Journal, April 1726
April 5. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr.
Pelham, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John
Mr. Smith, the secretary, desiring a day of hearing his complaints against Colonel Hart.
Mr. Smith, Secretary to the Leeward Islands, attending, and
desiring their Lordships would please to appoint a day for hearing
what the counsel for Colonel Hart, Governor of the Leeward
Islands, have to say, in answer to what was alledged against him
at their Lordships' meeting of the 3rd of the last month, in relation
to Mr. Smith's place as patent secretary; their Lordships
acquainted him that they would consider thereof and appoint
him a day, of which he should have notice.
Letter from Mr. Mann, new councillor.
Draught of representation.
The Secretary then laid before the Board a letter he had
received from Mr. Robert Mann, desiring that his brother, Mr.
Edward Mann, who is casual receiver, and receiver of the duty of
4½ per cent. in St. Christophers, may be appointed of the Council
of that island, which was read. And their Lordships were pleased
to give directions for preparing the draught of a representation
for recommending him to supply the vacancy occasioned by the
death of Mr. Stephen Duport.
Company's account of forts to be copied for the separate traders.
Ordered that copies of the African Company's account of their
forts and settlements, mentioned in the Minutes of the last
meeting, be sent to the separate traders of London, Bristol and
April 6. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr.
Pelham, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
African directors, their papers considered.
Sir Robert Sutton and some of the directors of the African
Company attending, their Lordships took into consideration the
several papers relating to the African trade, mentioned in the
Minutes since the 23rd of February last inclusive, and made some
Certificate from Remembrancer's office.
Major Gordon's security.
Draught of instructions for Major Gordon.
A certificate from the Remembrancer's Office [folio 73–112]
that Major Gordon, Deputy Governor of Pennyslvania, hath
given the proper security for his observing the Acts of Trade, was
read; and their Lordships were pleased to give directions for
preparing the draught of instructions for him relating to the Acts
of Trade and Navigation.
Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr. Pelham, Mr.
Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the several
African papers, mentioned in the Minutes of this morning, and
made a progress therein.
April 7. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Pelham, Mr. Bladen,
Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
African papers again considered.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the several
African papers, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, and made a
Present:—Mr. Pelham, Mr. Bladen.
Draught of representation.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the draught of
a representation, ordered to be prepared the 31st of the last month,
upon the draught of a Bill for settling the Revenue of Jamaica
and made a progress therein.
Present:—Duke of Newcastle, Sir Robert Walpole, Mr. Horace
Walpole, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr. Pelham,
Mr. Bladen, Mr. Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the several
papers, in relation to the African trade, mentioned in the Minutes
of the 7th inst., and made a progress therein, and resolved to
proceed on Thursday the 14th inst.
April 13. Present:—Mr. Docminique, Mr. Pelham, Mr.
Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
The three papers under mentioned, being lately received from
the Royal African Company, were severally read, viz:—
Papers received from the Company relating to the fort at Gambia, etc.
Copy of the Gambia diary book, beginning the 1st of
November, 1725, giving account of the forts being blown
Copy of Mr. Rogers' and Mr. Hull's letter to the Company,
dated at James Fort, November 24th, 1725.
Copy of a letter from Mr. Rogers, Mr. Hull and Mr. Orfeur
to the Company, dated at James Fort, the 19th December,
Letter from Duke of Newcastle.
Address of the House of Commons about late French lands.
A letter from the Duke of Newcastle, dated the 2nd of April,
inclosing an address from the House of Commons to His Majesty,
desiring that the reports made by this Board upon the sale or
value of the late French lands in St. Christophers, may be laid
before the House, was read. Whereupon directions were given
that copies of the said reports should be made accordingly.
Present:—Duke of Newcastle, Sir Robert Walpole, Mr. Horace
Walpole, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr. Pelham, Mr.
Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
This day being appointed for hearing what the Royal African
Company had to offer in maintenance of their petition, referred
to this Board by His Grace the Duke of Newcastle's letter of
the 21st of February last, as likewise what the separate traders
of London, and the merchants of Bristol and Liverpool, had to
offer in relation to the African trade; Sir Robert Sutton and
several other members of the Royal African Company, with Mr.
Attorney General and Mr. Wills, their counsel; Mr. Humphry
Morrice and Mr. Richard Harris, with several other merchants of
London, in behalf of themselves and other separate traders to
Africa, as likewise Mr. Earle, Mr. Brereton and other gentlemen,
who are concerned for the traders of Bristol and Liverpool, with
Mr. Serjeant Darnell and Mr. Fazackerly, their counsel, attended.
Their Lordships proceeded to the said hearing, and the letter of
reference from His Grace the Duke of Newcastle being read.
Mr. Attorney General opens the Company's petition.
The Company purchased forts, etc., of their predecessors.
A stock raised and advanced to near a million, but the trade now in the greatest danger.
Present ill state of the Company, how arisen.
The price of negroes increased by competition with separate traders.
Ill consequence thereof.
African trade necessary for support of the Plantations.
Forts and settlements necessary.
If forts, etc., necessary for the whole trade, it is just they should be maintained by the whole.
Manner of doing it.
The Company should have the benefit of their Charter
for certain distance, where they have forts, etc., an exclusive trade within the compass of the Company's present settlements, and the separate traders to traffic to other parts of the coast.
Mr. Attorney General opened the Company's petition, representing that the trade to Africa was of the greatest advantage
and consequence to Great Britain. That the trade of His Majesty's
Plantations in America is maintained and supported by it; and
for that reason his late Majesty King Charles the 2nd was pleased
to grant the Company a new charter in 1672, with the property
of the lands and an exclusive trade from the Port of Sallee to
the Cape of Good Hope. That the said Company, entering upon
the trade, found it necessary, not only to purchase of their
predecessors several forts and settlements, which they were
possessed of, at a very great charge, amounting to £34,000, but to
enlarge them and build new ones, as the power of other nations
increased. That for recovering and improving this trade, they
raised a stock and advanced it by several subscriptions and calls
on their adventurers to near a million of money, but notwithstanding these repeated effects the trade is now in the greatest
danger of being lost to the nation, and in consequence the British
Plantations in the utmost hazard of being ruined. That the
present ill state of the Company has arisen partly from their
contest with foreigners, but more from the separate traders, who,
not contributing to the charge of maintaining forts and settlements on the coast, though they had the protection of them, were
enabled to undersell the Company, and thereby deprive them of
the profit, which the said Company ought to reap. That by this
competition between the Company and separate traders, the
price of negroes has been increased to near four times the value
they were bought at formerly, by which means they must go
dearer to His Majesty's Plantations, and consequently render
the commodities, which are made up or produced by their labour,
dearer also. That the Royal African Company, having for some
time carried on their trade to loss, at last have been obliged to
put a stop to it, and by reason of their great charge must
quit their forts and settlements, unless some remedy be speedily
put to the grievances they at present labour under. Mr. Attorney,
in behalf of the Company, likewise insisted that the African trade
is absolutely necessary for the support of His Majesty's Plantations, and that it was necessary to maintain forts and settlements
on the coast to prevent foreigners from ingrossing that trade.
