earnestly to beg a favour which I formerly obtain'd and has not been refus'd to others, that is H.M. leave to go to England for six months. If I obtain it I assure your Grace I shall not make use of it unless it may be done with safety to H.M. service here, and if it should be his royal pleasure that I should return hither, I shall do it cheerfully let the consequence to me be what it will. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, R. 15th May. 2½ pp. Enclosed,
132. i. Duplicate of Hunter to Council of Tr de preceding. [C.O. 137, 54. ff. 46–49 v.]
March 16.
133. Mr. Popple to Mr. Carkesse. My Lords Commissioners etc. leaving under their consideration a dispute between Mr. Belcher etc. and Mr. Atkinson, late Deputy Collector of the Customs, N.H., etc., desire to know whether Mr. Atkinson acted by virtue of any deputation from the Commissioners of H.M. Customs. [C.O. 5, 917. p. 32.]
Marc 17.
134. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Recommend for Confirmation Acts of New Jersey, 1730, (i) for the support of Government etc. by issue of £20,000 in bills of credit etc., (ii) prescribing the forms of declaration of fidelity etc. ; But the Act imposing a duty on persons connected of heinous crimes, " seems to be intended to prevent the importation of convicts from Great Britain, in pursuance of the several acts of Parliament made for that purpose, we therefore beg leave humbly to lay the same before your Majesty for your disallowance." [CO. 5, 996. pp. 283, 284.]
March 18.
Custom ho.,
135. Mr. Carkesse to Mr. Popple. In reply to enquiry about case of Mr. Atkinson, encloses following letters. Signed, Cha. Carkesse. Endorsed, Recd. 18th, Read 23rd March, 1731/2. 1 p. Enclosed,
135. i. Commissioners of H.M. Customs to Governor Belcher. London, 18th Nov., 1731. Reply to letters of 26th July and 31st Aug. It appearing that Mr. Atkinson was appointed only to act for Mr. Devereux Bacon, Surveyor Genl., now decased, he should have submitted to your appointment, wch. we have signified to him etc. Mr. Reynolds, the established Collector, being now returned to New England, he must execute that office pursuant to the deputation etc. he has received from us etc. Request him to have the seal he has had cut broken in Mr. Reynolds' presence. Will order the salaries of those who have served as Collector to be paid when they receive the accounts etc. Signed, J. Stanley, B. Fairfax, J. Evelyn, R. Baylis. Copy. 1 p.
135. ii. Same to Mr. Reynolds, Collector of Piscataway. 17th Nov., 1731. Instructions in accordance with preceding. Same signatures. Copy. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 874. ff. 46, 47, 48, 49 v.]
March 21.
136. Duke of Newcastle to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following and signifies H.M. pleasure that the papers desired be laid before the House. Signed, Holles Newcastle. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21st March, 1731/2. ½ p. Enclosed,
136. i. Address of the House of Lords to the King. 20th March, 1731/2. Address H.M. that the Commrs. of Trade be ordered to lay before the House their report of 21st Jan. to H.M. on the petition of merchants for the more easy recovery of debts in the Plantations with H.M. Instructions to the Governor of Jamaica, Journal of Assembly of Virginia relating to that subject and Act of Virginia declaring how long judgments, bonds etc. shall be in force etc. Copy ¾p. [C.O.323,9. ff. 106, 107, 109 v.]
March 23.
137. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Referring back to the Council of Trade and Plantations their report upon the Bahama Islands etc., (v. 9th March, No. 128), to take proof of the matters alleged and to inform themselves of the exact amount of the quit-rents paid yearly etc. Set out, A.P.C. III, p. 197. Signed, Ja. Vernon. Endorsed, Recd. 3rd, Read 21st April, 1732. l ¼ pp. Enclosed,
137. i. Copy of Representation of 9th March. 3 pp. [C.O. 23, 3. ff. 47–49, 50 v.]
March 23.
