Journal, December 1724
December 1. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique,
Mr. Pelham, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe.
Colonel Spotswood desiring copies of any complaints against him.
Colonel Spotswood, late Lieutenant Governor of Virginia,
attending, desired their Lordships would please, (if any complaint
should be made against him), to let him have copies thereof,
which their Lordships promised accordingly.
Mr. Smith about several papers and an Act concerning his place of secretary.
Mr. Smith, secretary to the Leeward Islands, attending, as
he had been desired, their Lordships had some discourse with
him in relation to his letter and papers, mentioned in the Minutes
of the 19th of last month, and resolved to consider further
thereof, as also of the Act, passed at St. Christophers in 1724,
entituled, An Act for the establishing a Court of King's Bench
and Common Pleas, and for the better advancement of Justice in
the Island of St. Christophers, and for settling certain fees, and
repealing a former Act of the said Island, entituled, An Act for
establishing of Courts and settling due methods for the administration
of Justice, whereby Mr. Smith complains that several branches
of his office are taken away, when Mr. West shall have made his
Merchants about new lighthouses on the coast of Denmark and Norway, to put into writing what they have to offer.
Mr. Astell, Mr. Theobalds, Mr. Cooke and Mr. Sheldon, attending,
as they had been desired, their Lordships, after some discourse
with them in relation to the letter from Lord Townsend of the
23rd inst., inclosing a memorial from the Danish Envoy, in
relation to some new duties laid upon all ships, for defraying the
expences of two lighthouses lately erected on the coast of
Denmark and Norway, mentioned in the Minutes of the 24th
of last month, desired they would put into writing, what they
might have to offer upon this subject.
December 2. Present:—Mr. Pelham, Mr. Bladen, Sir John
Shipwrights about their petition.
The several shipwrights, whose petition was read the 19th of
the last month, attending, desired the Board would appoint a
day for hearing what they had to offer upon this subject; their
Lordships acquainted them, that this matter was at present
with Mr. West, and that, so soon as he had made his report
thereon, they should have notice to attend.
Letter to Mr. West. Mr. West reminded for opinion on an Act.
Ordered that Mr. West be reminded of the secretary's letter to
him upon this subject, of 19th last month, as also another of the
same date, for his opinion upon an Act, passed at Jamaica in
1703, entituled, An Act for ascertaining and establishing and more
speedy collecting Her Majesty's Quit Rents, and that he be desired
to make his report upon both these matters as soon as possible.
Mr. Nivine and Mr. Sharpe.
Petitions of Burnet and Brown.
Some late French lands.
Mr. Nivine attending, as also Mr. Sharpe, with Mr. Bootle
his counsel, upon the petition of Mr. Burnet and Mr. Brown,
relating to a plantation in St. Christophers, referred to the Board
by the Duke of Newcastle's letter of the 19th, mentioned in
the Minutes of the 20th of the last month; Mr. Nivine desired
their Lordships would please to allow him some further time,
which the Board agreed to, and appointed next Friday sev'night.
December 3. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Docminique, Mr. Plummer.
Mr. St. Amand.
Acts about north east part of the Island.
Duke of Bolton's lands.
Further hearing appointed.
Mr. St. Amand, attending, as he had been desired, as also Mr.
Stevenson, agent for the Duke of Portland, Governor of Jamaica,
Mr. St. Amand moved the Board in behalf of the Duke of Bolton
that their Lordships would please to defer the consideration of
the Acts, passed in 1721, 1722 and 1723 for settling the North East
part of the Island, to another day, not being yet fully prepared
to speak thereto; and their Lordships appointed to-morrow
sen'night at eleven in the morning.
December 4. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr.
Pelham, Mr. Plummer.
Mr. West's report on shipwrights' petition.
Mr. West's report upon the petition of the master shipwrights
of the River Thames, relating to the building ships in New
England, was read; whereupon ordered that the petitioners be
acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them on
Wednesday morning next.
Mr. West's report.
Act about Quit Rents.
