America and West Indies
May 1736, 16-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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1953

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207-220

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'America and West Indies: May 1736, 16-31', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 42: 1735-1736 (1953), pp. 207-220. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72845 Date accessed: 23 July 2014.


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Contents

May 1736, 16-31

May 18.
Virginia.
308. Lt. Governor Gooch to Mr. Popple. I lately had the favour of yours of the 18th of December last, signifying the pleasure of my Lords Commissioners for Trade, that I should inform them of the reasons which induced the Assembly to pass the Law in 1723 Chap. 4th. depriving free negros and mulattos of the priviledge of voting at any election of Burgesses to serve in the General Assembly, or at any other Elections. In answer thereto it is to be noted, as I am well informed, that just before the meeting of that Assembly, there had been a conspiracy discovered amongst the negros to cutt off the English, wherein the free negros and mulattos were much suspected to have been concerned (which will for ever be the case) and tho' there could be no legal proof so as to convict them, yet such was the insolence of the free negros at that time, that the next Assembly thought it necessary, not only to make the meetings of slaves very penal, but to fix a perpetual brand upon free negros and mulattos by excluding them from that great priviledge of a Freeman, well knowing they always did, and ever will adhere to and favour the slaves. And 'tis likewise said to have been done with design, which I must think a good one, to make the free negros sensible that a distinction ought to be made between their offspring and the descendants of an Englishman, with whom they never were to be accounted equal. This, I confess may seem to carry an air of severity to such as are unacquainted with the nature of negros, and the pride of a manumitted slave, who looks on himself immediately on his acquiring his freedom to be as good a man as the best of his neighbours, but especially if he is descended of a white father or mother, lett them be of what mean condition soever; and as most of them are the basterds of some of the worst of our imported servants, and convicts, it seems no ways impolitick, as well for discouraging that kind of copulation as to preserve a decent distinction between them and their betters, to leave this mark on them until time and education has changed the indication of their spurious extraction, and made some alteration in their morals. After all the number of free negros and mulattos entitled to the privilege of voting at elections is so inconsiderable, that tis scarce worth while to take any notice of them in this particular, since by other Acts of Assembly now subsisting they are disabled from being either jurymen or witnesses in any case whatsoever, and so are as much excluded from being good and lawful men, as villains were of old by the Laws of England. It will, no doubt, some yeers hence, be fitt for an House of Burgesses to consider to what degree of descent this incapacity shall extend, but at present there is a necessity of continuing of it on the foot it is. This you will be pleased to communicate to their Lordships with the true account of the motives for the passing the Law in 1723 and the present disposition of the Country to continue it. Signed, William Gooch. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Aug., Read 7th Oct., 1736. 2¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 1324. ff. 19, 19 v., 22, 22 v.].
May 19.
Whitehall.
309. Mr. Popple to the Board of Works. Reminds them of his letter of Feb. 24, and requests them to give the directions desired, the reasons mentioned in that letter having now become more pressing. [C.O.389, 37. p. 371.].
May 21.
St. James's.
310. Order of King in Council. Confirming Act of Pennsylvania for the more effectual vesting certain lands in George McCall, the Committee of Council for Plantation affairs having reported that when they were proceeding to hear the petitioner, William Penn, against it, his Counsel declared that he now waved all opposition to it etc. Signed, W. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd. 8th., Read 22nd June, 1736. 1½ pp. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 205, 205 v., 206 v.].
May 21.
Boston.
311. Governor Belcher to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Acknowledges letter of 18th Dec., and is glad the Board is pleased with his interview at Deerfield with the French Mohawks. Concludes:—As to the present made them, it was wholly at the charge of this Province etc., and not of the Crown (as it is at New York, Carolina etc.) nor have the Lords of Trade and Plantations ever till now desir'd to be inform'd what the said presents were, or the value, altho' it has been the practice of all Govrs. from the first settlement of this Province, to have interviews with the Indians from time to time etc., but since your Lordships now seem to desire it, I inclose a copy of the particulars of the present, and its value (being about £120 sterling) etc. Signed, J. Belcher. Endorsed, Recd. 13th July, Read 16th Sept., 1736. 2 pp. Enclosed,
311. i. Invoice of goods laden on board the sloop Speedwell designed for a present to the Indians in the interview at Deerfield. Value, £600. Boston, July 28, 1735. Signed, J. Wheelwright, 1 1/3 pp. [C.O. 5, 879. ff. 16–17 v., 18.v.].
May 21.
St. James's.