138. Duke of Newcastle to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have laid before H.M. your letter, with the several papers annext, relating to the incroachments that the French are said to be making on the Colony of New York ; and the danger to which the trade and security of that Province may be exposed thereby, if no measures should be taken to prevent their further progress : and H.M. has commanded me, to referr that matter to your consideration, and to signify to you His pleasure, that you lay before him your thoughts upon this subject, and the methods which, in your opinion, may be proper to be taken, to put a stop to those encroachments. Signed, Holles Newcastle. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd, Read 28th March, 1732. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1055. ff. 238, 239 v.]
March 23.
139. Duke of Newcastle to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following etc. It is H.M. pleasure that you accordingly comply etc. Signed, Holles Newcastle. Endorsed, Recd., Read 23rd March, 1731/2. ¾ p. Enclosed,
139. i. Address of the House of Lords to the King. 22nd March, 1731/2. That the Board of Trade may be directed to lay before the House the several Representations laid before them from the Sugar Colonies and the proceedings had thereupon before that Board. Copy, ½ p. [C.O. 28, 23. ff. 5, 6, 8 v.]
March 24140. Petition of the Clerks of the Office to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations. Mr. Burrish having been appointed Solicitor and Clerk of the reports, upon the increase of business in 1730 for so long as the Board should judge necessary, with an allowance of £200 per annum, the Secretary and Clerks offered him to be an equal sharer of fees (v. 12th Aug., 1731) with them, although he is not upon the Establishment, which he refused and demanded an equal division with the Deputy Secretary etc. This would considerably lessen each of petitioners' shares. Since petitioners are not eased in the copying of papers by the said officer, and several of them have been upwards of 20 years in the service of the Commission, etc. pray the Board's approval of their offer etc. Endorsed, Recd., Read 24th March, 1731/2. II pp. [C.O. 388, 80. ff. 41, 41 v., 42 v.]
March 25.141. Office expenses of the Board of Trade. Christmas, 1731—Lady Day, 1732. See Journal of Council. Endorsed, 28th March, 1732. [C.O. 388, 80. ff. 43, 44 r.–47, 48 v., 49, 50 v.]
March 27.142. Order of House of Lords. That the Commissioners for Trade do lay before this House a Journal of the Assembly of the Massachusets Bay 27th May—16th Dec, 1730 ; the Acts passed in New York, New England, and Virginia for preventing the sale of rum to the Indians ; extract of their report in 1721 relating to the trade from New England to the French Islands ; and extract of report by Cadwallader Colden etc. so far as the same relates to the navigation of the River of Canada. Signed. Wm. Cowper, Cler. Parliamentor. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 29th March, 1732. 1 p. [C.O. 323, 9. ff. 110, 113 v.]
March 27.
Charles Town.
143. Governor Johnson to the Duke of Newcastle. Encloses following. The Council has reprieved Me Cornick till H.M. pleasure be known etc. Signed, Robt. Johnson. 1 p. Enclosed,
143. i. Memorial of Robert Wright, C.J., S. Carolina, to Governor Johnson. Alexander McCornick was committed to gaol in Charles Town for the murder of Matthew Johnson in the Indian country in 1728, and by the testimony of one witness found guilty. Oct. 28, 1731. Prisoner alleged that he was assaulted by deceased with a knife, and caught up a pistol in defence not knowing it was loaded etc. ; that his witnesses who attended several sessions to testify the same were now gone off the country ; and that there being no prosecution against him for near three years, by law he ought to have been discharged out of prison ; that he had been a great sufferer by so long an imprisonment, having spent his substance and lost his business etc. The Court, recommend him as an object worthy of H.M. mercy. Signed, Robt. Wright, C.J. l¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 388, ff. 42, 44, 44 v.]
[March 28.]144. Petition of merchants, traders and masters of ships tradeing from the city of Bristoll to Newfoundland to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Petition similar to that from Dartmouth (r. Feb. 8th, No. 74). 66 signatures. Endorsed, Recd, (from Mr. Wood) 28th March, Read 4th April, 1732. 1 large p. [C.O. 194, 9. ff. 150, 150 v.]