Mr. West's report upon an Act, passed at Jamaica in 1703,
entituled, An Act for ascertaining and establishing a more speedy
collecting Her Majesty's Quit Rents, was read; and their Lordships
agreed to confirm the said Act.
December 8. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr.
Pelham, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
Hearing on Acts about north east part of the Island.
Duke of Bolton's claim of lands.
Mr. St. Amand, attending, as he had been desired, in behalf
of His Grace the Duke of Bolton, as likewise Mr. Stevenson,
agent for the Island of Jamaica, in relation to three Acts, passed
in 1721, 1722 and 1723 for settling the north east part of the
Island; Mr. St. Amand observed to their Lordships that the
Lord Vaughan, under whom the Duchess of Bolton claims, had
purchased 1,000 acres, part of the said tract, from one Nicholas
That by the first Act a large tract of land containing about
30,000 acres, in which the aforesaid 1,000 are included, was vested
in the Crown, and power given to commissioners, appointed by
the said Act, to treat with the proprietors concerning the sale
thereof, but that there was no saving clause in the said Act for
infants, femmes covertes or idiots. That by the said Act the
proprietors were obliged to sell their land for £5 an acre; and that
for the following reasons:—
1st. That the proprietors of the said land had not paid the
quit rents due thereon. This, he said, was not true, because
the Duke had regularly paid those, which were due for the aforesaid 1,000 acres. The 2nd reason alledged for the said Act was
the public good, but Mr. St. Amand submitted it to their Lordships
how far that reason was sufficient to deprive the Duke of his just
right. The 3rd reason alledged was, that the proprietors had
refused to treat with the commissioners; this, he said, was
absolutely false, because the Duke had done as much as so short
a time as a year would allow him, having prepared the proper
conveyances for the disposal of the said lands and sent them over,
but that they have proved deficient in point of form. That Mr.
Cokburne, the Duke's agent at Jamaica, in pursuance of the said
Acts, went to the Receiver General to treat about the disposal of
the said lands, but that he told him he had no money to pay for
the said lands, nor could he borrow any at 12 per cent., the
premium allowed by the said Act, but that he then proposed to
pay in Government security, which Mr. Cokburne did not
think proper to accept of. That, as there was no saving clause
for femmes covertes, he conceived this Act laid a great hardship
upon the Duchess of Bolton, in right of whom the Duke laid
a claim to the said lands, as it obliged her to dispose of lands,
which by law they could not do, being a married woman. That
the Duke of Bolton could sell the said lands for a greater price
than that proposed by the said Act, for which reason the Act,
passed now at Jamaica, was rather an hindrance than an
incouragement to settle the north east part of the Island, because
nobody would purchase, not knowing how soon they might be
obliged to sell the lands again at £5 per acre.
Mr. Stevenson, agent for the Island of Jamaica, acquainted the
Board that, as he had no particular instructions upon this head,
he therefore could say nothing to it.
Mr. Astell, etc., about lighthouses on coast of Norway.
Mr. Astell, attending with two masters of vessels, acquainted
their Lordships that, since he had attended the Board the 29th
of the last month, he had considered of and discoursed with
several people in relation to the two lighthouses lately erected
on the coast of Norway, and the duties established there for
maintaining the same. That he found them exceeding useful
to all vessels sailing that way. That all the English masters
there had signed a petition to the King of Denmark, desiring the
said lighthouses to be erected. Mr. Astell further acquainted
their Lordships that there were two things to be desired upon this
head, which were, that the ships trading that way should pay but
once in the same voyage, that is when they return loaden; and
that the English pay no more than other nations. The two
masters of vessels then present confirmed what Mr. Astell had
said, and further acquainted their Lordships that they had seen
the said two lighthouses, and had found them of great use in
their voyages thither.
Answer to Lord Townsend on that subject.
These gentlemen being withdrawn, ordered that an answer be
made to the letter from the Lord Townsend upon this subject,
mentioned in the Minutes of the 24th of the last month.
December 9. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr.
