America and West Indies
October 1717, 16-20

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor)

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1930

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68-77

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'America and West Indies: October 1717, 16-20', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 30: 1717-1718 (1930), pp. 68-77. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74029 Date accessed: 18 September 2014.


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October 1717, 16-20

Oct. 16.
Whitehall.
152. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Addison. Report upon petition of Edward Pennant and Anthony Swymmer (v. Sept. 19th). We conceive the grant of the escheated estate of Anna Kupius to petitioners is, and ought to stand good etc. Set out, A.P.C. II. pp. 732–734 q.v. [C.O. 138, 15. pp. 467–474.]
[Oct. 16.]153. W. Byrd to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Argues in support of the Council of Virginia as to the joining other persons with them in Commissions of Oyer and Terminer, etc. (v. May 4th.) Signed, W. Byrd. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Oct., Read 13th Nov., 1717. 3¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 1318. No. 30.]
[Oct. 16.]154. H.M. Warrant granting to Horatio Walpole the reversion of place of Surveyor and Auditor General of H.M. Revenues in America, etc. Copy. (cf. C.S.P. 1715. No. 640). [C.O. 324, 49. ff. 7–13.]
Oct. 16.
Whitehall.
155. Mr. Popple to Sir Edward Northey. Encloses, for his opinion in point of law, Acts of Antigua. (i.) to prevent the increase of Papists and Nonjurors, 1716. (ii.) for erecting a Church in St. John's, 1716, and (iii.) to quiet present possessors of lands, to limit actions and avoid suits in Law, 1717. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 120, 121.]
Oct. 16.
Whitehall.
156. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Commissrs. of the Treasury. Having received several proposals for purchasing the lands in the late French part of St. Christophers, pursuant to the advertisement published by your order in the Gazette of the 3rd of August past, we herewith transmit the same to your Lordps. with our observations thereon, as desired by Mr. Lowndes, 17th July. Your Lordps. will find that the prices and conditions offered by the several proposers are very different, and that the highest bidders do not exceed the sum of £6 pr. acre; excepting only Col. Codrington, who has offered £8 pr. acre for some particular plantations. But as we are wholly ignorant of the number of acres contained in the lands now to be disposed of for the benefit of the publick, as not having any survey of the same, and as little apprized of the real value thereof, by reason that most of the informations we have been able to acquire relating thereto, have been chiefly from the present possessors, their agents or other persons interested therein; we can by no means take upon us to determine what may be thought a valuable consideration for the same, or any part thereof. But as we presume your Lordps. design upon the sale of these lands, to dispose of them in such manner as will effectually conduce to the benefit and advantage of the publick, which in our opinion cannot be done but under certain conditions and restrictions, necessary to obtain that end, we beg leave to observe to your Lordships, that almost all the lands now to be sold, are already possessed by several planters, by virtue of intermediate grants from the different Governors of the Leeward Islands, for a limited time, and subject to the King's further pleasure, pursuant to an Order from the Treasury, Sept. 25, 1702, whence it happens that most of the proposals enclosed are in behalf of the said planters; wherein they have fixed the quantity of acres contained in their respective plantations at pleasure, and offered such prices and terms, as were suitable to their several inclinations. There may perhaps be some objection to the disposing of all the land now to be sold to one purchaser only; But if this could be done so as to produce a sum equal to your Lorps.' expectations and under such conditions as are here enclosed, in all probability much trouble might be saved thereby, the King's most gracious intention would soonest have its effect, and the publick be in a shorter time possessed of the money arising from the sale. Amongst the several proposers, there are only three persons, that have offered to purchase the whole, vizt. Mr. Banks, Sir Thomas Johnston, and Mr. Mills. The first of these has offered £6 pr. acre, subject to certain conditions, which are in part what we shall likewise propose for the better settling of the Island. The second has offered £61,000 in gross, provided the lands hold out to the same number of acres mentioned in a former report of this Board, laid before the House of Commons, which at the best would prove a very uncertain bargain. Besides that he tyes himself down to no conditions or restrictions. But the person who seems to have put his proposal upon the fairest and most equal foot, with respect to the interest of the Crown and of the Planters, is Mr. Mills; and tho' we shall not pretend to decide whether the price by him offered be equal to the value of the lands (for the reasons already mentioned) yet we cannot help being of opinion, that most of the conditions proposed by the said Mr. Mills are apparently beneficial, and in a great measure absolutely necessary for the effectual setling of the said Island; whereby our sugar trade might be increased, and a considerable income arise to H.M. in his