America and West Indies
July 1718, 11-18

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor)

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1930

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305-322

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'America and West Indies: July 1718, 11-18', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 30: 1717-1718 (1930), pp. 305-322. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74043 Date accessed: 28 July 2014.


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Contents

July 1718, 11-18

July 11.
New York.
613. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to receipt of seal and asks for an alteration in the Council of New Jersey, supposing that the superseding of George Deacon by John Wells arose from misapprehension of what he wrote etc. Set out, N. J. Archives, 1st Ser. iv. 373. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Sept., Read 1st Oct., 1718. Holograph. 3pp. [C.O. 5, 971. No. 75; and 5, 995. pp. 448, 449.]
July 11.
Kensington.
614. H. M. Warrant to Governors of Plantations to grant pardon to pirates surrendered in accordance with the Proclamation of 5th Sept., 1717, etc. Countersigned, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. pp. 170–178.]
July 11.615. Richard West to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Reply to 7th July. By the Act of New Hampshire for the relief of Ideots etc., it is enacted that ye overseers of ye poor or select men of every town, shall be empower'd to take any person whom they shall judge to be mad, into their custody, in case there be no relations who undertake ye trust, and are even impowered (upon application first made to the Sovereign Court) to sell the estate of ye lunatick etc. Upon which Act I must observe that there are no rules laid down nor method prescribed by wch. a person is to be proved and declared to be a lunatick but ye whole is left to the disposition of ye beforesd. overseers; wch. is a power perfectly unknown to ye laws of England. And likewise that there is no notice or care taken of the Royall Prerogative. By law ye King has ye custody both body and goods etc. of every naturall born ideot and ye yearly value of his lands doe belong to ye Crown. The King also by his prerogative hath ye custody of accidentall lunaticks, thoˆ he hath not an equall interest in their estates. And ye custody of those persons hath been always obtained by application to ye Crown for a Comission of Lunacy wch. issues out of ye Court of Chancery. And since ye Governors of ye Provinces in ye West Indias have alsoe ye power of a Chancellour likewise granted to them perhaps your Lordpps. may think it adviseable that ye like Commissions should issue from the Government there. And least ye Governour should use this power to the oppression of any particular persons he might be directed not to pass such Comission untill such time as a writ de Ideota inquirendo should be directed to ye Sherriffe of ye County and a return of ideocy made upon ye verdict of a jury summoned in ye County where ye ideot is alleadged to be liveing. Which method I think is preferrable to ye giveing a power to ye overseers of any town to lock up without any ceremony any person whatever whom they shall agree to vote mad, etc. By the Act providing for posthumous children it is inter alia enacted, that if any child born during ye life of ye testator should happen to be omitted and not mentioned in ye will of his parents, that in such case ye will as to such child should be totally void and ye child entituled unto such a proportion of its parents' estate as it wou'd have been in case its parents had died intestate. Not to take notice of this claus's being altogether foreign to ye title of ye Bill I must observe to your Lordpps. that this clause is in my opinion contrary to that right wch. every man has to dispose of an estate acquired by himself. But that is not all since in consequence of this clause a child whom perhaps his father did leave out of his will as a punishmt. for his disobedience or some other crime shall by setting aside his father's will in this respect contrary to ye testator's intentions have a greater proportion of his father's estate than ye most dutifull of his children who are legatees in ye will. As to that clause which referrs to posthumus children who may be unprovided for I think it perfectly just that ye legatees should loose pro rato of their legacies in order to make a reasonable provision for such child. But how far what hath been alleadged shall be of weight sufficient to induce your Lordpps. to pass or not to pass this Bill, I entirely submitt. By the Act against High Treason there is nothing enacted to be treason but what is so att ye Common Law. But yet they make severall alterations in ye rules by wch. any traytor must be convicted for thoˆ in ye first part of their Act they doe seem to imitate ye Statute of the 25th of Edward III., yet they have added to it ye necessity of haveing two witnesses to ye same overt act of treason which is a difficulty in ye conviction of traytors unknown to ye Common Law by wch. all tryalls are pr. patriam and not pr. testes. By another clause it is enacted that all persons prosecuted for High Treason, their tryalls shall be regulated according to ye Act of 8th Will. III. for regulating of tryalls in cases of treason. I shall not insist upon any advantage that may be taken from their misreciteing ye Act (wch. was really VIIth Will. III.). But shall consider it as if ye recitall had been justly made the method prescribed by that Act has made it extreamly difficult to convict any person of Treason but yet in that Act there are exceptions for those treasons in wch. it cannot be supposed that two wittnesses to ye same overt Act should be procured wch. exceptions are not inserted in this Act. But those persons wch. by ye Statute of K. William are precluded any priviledges granted by that Act, are by this Act of New Hampshire entituled to them; as for instance persons prosecuted for counterfeiting ye coin, of ye Great or Privy Seal (and also ye Sign Manuall and Signett wch. are two species of treason not taken notice of by this Act of New Hampshire). I must further observe that as ye Statute of ye 25th of Edw. III. is declaratory of ye Common Law I am of opinion that it is much better for ye Plantations to keep ye cases of treason within ye rules of yt. Statute than to perplex them with any new ones, and it is certain that ye Crown has ye subjects of those Provinces much more at command by ye Common Law yn. it would have if the English Statutes of Treasons were extended to them. And doubtless ye example of this Province will be immitated by all ye other Colonies. And therefore since ye King's prerogative is proposed to be lessened by this Act I submitt it to your Lordpps. to judge whether it is reasonable to grant what may be called so large a priviledge without anything being offer'd to ye Crown on ye part of ye Province (as ye setling Revenue etc.) to induce it. Signed, Richd. West. Endorsed, Read 11th July, 1718. 3 pp. [C.O. 5, 867. No. 1; and 5, 915. pp. 163–168.]