That, where a trade is to be carried on with savages, it is impossible
to do it without forts and settlements, as Mr. Attorney instanced
in the practice of the French, Dutch and other foreigners on the
coast of Africa. And as to an objection made, that inland forts
can be of no protection or service to ships upon the coast, he
observed, it was one thing to maintain the trade with the natives,
and another to defend the coast, both of which he alledged were
necessary. That the necessity of forts and settlements on the
coast of Africa for carrying on the trade there, appeared not only
from the conduct of foreigners, but was likewise the opinion of
the legislature of this Kingdom, expressed in the preamble of the
Act of Parliament of the 9th and 10th of his late Majesty King
William the 3rd to settle the trade to Africa. With respect to
the separate traders alledging that they have carried on their
trade to much greater advantage than the Company, Mr. Attorney
desired to be informed what would be the case, when the Company's
forts and settlements are taken away, or if they were in the
possession of foreigners. And he urged that, if the forts and
settlements were necessary and beneficial for the whole trade, it
was but just they should be maintained at the expence of the
whole trade, and not by the Company alone, whilst others have
so great a share in it. That the next thing to be considered, was
the manner of doing it. That, though he did not enter into the
consideration of the legality of granting an exclusive trade on the
whole coast of Africa, as the same is done by the Charter, yet
he thought, the Company ought at least to have the benefit of
their Charter, where their forts and settlements were, and for
some certain distances round about them. That if the Company
be allowed an exclusive trade within the compass of their present
settlements, they would be content the separate traders should
traffic in those other parts of the coast of Africa, where it is
alledged they procure so much greater numbers of negroes. That
the Company, by their said Charter, have a grant both of the land
and government;and it is not to be contested but that where
countries of savage people have been found out and discovered
by the subjects of this kingdom, the lands have been vested in
the Crown, as His Majesty's Plantations in America have done.
That the said Charter, so far as it grants the land and government,
is legal, and gives a property which the Company may sell or
dispose of to the highest bidder. That upon a supposition that
the said forts and settlements of the Company were in the hands
of any one foreign nation, either Dutch, French or Portugueze,
they would undoubtedly exclude the English and all other nations,
in consequence whereof the whole trade of this Kingdom to Africa
would be lost. Mr. Attorney concluded that, these being the
principal matters of the petition, he conceived it necessary the
lands and trade on the coast of Africa should be preserved to
Great Britain, which could only be done by a well regulated
Mr. Wills likewise on behalf of the Company.
Mr. Wills, the other counsel on behalf of the Royal African
Company, then proceeded and represented to their Lordships,
that the Company have no other view but that so extensive and
beneficial a trade should be maintianed, though the separate
traders have each a greater regard to their own private interest.
That it is a point generally agreed that this trade is necessary;
but the separate traders here differ in opinion from all other
nations, concerning forts and settlements for the preservation
and improvement of it. That experience shows that, to the north
of the River Gambia, the French ingross the trade by means of
their forts;and that on the south part towards Angola, the
Portugueze destroyed our Company's fort at Cabinda, upon an
apprehension of its influence to extend and increase the British
Company's commerce and interest in those parts, and lessen that
of the Portugueze. That forts up in the country, though objected
to as useless, are of service against the savages, as those on the
coast are against pirates or enemies at sea. That the Dutch
have forts on the coast of Africa intermixed with those of the
English, which are a check upon each other. And if the trade
should be lost from His Majesty's subjects to those of any other
nation, who have forts on the coast, they, who have plantations
of their own, would never supply His Majesty's Plantations
with negroes, so that our plantation trade would soon be ruined
thereby. That the South Sea Company have given their opinion
of the necessity of forts and settlements on the African coast.
That the House of Commons, as appears by their votes of the
8th of February, 1709, were of the same opinion; and the
Board of Trade had represented to Her late Majesty, the 15th
of March, 1711–12, that the African Company and separate
traders agreed, "That for the preserving, better carrying on
and improving the trade to Africa, it was necessary that forts
and settlements be maintained and inlarged on that coast."
Mr. Wills further observed in relation to men of war, which some
had proposed for the only and best security of the African trade,
that they could not be of any use against the savages. That
ships of war are liable to stress of weather, and may have enemies
or pirates to encounter, on which occasions forts may be useful
and necessary for them to have recourse to. As to the separate
traders' allegation, that forts are not necessary, because more
negroes are had from places on the coast of Africa, where there
are no forts, Mr. Wills desired that fact might be made out; and
if, as the separate traders affirm, the commerce is most advantageous, where there are no forts erected, it would be no inconvenience to those traders, should the Company, upon agreeing to
bear the charge of their own forts and settlements, have the sole
trade of those places, where they have been at a vast expence in
making and maintaining such forts and settlements, and to the
parts adjacent, particularly from the River Gambia to Cape
Formosa, with which, he said, the Company would be content.
That if such a proposition be not approved, and forts and settlements are necessary, as the Company insist they are, it is self
evident the charge thereof ought to be supported by the whole
trade. And as it has been asserted that in the greatest years the
Company have not supplied His Majesty's Plantations with above
5,400 negroes, whereas the separate traders have furnished them
with 30,000 negroes a year, it is highly unreasonable to go on
upon this foot, where the separate traders have so large a
proportion of the trade, and the Company bears all the expence
of the forts and settlements. Wherefore he urged that some
proper regulations should be speedily made in this trade, which
they submitted to their Lordships' consideration, and particularly
referred to the proposals, mentioned in the representation of the
Royal African Company to this Board of the 2nd of March last.
And he concluded that, by reason of the Company's great and
necessary charge above mentioned, they were unable to go on
with the trade.
Proofs of what is alledged in behalf of the Company.
The counsel for the Company then proceeded to their proofs
of what they had set forth and alledged, viz:—
Debate of the Counsel thereupon.
Mr. Beaumont examined.
A printed paper concerning a subscription.
Mr. Lynn examined.
Opportunity desired to produce the Company's books.
Account of Purchase and charge of Fredericksburg.
Account of money paid in to the Company.
Mr. Beaumont examined thereupon.
Account of expences of forts and settlements.
Mr. Beaumont sworn and further examined about the said accounts, etc.
Account of the 10 per cent. received from separate traders by the Company.
Mr. Beaumont's further examination.
Factors allowed to trade on consideration of maintaining the forts.
List of Dutch settlements in Africa.
Captain Lovett examined on oath.
Portuguese pay 10 per cent. at the Dutch settlements.
Mr. Cleave sworn and examined.
The French take the separate traders near their settlements.