312. Order of King in Council. Approving report of Committee that the petition of Wavell Smith and Savile Gust is irregular, containing different matters of complaint in different islands, which come under distinct considerations and require different methods of proceeding upon them. The petition is dismissed, without prejudice to the petitioners preferring other and distinct petitions according to the different nature of their complaints etc. Signed, W. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd. 8th June, Read 25th Nov., 1736. 1½ pp. [C.O. 152, 22. ff. 233, 242 v.].
May 21.
Boston.
313. Governor Belcher to Mr. Popple. The last month came to hand your favour of 21st Decr., in answer whereto you will please to inform my Lords of Trade and Plantations, that the act for incouraging the raising of hemp and flax within this Province has hitherto had very little effect, and it has chiefly fail'd for want of the seed, which I have so long since earnestly pray'd might be sent hither as a bounty from H.M. Seed is not to be had here at any price, and if it was, the people, who are to use it, are so poor, that they are not able to purchase it. It was with great difficulty that I got the Assembly to give a bounty on hemp, of about fourteen pounds sterling a tun, (and which will expire in eighteen months more), and if the seed their Lordships have recommended to be sent from the King is not here some time before the next winter, that matter will fail (in my opinion) to the great damage of the Crown, as well as to that of the people, tho' (with great deference to their Lordships) the last will be but trifling in comparison to the damage it may be to the Royal Navy, for certainly it must be a great thing to the Mother Kingdom to find their Plantations capable of furnishing the Royal Navy, (the strength and glory of the British Isle) with all things necessary to equip a first rate to the sea and all to be paid for in their own woollen manufactures (without exhausting the nation of its silver and gold.) I therefore hope their Lordships will recommend the sending the hemp seed to effect, yet should it not come, I humbly hope to be justify'd in doing my duty to H.M., and to his people on this head. I believe the principal view of the Assembly here in giving the bounty on hemp and flax was for incouraging the manufacture of ripping and canvas, and not so much for fine linnen, tho' the Irish people in a town, call'd Londonderry, granted some years ago by the Province of New Hampshire, make shirting linnen worth 5 shillings sterling a yard, and this may serve in answer to what their Lordships ask about Irish people, skill'd in the linnen manufacture, coming to instruct the New England people therein. As to the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, there are but few Irish in it, and indeed the people of this country seem to have an aversion to them, so that they find but little incouragement. Signed, J. Belcher. Endorsed, Recd. 13th July, Read 16th Sept., 1736. 3 pp. [C.O. 5, 879. ff. 20–21 v.].
May 24.
Boston.
314. Governor Belcher to the Council of Trade and Plantations. This accompanys the remainder of the Journal of the late House of Representatives of this Province from the last I sent your Lordships to the time of their dissolution in April, and I am sorry they would not come into the bill past by H.M. Council for some better preservation of the King's woods, the copy of which bill I have now the honour to cover to your Lordships, and you will find it was only to set H.M. woods upon the same footing, (upon a tryal of trespass) as that of all his subjects of this Province. I have, my Lords, been urging the Assemblies here from time to time to pass some law in favour of the Royal woods, and am after all now oblig'd to say, in fidelity to H.M., that I have no expectation of anything of this nature to be done here. I heartily wish the British Parliament would give a bounty on Plantation pot-ash, and an additional one to that on hemp. There has been, my Lords, within two years past great discoveries of rock iron ore in a town of this Province call'd Attleborough, and some furnaces lately set up; the ore I am told is very rich and the iron made from it is equal to the best Spanish. I think a number of guns of 6 to 7 lbs. weight apiece have been lately cast at some of the ironworks in this Province, and the metal and workmanship perhaps equal to any that passes the proof at Woolwich. So that this Province may in time produce timber, masts, iron, canvas, and rigging sufficient for the whole Royal Navy, and must consequently be more necessary to the Crown of Great Britain, than all the Sugar Islands, and the whole North America besides, and so deserve the greater care and encouragement of the Crown. Thus your Lordships have the fullest and clearest accot. I can give you of the circumstances of this Province at present, etc. Signed, J. Belcher. Endorsed, Recd. 13th July. Read 16th Sept., 1736. 3 pp. Enclosed.
May 24.
Boston.
314. i. Bill of the Massachusetts Bay for the more effectual detecting and convicting such as cut, fell or destroy such trees as are preserved for the use of the Royal Navy. Rejected after second reading in the Assembly, March 23rd, 1736. Copy. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 879. ff. 222–3 v., 24 v.–25 v.].
May 24.