Customs; provided due protection and encouragement be given to this new and valuable Plantation; which would seem the more necessary at this juncture, because both the French and Dutch in America do already sell their sugars cheaper than we can afford to do; and have of late imported great quantities even into Barbadoes. How far therefore it might be advisable to exact from the present possessors a price equal to what any stranger might offer for the lands with the improvements upon them may deserve your Lordps.' serious consideration, but it appears to us by a Memorial sent you herewith, signed by Micajah Perry and other merchants in behalf of the planters on the French land in St. Christophers, that it is highly just and reasonable the present possessors should have the preference in the purchase of the lands now held by them, provided they will give a valuable consideration for the same. All therefore we shall trouble your Lordps. with at present shall be only to offer such further conditions and restrictions in addition to those contained in our letter of 7th Aug. last, as may in our opinion render this sale most advantagious in it's consequences to the publick and best conduce to the good settlement of the Island. It may likewise be necessary in case your Lordps. should approve of these conditions that such Instructions as you shall think convenient for the occasion should be given to the persons to be appointed Surveyors and appraisers in behalf of his Majesty, and more particularly that they should have copies of the several proposals that have been made, and be informed what mony has been already offered for the lands now to be disposed of for their better Government in the execution of their several Commissions. P.S.—Refer to further Memorials by Mr. Bankes and by Mr. Perry, on the death of Mr. Mills. Annexed,
156. i. Conditions and Restrictions for sale of French lands in St. Christophers. A sworn Surveyor to be appointed. The lands to be divided into parishes, and the inhabitants represented in the Assembly in like manner and proportion with those of the English part of the Island. They shall likewise be subject to the same laws, duty's and imposts and enjoy the same priviledges in every respect, with the rest of H.M. subjects there. Out of the lands in the French part of St. Xtophers, there shall be reserved a certain quantity, not exceeding 3000 acres, lying most contiguous to the sea coasts, which shall be given gratis, in small plantations, from 8 to 10 acres, to poor families for their incouragement to inhabit and defend the Island; which lands shall be held in capite, and be made inalienable in such manner as shall be advised by H.M. Council learned in the law. The Salt ponds shall likewise be reserved for the common use of all the inhabitants, together with such parcells of ground, as may be necessary and convenient for the building of churches and forts. All French protestants and others possessed of lands by virtue of absolute and legal grants from the Crown, may quietly hold and possess the same according to the tenure of their respective grants. After which reservations, the remainder of the lands in the late French part shall be sold upon the following conditions. (i.) Upon all the lands now to be disposed of, besides the purchase money, there shall be reserved to H.M. an annual Quit Rent of 6d. sterling upon every English acre towards the support of the Government there. (ii.) After an exact survey taken, the lands shall be divided by the Surveyor into several lots; none of which shall exceed 200 acres, and a just value put upon every lot by 4 persons appointed for that purpose, and sworn to act impartially; that is to say, two by H.M. and two by the present possessors, who shall fix the price between the King and the purchasers: But in case any difference should arise upon the valuation, the Surveyor, as umpire shall finally determine the same. (iii.) The lands being thus appraised the present possessor shall have the preference in the purchase and refusal of the same, but he shall be obliged within 20 days after the valuation, to declare whether he will buy the land at the price set on it by the appraiser. (iv.) In case the present possessor shall refuse to give the sum agreed on by the appraisers, then the lot so refused, shall be sold, by publick auction to the fairest bidder, in which case the purchaser shall be obliged to allow the present possessor a consideration for his improvements in building only, and a reasonable time for carrying his goods and moveable stock of the lands; which consideration and time shall be fixed in the same manner, and by the same persons as the value of the land was: But the person removing shall be answerable to the purchaser for any willfull wast by him committed upon the premises, after the value fixed upon the lot as aforesaid. (v.) But where it shall happen that the lot to be sold, is not already in the possession of any planters by virtue of intermediate grants from the Crown, or from any Governor of the Leeward Islands, such lot shall be publickly exposed to sale to the fairest bidder. The same method shall likewise be observed for the disposal of such lands not already legally possessed, as may be proper for the breeding of stock, tho' not fit to be planted with sugar canes. (vi.) Provided nevertheless that no person shall be capable of purchasing or enjoying, either in his own name or by trustees, above 200 acres of the lands now to be disposed of. (vii.) And in case the person intending to purchase shall be already possessed of a plantation in the English part of the Island, he shall be capable of purchasing