Exception in policies of insurance of the coast of Senegal.
Importance of the Company's fort at Gambia.
Limits of French Company and of their claim of exclusive trade.
Representation of the Board in 1711–112.
Votes of House of Commons.
Act of Parliament.
As to the lands and exclusive trade granted to the Company,
Mr. Attorney General referred to the Charter to the Royal
African Company in 1672, whereupon the counsel for the
merchants of Liverpool and Bristol admitted that the lands were
thereby granted in words, but denied them to be so in fact.
As to the allegation that the Company, paid £34,000 for their
forts and settlements, Mr. Serjeant Darnell said, as he was
instructed, they cost nothing. Whereupon an account of the
payment of £34,000 by the Royal African Company to the
Company of Royal Adventurers for their effects, extracted from
the Royal African Company's books, and signed by Mr. Richard
Beaumont, their accountant, was produced and read. And the
said Mr. Beaumont being present, was asked whether there
was no name or names in the books, from whence the said account
was drawn, of the person or persons, to whom the several sums
therein mentioned were paid. He said there was not, but that he
believed there were receipts taken for the said sums. The counsel for the separate traders observed that the Company's books
were not produced, and they hoped their Lordships would require
better evidence, as likewise that Corporation Books would not be
admitted as evidence in all cases. A printed paper in the year
1671, containing an account of the subscription then made, and
the great sums advanced by the Company for carrying on the
African trade being produced, and Mr. Lynn, the Company's
Secretary, being present, he was asked how long he had been
Secretary to the Company, and how he came by that paper. To
which he answered, that he had been Secretary about 5 or 6
years, that he had taken this paper out of a Minute Book of 1700,
belonging to the Company, where he found it fastened in by a
wafer, it being there before his time. The counsel on the other
side desiring to see the original book of the subscription, Mr.
Attorney desired the Company might have an opportunity to
produce it, being not now brought. The next proof produced
was an account, signed also by Mr. Beaumont above mentioned,
and dated in 1688, containing the particulars of the purchase
and charge of Fredericksburg or Fort Royal, which was read.
Whereupon Mr. Serjeant Darnell observed that it was a mortgage,
and might be supposed to be paid and delivered up, and that
the Company ought to produce their deeds, to which Mr. Attorney
General replied, that they were in possession, have a good title,
and offered this account to prove the expence only. Another
account, shewing the several sums of money paid in originally
and since the Company's establishment, signed likewise by Mr.
Beaumont, was read. And the said Mr. Beaumont being asked
how these accounts were made, or from whence drawn, he said,
they were copied from the Company's books, and examined by
himself. Mr. Serjeant Darnell observed on the last mentioned
account, amounting to £1,214,694 11s. 10d., several very considerable sums had been taken up by the Company on Bottomry
bonds and calls, in order to make dividends to the proprietors.
Mr. Beaumont, being asked how long he had served the Royal
African Company, he said about 28 years, whereupon one of the
separate traders took notice that it appeared by the Journals of
Parliament, that the Company had some years ago alledged as
an excuse for not producing certain accounts, that one Mr.
Bishop had run away with their books. And it was thereupon
inquired of Mr. Beaumont, how the accounts, now produced, could
be drawn for so long a time back, from the Company's books.
To which Mr. Beaumont answered, that the said Mr. Bishop had
run away with those books in his custody as cashier, and not with
those kept by him as accountant. Mr. Attorney General next
referred to an account of the annual expence of maintaining the
Company's forts and settlements for 5 or 6 years, signed also by
Mr. Beaumont, amounting annually to £34,568 coast money,
which account was read, and Mr. Beaumont being asked whether
they had no accounts of the charge of their forts before the year
1721, when this account commences, and what the annual charge
might be for that time; he said, they had such accounts for
about 30 years past, and that as to the charge of Cape Coast,
wherein that of all the forts on the Gold Coast is included, it has
been much about the same one year with another, as in the present
account. Mr. Beaumont, at the instance of the Council for the
separate traders, was then sworn, and being asked whether the
expences of their trading voyages were not brought into this
account of the charge of forts and settlements; whether he had
not known, that accounts have been first made here, and sent by
the Company to Africa, in order to be transmitted back, and
whether the expence of all their factors, chief merchants, writers,
and of £1,000 per annum for a table, be not included in the said
account of the charge of forts and settlements; he said, he did
not know of any such accounts sent to Africa to be remitted thence.
And to the last question, concerning the charge of the factors,
chief merchants, etc., he answered in the affirmative; and that
all the charges of the factories were included. As to the duty of
10 per cent., received by the Royal African Company from the
separate traders, by virtue of an Act of Parliament made in the
year 1698, an account thereof under the hand of Mr. Beaumont
was produced and read, which upon examination, he said, was
drawn from the Company's books. Mr. Beaumont was further
asked, whether the charge of the Company's factories and settlements in Africa, did not amount to one half of what the Company
laid out in the trade, he said, he believed it did not. And being
further asked whether for some time the Company did not allow
their factors the liberty of the trade on the coast in consideration
only of the said factors maintaining their forts and settlements;
he acknowledged that they did so, except at Cape Coast Castle.
A list of the Dutch settlements on the African coast, signed by
Mr. Lynn, the Company's secretary, who said he had drawn it
from the map of the coast, was produced and read. Whereupon
the counsel for the Company observed that nation was plainly
of opinion such settlements were necessary, or otherwise they
would not be at the expence of maintaining them. And Captain
Lovett, who had been several voyages on the coast of Africa, being
called upon and examined on oath, as to several particulars
concerning the said Dutch Settlements, he said, he had been
at or in sight of the said several places, and apprehended them to
be all forts. That the Dutch Governors in those places do not
allow the English to anchor or trade there without permission
first obtained. But being asked, if he knew any particular
English ship that had been molested there, he said, he did not.
As to the French settlements he said, he knew only those at Goree
and Senegal, where they do not admit of any foreign nation to
trade. That he had himself been twice taken by the French in
1717 and 1719, on pretence that the whole coast, from Sallee, to
Cape Bona Esperanza, belonged to them. That one of the said
times that he was taken by the French, he was 50 leagues to the
northward, trading between Senegal and Sallee. And notwithstanding he went to France on purpose, he could obtain no
satisfaction. Being then asked whether he knew that the French
suffered any persons of other nations than Great Britain to trade
between Sallee and Senegal, he said, he did not know. As to the
forementioned Dutch forts and settlements, he was asked how
long they might be in possession of the Dutch, to which he likewise answered that he did not know. Upon further inquiries
concerning the Dutch and Portugueze settlements in Africa, he
said, that he knows Fredricksburg, which is inhabited by
Dutch, and has a fort of 60 or 70 guns, and that they have forts in
several other places. That the Portugueze carry off more negroes
than any other nation from where the Dutch have settlements,
paying them a certain national duty, which he believed was 10
percent. That he knows none but the Portugueze, who pay that
duty at the Dutch forts, nor any other nation, that trade with the
Dutch in like manner as the Portugueze. That it was never
known the English did customarily trade with the Dutch there,
only for wood, water and like necessaries; and being further
asked, whether the English, French or others do not trade near
the Dutch settlements, without paying the 10 per cent., or
whether the Dutch made any difference between Portugueze
ships from Europe and those from the Brazils, he said, he
knew of no such liberty the English, French or others had from
the Dutch, and that he believed no Portugueze whatever was
excused from paying them the said duty of 10 per cent. Mr.