Boston.
315. Governor Belcher to the Duke of Newcastle. Duplicate of preceding covering letter, mutatis mutandis. Signed, J. Belcher. 4 pp. Enclosed.
315. i. Copy of Act enclosed in preceding. True Copy, Signed, Simon Frost, Dept. Secry. 2½ pp. [C.O. 5, 899. ff. 215–218].
May 24.
Boston.
316. Governor Belcher to Mr. Popple. Acknowledges letter of Feb. 27 and is obliged to the Board for the opinion of the Attorney General as to the private Bank lately set up. Continues: With great deference to their Lordships, I would observe upon this head, that without the interposition of the Legislature of Great Britain, to prevent all emissions of what is call'd paper money in the Plantations, unless redeemable in a very short period by silver or gold, the Mother Kingdom must go on to suffer vast loss by their trade to these parts, for it has been the constant course of things, that upon emission of such paper currency all the product of the country has immediately risen to the great loss of the people of Great Britain, who must take it in payment for their goods, and the damages the people suffer among themselves in all their trade and estates is inconceivable, that an Act of Parliament of the nature I have mention'd would be but taking a just regard to the trade of Great Britain, and a very kind care of the King's people in the Plantations. This you will lay before their Lordships from, Signed, J. Belcher. Endorsed, Recd. 13th July, Read 16th Sept., 1736. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 879. ff. 26, 26 v., 35 v.].
May 24.
Boston.
317. Mr. Willard to Mr. Popple. Encloses Minutes of Council of the Massachusetts Bay to end of Feb., Journal of Assembly Sept. and Nov., and Acts passed in Nov. 1735, etc. Signed, Josiah Willard. Endorsed, Recd. 30th July, Read 20th Oct., 1736. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 879. ff. 73, 76 v.].
May 24.318. Depositions of Capt. John Mason, of New London, Connecticut, and Samuel Mason his son. Abstract. Confirms statements in petition of Mahomet, the Mohegan Chief [v. May 7. supra]. At the Court held at Stonington in Aug. 1705, the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the differences between Connecticut and the Mohegans ordered Capt. John Mason to be Trustee and Guardian of Oweneco and his people. Deponent hath many times since made application to the General Court in Connecticut, and to several particular members, whom he believed to be the leading men therein, that the judgment of the Commissioners made in 1705 might be complied with, and the Mohegans put into possession of their lands, but without the least success: "for that, altho some very few members of the General Court of Connecticut have, both publicly and privately acknowledged that the Indians have been grievously wronged and injured, yet the fair greater part of such members have constantly, on such occasions, denyed the legality of the Queen's said Commission and Court, and said that the Colony of Connecticut had a Charter of their own, and by that Charter had Courts of their own, and that if the Indians wanted releif, they must apply to such (last mentioned) Courts for it" etc. The said judgment has been sett at nought and despised by the generall body of the people in Connecticutt, whilst the Indians have had more and other parts of their planting lands in Connecticut taken away from them, "insomuch that the Mohegan Indians, whom this deponent during all his knowledge in life has known to be usefull and faithfull friends to the English, both in peace and warr, and to whom the very settlement and preservation of the Colony of Connecticut has been owing, according to the accounts which this deponent always received from his ancestors and many others of the English people in Conecticut, are now reduced to the narrow compass of two miles square of their reserved planting lands in Conecticut, or thereabouts, but not amounting to three miles square; at which the said Indians have exprest their complaints many times to this deponent, charging the English people in Conecticut with the greatest injustice and ingratitude towards them" etc. The small quantity of land thus left them is not near sufficient for their tribes, and many Mohegan Indians have already quitted that part, and retired towards other Indians who have not been friendly to the English. Although deponent has used his influence with them to return, they have refused it, saying what should they return for, when all their land is taken from them. Many more have threatened to retire. The consequence whereof may be very injurious to H.M. subjects in America; to whom deponent believes their friendship to be of very great service, etc. As the last means to keep them there, deponent has now brought over the Chief Sachem, grandson and only male descendant of Oweneco etc. Unless some relief be afforded, deponent believes the greater part of the Mohegans will instantly go off into other tribes of Indians, the dangerous consequence whereof is rather to be feared than particularly described. Samuel Mason confirms above as from his first remembrance. John Mason adds that in 1706 there was some endeavor or pretended endeavor by the General Court of Conecticut to make some Treaty with the Mohegan Indians, but the same was prevented from being concluded by a vote of the Governor and Council in 1707, postponing that affair. Deponents do not believe the Mohegans ever had the value of one penny of compensation from any person in respect to their right to the lands adjudged by the Queen's Commissioners to be delivered up to them, etc. Signed, John Mason, Saml. Mason. Endorsed, Recd. Read 25th May, 1736.
