America and West Indies: December 1713, 25-31

Pages 271-279

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 27, 1712-1714. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.

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December 1713, 25-31

Dec. 25. 526. Petty expences of the Board of Trade, Stationer's account and postage. Midsummer to Christmas. 1713. Endorsed, Jan. 20, 1713/14. 7 pp. [C.O. 388, 76. Nos. 157–162.]
Dec. 26.
527. Governor Lord A. Hamilton to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I think it my duty to give your Lordships some short account of the proceedings of our new Assembly, which mett Nov. 26th and satt till ye 24th inst. when they desired a recess for three weeks, which I accordingly granted them upon ye motives they made use of to me in their message. (Refers to Minutes of Council and Assembly). Your Lopps. will see ye sessiones began with a favourable aspect, and if the same temper and moderation has not continued, your Lopps. will best judge to whom to impute ye same from ye following facts. Mr. Brodrick Speaker of ye late Assembly finding a mighty clamour made in ye House against providing for H.M. officers and soldiers for one year, as usuall, and that several members absented themselves from ye service of ye House on that pretence, came to me with some others of ye well disposed members and proposed for an expedient that ye title of ye sd. Bill should be, for raising a fund to provide an additional subsistance for H.M. officers and soldiers now in this Island under pay from Nov. 1st, 1713—May 1st, 1714, if ye Regiment here in pay shall so long continue in this Island, and from May 1st, 1714 to Nov. 1st, 1714, for the paying of and discharging the arrears of subsistance which through ye falling short of ye fond raised for ye purposes aforesaid remain due and unpaid. To which I at last consented, believing this overture might have given satisfaction to ye most prejudiced member of that House; however it had no such effect, for neither by this nor any other means they could be brought to a moderate temper, which occasioned their dissolution. Mr. Brodrick being afterwards with a good deal of opposition chose a Member for this present Assembly, but finding ye rest of ye elections not answering his expectations, he thereupon disqualify'd himself from sitting in ye House, and as soon as ye Assembly mett came to me and resigned his patent for Attorney Genll. and all other offices of honour and trust he enjoyed in this Island, which upon his pressing instances I thought fit to accept. The Assembly afterwards ordered several persons to be taken into ye custody of their Messenger for having shown ye title of ye intended Act above mentioned, at ye elections, amongst whom were Mr. Brodrick and ye late Clerk of ye Assembly. Refers to Journal of Assembly. The mighty bussel ye House makes there about a paper of ye propper hand writting of Col. Brodrick, was nothing els then the title of ye Act above-mentioned, which they have not thought fit to enter in their Minutes, tho' they have said in these words vizt.—Several of H.M. subjects were keept a considerable time in custody of their Messenger about this paper; but were at last discharged paying pritty exorbitant fines, under ye name of fees. I am perswaded your Lopps. will be pritty much surprized at ye reading of their Minutts on ye inclosed printed paper, which was most industriously handed about at ye elections; I shall not trouble you with any observations on the sd. paper, or the Minutts of ye House in relation to it, but leave ye same to your Lopps.' better judgements. Upon ye Assembly's insisting on a right to view the fortifications, I consented they should be admitted to view ye same; but in ye manner your Lopps. may observe (Journal of Council). In p. 30 your Lopps. will observe a very extraordinary message from ye House to ye Council in relation to Major Cooke. The answer given to it I hope will be intirely satisfactory to your Lopps. Your Lopps. will find in page 32 and 33 ye hard treatment Mr. Brodrick has mett with from this Assembly, they having had no manner of proofe whereon to ground ye oppinion they their gave of him. On the contrary Mr. Brodrick had been attacked by one Mr. Pughe, in which accusation every thing was sett forth that his enemys could alledge against him; but he was honourably acquitted of each article of ye sd. charge before myself and ye Council, nim. con., besides my Lords after what I had signify'd to them of his having resigned all ye offices of honour trust and profitt he enjoy'd in this Island, the instruction they gave immediatly afterwards (p. 35) to their Committie is in my oppinion pritty