July 14.
Boston.
616. Mr. Bridger to the Council of Trade and Plantations. My Instructions from the Lords of the Admiralty forbids all persons H.M. woods, without leave, the inhabitants of all the towns next H.M. woods being accostomed to go and cut such trees as were not fitt for the Royall Navy, the woods being first survey'd, and the trees marked that were to be reserved, to put these Instructions in practice gave me very much trouble; and the people dissatisfaction, however by care etc. and a deep snow falling in November the wood has been preserved better than in some years past. But ill minded persons factious, malicious, and disloyal and vile in practise are never easie and who to carrie on their designes stick at nothing, all which will appear in the actions of one Elisha Cooke Esq. one of the Council of this Province, who in a letter to the Spaker of the House of Representatives unjustly falls on me, and office: asserts vindicates, and maintaines, that his Majestie nor officers has anything to doe with the woods in the Province of Main etc. Refers to enclosures. Upon my Memorial, the Governour at the next election of Councilors was pleased to put a negative on sd. Cooke. Since wch. he has delivered another representation to the Govr. and Council and Assembly to wch. I answered by Memorial to the Governour. But the majority are for him and [h]is rebelious assertions, saying that they bought the Province of Main for £1250 (80 miles long), which was out of the power of the than Charter to purchas, much less had they a power to annex it to a Charter Govermt.: if so, they may now purchass Roade Island Connecticutt etc. and add it this Charter, and entierly throˆ of H.M. power and prorogative from this Continent: the people of thi[s] Province pleading they have a Charter. When the dispute of H.M. just rights and prorogative of the woods was debating in the lower house, I gave one of the Members two Acts of Parliament pass'd in the 4 and 11 years of the late Queen for the preservation of H.M. woods here in America, he was very smartly answered, that Acts of Parliament were of no force with them, they had a Charter, with great submition I am of oppinion that the grant of the Province of Main may be reassumed and annexed to H.M. Province of New Hampshire, with much more reason than the grants of Ierland were, without any regard to the possessors, if it should be thought proper to repay the purchas summ etc. The Province of Main is better furnished wth. mastt trees both for number and large sizes more than all besides: there are now cut this last winter 3/5 of what was cut of the 478 trees; there are several new towns laid out in the sd. province since 4 years past, all and every Proprietor that have conveniences for a saw mill is building one; and nothing but a resumption of that grant will I fear do to preserve the woods: an Act of Parliament as severe as that for the preservation of pitch pine trees, or tar trees, that very Act would wth. amendments do. but i pray leave to inclose a copie for a bill to be pass'd forthwith etc., or all the large pines will be destroy'd, etc. I allways deemed the woods without the township to be his Majesties; the General Court says he, that is H.M. has none, and that it is in their power to grant all land and woods without the townships, or give them away as they please, and can lay out and give away another rainge of towns above the present towns; if so, the King cannot have a mast tree without purchassing it of these Proprietors, etc. What further may be done prejudicial to H.M. intrest I cannot yet informe; There being a Committe appointed of the Uper and of the Lower house, to sitt as Judges of H.M. title to the woods in this Country, which with other particulars remaine undetermined till the next Sessions in October etc. Refers to enclosures and Mr. Cooke's disloyal pretentions and malicious and false chargesetc. Suchlike treatment I have allways meett with from those people, etc. All belonging to the Crown are so obnoxious to these people in generall, that it is very dangerous for [one ?] to travaile alone, etc., as the officers of the Customs can testifie who has been molested in the execution of their duty, in all the Charter Governments, some of them being forced home this last year for redress etc. Refers to his affidavit in answer to Cooke's false charge that he exacted 40s. a team from the inhabitants who cut trees for loggs within the grant of their townships etc. In the time of my absence and some time before these Great and Generall Assemblys has laid out eight new towns, and no reserve made according to the Charter which reservation ought to have been the obligatory part in every town grant so lay'd out, the neglect of wch. not only a breach the Charter, but destroys all the woods within those townships beyond redress, besides whenever there is occasion to but name this is for H.M. intrest or 'tis against the Prorogative of the Crown, the answer is, these are the privileges of the Charter, so that the Charter is allways pleaded and the reservation for H.M. Navy is null'd. If this Magogg or Idoll of these people were lost, no one person would suffer a penny damage in their estates: and H.M. intrest secured, and officers protected, and keept from the insults of the people etc. P.S.— There is affidavitt wherein I am charged with receiving £20 and £5 for leting some people get logg and that on land up Merrimack River, and is in propriete wth. some other persons and myself. Signed, J. Bridger. Endorsed, Recd. 29th Aug., Read 23rd Sept., 1718. 4 pp. Enclosed,
616. i. Memorial of John Bridger to Governor Shute. Replies to Elisha Cooke's false and malicious aspersions. The royalty of the woods has never been sold or alienated, as he maintains, as appears by many Acts of Parliament. Points out inconsistency of Mr. Cooke, who in one place affirms that the General Court may dispose of unappropriated lands, woods etc., and in another declares that no person might presume to cutt down trees without the townships, etc. Continues:— I have an authentick affidavit from Samuel Plaisted that he heard Cooke say that neither the King nor Mr. Bridger his officer had anything to doe in the Province of Main. In the present Charter the woods are expressly reserved for H.M. use, etc. Copy. 1½ pp.