Cleave being then sworn, and asked what he knew relating to the
trade and settlements in Africa, he said, he went thither in
the year 1679, that the French have two settlements called Goree
and Senegal, which they took from the Dutch, and had afterwards
confirmed to them by treaty. That the French took three of
the Company's ships, two whereof were detained at Goree; the
3rd in 1687 being molested in their trade on the coast by the
French, they fought, and the English ship then escaped, but was
afterwards taken. That the French always take any separate
traders or ships of other nations, which they find trading near
their settlements, they laying claim to the sole right to the coast
of Cape de Verd. And Captain Levit said, he was master of two
several ships that had been taken by them. Mr. Cleave proceeded
and said, the French have persisted so long in their right to take
such ships, that it is now become a practice with all insurers of
ships in London, to except in their policies the coast of Senegal
belonging to the French. That as to the fort and settlement
which our Royal African Company have at Gambia, if they should
lose the property of it, the English trade there would greatly
suffer. That the limits granted by the French king to the
Senegal Company, are about six thousand miles, from Sallee
to Cape Bona Esperanza, and that they claim an exclusive
trade from Senegal to Arguin. The forementioned representation
of the Board, relating to the trade to Africa, dated the 15th of
March, 1711–12, the resolves of the House of Commons of the
9th February, 1709–10, and the preamble of the Act of Parliament
of the 9th and 10th of King William, to settle the trade to Africa,
were then severally read. And the counsel for the Royal African
Company referred to the opinion of the South Sea Company,
and others now before the Board, relating to the usefulness of
forts and settlements on the coast of Africa, which they submitted
to their Lordships' consideration.
Further hearing appointed.
Whereupon all parties were ordered to withdraw. And the
Board agreed to proceed in the further hearing of this affair on
Wednesday next at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, with which the
several parties were acquainted.
April 15. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe,
Their Lordships took again into consideration the draught of a
representation, mentioned in the Minutes of the 7th inst., relating
to a Bill for settling the Revenue and continuing several laws in
Jamaica, and made a further progress therein.
The draught of instructions, ordered to be prepared for Major
Gordon's [folio 81] observing the Acts of Trade and Navigation
in the Province of Pennsylvania, being laid before the Board,
was agreed, and a representation for laying the same before His
Majesty, was signed.
April 19. Present:—Earl of Westmorland, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr.
Pelham, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer, Sir John
A letter to the Lords of the Treasury, desiring payment of one
quarter's salary due to the Secretary and other officers in the
service of this commission, at Lady Day last, was agreed and
April 20. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe,
Ordered that the draught of the Bill for settling the Revenue
and continuing several laws of Jamaica, and of the Board's
representation thereupon, mentioned in the Minutes of the 15th
inst., be sent to Mr. Scrope, to be laid before the Lords of the
Treasury, for their observations thereupon.
Present:—Duke of Newcastle, Lord Townshend, Sir Robert
Walpole, Mr. Horace Walpole, Earl of Westmorland, Mr.
Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr.
Plummer, Sir John Hobart.
New proofs and evidence discovered since the last hearing.
Original subscription book in 1671.
Mr. Walter Charles examined.
Sir Robert Sutton and several other members of the Royal
African Company, with Mr. Wills, one of their counsel, Mr.
Humphrey Morice and Mr. Richard Harris, with several other
merchants of London, in behalf of themselves and several other
separate traders to Africa; as likewise Mr. Earle, Mr. Brereton
and other gentlemen, who are concerned for the traders of Bristol
and Liverpool, with Mr. Serjeant Darnell and Mr. Fazackerly,
their counsel, attending, according to appointment, Mr. Wills
acquainted their Lordships with the nature of some new proofs
and evidence discovered since the last hearing, partly from the
entries in the Company's books and other papers, and partly by
persons ready to give their testimony viva voce, which he desired
the Royal African Company might have liberty to lay before the
Board in support of several allegations of their petition concerning the African trade, before the separate traders entered upon
their answer. Which being agreed to, the original subscription
book of the Company in 1671 was produced, and that part
thereof, viz: the 4th Article in the 2nd page of the subscription
book from 1671 to 1672, about their purchasing the effects of the
former Company, was read, as was likewise and order of the Court
of Assistants of the 3rd of December, 1672, relating to the Articles
of Agreement and surrender of the Royal Adventurers, and a
warrant for the payment of the first £17,000 in part of the
£34,000 agreed upon. As to which Mr. Fazackerly observed that
the indenture itself ought to be produced, whereby the consideration might appear, and the receipt to whom the money was paid.
An entry in the Company's cash book of the payment of the said
first £17,000 the 24th of January, 1672, with the directors'
certificate, signed by Mr. Buckworth, etc., was likewise read.
The copy of the cash book of the old African Company in 1672,
being produced by Mr. Lynn, upon examination, he declared
he found the said book in his office at his first coming into it.
Upon which Mr. Serjeant Darnell took notice that the present
Company, being purchasers, should have the original books of the
Old Adventurers. To which it was answered, that the old
Company subsisted some time afterwards for particular purposes,
such as the payment of debts, etc., so that it was necessary they
should keep their original cash book. The counsel for the
Company likewise produced the entries in the book of proceedings of the Court of Assistants of the said Company, dated the
4th, 11th, 18th and 21st of March, 1672, relating to their suspending the payment of £17,000 to the Royal Adventurers, and
their paying £12,000 in part thereof, which said payment of
£12,000 was corroborated by another entry in the said cash book
of the 21st of March, 1672–3, certified by Mr. Gabriel Roberts
and others. The officers of the Company being asked, if there
was no accounts of the particulars of the distribution of the
£34,000, said to be paid for the Company of Royal Adventurers
forts and settlements, they said, they had found no particulars,
and, upon further examination, they declared that the said
£34,000 was paid by the present Royal African Company for the
forts and all the other effects of the Royal Adventurers, whereof
about £5,000 were debts due to the Old Adventurers, for which
reason the Royal African Company stopt that sum. Mr. Brereton
then asking, whether the Company were not in possession of
the vouchers referred to in their books of accounts, particularly
the receipts for the several sums said to be paid in this account,
Mr. Cleave, the Company's Treasurer, answered, that he had
carefully searched for such vouchers, but found none. The
counsel for the Company also produced and referred to an account
extracted from the books of the said Company's exports from the
year 1720 to 1724, which was read. Whereupon Mr. Fazackerly
observing that there ought to be better evidence than the entries
of the Company's books, relating to matters of so late a date, to
which evidence viva voce might be had; Mr. Wills made answer,
that the same was truly extracted out of the Company's books,
and might be undeniably proved, but that the only use now
intended by this account, was to shew what considerable traders
the Company were. The number of ships imployed by the
Company from 1720 to 1724, as mentioned in the said account,
was particularly taken notice of. And an account of guineas
coined for them, from the year 1675 to 1725, was likewise read.