Pelham, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
The several shipwrights, whose petition was referred to the
Board by the Lord Viscount Townsend's letter of 19th October,
mentioned in the Minutes of the 13th of the last month, attending,
as they had been desired, their Lordships had some discourse
with them upon the subject of the said petition, and they
acquainted the Board, that, since the late war, the number of
workmen was reduced to half. That there were not at present
1,000 men imployed in building or repairing ships for the use of
the merchants; that great numbers were gone to Muscovy,
Sweden or the plantations; that in 8 years time, ending at
1720, they were informed that there were 700 sail of ships built
in New England, and in the years since as many if not more.
That this New England trade had drawn over so many working
shipwrights, that there are not enough left here to carry on the
work. That there were now 12 ships building in the River of
Thames for the Greenland trade, but that they were obliged
to ask a longer time, there not being men enough to finish the
said ships, according to their contract.
Their petition to be further considered.
These gentlemen being withdrawn, their Lordships resolved
to consider further thereof at another opportunity.
December 10. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique,
Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
Act about affirmation of Quakers.
Mr. Gee attending, desired their Lordships would please to
consider of and report, as soon as conveniently may be, upon an
Act, passed in Pennsylvania in 1724, entituled, An Act prescribing
the forms of declaration of fidelity, abjuration and affirmation
instead of the forms theretofore required in such cases; whereupon
ordered that the said Act be sent to Mr. West, for his opinion
thereupon in point of law.
Mr. St. Amand.
Duke of Bolton's lands in north east part of the Island.
Mr. St. Amand attending, their Lordships had some discourse
with him, in relation to a power of attorney signed by the Lord
Carbery in 1709, impowering certain people in Jamaica to
surrender to the Crown all his right to 1,000 acres of land lying
within the north east of Rio Grande and the south east of Point
Morant, which the Duke of Bolton at present claims; whereupon
Mr. St. Amand observed to the Board, by a letter, which he read,
from Mr. Cokburne, the Duke's agent in Jamaica, that the
quit rents for the said 1,000 acres had been punctually paid to
within a year and half of this present time. That therefore he
presumed the aforesaid power of attorney could not have been
put in execution; and that the Lord Carbery being dead, the
said power was void in law.
December 11. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique,
Mr. Pelham, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
Brown and Burnet about 40 acres of land.
Brown and Burnet.
Draught of representation.
Mr. Nivine, attending, as he had been desired, with Mr. Rider
his counsel, in behalf of Mr. Brown, and Mr. Sharpe with Mr.
Bootle in behalf of Mr. Burnet; their Lordships took again
into consideration the Duke of Newcastle's letter of the 19th,
mentioned in the Minutes of the 20th of the last month, referring
to the Board the petitions of John Burnet and Jeremiah Brown,
in relation to their pretensions to 40 acres of land in the late French
part of St. Christophers, which were again read, and their
Lordships, after having heard what the Council on each side had
to offer, and examined the several affidavits and depositions
produced in behalf of the petitioners, gave some directions for
preparing the draught of a representation thereupon.
December 15. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr.
Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
Letter from Mr. Scrope.
Petition of merchants, etc., for continuation of premium on tar.
A letter from Mr. Scrope, secretary to the Lords of the Treasury,
was read, together with an inclosed copy of a representation and
petition from several persons, importers and dealers in tar made
in the British Plantations in America, praying, for the reasons
therein mentioned, a recommendation to Parliament, so as the
methods, which are practicable, may be made use of for making the
said tar in the Plantations; and that the premiums now in being
on the importation thereof may be further continued; whereupon
ordered that some of the gentlemen, who have signed the said
representation and petition, be acquainted that this Board desire
to speak with them, and any others concerned therein, at eleven
of the clock on Friday morning next.
Letter to Lord Townsend.
Lighthouses on coast of Norway.
A letter to the Lord Viscount Townsend, in answer to his
Lordship's of the 23rd of the last month, upon the memorial of
Monsr. Solenthal, Envoy Extraordinary from the King of Denmark, relating to two lighthouses erected on the coast of Norway,
December 16. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique,
Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
Burnet and Brown.
