America and West Indies: September 1731, 16-30

Pages 266-275

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 38, 1731. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1938.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


September 1731, 16-30

Sept. 16.
412. Duke of Newcastle to Major Genl. Hunter. I have received the favour of several of your letters, the last of which is dated the 5th of June, and have laid them all before the King: H.M. was glad to find that the Assembly had resolved to subsist the two regts. for six months more; but H.M. being willing that his subjects in that island should be eased of that expence as soon as it can be done with safety and convenience to the troops, it not appearing from the accounts that have been received from thence that those Regts. can be of any great use in suppressing the rebellious negroes, intends shortly to order that they should return home, and those orders will be dispatcht soon enough, to arrive at Jamaica about Janry. next, which is thus calculated out of regard to the proper season for their voyage home, and to the health of the officers and men, which might suffer extremely, were they to come home in the depth of the winter; But of this you are to take no notice, that the soldiers may be the rather induced to accept the bounty that will be offered them to go into the Independt. Companys, and the encouragemt. which it is to be hoped you will be able to procure by an Act of the Assembly for their settling at Jamaica, which must, by the increase of white inhabitants, be a great advantage to the island. That there may be a sufficient force for its security when the regts. are gone, H.M. has sent orders to Lt. Col. Cornwallis, or the Commanding Officer in either of the two regiments to review the two Independt. Companys and to compleat them by draughts to be proportionably made out of the two Regts., of such soldiers as shall be willing to serve in the sd. companys, to whom, as an encouragemt., a bounty of 10l. sterling a man is to be paid upon their being entered in the said companys, by the respective Captains thereof, out of the non-effective money lying in their hands; and their wives, as well as those of the soldiers that shall be willing to become inhabitants, are to be sent to them at H.M. expence, if they desire it; But tho' the King would have all means of persuasion and encouragemt. used to engage the soldiers to remain at Jamaica either in H.M. service in the Independt. Companys, or as inhabitants, yet it is H.M. pleasure that they should not be obliged to it by force or constraint, but that it be left to their free choice and option, whether they will do either, or return home with the regts. to which they belong. For your better information and direction, I send you by H.M. command, copys of two reports, upon this subject, of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, by which you will see in what manner they propose that such of the soldiers, as shall be willing to remain in the Island, as inhabitants, be encouraged and settled. And accordingly, if the soldiers that shall be fixt in the new settlemts. should want arms for their defence, H.M. in that case is pleased to direct, that they should keep those they now have. The King cannot doubt, that the Assembly will have a due sense of H.M. goodness to them in being graciously pleased to consider their welfare and safety, so far as to spare those men from his own service for the better peopling of the island, and will not be so much wanting to themselves as to neglect contributing what may depend on them, for improving so fair an opportunity to the advantage of their country, which in all probability, may not offer again in the course of many years. As to what is further suggested by the Board of Trade, in relation to the endeavouring to reduce the rebellious negroes to H.M. obedience by fair means, you will take the best methods you can to discover the disposition of their ring-leaders, and those who have the most credit and influence among them, and if you find it to be such, that they may by persuasion and good usage be made good subjects to H.M., you will learn in what manner, and upon what terms this may be accomplisht, whether by giving them a settlement in some of the uninhabited islands in America belonging to H.M., as is mentioned in the enclosed report, which if you find practicable you will make the necessary dispositions for it, or whether it may be put into any other method that will equally answer the same end, in which case, as well as in the other, you will prepare