March 28.
145. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury. Request payment of office expences and Officers' salaries for quarter ending Lady Day. Account annexed. [C. O. 389, 37. pp. 335, 336.]
March 28.
146. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. With the duplicate of what I had the honor to write by H.M.S. the Lyon which sail'd on the 20th inst. with the remains of the Regiments I now send you such an account of the success of our partys as on this short warning I can do. As it was projected, the two partys fel in near about the same time, and to which we undoubtedly owe our success, as it well appears by the letters and journals from the Commanders, copys of which I have transmitted to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle by this conveyance, Capt. Edward Ellis a Londoner, the originals of which I receiv'd by an express yesterday. We are now possess'd of the three chief settlements of the rebels, and may keep possession, if the Assembly which is to meet this day seven night will do their duty. I have given the necessary orders for their reinforcement and supplys of all kind in my power, and shall further advise your Lordships by other conveyances as I myself shall be advis'd etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 24th May, Read 12th Sept., 1732. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 137, 20. ff. 65, 65 v., 70 v.]
March 28;
147. Governor Hunter to the Duke of Newcastle. Repeats part of preceding and encloses copies of papers received yesterday from Port Antonio. Continues :—That your Grace may the better understand them I think it necessary to inform you, that Peters is a partisan who as he has formerly done now commands a country party consisting of volunteers and arm'd negroes, Morrison formerly a serjt. but now commanding a party of the soldiers discharg'd from the Regiments who march'd with Peters in order to sustain him, Allen another serjeant commanding a like party of discharg'd soldiers who march'd with Sambo, a free negro, who has formerly done good service, and now leads a party of choice arm'd negroes who were to attack the rebels from this side as the others were to do as near to the same time as we could contrive it from the opposite. To this project of falling upon them from different quarters tho' attended with difficultys almost insuperable as your Grace may observe from the Journal of Allen, homely indeed, but true, we owe what success we have had ; their wants must have been occasion'd by their mistake or missing the rout, Lamb having assur'd me that he would be in with them in eight days from his setting out, they are now possess'd of the three principal settlements of the rebels, and I have order'd a reinforcemt. of forty private men with officers from the two Independent Companys to be imbark'd this day for Port Antonio, and have given orders for the immediate supplys of provisions ammunition and other necessarys, and shall inquire into the grounds of Morrison's complaint of his men's behaviour, which I believe has too good a foundation. Two days before receipt of that express I had further prorogu'ed the Assembly for a week, and they are to meet this day seven night, if I can prevail with them to meet; but such is the indolence of some, and spitefull artifices of others, that endeavours tho' for their own preservation are frequently defeated, or spoil'd by ingredients mixt with their acts and resolutions, which clog the whole, and your Grace well knows that little service can be done here without the assistance of a General Assembly etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, R. 19th June. 3½ pp. Enclosed,
147. i. Capt. Allen to Governor Hunter. Molly's Town and Diana's Town. 21st March, 1731/2. Encloses Journal, and begs for dispatch of ammunition, provisions and shoes. A great many of the men are sick and lame besides the wounded etc. Signed, Christopher Allen.