no more of the french lands than will be sufficient to make up the plantations already possessed by him 200 acres. (viii.) No Roman Catholick or Nonjuror shall be admitted to purchase any part of these lands, either in his own name or by trustees. (ix.) Every person admitted to purchase shall pay the price agreed on to such officer as shall be appointed by H.M. to receive the same, in manner foll.; that is to say, one fourth part thereof immediately upon being put into possession, and the remainder in three equal payments to be made half yearly, so that the whole purchase money may be paid in within the compass of two years from the date of every sale respectively. (x.) Every purchaser shall be obliged to keep and maintain within 18 months after he shall have been put into possession of his lot, one white man or two white women servants, for every 60 acres of land, and two white men or four white women servants for the same lands within 18 months more. (xi.) Proper orders shall be sent to the Governor of the Leeward Islands to pass good and effectual grants under the Great Seal of those Islands to the respective purchasers and to their heires for ever, of the several lots to be sold to them upon the preceding conditions, which patents shall resolve and determine all former and other grants, which grants so to be made, shall at any time, when desired be confirmed to the several purchasers by Letters Patents under the great Seal of Great Britain. (xii.) If any person should offer such a price for all the lands now to be disposed of, as should be thought reasonable, such person may be admitted to purchase the same, provided he will give sufficient security to retale the said lands again to the present possessors, and to such other persons as shall be willing to buy the same in the manner, and subject to the several directions prescribed by the foregoing conditions. (xiii.) Such general purchaser for his incouragement to undertake this settlement shall be allowed so much profit upon every acre by the respective persons to whom he shall relate the same, as shall be thought reasonable; provided the total produce of all the lands by him purchased, when retaled, shall not exceed the total of the original purchase money by him paid, or to be paid to H.M. for the same. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 121–134.]
Oct. 16.
Whitehall.
157. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. Refer to Governor Hamilton's letter, 15th July, and the request of the inhabitants of Anguilla for leave to remove to Sta. Cruix. Continue:—As we have lately proposed to your Lordps. amongst the conditions by us offered for the better settlemt. of the french lands in the Island of St. Christophers that about 3000 acres should be reserved to be distributed gratis in small plantations from 8 to 10 acres each for the encouragement of poor families to settle there for the defence of the Island, we humbly conceive it would be highly necessary for H.M. service upon that occasion, that the Governor of the Leeward Islands should have orders without loss of time to assure, not only the inhabitants of Anguilla, but also the other poor planters in like circumstances there in H.M. name, that they shall be allowed to settle in St. Xtophers upon the terms mentioned in preceding. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 134, 135.]
Oct. 16.
Whitehall.
158. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Having had under our consideration some Acts that passed in your Majesty's Islands of St. Christophers and Antegoa, and having received the opinion of your Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor Genl. concerning them, we take leave to represent that (i.) The Act passed in Antegoa, 1715, for constituting a Court of Chancery, provides that the Court of Chancery shall for the future be held before the Governor and Council, and not before the Governor as it was held before the passing this Act; this is agreeable to a law and the practice in your Majesty's Island of Barbadoes, and we have no objection why your Majesty may not be graciously pleased to confirm this Act in favour of your subjects of Antegoa. (ii.) An Act passed in Antegoa, 1716, for establishing a Court of King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Errors for the better regulating and settling due methods for the administration of Justice and limiting a time for issuing executions out of the Court of Chancery in this Island. Tho' there are several things contained in it proper for regulating the proceedings in these Courts, yet in our humble opinion it is not fit to receive your Majesty's approbation for the following reasons given by your Majesty's Attorney General. Quote his report Dec. 12, 1716. (iii.) An Act passed in St. Xtophers, 1716, to prevent the danger that may happen by fire in any of the towns, seems to be lyable to only one objection, which is that it obliges the owners of thatched houses to pull them down or to board all such houses and shingle them within six months after the date of this Act, without allowing the said owners any consideration for so doing; But as this part of the Act must already have had its effect, and that no complaints that we know of, have been made against it, we are humbly of opinion that your Majesty may confirm this Act. (iv.) The Act of St. Christophers, 1717, to impower the surveyor of the highways etc., may deserve to be confirmed since it is calculated for the benefit of the publick and makes due provision for the person whose properties might be affected by it. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 136–140.]
Oct. 17.
Whitehall.
159. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Addison. Reply to Sept. 3rd. Report upon Mr. Gordon's attempt to erect an ecclesiastical Court in Barbados etc. Quote correspondence from Governor Lowther, Committee of Correspondence, Barbados, and Bishop of London. Continue:— The letters from the Committee of Correspondence and the Governor seem to insinuate that the authority now attempted to be exercised by Mr. Gordon, is entirely new in that country, and altho' it may be true that the late Bishop of London had Commissaries in the said Island, yet the powers given them were more restrain'd than those to Mr. Gordon. Wherefore we thought it our duty to examine upon what foot the Bishop's authority is establish'd in the Plantations; But by the best enquiry we have been able to make, we can find no other foundation for the same, but an Article in the General Instructions to all H.M. Governors in America; nor cou'd the Bishop inform us of any other, tho' in all probability the plantations may have been formerly recommended to the inspection of the Bishops of London by some Order in Council, from whence this Instruction might take its rise. The first Instruction runs thus, "And to the end the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the said Bishop of London may take place in the said Island, so far as conveniently may be, we do think fit that you give all countenance and encouragement to the exercise of the same, excepting only the collating to benefices, granting licences for marriages and probate of wills, which we have reserv'd to you our Governor, and to the Commander in Chief of our said Island for the time being." It is certain, my Lord Bishop has carefully observ'd the latter part of this Instruction, by excepting out of Mr. Gordon's Commission collating to benefices, probate of wills, letters of administration and licences for marriages; But it is to be fear'd his Lordship's Commissary has had little regard to the first part thereof, whereby prudence and moderation seem to be recommended in the exercise of this authority, by the words, so far as conveniently may be; However it is possible Mr. Gordon might be ignorant of the tenor of this Article, for my Lord Bishop inform'd us, he gave him no other Instructions but those contain'd in the words of his Commission; And as his Lordp. assur'd us, that he had no precedents by him of the form, in which his predecessor us'd to grant Commissions of this nature, we are inclin'd to believe they may have been different from this, because there are some clauses in Mr. Gordon's deputation, contrary to the laws of Jamaica; And yet my Lord Bishop told us, his Commissary there, had the very same powers, which we are persuaded his Lordp. wou'd never have granted, had he been inform'd, there were such laws in force in that Island. The words in Mr. Gordon's commission are "Et quoscunque criminosos sive delinquentes per censuras ecclesiasticas et alia legitima juris ecclesiastici remedia debite corrigend' reformand' et puniend' tibi cujus scientiæ, circumspectioni et industriæ plurimum confidimus, vices nostras tenore presentium, authoritate qua fungimur, cum cujuslibet coercionis ecclesiasticæ et congruæ potestate committimus." The Clergy indeed, in a following clause are reserv'd to the Bishop's own censure, but the Laity are here absolutely deliver'd up to the discretion of the Commissary, contrary to the intent of the Jamaica law "For the maintaining of Ministers and the poor, and repairing of Churches," which was confirm'd by the Crown, and is now in force, wherein the following provision is made, vizt. "Provided always, and it is the true intent and meaning of this Act, that no ecclesiastical law or jurisdiction shall have power to inforce, confirm or establish any penal mulcts or punishment in any case whatsoever, anything in this Act or any other to the contrary notwithstanding." Whether this Law in Jamaica, might have taken it's rise from some dispute of the like nature with this, we cannot say, but whatsoever powers former Commissarys in Barbado's may have had, it is highly probable that none of them thro' indiscretion or vehemence of temper have given the like cause of complaint to the inhabitants, who in such case would naturally have copy'd after the Jamaica law in this particular, in their own defence. As to Mr. Acourt and Dominick Langton, the two clergymen recommended by his Lordp. to be collated to benefices in Barbado's, it must be allow'd that the former of these was a lunatick, nor is it deny'd that Dominick Langton is the very same person that was censur'd by the House of Commons in Ireland. But his Lordship in his answer to the Governor's letter says "he only recommended Mr. Acourt conditionally, that is to say, in case he shou'd have recover'd his senses, and that he did not imagine that vote in Ireland was intended to exclude Dominick Langton from preferment in any other Church." Besides my Lord Bishop understood by one Major Mason at the Tower, that the Governor had promis'd to provide for him, which upon examination we find to be true, tho' at the same time Mr. Mason declar'd, that both he and the Govr. were entirely ignorant of Dominick Langton's character and of the censure pass'd upon him in Ireland, when that promise was made. But as to Mr. Gordon, if he do's really deserve the character given him by the Govr. in his letter to the Bishop, it must be confess'd he cannot be a very proper person to be trusted with any authority, much less with one of so delicate a nature as that of Commissary. Quote Governor Lowther's description of him (May 17). Continues:—Considering therefore, that the Lord Bishop of London's Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in America, depends entirely on H.M. pleasure, that his Lordship's present Commissary is reported to be a very indiscreet person, and that H.M. good subjects in the said Island are extremely uneasy under his authority, we wou'd humbly submit it to H.M. great wisdom, whether it may not be proper my Lord Bishop shou'd be directed to supersede the said Gordon, and for the present to employ his care and inspection more immediately upon the Clergy there; since the lives and conversation of the Laity will in all human probability much sooner be reform'd by the pious examples of their spiritual Pastors, than by any ecclesiastical censure or coercion from the secular arm. Autograph Signatures. 8¾ pp. Enclosed,
159. i. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Duplicate of preceding.