extraordinary. As is likewise their message to me (p. 36) in relation to their taking upon themselves (without first making due application to me) to order some of their members to view and number H.M. Regiment here; but upon my answer they sent a message (p. 38) which in express words contradicts their former. In p. 40 your Lopps. will perceive an Address agreed to by ye Council and Assembly to H.M., against an exclusive trade to Affrica, which they press'd me to have join'd with them in; but I told them as in p. 38 that I was of oppinion ye said Address would do them no manner of service, all that could be said on that subject having been allready represented fully, therefore I would not concurr with them in it, and hope in due time to receive your Lopps.' approbation for soe doing, especially ye Assembly not having addressed H.M. upon ye happy conclusion of the Peace, which I hoped would have been ye first address they wou'd have desired me to concurr with them in. It remains only for me to give some accot. of ye Bills which ye Assembly have past, and sent up to ye Council, etc. As to ye Bill for quieting possessions, the Council have made some amendments to it, which I hope will make ye same not lyable to any of the objections of ye Attorney Genll. as formerly. The soliciting Bill is short; but in my humble oppinion contains a great deal, it altering intirely the constitution of this Government, and lodgeing ye power in a juncto of 3 of ye members of their own House. Your Lopps. may be assured I have too much zeal for ye support of H.M. authority ever to pass that Bill as it now is, or any other fram'd after that plan. The Bill allready sent home for separateing ye offices, has either obtain'd H.M. allowance, or it has not, if it has, then this new Bill is unnecessary, and if it has not I conceive it irregular to pass a new law till H.M. pleasure is authentickly known on ye former; but if that should proove to be a disallowance, it is then undutifull, to importune H.M. without new matter and reasons, which they have not shown in their new Bill. The Bill for raising an additional subsistance to H.M. officers and soldiers, is ye only one I have as yett past; they have retrincht ye officers. However I thought it expedient to consent to ye same before ye adjournment. I hope your Lopps. will excuse wherein I have been defective in this accot., having but just as ye sessions opened got out of my bed from a severe fitt of sickness, and have continued very much indisposed ever since. Signed, A. Hamilton. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Feb., Read 16th June, 1713. 8 pp. Enclosed,
527. i. An account of the greivances of Jamaica, touching the multiplication of offices, in the person of Mr. Richard Rigby. Quotes Act to prevent any one person from holding two or more offices etc. and the proceedings of Messrs. Aylmer Beckford and March in connection therewith. v. supra. Endorsed as preceding. Printed. 7½ pp.
527. ii. List of Bills passed and sent up by the Assembly of Jamaica, Dec. 1713. Same endorsement. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 10. Nos. 50, 50 i., ii.; and (without enclosures) 138, 14. pp. 110–118.]
Dec. 26./Jan. 6.
Fort Kykoverall, Rio Essequebe.
528. P. Vanderheyden Rézen to the Directors of the Dutch West India Company. Signed, P. Vanderheyden Rézen. 9 closely written pp. Dutch. Enclosed,
528. i.–vi. Lists of requirements, accounts etc. Dutch. [C.O. 116, 21. Nos. 10, 10 i.–vi.]
Dec. 29.
Queen's Bench Rules.
529. Jeronimy Clifford to Mr. Popple. Encloses following, and owing to want of money begs to be allowed to do his business without a solicitor, etc. Signed, Jer. Clifford. Endorsed, Recd. 30th Dec. 1713, Read April 14th, 1714. 1 p. Enclosed,
529. i. Jeronimy Clifford to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Dec. 29, 1713. Mr. Atkinson presented my petition to the Queen through Mrs. Marsham, I am directed to apply to the Lds. Commrs. of Trade, etc. Encloses following and prays for relief, etc. Signed, Jer. Clifford. 2¼ pp.
529. ii. Petition of Jeronimy Clifford to the Queen, Jan. 5th, 1713. Prays for H.M. effectual orders for his relief in his claim against the Society of Surinam, according to Order in Council July 9, 1705 (q.v.). Signed, Jer. Clifford. 1 p.
529. iii. The case of Jeronimy Clifford. Printed, March 26, 1711. 32 pp.
529. iv. Abridgement of preceding. Signed, Jer. Clifford. 30 pp.
529. v. Account of money due from the Society of Surinam to Jeronimy Clifford. Dec. 29, 1713. Signed as preceding. 5 pp.
529. vi. An account of Mr. Clifford's proceedings in the case, to Feb. 16, 1697. Signed, Jer. Clifford. 31½ pp. [C.O. 388, 76. Nos. 164, 164 i.–vi.]
Dec. 29.