147. ii. Journal of Capt. Christopher Allen. Abstract. Marched about 6 a.m., 27th Feb., 1731/2, to Capt.. Thomas Edlyne's in Liguanea, and thence at 4 p.m. to Distance Mountain. One deserter. Halted there Monday and Tuesday, himself being very ill with feaver and ague. 1st March, marched along the river, and next day " for New Liguanea up the sd. river and over 3 hills and the ridge of a damn'd iron bound mountain which was not 5 inches wide in some places and came to a halt on the back of a mountain. All expecting to find a town in New Liguanea in the morning, were disappointed. Friday, the 3rd. Made over the mountain but found no town, came to halt in the heart of Yellow River. Several of our men sick with feaver and ague, and several sprain'd their arms and ancles in climbing the rocks and waterfalls, some cut their shinns etc. 4th–6th. Marched up the river, " and rais'd a very steep rocky mountain with two hammocks and ropes to pull us up and down to a halt in the sd. river. 7th. Rais'd a very high ridge of the Blue Mountain and came to a halt on a ridge where we had the sight of Port Antonio and Port Royal etc. Very foggy and cold weather as ever I knew in England, the wind cut our faces. 8th. Still on the said mountain and without water this 36 hours and now came to a pond of standing water which was a vast refreshment to our people etc. All our provisions out. 9th. Still some miles up the sd. mountain, shott two pidgeons, no water this 24 hours, came to a halt near a hole of water all night which was not sufficient for all our men, all our provisions gone. 10th. Still over the mountain some miles and found a small spott of standing water where we came to a halt all night, very foggy and cold weather and our men very much jaded for want of provisions and water. 11th. Still over the sd. mountain, and came to a halt at the very top etc., we had hard rains and blowing weather all this night which was enough to perish us all and no water this 24 hours. 12th. In the morning saw the three towns which seem'd just under us that we could get there to dinner at which we were all overjoy'd. Describes march down the mountain and along Back River in heavy rain. " By climbing up and down the waterfalls and hills several of our peices went off " and men were wounded etc. 15th. Got up just as day broke and march'd very hastily for the Town being very hungry and a great many of our men sick and almost starv'd came into the town and shott at one entrance before the lower town had the alarm by negroes, and then they came down very boldly and fought very hot all this day and night and wounded only two negroes in all this hot fray, but we could percieve as fast as we kill'd their men they dragg'd them away and buried to the number of 18 or 20. 16th. In the morning made a party of 50 shott to drive them from the lower town, but they ambusht our men and there engaged them very hotly for two hours etc. Names 14 casualties. " All this night they have been pouring volleys on our center guards and this day we burnt down 25 houses on the outside of the town and left 60 standing in the 2 towns in our possession." 17th and 18th. Still between whiles they are fireing of volleys etc. A great many of our men sick and swelled legs etc. 19th. Their out scouts perceiving Capt. Peters coming down the river set several of their houses on fire and gone. 20th. Capt. Peters joins them, " with abundance of joy." Copy. 5 pp.
147. iii. Capt. Morrison to Governor Hunter. The Great Town. 22nd March, 1731/2. In company with Capt. Peters, Capt. Creswell and Capt. Lee, we marched into the woods from the estate of Mr. Hobby the 15th of this inst., and on the 19th were ambuscaded within a mile of North River coming off from the Blue Mountain Ridge within two miles from the Negro Town, where Capt. Lee was shott, our pilot and one negro more. We shott several of them (I believe), but we found but one, for their number was so great they carry'd them off etc. We followed them to the town, which when they found they could not defend they set on fire except seven houses in which we now live. I cannot say in this action my. men behav'd themselves as they ought, but far from it, except Lt. Lamberth and half a dozen more. I have here but 24 private men, some of which are sick, and some others such cowardly fellows which make me repent I brought them out with me etc. If your Excellency shall think proper to send me a detachment of good men and directions I shall use my utmost endeavour to follow, for with what men I have it is impossible for me to keep the town etc. Signed, Andrew Morrison. Copy. 1¾ pp.
147. iv. Capt. Peters to Governor Hunter. The Great Negro Town. 22nd March, 1731/2. Enclose Journal. Could not start from Port Antonio sooner, as the schooner with supplies had not arrived, etc. ' " The Gentlemen of the country have not done well, for instead of sending good able shotts they have sent a parcel of cowardly obstinate unable fellows who neither good words nor bad will do any good, some of whom are already run. My white men are far from answering my expectation. Asks for reinforcements of " good men both white and black" etc. Signed, Thos. Peters. Copy. 2⅓ pp.