The counsel for the Company then called some living witnesses,
and Mr. Walter Charles being sworn, upon examination he said,
that he had been on the coast of Africa about six years ago, and
continued on the coast about 33 or 34 months. That, in his
opinion, forts and castles on that coast are very useful and
necessary for the trade of His Majesty's subjects. That on the
north coast, particularly, ships were often in distress. That the
French Senegal Company claim an exclusive trade northward of
the River Gambia, as he had heard, and that, wherever they have
a settlement, they suffer no other nation to trade. That several
ships have been seized by them, particularly that a ship from
Barbadoes, commanded by Captain Simpson, had been seized at
Port-a-dally by the French chief there. That in the River
Cacheu, 50 or 60 leagues from Gambia, a Dutch interloper had
likewise been seized. That as to the Dutch forts on the coast of
Africa, he never knew any others permitted to trade near them.
And that he was of opinion, if we deserted the settlements we
have near those of the Dutch, they would ingross the trade in
those parts. That he had lived some time on the Gold Coast.
That all nations in general trade at our settlements, though
none of the English traded at those of the Dutch. But this last,
he said, was according to the information he had received, and
did not declare it of his own certain knowledge that any English
ships had been actually seized. But that having been at Minna,
the principal castle of the Dutch, he had heard their chief at that
place declare, no English should trade there. That all nations
came to trade at Whidah, where more slaves were bought than
at any other place.
Mr. Snow Examined.
Mr. Snow being next called and sworn, he declared upon
examination, that from the year 1702 to 1719, he had been four
or five times on the coast of Africa. That he had been chief for
the Company at Gambia, where the place was surprised and taken
by the French, but was retaken, and, as he heard, was lately by
accident blown up. That in the late war with France, there
seemed to be a mutual agreement between the English and
French Companies in the River Gambia, to trade to each others'
settlements there, but not above their forts, and the French did
not pretend to interrupt the English trade in that river, though
they did so on the coast, where they claim an exclusive trade.
That he was of opinion, the English fort in Gambia being destroyed,
the French would do what they pleased there. And should we
abandon our forts on the Gold Coast, the Dutch would ingross
the trade in those parts, and that none of the separate traders
could carry on any commerce there. That the Dutch, within the
influence of their forts, oblige even any fishermen that are
foreigners to pay a toll for fishing. That at Whidah the trade
could not be carried on without several necessaries, as canoes
particularly, which are purchased of the Dutch, corn and other
things, for which a settlement is useful and necessary. That the
balance of the trade falls at present to the natives, the price of
slaves being inhanced from about £8 they were formerly bought
at, to £15 or £16 a piece, which is the present rate given for them
on the coast, a price at which, he said, the trade cannot be carried
on to advantage. And this he said was occasioned by the
competition of traders there, and that only a company can
cultivate a familiarity with the natives, and thereby render
the trade more beneficial. Mr. Snow being further particularly
asked concerning the destruction of the English fort at Gambia,
the ransom of it, and other questions, he said, that the French
took it in 1709. That he then gave forty slaves for ransom of it,
which cost about 40 barrs a head, valued at 5 shillings Stirling
per bar. And being asked if the value of £200 Stirling did not
purchase all the said 40 negroes, he said, be believed not. As
to the value of negroes between the years 1712 and 1720 at
Gambia, he said it was increased, but could not say it was owing
to any competition of the separate traders there; though he
said, he believed, negroes were grown dearer in general by reason
of a greater demand. That as to the River Senegal, none but
the French could trade up it. As to the question what distance
it might be from the River Gambia to Dickey's Cove, he said, it
was about 460 leagues, but observed that the Company had a
settlement and fort at Sierra Leone, between those places.
And he added, that he was in the year 1703, at Cape Coast,
where he had been informed that notice had been sent to divers
separate traders on the coast, of two French ships of war arriving
there, and that by the fire from their platforms, the said ships of
war were obliged to sail away. That he had known 12 sail of
10 per cent. Ships protected by the platform at Cape Coast,
where were 14 or 15 guns of 18 pound ball. Mr. Snow being
likewise particularly asked whether, if there were no private
traders, the Company would be able to buy cheaper than any
other nations; he did not say they could. And as to the
question, whether we could not trade at Annamaboo, in case we
had no forts on the coast, Mr. Snow said, the Dutch would not
suffer it. And that they permit such only of the Portugueze
as come from the Brazils, to trade upon the Gold Coast, according
to the stipulation between them, the Dutch confiscating any
Portugueze ship coming directly from Lisbon to trade there.
Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Blackwood.
The counsel for the Company then called upon Mr. Ramsey
and Mr. Blackwood to give their Lordships an account of what
they knew concerning the African Trade, who being sworn, and
several questions asked Mr. Ramsey relating thereto, he said,
that he had traded 12 years to the coast of Africa, and was
chief for the company at Gambia in 1720. That he was of opinion,
forts and settlements were necessary for carrying on the African
trade. That the French claiming an exclusive trade northward
of Gambia, and making prizes of all ships trading in those parts,
the insurers of ships do of late particularly except out of their
policies Port-a-dally and Joally. That he, the said Mr. Ramsey,
being lately in France, he was told there, by one of the farmers or
contractors with the Senegal Company, that they have a patent
from the Crown of France of the African coast from Cape Blanco
to Cape Verd, and that they take all interlopers going into
Gambia River. That in the year 1723, being at Arguin, he was
obliged to pay the Dutch an acknowledgment for trading there,
but that the French are now in possession of that place. That if
we abandoned our forts in Africa, he was of opinion, we could not
carry on the trade. The French would in that case engross the
north, and the Dutch the southern coast, and he had heard of a
scheme in France for that purpose. Mr. Ramsey being asked,
whether he knew any particular ship seized, he said, the French
would have seized his ship, and fired at him, but that he got off.
Mr. Blackwood, upon examination, then gave the Board an
account, that he had traded to that part of Africa called the
Gum Coast, where, as he was loading his ship, he was driven from
his anchor by a French man of war. That the Dutch have lost
the fort at Arguin. And he being last year at Fort Andorick, his
ship was pursued by two men of war, but that she made her
escape. That no nation but the French can have forts on the
Gum Coast. As to the price of negroes, he said, that at Gambia
he paid the Company ten pounds a head, when the separate
traders bought them for seven.