May 24.319. Mr. Fane to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Has no objection to 8 acts of St. Christopher, enumerated. Signed, Fran. Fane. Endorsed, Recd. 31st May, Read 3rd Nov., 1736. 2 1/3 pp. [C.O. 152, 22. ff. 134–135 v.].
May 24.
Admiralty
Office.
320. Thomas Corbett to Mr. Popple. Abstract. Has given heads of Enquiry relating to Canso, May 21, to Capt. Towry, H.M.S. Shoreham. The ships appointed for the Newfoundland Convoy are the same as last year, and under the same Instructions:—Falkland, Torrington, Grampus, sloop. Signed, Tho. Corbett. Endorsed, Recd. 24th, Read 28th May. 1736. Addressed 1 p. [C.O. 194, 10. ff. 23, 24 v.].
May 25.
Boston.
321. Governor Belcher to the Council of Trade and Plantations. This is to acquaint your Lordships that I am lately return'd from a journey I have made to my Government of New Hampshire, where I met a General Assembly, and notwithstanding the insolence of the House of Representatives, of which your Lordships will judge by the inclosed print, yet I waited on em for about three weeks, to see if they would come into any reasonable measures for supplying the Treasury, but when I found they were so obstinate as that H.M. Council could not possibly fall in with their arbitrary proposals, I say this with their impudence to the King, oblig'd me again to dissolve the Assembly ; and my Lords, Col. Dunbar may say to your Lordships what he pleases in excuse and that he does not influence to these things, yet it is very plain to all, that are near enough to see it, that they are all carry'd out by his closest friends. Perhaps it would be hard, my Lords, to make legal proof, that Mr. St. John (late Lord Bolingbroke) and Mr. Pltny help write the invectives in the Craftsman against the Royal Family, and the Ministry, yet I doubt not but your Lordships fully believe it; and I am, my Lords, as well satisfy'd of Mr. Dunbar's being at the bottom of these things, as I can be of anything, I can't make oath to. I really think it a mean way of spending life, to be loving to do mischief, and not to be capable or inclin'd to do any good. I was told, my Lords, at New Hampshire, that he boasted of having copies of my letters to your Lordships, while they contain nothing but facts and truth, he shall be welcome (on my part) to print them. In July last he serv'd me with copy of a complaint he had put in against me to H.M. in Council to which my answer had lain in the Council Office, when the last ships came away about seven months, and when I was at New Hampshire I told him I thought it a hardship, that his agent would not bring that matter forward to a hearing; and I believe your Lordships will think it so on a gentm. to have a long lurry of complaint exhibited against him, and the party being sensible of the groundlessness of some parts, and of the falsity of others, to draw in his horns and to be afraid to come to the test; I say, my Lords, this is a hardship upon me, and I have therefore directed my agents to press the matter to a hearing, and to pray for H.M. Royal Order thereupon, that this uneasy man may be quiet, if he can. I am, my Lords, under no concern about his bickerings nor anybody's else, provided I may always be serv'd with copies, to make answer to anything, that may be call'd complaint. I was in hopes to have sent with this to your Lordships the proceedings of the last Assembly of New Hampshire, but that on Wednesday the 19th currant the Secrty. of the Province had the misfortune to lose his house by fire, and all the publick records of the Province were burnt in it, which your Lordships will see by the inclosed print. As New Hampshire is indebted to many poor people (and to some for five years past) I intend to make a visit thither again in August next, to see if I can persuade them to do justice to the King's subjects. Agreeable to the Charter of this Province, I meet a new Assembly here tomorrow and I shall from time to time keep your Lordships acquainted with their proceeding. Signed. J. Belcher. Endorsed, Recd. 13th July, Read 16th Sept., 1736. 6 pp. Enclosed,
321. i, ii. The Boston Gazette, May 10–17th, 1736, and 17th–24th. Each 4 printed pp. [C.O. 5, 879. ff. 27–33 v., 34 v.].
May 25.
Boston.
322. Governor Belcher to the Duke of Newcastle. Duplicate of preceding covering letter, mutatis mutandis. Signed, J. Belcher. 7 pp. Enclosed,
322. i. Copies of Boston Gazette as in preceding enclosure. [C.O. 5, 899. ff. 219–222, 223–226 v.].