matters for it, without wayting for further orders from hence. And in the execution of H.M. commands contained in this letter, you will conform yourself to what is proposed by the Board of Trade as far as may be agreable to the directions which I have given you by H.M. order. You will see by this letter, that it is H.M. intention, as soon as it is consistent with the safety of the troops, to send for them home; but at the same time to provide for the security of the Island by compleating the Independent Companys up to their full complement, and by encouraging the private men of the two regts. to settle in the island and become planters, which must be of the greatest advantage by adding so considerably to the number of white inhabitants, which at present is so very small. H.M. does therefore expect of you, that, without having any view to the keeping of the regts. in the island, you should without loss of time, take the proper measures, in conjunction with Lt. Col. Cornwallis, or the Officer Commanding in Chief the two regts., to engage the soldiers, in consideration of the ten pound bounty, which is to be given each, to enter into the Independt. Companys, and also use your utmost endeavours to induce the Assembly forthwith to give all proper encouragemt. to such others, as may be willing to settle in this island and become planters. I wish I could have sent you H.M. approbation of your conduct relating to the two Regts., before and since their arrival at Jamaica; and I must particularly take notice to you, that the King expected to have had from you a full account of everything that past either in the Council or Assembly upon this subject, whereby H.M. might have been the better able to judge of the necessity of continuing them in that island, or not, and more fully informed of the sense and opinion of his subjects there in this respect. The King has received an account from other hands, that the Assembly had sent a message to the Council, whenever they expressed themselves in a dutyfull manner towards H.M., but seemed plainly to be of opinion that the regts. were not necessary for the safety of the island, nor would be of any service towards suppressing the rebellious negroes, otherwise than by permitting the soldiers to become settlers. H.M. was surpriz'd that you take no notice of this in any of your letters; and I send you a copy of the message itself, that you may see the foundation there is for mentioning it to you. Signed, Holles Newcastle. Endorsed, Duplicates sent, 16th Nov. by a man of war, 18th by a merchantship. Draft. 7 pp. Enclosed,
412. i. Message from the Assembly to the Council of Jamaica. The House have disagreed to the amendments proposed by your Honours' message of yesterday to the Address to His Majesty. 1st. For the inserting the word, 'Will', instead of the word, 'May', is taking upon us affirmitively to assert that that will be which may not and which we are the more inclined to fear may not be, unless by permitting the soldiers to become settlers, because we neither find that any of the rebel negroes have hitherto been killed or taken by them, nor are we convinced that they [are] so well able to endure the inconveniencys of passing through the woods, as men more seasoned to the climate. 2ndly. For that as no such necessity as yet appears to us at all, but on the other hand it appears by the Minutes of the last Assembly, within 10 months last past that on consideration for a motion for inviting a body of regular troops, the house did reject the motion and resolved that the bringing over of families and providing for them would be the most effectual method of settling the island, and accordingly did pass a bill entitled an Act to oblige the inhabitants to provide themselves with a sufficient number of white people in proportion to their number of negroes and values of their estates to be sent out and barracked in proper places to reduce the rebellious negroes and encourage the further settling the island, which had your Honours agreed to would annually have brought into the island an additional number of 800 men, at the same expence the subsisting these two regiments are to the island, and reduced the rebellious negroes. Nor hath this house in providing a subsistance for the said soldiers been influenced so much by apprehensions of danger as by the defence to H.M., and their unwillingness to let so many gallant officers and soldiers want any necessaries, until such time as H.M. might be informed of our inability to bear so great a burthen. Copy. 1½ pp. [C.O. 137, 53. ff. 372–376v.]
Sept. 21.
413. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Rt. Honble. the Lord Harrington, one of H.M. principal Secretaries of State. Enclose following to be laid before the King. As soon as they have completed enquiries they are making, they will transmit their representation relating to the trade between Great Britain and Sweden as directed 20th July, 1731 etc. Annexed,
413. i. Same to the King. In obedience to H.M. commands, 28th Aug., have considered letters from Mr. Finch relating to an offer by the present Duke of Courland for the sale of Tobago to the Crown of Sweden. Continue:—Upon this occasion we beg leave to acquaint your Majesty that heretofore the Dukes of Courland have had their pretentions upon this island founded on a grant made to them by King Charles II in 1664, under certain conditions and services to be performed to the Crown of England; But on the other hand, it appears from the ancient books of our Office, that the Dukes of Courland have not comply'd with those stipulations, and we find that when Monsr. de Blomberg, who was Agent for the D. of Courland at this Court in 1686, presented a memorial to the late King James the 2nd, praying H.M. permission that a small number of English families might be at liberty to contract with his master, in order for their settling upon the island of Tobago in conjunction with other families natural subjects of the Duke of Courland, and that the Govr. of Barbados might receive H.M. Orders to assist ye intended Colony with all that was necessary for their establishment at reasonable prices, Monsr. de Blomberg then received the answer which we have taken the liberty to annex to this representation [v. C.S.P. 1686. No. 1033], by which it appears to have been the opinion of the Lords of the Privy Council in that reign, and likewise of the Attorny General, that the original grant of this island to the Dukes of Courland was void in law. We beg leave therefore to represent to your Majesty, that as nothing has been transacted since this answer was made, wch. can be of any force for the revival of the Duke of Courland's title; it is to be hoped, his Swedish Majesty will not give ear to any proposal that may be made for the sale of Tobago to the Crown of Sweden which might produce such consequences as would tend to weaken the particular friendship which has so long subsisted between your Majty.'s royal family, and that of His Swedish Majesty, as well as the good understanding and harmony which have been so happily cultivated of late years between the Crowns of Great Britain and Sweden. [C.O. 29, 15. pp. 233–236.]
Sept. 24. 414. Address of the President, Council and Assembly of St. Christophers to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Represent that a trade hath been set on foot and carried on for some years past between the subjects of Great Britain in Boston, Rhode Island and other places in New England and the subjects of the French King in Martinique and other adjacent islands and also with the Dutch in Surinam, which trade tis concerned is contrary to the tenor of a Treaty now subsisting between Great Brittain and France, the view and designe of all our laws relating to trade and that in this trade the French are furnished by Englishmen with horses, fish, boards, staves and other lumber. These are commoditys absolutely necessary to a Sugar Plantation and had the English made use of the advantage they had in their hands by being possessed of the only places in America from whence the French could draw these commoditys either in such quantitys as they wanted or at such rates as they could afford to give and withheld them strictly from them, the difficultys which in that case they would have found themselves under might have checked the design of turning those islands to sugar plantations, at least it must greatly have stopped the progress of it. This as wee apprehend will plainly appear to your Lordshipp when 'tis consider'd what quantitys of sugar Martinique in particular made at any time before the conclusion of the last war (when they had not the means of being furnished with these commoditys) and what they have made since. On the other hand, by neglecting this advantage and permitting this trade to be carried on without restraint the French have settled great numbers of sugar plantations in those islands, are become so populous there as to endanger the security of H.M. Leeward Islands and if some way cannot be found to stop their progress will soon be able to supply all the marketts in Europe and become entire masters of the sugar trade. That by allowing this commerce to be carried on by the people of New England, with the French and Dutch, the trade of Great Brittain will suffer in many other branches of it besides the sugar trade, for that the English may and frequently do take forreign commoditys in exchange for their own goods and by that means prevent the consumption of the Brittish manufactures. That besides the danger threatned to Great Brittain in the sugar trade by being ourselves the instruments in forwarding and promoting the settlement of the French and Dutch Colonys and besides the prejudice which may accrue by such a trade to the Brittish manufactures, wee apprehend that this and the rest of H.M. Leeward Islands labour under hardships from it which we hope your Lordships wont think it reasonable for us to suffer especially when it is considered that tho' some advantage may