616. ii. Memorial of Elisha Cooke to the Governor, Council and Assembly of the Massachusets Bay. Charges Mr. Bridger with having received £50 from Mr. Mico for masts sent to England. Continues:— When I was in Main, Jan. last, being inform'd that there was a designe to entice the inhabitants there to give Mr. Bridger or his Deputy money to cutt loggs in that county, some having been threatened by Samuel Plaisted, his Deputy, and others had the trees they had cut for sloop masts seized, because they had not Mr. Bridger's liberty, althoˆ they grew within the township of Berwick, I informed the people that they might cut trees for logs etc. and be in no danger of the penalty of £100 mentioned in the Charter. Charles I. granted the Province of Main, with all its woods etc. to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, whose son sold it to John Usher in 1677 for £1250. Usher conveyed his title to the Collony of the Massachusets Bay. The General Court may therefore doubtless dispose of the unapropriated lands woods etc. to such persons as they think fitt, more especially considering the Charter granted by King William and Queen Mary to the inhabitants of this Province doth confirm all lands tenements etc. which any persons and persons body's pollitick do hold and enjoy etc. If so, the suppositions of Mr. Bridger that all the woods without ye townships are H.M.'s, must fall to the ground. Mr. Bridger might travail a little further where there are very large tracts of lands and woods not granted to any private persons etc. Boston, June 14, 1718. Add. June 16, 1718. Being desired to explain above statement that "I did inform the people that they might cut trees etc.," I declare that I informed the inhabitants that no person might presume to cut down any trees without the bounds of their townships etc. Signed, Elisha Cooke. The above memorial was referred to a Committee of the Council and Assembly July 1st–5th. Copy. 3¼ pp.
616. iii. Memorial of John Bridger to Governor Shute. Cooke not only denys the power H.M. has invested me with, but tells the inhabitants of Main they may cut where and what log they please etc. This arbitrary liberty this Gentleman dispences will soon destroy all the mast trees reserved by H.M. in the Charter for the Royall Navy, and lay H.M. under a necessity not only to keep but makeing a peace with the Northern Crowns let it be never so injurious to the trade and interest of Great Brittain etc. The time being near wherein your Excellency will have an oppertunity to remove all enemies to H.M. and his interest from the Council, obliges me to put your Excellency in mind thereof etc. Copy. 1p.
616. iv. Memorial of Elisha Cooke to the Speaker of the Assembly of the Massachusets Bay. Boston, 6th Feb., 1717. Complains that Mr. Bridger is endeavouring to force the inhabitants of Kittery and Berwick to pay him 40s. for each team they send into the woods, and exacts from them for his licence to work upon land within grant of the townships and a bond of £100 that they cut down no trees fit for masts for H.M. use. The reservation made by H.M. in the Charter cannot be construed to countenance Mr. Bridger, for it can only refer to trees that grow upon lands not heretofore granted to any private persons, and the Province of Main was long since granted by the Crown to Sir Ferdinando Gorges etc. Signed, Elisha Cooke. Copy. 2¾ pp.
616. v. Mr. Bridger to Governor Shute. Copy of an Act proposed to be pass'd for the better preservation of H.M. woods and intrest in America. ¾ p.
616. vi. (a) Deposition of Samuel Plaisted. Portsmo., June 12, 1718. Deponent heard Cooke say that neither the King nor Mr. Bridger had anything to do in the county of Yorke formerly the Province of Main in surveying the mast trees etc. Signed, Saml. Plaisted.
(b) Deposition of Archibald Macpheadris to same effect. Portsmo., May 16, 1718. Copy. The whole, 1p.
616. vii. Mr. Bridger to Mr. Popple. I offered to take the oath before the Governor and Council, that I have not exacted any sum whatever from the inhabitants of the county of York, nor from any other person, as alledged No. iv., but was reffused, etc. Signed, J. Bridger. 1p.
616. viii. Mr. Bridger to Josiah Willard, Secretary. Acknowledges copy of Cooke's charges and denies them. Boston, April 15, 1718. Signed, J. Bridger. Endorsed, Recd. 29th Aug., Read 23rd Sept., 1718. Copy. 1p. [C.O. 5, 867. Nos. 12, 12 i.–viii.; and (without enclosures) 5, 915. pp. 206–214.]
July 14.
Boston.