May 26.
Barbados.
323. President Dottin to the Duke of Newcastle. I readily embrace this first opportunity of owning the receit of your Grace's letter of the 18th of March last, which you did me the honour of writing, and was deliver'd me by Capt. Crawford, tho' I am surpriz'd your Grace should receive the informations you are pleas'd to mention in relation to St. Lucia from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and Lords of Trade, since I did myself the honour of inclosing your Grace copys of all these letters, with several other papers on H»M. service by one Capt. Nesbit who sail'd from hence in December last, and which I had not the least doubt wou'd have come safely to your Grace's hands. His most excellent Majesty my royal Master's approbation of my conduct in the administration of the Government of this island gives me a most sensible pleasure, and I shall ever study to execute the trust he has charged me with according to the best of my abilitys, and if I should be so unlucky to commit any mistakes, your Grace may attribute it to a want of judgment and not an error in will, and in particular I shall not fail to give you the best accounts I can from time to time how the orders for evacuating the island of St. Lucia are complyed with. I was in hopes to have received some further directions from your Grace in answer to my letters with respect to the regulation of the offices' fees, but since I find the enquiry directed is yet expected, I shall get it compleated with the utmost expedition and immediately afterwards transmit it to your Grace for H.M. further order thereon. The letters which accompany this were sent to me by a vessell who met one at sea bound to this island, and as they may be of a publick nature, and I am inform'd are of great consequence I thought it most convenient to transmit them to your Grace to do with them what you think proper, etc. Signed, James Dottin. 1¼ pp. [C.O. 28, 45. ff. 363, 363 v.].
May 26.
Whitehall.
324. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Lee. H.M. having been pleased to continue his commission to you as Governor of Newfoundland, we desire you will upon your arrival there give all the encouragement in your power to the fishery of that Island according to the several Instructions given to you the last year by H.M.: and that at your return from thence you will send to us your answers to the several queries contained in your said Instructions, to which answers you will annex a scheme of the fishery in the same manner as you did last year. And whereas complaint has been made to us, that the French contrary to the 13 and 14 Articles of the Treaty of Utrecht do not only fish but have made settlements at Portbask near Cape Roy in the westward part of Newfoundland, that they are supplied with provisions from France; and that they carry on the furr trade there during the winter season, we desire you will according to the 62nd Article of your Instructions make particular enquiry into that affair, and as soon as possible send us an account that we may receive H.M. directions upon a subject of so much consequence. [C.O. 195, 7. pp. 403, 404].
May 28.325. Petition of Wavel Smith and Savile Cust to the Council of Trade and Plantations. An Act passed at Nevis 1732 for establishing a Court of King's Bench and Common Pleas and for settling the Chief Judge's and Marshal's fees etc., whereby memorialist's fees are reduced and put on a meaner footing than ever was attempted in any other of the Leeward Islands, and the Secretary and his deputy are obliged to give £1000 sterl. security etc. Apprehends that this act was framed to prevent any one but ail inhabitant of Nevis from executing the said office, by the difficulties a stranger must be put to in finding sufficient sureties. This act contains several dangerous clauses; one to attack the goods of persons absent from the island, and another to oblige the Marshal to take in payment (for any debt whatsoever) the goods and produce of the island etc., whereby no sterling debt can be recovered in sterling etc. Prays for relief. Endorsed, Recd. 28th May, 1736, Read 13th Jan., 1736/7. ¾ p. [C.O. 152, 22. ff. 264, 269 v.].