530. Lt. Governor Spotswood to the Council of Trade and Plantations. It was with great satisfaction that I received some days ago by the way of New York, the honour of your Lordps. of the 27th Aug. 1712, April 23rd, July 15th and 20th, 1713, which give me the pleasure to find my administration approved by your Lordps. The General Assembly of this Colony which was sitting when I writt last to your Lordps. broke up the 12th instant, after having concluded their session in such manner as I hop'd for from the promising beginning they made. Time will not permitt me to send by this conveyance the Journals and Laws; I shall therefore confine this letter to the subject matter of two Acts pass'd this session (copys inclos'd), which are not to take place till a twelve moneths hence. The Act I now send, declaring what shal be accounted a sufficient seating, planting and cultivation of land, etc. is almost the same with that draught I sent your Lordps. last year, and which your Lordps. were pleased to approve as well suited to the circumstances of this countrey. I shall here mention the several additions to this Bill, which I hope will be judged equally reasonable. That part of the Act, which allows two thirds of all lands heretofore surveyed to be accounted barren, and one third only plantable will touch very few tracts; for as the conditions of seating and planting mentioned in former laws upon which all patents issued before my coming into this Government, were much more easy, this regulation will only extend to the few tracts granted since my Proclamation, wherein the proportion above mentioned may be look'd upon as generally agreeable to the truth of the case; and if new surveys had been directed (without which the quantity of each kind of land could not be known, nor inserted in the patent) it would only have proved burthensome to the people, without any advantage to H.M., or answering better the intent of the Instruction. The indulgence granted by another clause of this law to the persons who took up and surveyed lands before H.M. Instructions were publickly notify'd, was absolutely necessary for quieting the minds of those people, who thought their rights and the constitutions of the Government invaded by refusing them patents upon the terms of the laws in force at the time of making their surveys; and many perswaded themselves that if it came to be disputed before a Court of Judicature, those lands must have been determined to be their right: but now the allowing them two years more after the date of their patents for making the cultivation and improvement required by this law, has given them all entire satisfaction, and I'm well assured will prevent all future uneasiness in the country about the new terms of granting lands; a benefite wch. ought to outweigh the small favour granted them by this Act. The draining of marshes, swamps, and sunken grounds, is by this Act made one kind of improvement, and is like to occasion a considerable benefite to the Crown as well as to the subject. Hitherto those kinds of ground (of which there are here great quantitys) have been neglected and made only a range for cattle and hoggs of the neighbourhood, no man pretending to patent it, or to be at the expence of paying quitt-rents for the same: but now that the draining thereof is declared to save a proportionable quantity of high lands, people will thereby have the oppertunity to discover that such grounds once drained will become both for planting and pasturage the most valuable land in the Colony, but which means it will come to pass, that all that sort of land will be greedily sought after and taken up, and in a short time well cultivated and the quitt-rents duly paid, tho it now yields no profite either to the Queen or the subject. By this law also persons taking up land and being unable to comply with the cultivation required by their patent, are not (as formerly) to lose their whole tract, but only so much as they have not made an improvement sufficient to save. This seems very just, that a man who has done his endeavour to save his tract of land by considerable improvements, should not for default of cultivating, perhaps only half an acre, less than his complement forfeit his whole land with all his improvements to any one that should be so malicious to informe agt. him: so that I hope this part will meet with no objection, especially if your Lodps. will be pleased to observe this proviso contrived on purpose to follow immediatly after this clause, explaining what seem'd doubtfull in the former laws, that all lands whatsoever are now lyable to be forfeited for non-payment of the quitt-rents. This is the substance of the several alterations and additions in this is law and the reasons upon which the same are founded. It remains that I beg your Lordps. will be pleased to lay the same before H.M., that I may receive the signification of H.M. pleasure thereupon as soon as may be, because I find people are willing to delay the taking out their patents till they see the event of this law. I gave your Lordps. an account in my last of some preparatory steps towards the Act (herewith sent) for prerenting frauds in tobacco payments. After the many discouragements which that trade laboured under both here and in Great Britain it was necessary to enquire from what root so many evils did proceed: This has been judged, to be owing to the ill management of tobacco here; many people making it for no other end than to pay off debts and levys, for which purpose they think it good enough, how