617. Mr. Bridger to Mr. Popple. Acknowledges letter of 11th March etc. Continues:—No care shall be wanting on my part to protect H.M. interest etc. I pray their Lordships may be minded that there are near 7000 inhabitants who loose no oppertunity to inrich themselves, by the spoyles they make out of H.M. woods (but 'tis in dispute whether H.M. has any woods in this Govermt. or no) and but one person to secure 60 or 70 miles in length next the woods against their wasts and destruction. I am not contending for assistance whereby to make an advantage to myself, or putting the Crown to any expence but such as the publick good in a most necessitious manner calls for it etc. H.M. in his Commission did establish my salary and the Navy to pay for it, the dispute was with my Lord Orford himself, who was so superiour a man that he would have the nomination of the officer he paid, but as soon as he heard the Commission read to him, said he had nothing to doe wth. it the King had appointed my salary and bid me go and recieve it. This was the difficulty, not the establishmt. of the salary. I should be glad to be inform'd of your meaning, when the survey is done that I am upon the Deputies might expect a reward, there is none will worke an houer without a certaine pay etc. Urges that Cooke should be sent for home to answer to H.M. Court of Exchequer etc. Unless such as he be humbled, and H.M. intrest supported, as well otherways as by Acts of Parliament, the intrest of the Crown, and H.M. prorogative will entierly be lost here etc, Signed, J. Bridger. Endorsed as preceding. Addressed. 1¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 867. No. 13; and 5, 915. pp. 214–216.]
July 14.
N. York.
618. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The ship (Capt. Gerard Comder.) being still here, I herewith send your Losps. an abstract of the import from the Western Islands chiefly Madera together with the quarterly accounts which I believe your Losps. will find to be very exact and nicely conformable to the Instructions etc., and your Losps. shall have them punctually by all conveyances. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Sept., Read 1st Oct., 1718. Holograph. 1 p. Enclosed,
618. i. Account of imports to New York from Madera, 24th June, 1715–1718, in return for exports of provisions, grain and pipe-staves. Totals:—Wine, 1614 pipes, 47 hhds., 59 casks. Spirits, distilled at the Western Islands, 1 hhd., 36 casks. Same endorsement. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 1051. Nos. 75, 75 i.; and (without enclosure) 5, 1124. p. 54.]
July 14.
Admiralty Office.
619. Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to Mr. Secretary Craggs. Reply to July 8. Propose that H.M. Surveyor of Woods in America, lately appointed, be instructed to survey those of Nova Scotia, by himself or by deputy. As to a small vessel to attend on that Government, the numbers of men actually employed in the Royal Navy do very much exceed what Parliament have made provision for etc. But if H.M. shall think it for His service, we shall endeavour to appoint such a vessel as may occasion the least expence; tho' it is our opinion, that if she doth not depart from hence within a month, she will not be able to lay hold of the coast this year, and whether the Governor can be able to leave England by that time is uncertain to us. Signed, J. Barkeley, J. Jennings, Jo. Cokburne, W. Chetwynd, Cha. Wager. 3 pp. [C.O. 217, 31. No. 18.]

Boston.
620. Mr. Cumings to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Replies to questions of 6th March. (i.) There may be 100,000 weight of wooll annually in this province and Rhoad Island but difficult to know the exact quantity. (ii.) As to what quantity is exported it is done with such privacy that it is difficult to find out but it has been reported they have exported some from Nantucket Island (where they have 10,000 sheep) to France. (iii.) The most part of itt is here manufactured into shalloons serges stuffs drugets and kersies and here consumed a sample whereof I shall indeavour to procure your Lordships and the prices they sell for and a sample of the wooll which is sold now att 16d. pr. pound. I am att present a stranger to the price of wooll in England so cannot so readily give my thoughts thereon but if a præmium was given to enable the merchts. to make any tolerable return by wooll it would much decrease the manufacturing of the wooll here and advance the Brittish for where the greatest quantity of wooll is produced is upon Islands where little or none of itt is manufactured, etc. The export for Great Britain from Christmas to Midsummer from this port stands thus:—Whalebone 177 bundles, pitch 2665 barls., tarr 7599, turpentine 3202, rozin 32, oyll 3091, rice 543, indigoe 22, sugar 100 hhds., brazeletto wood 22¾ tuns, fustick 52 tuns, lignum vitæ, 100 tuns, skins and furrs 58 hhds. and casks, staves 131,600, etc. Signed, Archd. Cumings. Endorsed, Recd. 29th Aug., Read 23rd Sept., 1718. 1¼ pp. Enclosed,
620. i. Account of foreign enumerated commodities imported in the port of Boston 24th June, 1717–1718; showing French, Dutch, Danish and Spanish origins. Signed, Archd. Cumings. Cocoa, from St. Thomas, 144 barrls., from Martinico, 133; Indigo, from Cyan 150lb., Cotton, from St. Thomas 174 bags; Molosses, from Cyan, 49 hhds., 71 teirces, from Surinam, 737 hhds., 37 teirces, 6 barls.; Sugar, from Cyan, 10 barls. from Cape François 16 barls., from Surinam, 4 barls., from St. Thomas, 7 hhds., 40 teirces, 145 barls. Rum, from Surinam, 10 hhds., 13 teirces, 3 barls. 1 slip. [C.O. 5, 867. Nos. 10, 10 i.; and 5, 915. pp. 201–204.]
July 15.
Boston.
621. Mr. Cumings to Mr. Popple. Acknowledges letter of 6th March and recommends appointment of an Inspector Generall of Imports and Exports of each Colony etc. Signed, Archd. Cumings. Endorsed, Recd. 29th Aug., Read 23rd Sept., 1718. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 867. No. 11; and 5, 915. p. 205.]
July 15.
Whitehall.