May 28.326. Petition of Wavell Smith and Savile Cust, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Abstract. Memorialists were appointed Secretary and Clerk of the Crown to all the Leeward I. by letters patent 18th Feb., 1722, to enjoy the same with all fees, rights, perquisites and advantages in as full and ample manner as any person hath formerly etc. By an Act of St. Christophers, June, 1724, for establishing a Court of King's Bench and Common Pleas, a new officer by name of Judge's Clerk was appointed to receive divers fees which the Secretary has always enjoyed, whilst the act appointed divers other fees of an inconsiderable nature for memorialists to take. The Board thereafter did, 18th July, 1727, advise the repeal of so much of the law as altered the Secretary's fees. But notwithstanding the Board's letter was communicated to the Legislature in 1727, memorialists could never procure it to be taken into consideration till 1729, when the Council passed a bill to that effect, but it was rejected by the Assembly, March, 1730. Memorialists have thus been debarred from the known rights and perquisites of their office since 1724. An act dated 13th Dec., 1727 appointing twenty-four Assemblymen to represent St. Christophers is in like manner still in force notwithstanding the Board's letter of 16th May, 1729. Memorialist Wavell Smith further sheweth that by an act appointing an impost upon liquors past at St. Christophers in 1719, a fund was granted for the payment of the sallarys of the publick officers of the Crown, which act was repealed in April, 1722, upon account of the inconveniency of the said tax being paid in sugar, but at the same time was passed de novo with no other alteration than directing the said tax to be paid in money. From 1722 to 7th June, 1732 all H.M. Officers have been constantly paid their salaries and incident charges out of the said cash fund by orders drawn by H.M. representative by and with the advice and consent of Council, pursuant to the Royal Instructions. The Assembly of St. Christophers from Oct. 1731 to 7th June, 1732, in order to bring all the Officers of the Crown dependant upon them, did endeavour to appropriate the said fund from its original use, and to accomplish this did make use of divers arts and methods destructive of the good order of H.M. Government, which several attempts were for a while frustrated by a majority of the Council (Wavel Smith having then the honour to be one of them). Yet at last by a most undue practice the Council and Assembly were called to meet on the 7th of June, 1732, when they were actually adjourned to the 10th, and on the 7th they by surprize accomplished their design by precipitating a bill for raising a tax on all negroes and other slaves, therein appropriating the money that had or should arise and grow due after 25th March, 1732, on the liquor fund, foreign to its original use, and by this means memorialists and the rest of H.M. Officers are become in a most unhappy and dependant scituation on the Assembly (the darling project of the West India Assemblys) for debts due or shall grow due to them for publick business, they now having at St. Christophers no fund appropriated for the payment of the same. Smith, who then had an order from the Governor by advice and consent of the Council payable out of the said fund amounting to £319 5s. for his publick account, was obliged afterwards to receive the said order in sugar at one third loss by this unjust and arbitrary application of the fund from its original use. To reach the said order and prevent the payment of the same in cash, the said act was contrived with a retrospective operation. In order to prevent a reapplication of the said fund to the payment of the publick officers in cash, on 12th Aug., 1732, another bill precipitately passed the Council and Assembly of St. Christophers for continuing the duties upon wine, beer, cider, etc., which on 21st. Aug. was assented to by the President of Nevis, who then commanded the Leeward Islands, appropriating the said dutys for eleven years for the use of the fortifications and for building other forts and batterys as shall be directed by the Commander in Chief and Council and Assembly. The Assembly passed another bill, the 15th Aug., for granting to H.M. a duty of eight shillings per poll on all negroes and slaves and for ascertaining and settling the salarys of the several officers etc., which passed the Council in a precipitate manner, and to which they procured the President of Nevis's assent, wherein they enacted £60 per annum to be paid the said Secretary in lieu of any demands he might make for public business done by him, whereby your Memorialists against H.M. express Instructions are in a most unjustifiable manner deiseized of their usual and accustomed fees, and were and are still damaged above £100 per annum, according to the aforesaid allowances constantly paid to their predecessors and themselves in cash till the unjustifiable diversion of the said fund, especially as the said £60 per annum is enacted to be paid in currency, an illegal denomination of money which has of late years obtained protection in the Leeward Islands. The said law was for a temporary service, tho' the clause therein relating to Officers is perpetual. The Assembly passed a bill 4th March, 1734, for reducing the fee of three shillings per sheet taken by the Secretary as Clerk in Chancery to eighteen pence per sheet containing 120 words, notwithstanding the fee of three shillings was the accustomed fee allowed Memorialists' predecessors and was in 1715 enacted to be taken by the Secretary, which act of 1715 was passed by Governor Mathews, then Lt. General of the Leeward I., who now has thought fit to repeal the same with a suspending clause, which Memorialists humbly apprehend ought not to have pass'd under colour of any of H.M. Instructions. An illegal currency of money was introduced at St. Christophers by an order of Governor Mathews in Council when he commanded the Leeward Islands as Lt. General, and is still protected by him, directing French crowns to pass at seven shillings, though the said coin is one of the species enumerated in a general law of the Leeward Islands confirmed by the Crown in 1694, and in the Act of the 6th Queen Anne, to pass only at six shillings, which order Memorialists humbly apprehend to be a high invasion of their properties, they having been by the said order actually damaged ever since they have executed their office at St. Christophers in one seventh part of such fees as have been usually paid in silver, and in one fifth part of such fees as have been paid in gold. Memorialists have been in like manner oppressed and injured in their just rights and fees in Nevis, touching which they have also presented their memorials to your Lordships. Pray the Board to take said acts into consideration and to grant them relief. Signed, Wavell Smith, Savile Cust. Endorsed, Recd. 28th May, Read 1st June, 1736. 2¾ large pp. [C.O. 152, 22. ff. 61–62 v.].