Mr. Lynn, the Royal African Company's Secretary, produced
the copies of the petition of Messrs. Samuel and Joseph Travers,
and other papers received from the Secretary's office, relating to the
reclaiming of ships seized by the French on the coast of Africa,
which was read.
Mr. Barrington about a policy.
Mr. Barrington being then sworn, a policy for insuring was
produced, which the said Mr. Barrington declared to be an
original policy, wherein was an exception against the said ships
going to the French and Portugueze settlements. That some
time ago the French settlements only used to be excepted, but it
is now become customary to except likewise the Portugueze,
though upon inquiry he said, they make no other exceptions
than as above mentioned.
Mr. Overal was then sworn, and upon some questions acquainted
their Lordships, that the Dutch at the coast of Minna had taken
upon them to seize a Portugueze ship, which arrived there from
Lisbon. That as to any agreement between the Dutch and
Portugueze, he knows nothing of it. And upon inquiry whether
the Portugueze had not first seized a Dutch ship, he said, he had
heard some such thing.
Inspection of the Company's books and papers.
Mr. Serjeant Darnell then desired they might have the inspection of the Company's books and papers, which were now produced,
for that according to his instructions from a person, that is the
representative of him, to whom some part of the money said to be
paid for the Royal Adventurers' effects was due, there had been
no money paid, but some equivalent spoken of. And Mr.
Fazackerly urging that some of the accounts produced by the
Company, being particular articles taken out of several books, the
whole accounts might explain the particulars; whereupon it
was agreed in behalf of the Company, that the separate traders
should inspect the said books in the presence of some officer of the
Board, or from the Company.
Their Lordships then resolved to take this matter into further
consideration on Friday, the 29th inst., at five o'clock in the
April 21. Present:—Earl of Westmorland, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr.
Bladen, Mr. Ashe.
Letter from Duke of Portland.
A letter from the Duke of Portland, Governor of Jamaica,
dated the 23rd of January, 1725–6, was read, and the papers,
therein referred to, were laid before the Board, viz:
Papers shereia referred to.
The Duke of Portland's speech to the Council and Assembly,
with the Assembly's answer and His Grace's reply, relating
to the revenue and laws of that island.
Minutes of Council, from the 20th January, 1724–5, to the
23rd November, 1725.
Journal of Council in Assembly, from the 19th of January,
1724–5, to the 23rd November, 1725.
Minutes of Assembly, from 21st November, 1724, to the 23rd
An Act for raising several sums of money and applying the
same to the use of parties and other uses.
A representation proposing Edward Mann, Esquire, to be of the
Council of St. Christophers, in the room of Mr. Duport, ordered
to be prepared the 5th inst., was signed.
April 26. Present:—Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Docminique, Mr.
Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
Letter from Mr. Carkesse.
Custom House ledger.
Letter from Mr. Tigh, ships possing the Sound.
A letter from Mr. Carkesse, Secretary to the Commissioners of
the Customs, dated the 26th inst., transmitting a copy of a leidger
for the year 1721, was read.
Letter from Mr. Tigh, ships passing the Sound.
A letter from Mr. Tigh, Consul at Elsinore, dated the 31st
of December last, transmitting a list of all ships passing and repassing the Sound for the year 1725, was read.
Letter to him thereupon.
Whereupon ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Tigh, to return
him thanks for the said account, and to desire him to continue
the same for the future.
Memorial from Mrs. Penn against three Acts.
A memorial from Mrs. Penn, desiring the three following Acts,
passed in Pennsylvania, may be repealed, was read, viz:—
An Act to ratify proceedings on attachments, passed 2nd of
An Act directing the process of summons against freeholders,
passed the 30th of March, 1723.
An Act for regulating and establishing fees, passed the 30th
Memorial of Assembly about paper money.
Copy of a memorial to the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania in November, 1723, relating to paper money there, was
read; whereupon their Lordships resolved to take that affair
into consideration to-morrow morning.
Order of Council, accounts of exports.
An Order in Council, dated the 4th November, 1725, referring
to this Board an account of the exports of the United East India
Company, from Michaelmas, 1724, to Michaelmas, 1725, that the
same may be examined and compared with the returns of other
years and make a report thereof, was read.
Order of Council.
Diminution of exportation of woollen manufactures.
An Order in Council, dated the 19th of February, 1725–6,
referring back to this Board their report of the 1st July, 1725,
upon the state of the East India trade, to consider and enquire
into the occasion of the diminution in the exportation of the
woollen manufactures of this kingdom, as mentioned in their
said report, was read. Whereupon ordered that a letter be writ
to Mr. Woolley, Secretary to the East India Company, in relation
to this affair.
Mr. Smith, hearing of his complaints against Colonel Hart.
Mr. Smith, Secretary to the Leeward Islands, attending,
desired that their Lordships would be pleased to appoint a day
for hearing the counsel in behalf of Colonel Hart, Governor of
the said islands, in answer to what the counsel for the said Mr.
Smith had offered to their Lordships the 3rd of the last month,
upon his petition in relation to his office of Secretary of those
islands. Whereupon their Lordships were pleased to appoint
this day sevennight for that purpose.
Letter from Mr. Chapman, woodlen manufacturers gone to Padua.
Charge of prosecution to be reimbursed him.
A letter from Mr. Chapman, dated at Frome, the 14th of
February last, in relation to some woollen manufacturers lately
gone from thence to Padua, and desiring he may be reimbursed
the sum of £4 14s. 10d. the charge he has been at in prosecuting
them for the same, was read. Whereupon ordered that the said
money be paid to Mr. Chapman's order accordingly, and be inserted
in the incidental accounts of this office.
Letter from Duke of Portland.
A letter from the Duke of Portland, Governor of Jamaica, to
the Board, dated the 2nd of August last, was read.
Letters and papers from Mr. Dummer, the Lieut. Governor.
Treaty with the Indians.
A letter from Mr. Dummer, Lieut. Governor of the Massachusets
Bay, to the Board, inclosing a treaty with the Eastern Indians,
concluded the 15th of December, 1725, as also,
Another letter from Mr. Dummer to this Board, dated the 18th
January last, transmitting the vote of the General Assembly of
the Massachusets Bay for accepting the King's explanatory
April 27. Present:—Earl of Westmorland, Mr. Docminique,
Mr. Pelham, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
Mr. West's report on Acts.
Mr. West's report on eight Acts, passed in Pennsylvania in
1722 and 1723, relating to paper credit, and on several other
Acts of that province, was read. And their Lordships taking
into consideration the memorial from Mr. Penn upon three Acts
passed there, as also the copy of a memorial to the representatives
of that province, in November, 1723, relating to paper money,
(both mentioned in yesterday's Minutes), their Lordships gave
directions that Mr. Joshua Gee and Mr. Clement be acquainted
that the Board desire to speak with them thereupon on Wednesday
April 28. Present:—Earl of Westmorland, Mr. Docminique,
Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Plummer.