mean soever it be; and others making such a sort as several of the outport traders in Great Britain most eagerly seek after (especially of late) and seing housesweepings and the worst of trash is a sort too, which they come hither to purchase, and that they have been known to pour salt water upon such tobacco so soon as they have gotten it on board, it may be reasonably suspected that what they carry hence rather diminishes than increases the duty at the Customhouse, and serves for no other use than vile practices, whereby the staple commodity of this country has been brought into disesteem and the marketts thereof entirely ruined in Europe. This law therefore by obliging all planters to have their tobacco view'd by a sworn officer, in the manner your Lordps. may observe more fully from the several parts of the Act, has made provision against the exportation of all such trash as is said to be allowed by the Customhouse officers in the outports as damaged tobacco, and thereafter frequently re-exported with the benefite of the drawback; and thus it is hop'd the reputation of Virginia tobaco may be retrieved, when none but such as is found to be worth paying the duty at home, shal be sent to the forreign marketts. It has likewise very justly provided against the passing bad tobacco in any manner of payments within this Colonoy, so that H.M. quitt-rents, officers sallarys, and all the publick credit will hereafter be raised, by so much as is the difference between trash and good tobacco: for as I have before remark'd, it is the general notion of the country that the worst sort is good enough for these purposes. Besides the convenient method that this Act establishes for the making all payments by the Agents' notes, which are to pass like Bank-bills, will give an oppertunity to collect the quitt-rents at a cheaper rate than hitherto they have been. The main design of the Port Act, which was recommended to my predecessor Governor Nott to endeavour to gett pass'd, is I presume compassed by this Act; since that ships will by means thereof be hereafter loaded in half the time they are now, and that the Collectors and Naval Officers may certainly know to a hogshead the tobacco that is shipd home to Great Britain, and to a pound that which is exported for the Plantations. What I have had at heart, and what I have in a former session in vain attempted vizt. to make the benefices of the Clergy more valuable, and the collecting their incomes more just and easy to them, to the end good and able Divines might reckon it worth their while to come over to supply the churches here, and that they might not be diverted from their studys, as several now are, by running up and down their parishes to gather in their sallary tobacco; this, I say, is by this Act effectually obtained. Hereby I have in a great measure (I think) cleared the way for a Governor towards carrying any reasonable point in the House of Burgesses; for he will have in his disposal about fourty agencys, which one with another are likely to yeild nigh 250l. per annum each; these, my intentions are to dispose of among the most considerable men of the Colony, and principally to gratify with a place, all the members of the Assembly who were for the Bill: by this means the staple of tobacco will have a better security for its perpetual establishment and constant encourgement than any other manufacture; and the propositions of several countys, which are frequently used to be presented to the House of Burgesses for the setting up other manufactures, will not be so favourably heard in that House, when the majority of its members shall be engaged by their interest to advance the making of tobacco chiefly, besides in aiming at this law, I had in view (for I must own myself not only to be principally concern'd in framing the Bill, but even from the beginning the sole author of the scheme) to put a check to some dishonest courses in tobacco payments, which by use were grown so habitual and general, that it was to be feared at long run, there would scarce be found men in Virginia who durst make a law to prevent those fraudulent dealings; and I was apprehensive of ill consequences, if the vulgar's standard of right and wrong prevaild any longer: for there are a sett of people whom all the meaner sort of planters cry up for honest men, for lovers and patriots of their country, and for friends to the poor, and this general character often setts them up for candidates in the election feild (where the votes and humors of the lowest mobb do at present decide who shal be the Representatives in Assembly) and also recommends them for tobacco Receivers to merchants and masters of ships who come hither to purchase that commodity: but a few years observation has made me perceive that the vulgar in these parts reckon him only the honest man who inclines to favour their interest; he is the lover of this country who in all controversys justifys the Virginian, and in all dealings is ready to help him to overreach the forreigner; hee's the patriot who will not yeild to whatever the Governor proposes, and can remain deaf to all arguments that are used for the raising of money; and lastly him they call a Poor man's friend, who always carrys stillyards to weigh to the needy planter's advantage, and who never judges his tobacco to be trash. Of this sett of people there was such a number in the Lower house, that it was with some address and great struggle the Bill was gott to pass there; for tho their understandings be not above the levell of their