622. Mr. Secretary Craggs to the Governor of Jamaica. It having been represented to H.M. in behalf of the Jews inhabiting Jamaica, that many of their profession have been settled in that Island for several years, on encouragement from an Act passed there, as also by Letters Patent of naturalization, and that others of them have been born upon the place; all of which have carried on their trade, possessed lands, and enjoyed all other rights, privileges and jurisdictions granted them by the said Act and Letters Patents, in the same manner as the other natural-born subjects of H.M., without distinction on account of their Religion: And it having been further represented, that there have been some late attempts to diminish their aforesaid privileges, though they have on all occasions given incontestable proofs of their zeal and affection for H.M. Person and Government: I am therefore to signifie to you H.M. pleasure, that you give all fitting encouragement and protection to the Jews settled, as abovementioned, in Jamaica, so far as the Laws of that Island now in force do allow, provided they on their part demean themselves quietly; to the end that they may remain in the peaceable possession of such privileges as they have hitherto enjoyed. Signed, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. p. 179.]
July 15.
Whitehall.
623. Mr. Popple to Mr. Burchett. Asks for copy of Admiral Benbow's letter to the Governor of St. Thomas, 21st Oct., 1699, and of his answer. (v. No. 593 iv. (a).) [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 349, 350.]
July 15.
Admty. Office.
624. Mr. Burchett to Mr. Popple. Reply to preceding. The said letters were some time since unfortunately burnt, among others, in a particular place where they were lodged in the garden of this Office; but I having, before this accident hapen'd, collected several things from the letters of the Flagg Officers, in order to the compleating the History which I have almost finished of Naval Affaires, I send you herewith an account of what I have observed passed between Rear Admiral Benbow and the aforesaid Governor of St. Thomas's, and if the same may be of any use to the Lords Commissioners for Trade, I shall be very glad. Signed, J. Burchett. Endorsed, Recd., Read 16th July, 1718. 1 p. Enclosed,
624. i. Mr. Burchett's account of what passed between Rear Admiral Benbow and the Danish Governor of St. Thomas. At the request of the President of the Council of Nevis, the Rear Admiral sail'd to the Island St. Thomas, inhabited chiefly, if not altogether, by subjects of Denmark, and demanded by what authority they bore the flag of that Nation on Crab Island, since it appertained to the King of England his Master: He also let the Governour know, that it was not agreeable to the Laws of Nations, to trade with Pyrates, (it being evident he had suffer'd great part of Kidd's cargo to be landed at that Port), and demanded of him all subjects of England who were non-resident there. The Governour seem'd surprized at his making any objections to the Flag, and insisted that the Island whereon it flew was actually the King of Denmark's. The Port he said was free, and since the Brandenburgh Facters had received part of Kidd's effects, he could by no means molest, but on the contrary, was obliged to protect them: He averr'd that there were not any of the subjects of England on the Island, Capt. Sharp only excepted, who was confined for misdemeanours, and having sworn allegiance to the King of Denmark, could not justifiably be deliver'd up, so that the Rear Admiral was obliged to desist, for his Instructions did not empower him to act in an hostile manner, etc. [C.O. 152, 12. Nos. 106, 106 i.; and (without enclosures) 153, 13. pp. 350, 351.]
July 16.625. Copy of Privy Seal directing salaries to be paid to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations:—Robert, Earl of Holdernesse, John Chetwynd Esqr., Sir Charles Cooke, Paul Docminique, John Molesworth, Thomas Pelham, Daniel Pulteney and Martin Bladen, and under officers. Endorsed, Recd., Read 8th Aug., 1718. 2 pp. [C.O. 388, 77. No. 46.]
[July 16.]626. Capt. Passenger to Mr. Popple. Encloses following. "The most exact account I could possibly get, in that short time I was there, wch. was less than two months, and 12 months would have been too short a time to have done it effectualy, it being 110 leagues from Bonavist to Placentia, and has 21 fishing harbours and coves in it, wch. I was obliged to send my officers to, and hire boats and sloops at my own charge, there not being one shilling allow'd for it" etc. I have no manner of intrest in it more than for the good of H.M. subjects etc. Signed, W. Passenger. Endorsed, Recd. 16th July, Read 15th Aug., 1718. ¾ p. Enclosed,
626. i. Capt. Passenger's answers to Heads of Enquiry relating to the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland, May 9th, 1717. (i.) There are some small numbers of black cattle, sheep and hoggs, etc., and a small no. of beaver furrs etc. of the Planters own killing in the winter, but have no trade with the Indians. (ii.) They are supply'd with bread, flower, rumm, brandy and tobacco from New England to the great prejudice of those trading directly from Great Brittain. (iii.) In the spring before H.M. ships can arrive they do rind the trees to cover their houses and stages, and cut down a great deal of birch to make new flakes to dry their fish on, the other being burnt in the winter, to the great decay and destruction of the woods, and the fishing ships trading thither; they being forced to go 5 or 6 miles in ye woods for a stick of birch as big as my arm, being contrary to the Act of Parliamt. and the advantage of all that reside or trade there, and all for want of good Government in the winter, otherwise the flakes and stages would last seven years. (iv.) He that is the strongest man, in the winter commonly ingrosses other men's right; until H.M. ships arrive etc. (v.) That is frequently done till the arrival of H.M. ships to decide that matter; For they are such a sort of people that their will is sufficient against all Acts of Parliament, untill they meet with a superiour power to put those laws in execution. (vi.) All those fishing ships that come to fish in the country, do bring over the number of green men, if they can get them; but there has been so many lately carried away to New England, that the oldest traders to Newfoundland have told me 'tis not possible to get the number of the future, without the New England trade is prohibited etc. as 1st