America and West Indies: June 1628

Pages 91-93

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1860.

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June 1628

[June 4.] 53. Petition of the poor planters in the Somers Islands to the Privy Council. Have lived in the islands ever since the infancy of the plantation, and lately brought to England their small means in tobacco, which has been detained in the custom house four months, under an imposition of 9d. in the lb., more than the tobacco will yield. Are driven to the greatest extremity, some of them having been arrested for payment of victuals, lodgings, and clothes, and anxious to return very soon. Pray for relief, and "to have their tobacco by bills of store for this present year." Signed by Robert Staples, minister, and 67 others. [This petition was presented to Parliament on 4 June 1628; on the 16th June Mr. Pym reported from the Committee for the Somers Islands, and a petition to the King, concerning this imposition, was ordered to be drawn by Sir Nath. Rich, Mr. Pym, Mr. Packer, and Mr. Rolles [See No. 55]. On 20th it was ordered to be presented and read to the King by Sir R. Freeman, and on 24th June, Freeman reported to the House that His Majesty would take it into consideration. [See Commons Journal.]
April. 54. Petition of Robert Fitt, Anne, his wife, and Alice Harris, a poor widow, to the Privy Council. Have been 14 years planters in Virginia, and lately brought over 16 hogsheads of tobacco, for which they have not the means to pay custom. Pray for a warrant for the free discharge of the tobacco, to enable them and their families to return to their plantations.
June 18. Names of mariners aboard the William and John, of London, bound for Virginia, Capt. John Harvey, who have a protection against impressment. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Car. I., Vol. CVII., No. 75, Cal. p. 168.]
[June 19] 55. Petition of the Commons House of Parliament to the King. In discharge of the trust committed to them, they beseech His Majesty to take into consideration the heavy pressures of the adventurers and planters of the Somers Islands, who, having about fifteen years since, first discovered the place, obtained a patent from King James, with divers privileges, to encourage them to attempt the plantation and fortifying thereof, which, with much labour and hazard, they have at length effected. Above 2,000 people have been transported from hence; many houses and churches have been built, and forts and castles furnished with ordnance and ammunition. For support of their annual expenses, those islands yield at present nothing of value but tobacco, which is so overcharged that great numbers of the planters are in danger "utterly to perish." The particular grievances, in which the common liberty of the subject is concerned, are represented to be twofold. It is contrary to law, and directly against an express grant in their patent, that the planters should be taxed more than 5 per cent. upon their goods imported, whereas ninepence per pound is demanded for customs upon their tobacco when they ought to pay but three-halfpence per pound. And that upon the exportation of the commodities which they cannot sell, they are denied a return of any part of the imposition, though all other merchants, "both strangers and natives," receive back what they have formerly paid. The King is therefore prayed to grant the planters of the Somers Islands such relief as is agreeable to his princely justice, and may encourage them and others in the prosecution of similar designs. [See Commons Journal. On 19 June 1628 this petition was ordered to be engrossed.]
June 27. Dr. James Meddus to Katharine Viscountess Conway. Has conferred with Mr. Paine about the Newfoundland business. Will part with his presidentship if John Slaney, the Governor of the whole land, consents. Hopes of mines of iron and silver in New-foundland; present profit by fishing, furs, and sarsaparilla. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Car. I., Vol. CVIII., No. 37, Cal. p. 180.]
June 30.
Paine to Doctor Medouce [James Meddus]. Wishes him not to speak with Lord or Lady Conway about the matter of Newfoundland until he has spoken to him again. Will write to the Governor [John Slaney] and communicate his answer to Lord Conway. [Underwritten is a note respecting a silver mine discovered by one Phillips, "a Scotch and mineral man," residing with Sir William Alexander. On 25th July Dr. Meddus writes to Lady Conway that Slaney is not unwilling to receive Lord Conway as a sharer in the Newfoundland business. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Car. I., Vol. CVIII., No. 61, and Vol. CXI., No. 11, Cal. pp. 185. 233.]