Letter from Mr. Dummer, Lieut. Governor.
A letter from Mr. Dummer, Lieut. Governor of New England,
dated 26th February last, was read, and the papers, therein referred
to, were laid before the Board, viz:
Papers therein referred to.
Copy of a petition of the officers of the Court of Admiralty
to the Lieut. Governor of the Massachusets Bay, praying
to be relieved against some prohibitions granted by the
Supreme Court of Judicature there, in relation to seizures
for breach of the Acts of Trade.
Copies sent to the Admiralty.
Copy of the Lieut. Governor's letter to the judges thereupon.
Whereupon ordered that copies of the said papers be sent to
Mr. Burchet, to be laid before the Lords of the Admiralty.
Letter from Colonel Armstrong, Lieut.-Governor, with several papers.
Colonel Philips summoned.
A letter from Colonel Armstrong, Lieut. Governor of Nova
Scotia, dated the 2nd December, 1725, inclosing copies of several
papers, in relation to the missionaries, the French inhabitants
and Indians, was read. Whereupon ordered that Colonel Philips
be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him on Tuesday
Memorial from Colonel Spotswood about Mr. Attorney and Mr. Solicitor General's report and concerning his lands in Virginia.
A memorial from Colonel Spotswood, desiring the Board will
defer making any representation upon Mr. Attorney and Mr.
Solicitor General's report upon some queries sent them by this
Board, in relation to his lands in Virginia, till his petition, lately
presented to His Majesty upon this subject, shall be referred to this
Board, was read. And their Lordships resolved to defer this
business for some time accordingly.
April 29. Present:—Earl of Westmorland, Mr. Bladen, Mr.
Hearing on Mr. Smith's complaints adjourned.
Mr. Wavel Smith, Secretary to the Leeward Islands, attending,
as also Mr. Sharpe, they desired their Lordships would be pleased
to defer the hearing, which was appointed for next Tuesday upon
Mr. Smith's petition, till some other opportunity, their counsel not
being able to attend that day. Whereupon their Lordships were
pleased to appoint Thursday sennight at 6 o'clock in the evening.
Mr. Gee and Mr. Clement's attendance put off.
The Secretary then acquainted the Board, that Mr. Gee had
informed him that he could not possibly attend the Board next
Wednesday, according to their appointment of the 27th inst.
Whereupon their Lordships ordered that Mr. Gee and Mr.
Clement, who was directed to attend at the same time, should be
acquainted with the Board's desire of speaking with them on
Thursday morning next.
Mr. Fane's report on an Act.
Representation thereupon agreed.
Mr. Fane's report upon an Act, passed in Barbadoes in May,
1722, entituled, An Act to prevent vessels that trade here to and from
Mart inico or elsewhere, from carrying of any Negro, Indian or
Mulatto slaves, persons indebted or contracted servants, was read,
as also the said Act, and the draught of a representation thereupon
was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Letter from Mr. Worseley.
A letter from Mr. Worseley, dated the 14th November last, was
read, and the papers, therein referred to, were laid before the
Papers therein referred to.
Affidavit of Jean Bouye about plundering the factory at
Cape Lopez and running away with a sloop.
An account of the effects on board the brigantine Catherine.
Extract and copies to be sent to the Duke of Newcastle.
Whereupon ordered that an extract of the said letter and copies
of the papers, therein enclosed, be sent to His Grace the Duke of
Letter ordered to Mr. Worseley.
Ordered that the draught of a letter be prepared to Mr.
Present:—Duke of Newcastle, Lord Viscount Townshend,
Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Westmorland, Mr. Chetwynd,
Mr. Docminique, Mr. Pelham, Mr. Bladen, Mr. Ashe, Mr.
Mr. Serjeant Darnell.
Sir Robert Sutton, Sir Thomas Sanderson, and several other
directors of the Royal African Company, with Mr. Attorney
General and Mr. Wills, their counsel, attending, as they had been
desired, as also Mr. Morice and Mr. Harries, and several other of
the separate traders from London, Bristol and Liverpool, with Mr.
Serjeant Darnell and Mr. Fazackerly, their counsel, their Lordships resumed the consideration of the African trade; and Mr.
Serjeant Darnell desired, in behalf of the separate traders, that
their Lordships would give him leave to make some remarks
upon what the counsel for the African Company had offered at
the last hearing.
His observations on several particulars alledged in behalf of the Company.
First, Mr. Serjeant observed that the African Company had
alledged as an evidence that forts and settlements were absolutely
necessary, that the Company had been at the expense of buying
them. Secondly, that everybody said they were necessary.
Thirdly, that this was the opinion of the Legislature, when they
passed the Act for laying a duty of £10 per cent. upon the separate
traders towards maintaining the forts and settlements. And
fourthly, that it was the opinion of the separate traders themselves,
as they had given under their hands.
As to forts and castles being necessary.
To the first, Mr. Serjeant observed, that allowing the African
Company's having bought these forts and settlements, to be an
evidence of their being absolutely necessary to protect the trade,
yet they had given no evidence of their having bought these
forts and settlements of their predecessors. That the £34,000,
which they alledged to have been paid to the old Company of
Royal Adventurers for their forts and settlements, did nowhere
appear in their own books to have been paid for forts and settlements, but for effects, and that he was ready to prove that the
Company had actually received £22,000 in effects, but that he
could not admit of their having paid the £34,000 as alledged, they
having produced as proof, nothing but entries of their books,
without any receipt for the same.
As to their second allegation, that it was everybody's opinion,
that forts and settlements were necessary, he said, that it was not
only the opinion of all traders, that they were unnecessary, but
of other nations also, and he particularly instanced the Portugueze,
who carry on the greatest trade to the coast of Africa without
having any fort there, but that they paid a duty of £10 per cent.
to the Dutch Company, for being supplied with negroes at their
arrival upon the coast.
Opinion of the Legislature.
As to the Company's third allegation, viz: That it was the
opinion of the Legislature, the forts and settlements were
necessary, Mr. Serjeant did confess it was mentioned in the
preamble of the Act for laying a duty of £10 per cent., but that
he thought it was an argument rather against them than for them,
since the Legislature have let this duty drop, which they would
not have done, had they thought that forts and settlements were
in anywise necessary.
Opinion of separate traders.
Allegations for an exclusive trade answered.