Oct., 1717. Great quantitys [? of fish from New England] are carried to the Spanish and Italian marketts, and are sold a dollar in a quintal cheaper than the ships from Great Brittain can afford to sell them. (vii.) There being no officer on the spott to examine their certificates, they are seldome produced, except there arrise a dispute who has a right to be Admiral etc. On my arrival, there was three set up for Admirals of St. Johns etc. The most part of the Admls. of the Harbours are for their own private benefitt, and not the publick good in genl.; they have some priviledges more than others, and especially in collecting their debts; and very little else minded of the Acts of Parliament, relating to the Admlls. of harbours, if not compell'd by the commanders of H.M. ships of warr, and all for want of a Governour on the spott. (viii.) Whenever they have oppertunitys' to defraud their neighbours, they will not only cut out the marks of the train fatts, but where strong enough will turn a man out of his house and keep possession of it untill one of H.M. ships arrive to put the right owner in possession again. (ix.) No complaints of that. (x.) Those that dont leave somebody to look after their stages etc. in the winter will find them in a very bad condition the next spring, by being stoln and burnt in the winter. (xi.) It happen'd this year that there was not much above half ships enough to take up the rooms, so they had no occasion whilst I was there (to engross more beach and flakes than belongs to them), but I have heard the Admlls. have made it their practice in other years, wch. is the chief reason they endeavour to be Admlls. to serve themselves, but as to their doing justice to others (more than sutes with their own interests), 'tis very rare to find they will take much pains on that point. (xii.) I never saw any of their journals here, but have often put them in mind of their duty. The Admirals do determine differences, and very often they appeal to ye Commanders of H.M. ships for a final determination, but stand by that no longer than the Captain is on the spott, as in the case of Tobias Hutchinson v. Langley. (xvi.) There is no manner of regard had to this Article, for they throw everything they have a mind to throw overboard where their ships lay without any scruple, wch. I have complain'd off very often. (xvii.) They allways throw their offall at ye stagehead so the tides do wash and carry it off without any annoyance to the place. (xviii.) They do observe the Lord's Day in going to Church when the parson happens to be sober; But as to the selling strong liquors etc. there is much more sold that day than any week day, by reason all ye people are exempt from work that day, and they have nothing else to do but to drink for want of a Civill Government among them. (xix.) I have not seen nor heard of any aliens to fish in any part of Newfoundland, except the Bay of Fortune, and the Island of St. Peters where there are a sort of French inhabitants that pretend they have a right to fish there, they did take the oaths to Queen Anne, but have not done it to King George for wch. reason Governor Moody sent down an officer and seiz'd their fish and train etc. before my arrivall etc. (xx.) As to curing their fish with good salt, that is done most certainly for their own advantage for they make two sorts, merchantable, and refuse, the latter is sold for half the price as the former, both at Newfoundland, and the Streights; and our gentlemen that commands the sack ships know what fish is good for the Spanish marketts as the Spaniards themselves. (xxi.) Certainly the inhabitants debauch themselves with drinking, to the great detriment and in a little time to the utter destruction of the fishery etc v. 1st Oct., 1717. (xxii.) It is very common for ships to come directly from France, Spain, Portugall etc. with salt, wines, brandy and all the produce of those countrys, they will sell at Newfoundland, as well as they do from all H.M. Islands in the West Indies, and America, with rumm, mellosses, sugar, tobacco etc. (xxiii.) Some are sold to people that makes it their bussness to buy ships cargos, and retailes them out to the inhabitants; and some masters of ships that bring cargos hire storehouses, and land their goods, and retails them out to ye planters, and trusts them till their fish is made and then they collect in their fish for their goods; and if they don't sell all they leave a trusty man to stay the winter, and sell all that they cant, in the summer season. They sell to any that will buy them; as well to those who belong to ships as those planters on shoar, and 'tis my opinion that not one fourth part of the provisions etc. comes directly from Brittain or Ireland. (xxiv.) I did not observe any of those enumerated comoditys were shipt on ships, bound to Spain, only sugar and tobacco in small quantitys for their present use, and not to merchandize, by reason all the ships that go to Spain lade with fish only, and tobacco, and sugars are prohibited in Spain, and nobody can buy them, but one man that is appointed by the King. (xxvii.) The price of fish is commonly broke at 28 or 30 ryals pr. quintal, and carried to Spain, Itally and Portugall, for a market, train oyl from 9 to £10 pr. tun, carried for great Brittain to market. (xxix.) They clear from all the West coast of England and Bristol. The sack ships most from London and Bristoll. (xxx.) 1100 men went to New England the year before I came; and I can't find any way that will intirely prevent that abuse, but the prohibiting the New England ships from trading to Newfoundland. (xxxi, xxxii.) The French have a great number of ships wch. fish on the Banks, but I could never learn what number, by reason they fish further to the Southward than our ships do, and 'tis almost allways foggy etc., and likewise on the coast of Canada and Cape Britton. But they carry on a great trade there 'tis certain. Answers to Additional Instructions. (1.) The trees are rinded and the woods destroyed, so much is certain, and not in the power of a Commander of H.M. ship to hinder it, for 'tis done before they arrive in the spring, before they begin their fishery, to repair their stages, houses etc. Which can never be prevented without a civill Government settled. (2.) The Admirals observe the Act no farther than consists for their own interests. (3.) The vessels from New England supply Newfoundland with three fourths of their provissions to the great hinderance of the trade of Great Brittain. (4.) As the New England ships