electors, and that they could not advance one solid argument against it, yet they readily discovered that this Bill was to cutt them out of their popular interest and profitable way of living, and thereupon they opposed it most violently with their Nays. Except this last sort of man with their dependants there are scarce any within this Government, but who rejoice at this new law; and your Lordps. may be assured that a very fair scene of benefits is opened to the people here, when the whole Council and all the sensible members of the Lower House unanimously laboured to carry this extraordinary point. I cannot foresee that any objection can be made at home to this law, unless that some may possibly say, that the navigation will be lessen'd by not shipping all the tobacco wch. is made, and that it seems to take off some hands from planting, who may perhaps fall upon the British manufactures: to this I answer that it plainly appears by the Naval Officer's books that of late years, ever since trash has been so abundantly exported, to the ruin of the marketts in Europe, the number of hogsheads shipt off has been less by some thousands; for it is well known here that the considerable crop-masters who are able to cloath their familys by what substance they happen to have beforehand in Great Britain, will not drudge on with all their hands at tobacco, when it does not yeild a living price, but employ them in other services, and wait till the markett rises again, besides too the natural consequences of this act will be that hogsheads will not exceed the lawfull standard, that they will be less pressed, and that the tobacco will be less stem'd, whereby the number of tunns must encrease. And as to the rest of the objection, if it should prove true, that any hands fall off from planting, tis evident enough they must be those of the careless idle planters from whom the British manufactures are in less danger than from the carefull industrious planter, if he should be necessitated to take some other course to cloath his family than by making tobacco. I have, My Lords, been the more particular in my observations upon this Act because it is looked upon to be the most extraordinary one, that ever pass'd a Virginia Assembly, and such an one as those persons to whom I first communicated my thoughts and to whom the temper of these Assemblys are well known, believed I could never have compassd. I hope your Lordps. will be so well satisfy'd with the honest design of it, and the advantages which in all probability will arise thereby, that it will meet with your Lordps.' approbation, so that it may be put in execution, according to the time it is to commence. I shal not now trouble your Lordps. with the detail of the other proceedings of the Assembly, untill I can send the Journals with the other laws and my observations thereon, wch. I hope to do in a short time, together with the progress of the Treaty with the Tuscoruro Indians, and the new project for securing our frontiers which I'm in great hopes to accomplish this summer; the Assembly having left it entirely to my management and at the same time impowered me to dispose of a considerable fund both of money and tobacco as I shal think necessary for that service. They have likewise placed a further confidence in me, by allowing me without any controul to finish the Governor's house, and by agreeing that without limiting the sum the charge thereof shal be paid out of the dutys on liquours and slaves. But, My Lords, to gain this trust I have first given them several prooffs of my faithfull and thristy management of the publick funds, and they know that for carrying on the work of the House in the cheapest manner, I am already in disburse the last sum they appropriated which was 900l., and that without interest: and the funds being so far anticipated for other urgent occasions, that it will be a considerable time before I can be repaid, or any more money received for finishing this work. I hope your Lordps. will therefore judge it reasonable that my house-rent be continued, etc. Signed, A. Spotswood. Endorsed. Recd. 13th Feb., 17 13/14, Read 3rd May, 1716. 7 ¾ pp. Enclosed,
530. i. Copy of Act of Virginia, 1713, declaring what shal be accounted a sufficient seating, planting, cultivating and improving of lands already granted or hereafter to be taken up and patented. Same endorsement. 5 pp.
530. ii. Copy of Act of Virginia, 1713, for preventing frauds in tobacco payments; and for the better improving the staple of tobacco. Same endorsement. 14 ¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 1317. Nos. 20, 20 i., ii.; and (without enclosurs) 5, 1364. pp. 276–202.]
Dec. 31.
Custome house, London.
531. Mr. Carkesse to Mr. Popple. Encloses following. The Commissioners of the Customs desire copies of accounts sent from Virginia concerning that matter, etc. Signed, Cha. Carkesse. Endorsed, Recd. Dec. 31st, Read Jan. 7th, 1713 (14). Addressed. 1 p. Enclosed,
531. i. Extract of letter from Edwd. Hill, Collector in the Upper District of James River, Virginia, Oct. 15, 1713. Of late the out-ports have directed their agents here purchasing tobacco to receive none other than trash, discouler'd and unmerchantable etc. 'Tis now no longer a mistery; such discoloured tobacco when it comes for England or North Brittain is all allow'd for damage and so no custome paid in. Refers to Memorial of Council of Virginia, etc. Singed, Edwd. Hill. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1316. Nos. 101, 101 i.; and (without enclosure) 5, 1364, p. 15.]