147. v. Journal of Capt. Thos. Peters. 12th–20th March, 1732. On 12th marched from the Rio Grande to Mr. Stringer's penn etc. ; thence to Hobby's estate with great rain which disordered the men's arms, ammunition and provisions etc. 15th to Foxes Ridge etc. 17th. Through Soper's Old Town and crossed the right arm of the back river of Grande, to the foot of the Blue Mountain (18th) and marched up the same and took up on the top of the ridge in our old hutts. 19th. Down the ridge to within a mile of the North River, which runs by the side of the rebels' cocoa piece, where we were ambuscaded by the rebels. Capt. Lee was mortally wounded etc. and one of our pilots, Hercules, and one other negro named Cuffee etc. We are certain we killed several rebels, but their numbers being so great, they earned them away and hid them so that we found but one, whose head and ears are cut off. 19th. We followed with all the haste that was possible the rebels down the river to the town, which we found on fire etc., consisting of 120 houses, seven of which we saved etc. and rested this night. On 20th joined the Liguanea partys, as above etc. Copy. 2⅓ pp.
147. vi. Address of the Assembly of-Jamaica to Governor Hunter'. April 22nd, 1732. Return thanks for his speech, and will join their heartiest endeavours to his to improve the occasion of the success of the parties in the N.E. Continue : The proper application of punishment we don't doubt will prevent any failure in the behaviour of the partys for the future, and if any further rewards are necessary we shall not be wanting etc. As we have much at heart the keeping of the ground already gained from the rebels, we shall pursue our former resolutions of erecting defensible barracks, which we hope will contribute to the better settling, and peopling those unsettled parts and prevent the desertion of our slaves for the future etc. If any of the funds shall be found deficient, our former engagements will be sufficient inducement to make them good, and as by H.M. gracious condescention his quit rents are now become applicable to the support of this his Government, we shall use our best endeavours to ascertain and collect the same, which may in some measure prevent new impositions upon the people etc. Will use all diligence and dispatch etc. Copy. 2 pp.
147. vii. Governor Hunter's Reply to preceding. 22nd April. Your resolutions are very agreeable to me, and when prosecuted to effect, will well deserve due acknowledgements from those you represent, and so be most acceptable to His Majesty, the true Father of all his people. Copy. ⅓ p. [C.O. 137, 54. ff. 50–52, 54–56,58 58 v., 60, 62–63, 64, 64 v., 66 ; and (abstract of covering ? by Mr. Delafaye) 137, 47. ff 129, 129 v.]
[March 30
date of
148. Commodore Clinton to Mr. Popple. Sir, I shall endeavour as farr as layes in my power to lay before their Lordps. the present state of the trade of Newfoundland wch. wants proper regulacon and can be (in my opinion) no otherways done then by altering the Act pass'd in the 10th and 11th of King William relateing to the Newfoundland ffishery, for the Governour to have full power and authority to put ye laws in execution as in other H.M. plantations, especially considering the maney frauds and abuses commited in all the parts of Newfoundland by the Admirals themselves, who are authoriz'd to administer justice in relacon to the fishery, which authority they make use of in their owne private trade to the detriment of all others, and have no manner of regard to the good rules perscrib'd in the said Acts then what just suits with their owne private interest and advantage. At the time that act past, the ships chiefly then imploy'd in the trade were purely for the takeing and cureing of fish, wch. ships brought over with 'em great numbers of men to be employ d in the fishery, their necessary provisions and craft for makeing their voyages, and after the fishing season was over return'd to England with their fishermen and servants, excepting those ships that carried their fish to markets. Those ships on their arrivall in Newfoundland did (pursuant to the Act of parliament) makeup of so much of the ships roome as was necessary for the number of shalloops each ship imploy'd, and accordingly built their stages and flakes, and after ye season was over left all standing for the benifitt of the fishing ships that came the year following, wch. was of very great advantage for the ships on their arrivall to find stages and flakes ready without the charge and trouble of building, but for many years past, that custome is left, few ships come purely on accot. of catching and cureing of fish, except it be from Biddeford and Barnstaple, but