159. ii. Copy of letter from Bishop of London to Governor Lowther, 26th April, 1717.
159. iii. Copy of petition of Agents of Barbados to the King.
159. iv. Copy of letter from Committee of Correspondence to the Agents of Barbados, 17th May, 1717.
159. v. Copy of Bishop of London's Commission to Mr. Gordon as Commissary of Barbados.
159. vi. Copy of letter from Governor Lowther to Bishop of London, 26th April, 1717. [C.O. 28, 39. Nos. 3; and (duplicate) 3 i.; and ii.–vi.; and (without enclosures) 29, 13. pp. 413–422.]
Oct. 17.
Hampton Court.
160. Order of King in Council. Confirming Acts of Barbados to dock the entail of certain lands (v. Sept. 4 etc.); and for laying a duty on sugars etc. imported (v. Oct. 14 etc.). Signed, Edward Southwell. Endorsed, Recd. 30th, Read 31st Jan., 1717/18. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 31; and 29, 13. pp. 452–454.]
Oct. 17.
Whitehall.
161. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We have no objection why your Majesty may not confirm the Act of New York to enable Wm. Anderson, etc. (v. 4th Sept.) [C.O. 5, 1079. No. 95; and 5, 1123. p. 456.]
Oct. 18.
Whitehall.
162. Mr. Popple to Mr. Carkesse. Encloses Act of Antegoa, 1716, to prohibit the importation of French or other foreign sugar, rum, cotton or molosses. Continues:—There being some matters in it which relate to the officers of the Customs there, the Council of Trade and Plantations desire the opinion of the Commissioners of H.M. Customs upon the said Act as soon as conveniently may be. [C.O. 153, 13. p. 143.]
Oct. 18.
Whitehall.
163. Mr. Secretary Addison to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following for their report. Signed, J. Addison. Endorsed, Recd. 18th, Read 23rd Oct., 1717. 1 p. Enclosed,
163. i. Sir N. Lawes to the King. Prays H.M. to grant a dormant Commission for a Lieut. Governor of Jamaica. 1 p.
163. ii. Memorandum of such dormant Commissions formerly granted. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 12. Nos. 91, 91 i., ii.; and 138, 15. pp. 485–488.]
Oct. 20.
Newcastle at sea.
164. Capt. Passenger to Mr. Popple. Refers to letter of Oct. 1st. The wind hapened to prove fair just in an evening, so that wee had not above one hour of day to get out etc. Not one of the seven New England men (names given) sailed with me as commanded etc. They had no manner of bussiness to stay, but to carry off men, etc. There are several New England men setled there and connive and bargain with those fellows etc., and have sent them off headed up in hogsheads as I was informed; and when I called the person to account for it, it could not be made appear upon oath so I could not punish him, the thing being done the last year and the materiall evidence out of the harbour. One Arnold Southmead a New England surly fellow that keeps a store here, and sells stinking New England rumm, encouraged them not to sail with me, etc. So the merchants as they call them of New England make their voyages of our poor slaves (if I may call them so) after they have work'd night and day all the fishing season, and spent what they have gott in their stinking rumm brought from New England only (all other rum is good) etc. as 1st Oct. Continues:—Sr. after I came to be truly informed of this insufferable proceedings, wch. I was ashamed and confounded to hear related, I exerted myself to prevent it, for I saw the good of the country depended intirely on that point, and am very sorry I had not a suficient power to have sent every man concern'd home etc. I hope their Lordpps. will find some method to punish them: otherwise whatever any Commander of H.M. ships shall order, will be inefectuall for the future etc. If there is not some measures found out to intirely prevent those abuses, and to settle a Goverment, the fishing and trade to Newfoundland must inevitably dwindle away to nothing, is the opinion of every good man that either lives or trades to that place etc. Signed, W. Passenger. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Nov.. 1717, Read 28th Feb.. 1717/18. 3 pp. Enclosed,
164. i. Copy of Capt. Passenger's Order to the Masters of the New England vessels to be ready to sail with him by 30th Sept., and not to stay after H.M. ships under any pretence. H.M.S. Newcastle, St. Johns, 23rd Sept., 1717. Signed, W. Passenger. 1 p.
164. ii. Duplicate of No. 115. [C.O. 194, 6. Nos. 39, 39 i., ii.; and (without enclosures) 195, 6. pp. 370–375.]