Petition for some of late French lands.
Their Lordships took into consideration the draught of a
representation, ordered to be prepared the 11th inst., and made a
December 18. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique,
Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
Merchants, etc., about premiums on tar.
Certificates of goodness of plantation tar.
Mr. Carey, Colonel Johnson, Mr. Gee, Mr. Dummer, Mr.
Sandford, Mr. Younge, Mr. Satur, Mr. Rollings and Mr. Gale,
attending, as they had been desired, their Lordships took again
into consideration the letter from Mr. Scrope, of the 11th, and
mentioned in the Minutes of the 15th inst., referring to the Board
the petition of several importers and dealers in tar, praying that
the premiums, now in being on the importation thereof, may be
further continued, for promoting and carrying on that trade,
and their Lordships desiring they would give them an account of
that matter, Mr. Carey acquainted the Board, that there had been
several experiments made in Virginia for making of tar, according
to the directions of the Act, passed in the 8th year of His Majesty's
reign, but that the people found it impossible to succeed therein,
although they had let the trees remain unbarked two years, as
done in the northern parts of Europe; that they used to make
their tar from fallen trees only, and that unless the Government
here would think fit to continue the bounty on tar made after
that manner, that branch of trade from the Plantations would
entirely cease, and thereby so much heighten the price of Swedish
tar, that there is reason to apprehend it will shortly be a great
detriment to the navigation of this kingdom, because the people
in the plantations are not able to work so cheap as the Swedes,
and the freight from thence is double.
That the plantation tar is as good as that made in Sweden, both
for shipping and cordage, to prove which he presented to the
Board two certificates from the owners of several ships trading
to and from the East Indies, and from several shipwrights and rope
makers in the City of London, of their having for many years
made use of plantation tar and that they found it as good for use
and service as any Swedish tar whatever.
Colonel Johnson then acquainted the Board that during the
time he was Governor of South Carolina, he had made as much
tar as any man in the country, but that he had found it impracticable to make it according to the directions of the late Act of
Parliament. That it was impossible to know, while the pine trees
were standing, either by their bark, leaves or colour, which were fit
to make tar, and which not. To prove which he produced an
affidavit from one Mr. Edward Hext, and referred himself for
further particulars to Mr. Gale, a gentlemen lately arrived from
North Carolina, who acquainted their Lordships, that he had
long been conversant in the tar trade, and had found the several
particulars alledged by Colonel Johnson to be true. He further
added, that the method prescribed by the Act of Parliament
would in time destroy all the woods in America, because not being
able to distinguish which trees are proper for tar, and being
obliged by Act of Parliament to bark their trees, and let them stand
so for the space of one year at least, it frequently happened, when
they cut down the trees so prepared, that they did not find above
one in ten fit to make tar, and particularly instanced a gentleman
he knew while in North Carolina, who had barked ten thousand
trees, and after he had let them stand the time prescribed, he
cut them down, and did not find quite one thousand fit for making
tar. He further observed to their Lordships another inconvenience arising from their making tar in this manner, which
was that it spoiled the ground, the nature of the soil being such
that, after a pine ground is cleared according to the foresaid
directions, nothing will thrive there afterwards but a sort of shrub
oak fit for no use, pines never growing thereon again, nor any
pasture for cattle.
Colonel Johnson then observed to their Lordships that there
was annually made in South Carolina about 30,000 barrels of tar
and about 100 sail of shipping imployed in that trade, but that
the people had now left off making any, by reason of the expiration
of the bounty, and of the impossibility of making it according
to the directions of the late Act of Parliament; and that unless
a bounty be continued upon tar made from fallen trees, as it
used to be before the Act was passed, the importation of tar from
America will entirely cease, and he submitted to their Lordships
of what consequence that would be to navigation, the price of
tar being already risen from ten shillings to fourteen shillings and
sixpence the barrel.
These gentlemen being withdrawn, their Lordships resolved
to take this matter into further consideration at another