seldome depart before H.M. ships sail etc. ut supra. (5.) The masters of ships neglect to bring their men home to save charges etc. If the master was under a penalty of £10 for every man he carries out of Great Brittain, and not bring him back again, death only excepted, to be paid to the Collector that clears the ship inwards, and those men to be registred by the officer that clears the ship outwards; must prevent the same. (6.) European comoditys are carried to Newfoundland in Brittish ships, directly from France, Spain, and Portugall that is salt, wine and brandy, and sold to the inhabitants wch. is all the supply they have except from New England for of those commoditys none comes directly from England, but bread, pease, oatmeal etc., and clothing, and I find those things have been done time out of mind, and are wink'd at for the sake of trade, and for want of a sufficient power to seize them, and indeed had I seized all those ships which did not come directly from Great Brittain, the major part of the fish must have been left in the country, besides the advantage the New England men would have had, in selling their commoditys of the same sort for double the money they did; and all that with submission may be prevented when they clear, in Great Brittain for Newfoundland, to give bond not to go into any other port to load or take on board any goods, directly, or indirectly, for Newfoundland, after they depart from Great Brittain. I have done all that in me lay and took especial care that none of those commoditys so brought into the country was shipt off or sold to any ship bound to any markett, but purely for the supplying of the planters, and without that they could not carry on the fishery, and indeed all this is not one third of the trade, the other is carried on by the New England men, so there is no benefitt arrises to great Brittain; but those Brittish ships that bring cargo's thither tho' not directly from Great Brittain, is only to purchase their cargo's of fish for the Spanish marketts etc. and that cargo loads them home with wines, fruits etc. of the growth of Spain or the place they load at, which pays H.M. dutys at their return. (8.) With humble submission I think it highly necessary that there should be an entire stop put to the New England trade, otherwise they will in a very little time intirely destroy the Newfoundland trade, and set up a much better fishery in New England, wch. they can do so much cheaper than our people that go out from great Brittain, and carry out their servants and fishermen at the rate of 16 and £18 pr. head for the season, besides ye charge of netts, hooks, lines, and all other contingencys wch. discourages a great many to undertake it, so many having of late miscarried, and all occasion'd by the New England trade carrying off such a number of men, that it is become a rare thing, to carry one man two voyages. (9.) I have given out several orders, for the Admirals and the oldest masters, and planters, to survey the stages and cookrooms etc. to know what belong to shiproome, and what was boatroome, and their report was they had not been survey'd so long, that their was none knew one from another etc. (10.) I have made it my particular care to inform myself about the Government; that being the materiall and only thing wanting; 'twould give a new life and spirit to everything etc. On the foot it is now on: he that happens to be the strongest knows everything to be his own etc. Very often the agressor, absconds runs into ye woods and flys from justice, untill H.M. ships are gone, and then down he comes, and reigns Lord again. This has been done by a great many, but especially by one Forde which had a power left him by a Commander of one of H.M. ships to be Governour of Petty harbour etc. I have seen and heard so very much of this that I faithfully beleive, no man liveing in the country of Newfoundland is fit to govern etc., for this set of people that live here, are those that cant live in great Brittain or anywhere else, but in a place without Government etc. Insists on need of a Civil Governor "That shan't reside at one place, but have a sloop to visit the several coves etc." (11.) I have not heard that the French sell goods to the prejudice of our trade where I have been: there are not above three French living at Placentia and they drive no manner of trade there, but what they do at St. Peters, and the Bay of Fortune, I know not, being places I have not been at; doubtless they carry their own fishing gear out with them, but none of our people have any corrispondance with them, except at St. Peters whither our ships go to buy their fish. etc. (12.) I never heard the French did either hunt or furr in the winter. (13.) I could not find that the officers or soldiers were commanded to fish or that they did fish or concern themselves with the fishing, or boats, fishing rooms etc. 12¼ pp.
626. ii. Scheme of the Fishery of Newfoundland, 1717. Fishing ships, 89; sack ships, 33; ships from America, 44. Burthen of fishing ships, 7530 tons. Number of men belonging to the ships, 2032. Fishing ships boats, 320; by boats, 29; inhabitants' boats, 402. Number of by boats men, masters, 156; servants, 943. Quintals of fish, made by fishing ships, 50,090; by byboats and inhabitants boats, 63,900; carried to market, 92,680. Train, made by fishing ships, 164 tons; by byboats, 20 tons; by inhabitants' boats, 233 tons. Number of stages, 389. Number of inhabitants, men, 1863; women, 351; children, 608. 1 p. [C.O. 194, 6. Nos. 50, 50 i., ii.; and (without enclosure, ii.) 195, 6. pp. 397–415.]
July 18.
Whitehall.
627. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Representation upon 3 Acts of New Hampshire. As to the first, relating to ideots, quote opinion of Mr. West, "one of your Majesty's Council learned in the Law" (v. 11th July). Continue:—We cannot conceive the said Act fit for your Majesty's Royal approbation, but humbly propose the same be repealed. In which case we have no objection against the Govr. being directed to proceed in relation to ideots and lunaticks in the manner set forth in Mr. West's report etc. As to the Act providing for posthumous children, thô some parts thereof may be very reasonable and just, quote Mr. West 11th July, upon the whole, we are humbly of opinion, that the said Act is fit to be rejected. In relation to the Act against High Treason, quote Mr. West 11th July and conclude, Wherefore we are most humbly of opinion that your Majesty should disallow the said Act. [C.O. 5, 915. pp. 172–175.]