accrue to New England by it yet they are not such as will counterbalance the dammages which the Sugar Colonys suffer and the advantages that are thereby given to a people that are rivals to us in the same trade. For it lessens the consumption of the rum and molasses of the English and increases the consumption of the same manufactures of the French and with this further advantage to them likewise that a great part of the materials which go to the making these manufactures if they could not exchange them with the English would be lost to them. It also lays us under the necessity of buying these commoditys at a dearer price which enables the French to under sell us in our sugars and it drains us of our current coin which is often received by the people of New England from us in payment for the goods they bring, and carried to the French to purchase those commoditys which we ought in reason to furnish them with. That His late Majesty was so sensible of the mischiefs that would ensue to his Sugar Colonys by this trade that it was no sooner known to be sett on foot but he gave the strictest commands to the Governours to be watchfull, and to use their utmost diligence to prevent it. That the Brittish subjects lye under many other disadvantages in the Sugar Trade which at this time may deserve Your Lordshipps' consideration particularly in not being allowed to carry their sugars to any foreign markett till it has first been imported to Great Brittain, which gives the French who are free from any such restriction an oportunity to supply the forreign marketts before us and without the charges of a double voyage which we are lyable to, so that they are enabled to undersell us by at least twentyfive pr. cent., and it is to be feared they not only have this advantage of us in the forreign marketts, but that they do supply some of our own people and particularly Ireland with great part of the sugars they consume etc. Pray the Board to promote the passing of some law in Parliament which may effectually put a stop to a commerce so destructive to the Brittish sugar trade and give new life and vigour to it. Signed, Jos. Estridge, six members of Council, and J. Spooner, Speaker of the Assembly. Endorsed, Recd. 2nd, Read 7th Dec, 1731. 1 large p. [C.O. 152, 19. ff. 81, 81v.]
Sept. 24.
415. Governor Hunter to the Duke of Newcastle. Encloses Address of the Council, which they humbly pray may be put into H.M. hands. Continues:—The two regiments here are in a wofull state some companys having lost more than half their compliment cheifly owing to drunkenness. The remote quarters have bury'd fewest. I have sent to the Secretary at War the last monthly states that are come to my hands. From him I had advice of H.M. order for the sale of the provisions arrived here, which was accordingly done, but I have not as yet got the account of sale etc. Will write more minutely of affairs by one of H.M. ships to sail shortly etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, R. Jan. 17th. 1¾ pp. Enclosed,
415. i. Address of Council of Jamaica to the King. St. Jago de la Vega. Aug. 3, 1731. Return thanks "for the late gracious and seasonable of your paternal and extensive care of the safety and security of this your island in sending over two regiments for our protection against our slaves in rebellion," who are grown more numerous and insolent notwithstanding the almost insupportable expence the country has been at in endeavouring to suppress them. Our loyalty and gratitude your Majesty etc. readily engaged us to endeavour at obtaining an additional subsistance for them on their first arrival here, which has with great difficulty been obtain'd for them by two laws for that purpose, which are to last for twelve months only, and altho' wee humbly conceive their presence and being kept up compleat is now so absolutely necessary for our safety, that if they are withdrawn the negroes (wee fear) would soon be sensible of our weakness and nakedness, and make a fatall use of that opportunity; yet wee think ours f all our trade with our neighbours, the very low price which our now only staple commodity (sugars) bears in the European marketts, the great and heavy taxes wee have long groaned under for the extirpation of those our cruel intestine enemys, the frequent and dreadfull calamitys wee have suffered from the hand of Heaven, and the daily decrease of our white inhabitants, all which render us very unable elves bound in duty with all humility to lay before your Majesty the declining condition of this once flourishing Collony occasioned by the entire loss o to raise a sufficient subsistance for those troops, so seasonably sent us for the security of our lives and fortunes, and gives us great reason to apprehend that at the expiration of the said twelve months, it will not be in our power to prevail with the Assembly here to subsist them for any longer time. Therefore from your Majesty's known indulgence and beneficence to all your people, and the use and advantage this island is of to all your Brittish subjects, wee are embolden'd to become humble suitors to your Majesty that you would be graciously pleased to continue those troops here for our safety and protection, and in your royal wisdom to take such methods for their additional subsistance as may be for the ease of your subjects the inhabitants of this island etc. Signed, By order of the Council, Jos. Maxwell Cl. Concil. 1 large p.