from Dartmouth, Tinmouth, Topsham, Bristoll, etc., instead of comeing directly on ye fishery, leave Britain with just a saileing crew (ships that bring the passengers excepted) and many of them proceed for Ireland and load with provisions, soap, candles, linnen and woollen goods and great numbers of Irish Roman Catholicks, their cargoes they as admirals soone dispose off and take care to excersise their authority in receiveing all their debts and often more ; the greater number of men now there are Irish Romans and those the scum of that kingdom who on the arrivall of the tradeing fishing ships are employ'd by their Commanders as fishermen on the Banks of Newfoundland ; to make up the numbers wch. of right they ought to bring from Brittain, by wch. means the intencon of makeing the fishery of Newfoundland a nursery for seamen is totally frustrated, for those Irishmen few or none ever become seamen or are imploy'd as such, it's to be hop'd some means may be found to prevent the yearly import of such numbers of those people. There is another most scandelous thing wch. is the admiralls and tradeing peoples entring in a violent manner on the people's flakes and stages and seizeing under pretence of debt (by force) what quantity's of fish and other goods they please : to prevent it I issued out an order, copy of wch. is here inclos'd, but tho' so necessary an order I don't suppose it will be regarded any more then others I have given out, unless I have a power to punish those persons that does disobey, wch. with submission to their Lordps. may be done by a fine as it is in the French fishery. and the money to be put into good secure hands to be laid out in repairing the severall churches, gaols and other charitable uses, and for want of some such, or some other their Lordps. will be pleas'd to think off, I doe declare it will be impossible to govern the sett of people that lives there, or that comes on ye account of the fishery etc. Signed, Geo. Clinton. Endorsed, Recd. 30th March, Read 4th April, 1732. 3 pp. Enclosed,
148. i. Proclamation of Commodore Clinton. H.M.S. Salisbury, 24th Sept., 1731. Whereas great complaint has been made to mee by maney of the inhabitants, boatkeepers and others that severall of the masters of the fishing ships and tradeing people to this place do take an unwarrantable liberty of entring in a violent manner on the said people's flakes and stages, and seize under pretence of debt (by force) what quantity of fish or other goods they please, without haveing any authority for so doing, and contrary to many former orders given by other Commanding Officers on this occasion, by which illegal practices masters are disabled from paying their servants wages, the poore servants are indue'd to beggary, etc. And whereas it appears to me that severall of the inhabitants, boatkeepers and others of this place proceed in a very scandelous manner towards each other, and doe frequently combine with persons to withdraw or secretly convey off their rooms all or the greatest part of their effects at the conclusion of ye fishing season, under pretense of answering as well their falacious and contriv'd, as real debts to the great prejudice, if not utter ruin of others to whome they are realy and justly indebted, and such as have perhaps dureing the winter season supply'd and furnish'd 'em with the necessarys and conveniencys of life. Therefore by virtue of the power and authority to me given to regulate the fishery in all the ports of Newfoundland, I am determin'd to put a stop to those illegal proceedings, for the future they being growne too notorious to suffer any longer with impunity, and doe hereby strictly forbid any person wtsoever to enter upon or take from any flake, stage, etc. in the manner abovesaid, any fish oil or other goods without first obtaining leave from me for so doing, or in my absence from under ye hands of (at least) two of the Fishing Admirals on pain of the person so offending forfeiting double ye quantity of goods the complainant shall make appear was in such manner taken away, and if any person shall be convicted of clandestinly conveying away and making over his effects in order to defraud his just and honest creditors, the same shall be restored and a suitable punishment inflicted on ye person so transgressing. And for the future every master of a fishing ship inhabitant and others are to take notice that all debts that shall be hereafter contracted particular regard will be had to the time they were enter'd into, and according as they commence or supersede each other so they shall have preferrenee in respect of payment. Signed, Geo. Clinton. Copy. 1¾ pp[C.O. 194. 9. ff. 151–153 v.]