May 29.
New York.
327. President Clarke to the Duke of Newcastle. In my letter of the 3rd of May, a duplicate whereof I do myself the honor to inclose, I informed your Grace of the steps that were taken to keep the Assembly from sitting; I found that they were too much intimidated for me to expect they would sit, and therefore I adjourned them with the advice of the Council to the first Tuesday in August, hopeing in the mean while to receive from your Grace the signification of H.M. pleasure on Van Dam's suspension and a dismission of Alexander from the Council, being confident that when these things are known, and that Morris will not be restored, the misguided people will return to a sense of their duty and I shall put an end to the faction whose spirits are already much sunk upon their disappointment on the arrival of our London ships, for they confidently affirmed before their arrival that Morris and Van Dam were restored, but finding those reports had no foundation in truth, they begin to think that the heads of the faction have all along amused them for their own private ends. One of their main views and they have the two last sessions made some attempts for it, is by all means possible to get a dissolution of this Assembly before the present Revenue expires, as it will do next year, being in hopes to get a majority in the next, and resolved as they openly and avowedly declare not to give the Revenue longer then from year to year. If a new Governor comes before the present Revenue expires, he will be under this dilemma, either to dissolve the present Assembly, or, not doing it, perpetuate the spirit of faction, but as they know it is not in my power to dissolve them they have no hopes of a new election, and the further settlement of the Revenue for a competent number of years may be obtained from this Assembly, and the disaffected may afterwards be brought to change their present thoughts for others more temperate and dutifull; I take it to be my duty and yet I should not dare to mention this but that I presume upon your Grace's goodness to hope for pardon; I am carryed by the same hopes likewise humbly to acquaint your Grace that upon a new election, if they get a majority, they do not intend to settle, even annually, the Revenue without first obtaining some concessions that no former times have insisted on, some of which are these; they will declare the present Courts of Equity subsisting on H.M. prerogative to be nul, and erect others by Act of Assembly, they will pass an Act declaring that Judges shall hold their commissions dureing good behaviour, they will have triennial Assemblys by a law, they will make all officers of the Crown their dependants, not only by their annual salary but by retrenching their fees whenever they displease them, and who then can serve H.M. faithfully and not starve? This is their present way of thinking, but if they are for some time kept out of the way of doing these things by the continuance of the present Assembly they will by good management be reduced to reason, etc. Signed, Geo. Clarke. 3 pp. [C.O. 5, 1093. ff. 404–405].
May 21.
Montserrat.
328. Governor Mathew to Mr. Popple. Encloses Minutes of Council of Antigua, 5th July—20th Dec., 1735; an act of Antigua for ascertaining the value of all gold and silver coins passing in this island, and introducing English copper ; and act of Nevis for raising a poll tax on negroes etc. Signed, William Mathew. Endorsed, Recd. 21st July, Read 1st Oct., 1736. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 22. ff. 120, 125 v.].
May 31.
Montserrat.