As to the Company's fouth allegation, viz: That it was the
opinion of the separate traders that forts and settlements were
necessary, and that they have given such an opinion under their
own hands, as also their opinion for maintaining the said forts and
settlements by a duty on trade; Mr. Serjeant observed, that the
separate traders had indeed laid before the Board a memorial
signed by Mr. Morice, Mr. Harris and some others, in pursuance
of some directions sent them by the Board of Trade, but as they
were thereby directed to give their opinion upon a supposition
that forts and settlements were necessary, he hoped the Board
would not interpret anything therein contained, as the opinion
of the separate traders, to the necessity of the said forts. As to
the Company's allegation, that, if they had an exclusive trade, they
would be enabled to buy negroes on the coast of Africa much
cheaper than they do now, Mr. Serjeant observed, that that
was no reason for an exclusion, and that supposing the Company
should obtain an exclusive charter, it would be only excluding
their fellow subjects, as foreign nations could not be affected
thereby, but would trade to the coast of Africa as they do now.
That if a duty should be laid on trade, to support these forts and
settlements, it would give foreigners the advantage, as it would
enable them to trade cheaper. That when the duty of £10 per
cent. Was laid on trade, it reduced the trade to so low an ebb, that
Bristol sent out only eight ships, whereas, since that duty ceased,
they have annually employed sixty odd. That the Company
for many years together did not send out one single ship, but left
their forts and settlements to their agents, who were at the charge
of maintaining them. That the Company, since the year 1720,
having made several great calls, had sent out £34,000, but he
never had heard that they had received any return for the same,
which had been the ruin of many. Mr. Serjeant Darnell observed
further to their Lordships, that their Charter, being an exclusive
one, was void in law, and instanced particularly a case, whereby
it appeared that the Legislature were of the same opinion viz:
A ship belonging to Mr. Dockwra, trading upon the coast of
Africa, was seized by one of the Company's ships, commanded by
Captain Dickinson, for which, after the revolution, Mr. Dockwra
brought his action against the captain and recovered damages;
the captain then applied himself to Chancery, where he was
relieved, and the Company obliged to pay all costs; the Company
then appealed to the House of Lords, where the decree was
Soil the property of the Crown.
Mr. Serjeant Darnell begged leave to make one further observation with respect to the forts and settlements on the coast of
Africa, viz: That as he conceived the property of the soil to be
in the Crown, he thought, it was necessary for supporting that
property, that some settlements should be maintained there,
but then he submitted to their Lordships whether it was proper,
that charge should be laid on the trade, or be paid out of the
revenue accruing to the Crown from that trade.
Observations on Mr. Snow's evidence.
Mr. Serjeant then acquainted their Lordships, that at the last
meeting, the Company produced an evidence, viz: Mr. Snow,
who affirmed that twelve of the separate traders' ships had been
protected by the fort at Cape Coast Castle, from two French men
of war, who came on that coast, which evidence was so far from
the truth, that they had witness to produce that Sir Dalby
Thomas, then Governor of Cape Coast Castle, sent to acquaint
some of the Company's ships then on the coast, that his guns
were not fit for service, and that he could not protect them,
whereupon they cut their cables and made the best of their
way. Mr. Serjeant then submitted to their Lordships, how far it
was reasonable to believe Mr. Snow's evidence, with relation to
the protection given to the twelve ships belonging to the separate
traders by Cape Coast Castle, at a time when the Governor owned
himself not in a condition to protect the Company's ships, but left
them to take care of themselves.
Mr. Morice, his arguments in behalf of the separate traders.
Negroes supplied to the Plantations.
Mr. Morice then acquainted their Lordships, that he was
directed by the separate traders of the Port of London, to lay
before the Board their thoughts concerning the state of the trade
to Africa, with some observations they had made upon the African
Company's petition and memorial, for which purpose he said, that
the trade to Africa was the chief and only support of the Plantations, as it supplied them with negroes. That the Plantation
trade is now the most considerable branch of the trade of this
kingdom, and that, should the Plantations not be supplied with
negroes, which would be the case, if the separate traders should
be excluded from the negro trade, he was apprehensive the
Plantations would soon become of little consequence. That
the trade to Africa occasioned a great exportation of our own
manufactures. That the only way to maintain this trade was
to continue it open, and not to confine it to an exclusive company,
who did not export annually to the Plantations above 5,400
negroes at the time they did trade, whereas the separate traders
have this year made a disposition for furnishing of fifty thousand
negroes. That the city of London employs annually in the African
trade 87 ships, the city of Bristol 63, and the town of Liverpool 21;
and that these ships, with respect to their trade in the Plantations,
are the occasion of 1,000 more being imployed. As to the
Company's allegation, that the trade to Africa was in danger of
being lost, he said that, if this was true, it was high time to take
the necessary precautions to prevent the same. That the
Company had offered nothing in proof of this assertion. That if
the trade was in any danger of decaying, it was not owing to the
private traders, who had been the only means of supporting this
valuable branch of trade to this kingdom.
In answer to another reason assigned by the Company for the
decay of their trade, viz: the insults and hostilities which the
said Company have received from the Portuguese at Cabinda, and
from the French at Gambia, he said, that notwithstanding the
settlements at Cabinda had been ruined, yet a greater trade was
carried on there than ever. That it is a place of open trade, where
all nations come promiscuously. That the greatest trade on the
coast of Africa was carried on at places distant from the Company's
forts. That the private traders have found out several places of
good trade, that the Company know nothing of. That the
Company's forts have frequently fired at the private traders'
ships, and have behaved in the same manner as an avowed
enemy, and therefore Mr. Morice submitted to their Lordships,
whether it was not an inconsistency in the Company, to pretend
that the private traders could not have carried on their trade
without the assistance of the Company's forts. As to another
part of the African Company's complaints, viz: That the South
Sea Company's servants are continually enhancing the price of
negroes on the coast, Mr. Morice said, that the South Sea
Company would never have begun a trade to the coast, had the
African Company performed their contracts with them. That the
South Sea Company themselves do agree that the greatest trade
is carried on where the African Company have no forts and settlements, particularly at Annamaboo, Whidah, Calabar and Cabinda.
As to the Company's resolution of leaving their trade, and
deserting their forts and settlements, Mr. Morice said, they had
formerly done so, but that there were others to carry on trade,
and are still ready to do so. That all the West India merchants
do agree that the Plantations were never so well supplied with
negroes as at present. As to another part of the Company's
allegations, that the French do pretend to exclude all ships
trading to the northward of Gambia, Mr. Morice said, there
was no other way to prevent it, but by ships of war, neither can
there be any other protection for ships on the coast, not any way
to prevent the Emperor or any other prince from sending ships
to the coast of Africa. Mr. Morice then concluded by enlarging
upon what Serjeant Darnell had just before said, in behalf of the
private traders, with respect to the Company's allegation, that
they had signed a memorial to the Board, wherein they
acknowledge the necessity of forts and settlements, which Mr.
Morice said were of so little consequence, that he believed one
single man of war could destroy them all.
Mr. Harris on the same side then read his observations upon
the African Company's petition and memorial, which was left
at the Board.