March 30,
149. Lt. Governor Gooch to the Council of Trade and Plantations. This letter is to prevent your Lordships being alarmed by reports that in all likelihood will be brought home concerning the uneasiness of the people under the execution of our tobacco law ; the whole truth of which is this ; In the Northern Neck the Planters, who never yet willingly submitted to any laws, finding, during the moneths of January and February, no ship nor goods come into the country, concluded that the merchants were so much displeased with the law, that they would send none hither ; when they did some of them arrive, the next thing that perplexed them was the news these masters of ships brought with them that the law would very quickly be repealed, so that some of the most turbulint among the planters, rather than their tobacco should be inspected burnt some of the warehouses, upon the presumption that if they could by that means put a stop to our proceedings, their trash which would not pass under the law, they might sell as usual when the repeal came in. Within the compass of a moneth, four houses were destroyed by fire ; but the arrival of some ships, and the methods I have taken, " that temper seems to vanish," and there, but more especially, in all other parts of the country the tobacco is brought to the warehouses as fast as the Inspectors can pass it. There are etc. other reasons which concur to raise clamours among the planters in some of the upper counties and Northern Neck : as first, bringing their tobacco under that strict examination prescribed by the law, hath detected their vile practice of false packing for which those planters have been a long time noted. Then it restrains the profit they used to make by cheating the buyers with trash, and obliges them to pay their quit rents with merchantable tobacco, which were formerly discharged with their very meanest stuff. It engages them to greater care and industry in the management of their crops for the future. So that no wonder, if people remote from the seat of Government, always remarkable for their disobedience, mingled with many transported convicts, should be ready to oppose everything that thwarts their interest by discovering and preventing their knavery. As I have by the advice of Council issued a Proclamation offering a reward of £100 cur. and pardon, for discovering the burners of these houses, (and others are almost built in their places) I doubt not to bring that part of the country to reason by punishing the principal offenders and movers of seditious humours, and I hope their behaviour will not be taken as the general disposition of the country, where there hath not happen'd the least disturbance. It must be confessed that not any one part of the country has been entirely free from a dislike to this law, but it is chiefly owing to the many idle and ridiculous stories industriously spread about by wicked men, with the people's ignorance of the law, and the severe treatment, they think it, with which its execution begins. But, my Lords, the inclosed Dialogue which I put together and published for their better information just after these disturbances broke out, has already done great service ; and as the arguments are confined to that part of the law in which the poor planters are more nearly concerned, your Lordships will judge whether they have any reason to complain. My Lords, let what will happen be assured it does not proceed from any fault in the law, and if it meets everywhere with many enemies, 'tis because there are not so many honest men as …. As I am resolved to stand by the law, and only endeavour to reform some parts of it to make it more agreable to the merchants, (a sett of gentlemen I will please if I can) I intend the Assembly shal meet for that purpose in May, unless I find the Members fall in with the tempers of the basest of the people who, particularly from the Northern Neck as yet, call for a repeal of it. Your Lordships shall know from time to time how we proceed, and I hope the best from the Assembly ; also if we do meet, shan't meddle with it unless they'l mend it, for as it is, let men say what they will, it is a very good law ; your Lordships will excuse the hurry I write in, having had but little notice of a Bristol ship ready to saile with inspected tobacco etc. Signed, William Gooch. Endosed, Recd. 8th May, Read 12th Sept., 1732. Holograph. 2¼ pp. Enclosed,
149. i. A Dialogue between Thomas Sweet-Sented, William Oronoco, Planters, both men of good understanding, and Justice Love-Country, who can speak for himself. Recommended to the reading of the Planters. By a Sincere Lover of Virginia [i.e. Lt. Gov. Gooch. v. preceding]. 18 small quarto pp. Williamsburg. Printed by William Parks, 1732. Endorsed as preceding. [C.O. 5, 1323. ff. 12–13 v., 17–26, 28 v. ; and (abstract) 7, 7 v.]