July 18.
Whitehall.
628. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Craggs. Enclose following to be laid before H.M. Annexed,
628. i. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Reply to Memorial of Danish Envoy, (v. July 3rd.) State claims of Denmark to Islands of St. John and Crabb. Refer to Representation of 9th Aug., 1717, "which we think the Memorial (3rd July) has not in the least answer'd." Continue:—We beg leave in addition thereunto to observe that King Charles the 2nd letter to Col. Stapleton in 1672 could not possibly have any such meaning as the Memorial wou'd fix upon it, because the same Col. Stapleton (afterwards Sir William) writes in 1677, to the Lords of the Committee for Trade and Plantations that the Danes had then no other Colony but St. Thomas and were new planters there, and in 1682 King Charles sent orders to Sir William Stapleton, not to suffer the Danes to settle on any of the Virgin Islds. except St. Thomas; Besides it do's appear by the Memorial that the Danes do not pretend to date their claim to the other Islands earlier than 1682. It appears by our said Representation that the Court of Denmark was not only apprized of the complaints against the Govr. of St. Thomas, but likewise so well satisfyed of the justice of them as to recall him upon that account and had so very ill an opinion of the said Governour that they even doubted whether he would resign his Govt. to the persons appointed by his Danish Majesty to succeed him to which we can further add that we find in the books in our Office, continual complaints from all the Govrs. of the Leeward Islands successively, from Colo. Stapleton to the present time, and very frequent Representations from this Board to your Majesty's Royal predecessors, of the many and great mischiefs occasion'd to this Kingdom by the settlement of the Danes at St. Thomas. 1st By their encouraging and protecting pyrates. 2nd By supplying the French Plantations in time of war with Navall Stores, subsistance and intelligence, by harbouring their privateers and allowing them to sell their prizes at St. Thomas. 3rd By giving retreat and protection to runaway servants, slaves and debtors from the English Plantations and refusing to diliver them up, when demanded. 4th By carrying on a clandestine and illegall trade with the British Plantations to the prejudice of your Majesty's revenues and of the Trade and Navigation of this Kingdom. We beg leave to observe further that tho the Danes found their claim of right to the Virgin Islands, upon the pretence that they first took possession of them yet they produce no proof of it, but only the bare assertion of a Govr. of St. Thomas (v. July 3rd) that he had planted the King of Denmark's standard and establish'd his Commission upon one of those Islands, viz. Crabb Island in 1682; Whereas it is notorious that the right of Sovereignty over all the Virgin Islands was lodged in the Crown of England long before that time; those Ilsds. having been first discover'd by the English and comprehended in a grant made by King Charles I. to the Earl of Carlisle in 1627, as they have been comprehended in the severall Commissns. given from that time to this, to the Governours of the Leeward Islands. It is no less well known that some of the Virgin Islands were very early settled and inhabited by the English, and that the rest of them particularly Tortola, St. Johns and Crabbe Islands have been subservient to the English Colonys in those parts, by supplying them with timber, and by affording a safe retreat for their ships in stress of weather. We cannot but think it pretty remarkable that nothing is said in the Memorial, in vindication of the King of Denmark's title to St. Thomas, since the clearing up this point seem'd to be a very proper and necessary foundation for supporting the Danish pretentions to the other Islands, besides that we had given occasion for it by taking notice in our former Representation (which this Memorial is said to answer) that your Majesty's present Govr. of the Leeward Islands has an Instruction as his predecessors for many years have had, to assert your Majesty's right of Sovereignty over all the Virgin Islands and not to suffer the Danes or any other foreigners to settle on any of them, except St. Thomas and if the Danes should not acquiesce therein to give them to understand they have no title to St. Thomas itself. We cou'd offer severall other considerations, in support of your Majesty's right to those Islands, which the Danes now lay claim to; but we believe that what we have already said in this, and our former Representations, will sufficiently show how groundless their claim is; The Danes themselves seem to have been so conscious of it, that without waiting for an answer to the prayer of the Memorial they have already begun to make a settlement on St. Johns, one of the Islands contended for in the Memorial. An account of which settlement we had the honour to lay before your Majesty by Mr. Secretary Craggs, and your Majesty having thereupon been pleas'd to command us, to report what we conceive may be proper for your Majesty to do therein; We beg leave humbly to represent, that considering your Majesty's undoubted right, to all the Virgin Islands, and how very prejudicial the settlement of the Danes at St. Thomas has hitherto been to your Majesty's subjects in those parts, as well as to the interest of this Kingdom in general, and that this evil would in all likelyhood increase in proportion with any further settlements they might make, We think it absolutely necessary, that neither the Danes nor any other foreigners should be allowed to settle on any of the Virgin Island[s], excepting only St. Thomas; And since the Danes have thought fit to undertake the settlement at St. Johns in opposition to the repeated admonitions of your Majesty's Govr. of the Leeward Islands, pursuant to his Instructions from your Majesty, we are humbly of opinion, that no time should be lost in asserting your Majesty's right to the said Islands of St. Johns, in such manner as to your Majesty shall seem most proper and effectuall. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 352–363.]