329. Governor Mathew to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I send herewith to your Lordships' Secretary among other publick papers an Act of the Island of Antigua entitled an Act for ascertaining the value of all gold and silver coins passing in the Island and introducing English Copper Coin. Besides what is mentioned in the Preamble (and for which reason it has the restraining clause not to take effect till H.M. pleasure be known) I pray leave to lay before your Lordships the inducements that brought me to pass it. We are distressed in these Islands to a most intollerable degree for want of a small specie. We have none current among us but French sols marquez, and these mostly false coin, and they go for three half pence, this is the lowest money we have, and less cannot be paid to a negro for the least valuable provision, and which small coin is continually wanted to purchase the little produce of their labour, at their own time rais'd on the little plotts of land allow'd them in each plantation. The silver coin among us is Spanish ryalls and half ryalls, but those are so clipp'd and mangled, that they bear hardly any proportion to one gold, and here we are distress'd by the hucsters and little town chandlers and Jews. A heavy ryall never returns from them with its first weight, and they make such advantage of the poor negros, that what ryall they pay me at nine pence, in change for gold (and on which they extort for change three shillings on each pistole) they will not take from my negro again for more than six pence; on pretence of its being light. This Act in this case brings all silver to an equal standard, at its weight with gold, and hurts but these Jews only. A pistole at four penny weight is currant at twenty eight shillings, if it weighs six grains more the hucster allows no more in change, and these are our only money changers, and the pistole returns from him infalibly at its exact four penny weight. Thus we at present maintain clipping. By this Act the pistole will have its due value at its weight, and every one will find his advantage in being honest. This law as it raises money to seventy five p. cent, both silver and gold, will prevent our coin being continually drain'd from us to the French Islands, by way of Sta. Eustatia. For thither the Northward trader, selling to us first what of their cargo they will vouchsafe to spare us, carry all our ready money, to buy French melass and rum. These Rhode Island men hardly ever will take any of our rum, but insist on our cash, to carry on with it this illicit most ruinous trade to the English planter. The London merchant is in no degree that I can apprehend affected with it. Their trade hither is hardly more than nothing, and for the Leverpool, Bristol, or Irish trader, it must be quite indifferent. If they sell for ten pence half penny, they have ten pence half penny to buy sugar, or bills of exchange with, at proportionable rates, and a proportionable exchange. They never carry money back with them, but allways West India produce, or bills of exchange. But nothing can happen here but some how or other Mr. Secretary Smith is hurt in his office, and then he has a lucky hit for being in motion. I cannot see how this Act will affect him, what he receives he will pay away at the same price, what he banks at home is by purchasing country produce, or bills of exchange, so what I mention'd in the foregoing article answers for him too. He is restrained by a dockett, but in some branches of his office, and as to those articles whatever denomination money was under, when given to him by that dockett, the same dockett continues it so to him still. As to Mr. Smith, I have to add, that nothing is done as yet to his new dockett at Antigua. The old one made, as directed by his late Majesty King William, I have by an order restrain'd him to, but the new dockett ly's undetermind. I have insisted on adding an article to pay for providing Minutes of Council &c. as requir'd from him by H.M. Instructions, the Council have not agreed to it, and as I have no intention to recede from what I ask in his favour, I cannot apprehend any new dockett will be made. By the death of William Frye Esqr. at Montserrat, and Richard Abbot Esqr. at Nevis, there is a vacancy in each Council of those Islands. But Mr. Dunbarr by his General Mandamus becoming a member of the Council in ordinary in each Island on these vacancys, they are provided for. But I shall be forced to appoint a Councillor in each, or they will want a sufficient number. Not being yet honourd with H.M. determination as to Legislatures in Anguilla, Spanish Town and Tortola, I can give no directions for tryall of a man that killd, about three weeks ago, another in Tortola. I formerly mentiond to your Lordships the damages these Colonys woud sustain, by the Danes settling Sta. Cruz. We begin most shrewedly to feel some of the effects of that settlement. The Danes cannot settle it themselves, and their Governour Moth is continually pestering these Islands with his offers and encouragments. We had very lately no fewer than seventeen out of one of the Militia Companys in Antigua, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert, that ran off thither in one vessel, and three days ago interrupted another vessel with six familys. But I cannot prevent their going, and they die as fast as they get thither. Still these Islands are dayly weakning. Your Lordships possibly hear much more of this from Barbados. The Lieutenant Governour of the Virgin Islands, and the deputy Governour of Tortola write me from Spanish Town and Tortola the 18th past that a master of a vessel trading from Sta. Eustatia to the south side of Puerto Rico arrivd there, assures them, from intelligence he had from another Dutch trader, and from the Spaniard he traded with, that the Governour of Puerto Rico was actually fitting out two ships, a snow and a sloop, and expected reinforcements from Hispaniola, to the number in all of two thousand men, to drive the Danes out of Sta. Cruz. So farr is tollerable, but that they intend to ravage and destroy Spanish Town and Tortola, and might be ready in about five weeks, and then our ships of Warr are laid up for the hurricane season, as they well know. I have sent Captain Brand commanding H.M. Ships of Warr copy of this intelligence. For my own part, I am ordering some ammunition and arms from St. Christophers to these two Islands, and going to St. Christophers to be nearer for intelligence. If this danger comes confirm'd I woud go thither with the King's Regiment and such volunteers as I coud raise. But, my Lords, Tortola and Spanish Town cannot bear the expence of such a transportation. The Islands out of danger probably will not. I must then. I beg your Lordships' Instructions in such cases for the future. If I have but a small guard from the Regiment to go with me from island to island, it is at my own expence, etc. Signed, William Mathew. Endorsed, Recd. 21st July, 1736. 6 pp [C.O. 152, 22. ff. 121–123 v., 124 v.].