415. ii. Lists of Officers and privates of the two Regiments in Jamaica, Aug. 23, 1731, showing effectives 225 and 237 and wanting to complete, 115 and 103. Signed, Ste. Cornwallis and Jas. Fountain. 2 pp. [C.O. 137, 53. ff. 364, 364v., 365v., 366v., 367, 368, 370.]
Sept. 25.
416. Mr. Popple to Mr. Lowther. Repeats request of Aug. 26th q.v. [C.O. 29, 15. pp. 237, 238.]
417. Mr. Partridge to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Begs for report upon Acts of New Jersey pursuant to order of reference (7th July), etc. Continues: I have yesterday received again advice from the Speaker of that Province that they are much in want of the Act for emitting a paper currantsy (to enable the inhabitants to support their Governour discharge their engagements in the loan office etc.): their Province is situated between New York and Pensilvania and their paper money being currant in each, occasions the dispersing it through the whole and it's scarce a third part of it continues in their Province so that they found 40,000l. was full little enough to maintain a currantsey and carry on a trade, much the greater part of which (as they write) is now sunk and the Act which raised it requiring that those who borrowed it should pay it in again in the same specie, put the borrowers under very great difficulties to procure it, and those difficulties will yearly augment by the sinking of the said bills, therefore as well for carrying on our comerce with their neighbours maintaining a trade among themselves as to discharge their engagements in the loan offices a further quantity of money seems absolutely necessary. Signed, p. Richd. Partridge. Endorsed, Recd. 28th Sept., 1731, Read 8th March, 1731/2. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 972. ff. 227, 230v.]
Sept. 29. 418. Petty expences of the Board of Trade, Midsummer to Michaelmas, 1731. (v. Journal). 5 pp. [C.O. 388, 80. Nos. 10–12.]
Sept. 30.
419. George Phenney's Commission from the Commissioners of Customs to be Surveyor General of H.M. Customs "in the Southern part of the Continent of America." Copy. [C.O. 324, 49. ff. 79, 80.]
[? Sept.] 420. Draught of H.M. Additional Instruction to Governor Hunter. Revoking former instructions as to securing piratical goods and directing him to be assisting to Robert Byng, appointed Receiver General of the rights and perquisites of the Admiralty on 9th Aug., and to make up his accounts with him or his deputies of all such rights or pirates' goods etc. [C.O. 324, 11. pp. 244, 245.]
Sept. 30.
421. Lt. Gov. Gledhill to the Duke of Newcastle. I arriv'd here ye 23d of Augt. with the Fort Major and recruits to compleat ye compa. to 30 men. Governr. Clinton and Capt. Osburne hath been here but staid a few hours so I tho't it my duty to lay before yr. Grace how necessary more troops are wanting here. This port being now ye most considerable fishing port in America and worthy of yor. Grace's protection I annex hereto, ye state of this year's fishery, and allso the Fishing Admiral's letter of complaint and humbly submit it to yor. Grace. Signed, S. Gledhill. Endorsed, R. 21 Dec. Holograph. 1 p. Enclosed,
421. i. Scheme of the Fishery of Placentia for 1731. Number of British fishing ships, 22, sack ships, 4, 3000 tons; men 1500; from America 4, 900 tons, 120 men. Passengers on the British ships, 243. Boats owned by inhabitants, 21, by British ships, 180. Quintals of fish made by British ships 75,000, by inhabitants 5,000. Carried to foreign markets, 80,000 quintals; tierces of salmon 100. Tons of train oil made by inhabitants, 20, by British fishing ships, 260. Prices of fish, 25 rials pr. quintal, salmon 3l. per tierce, train oil, 12l. 5s. pr. ton. Seal oil and furs taken last winter, none. Number of stages, 26, train fats, 26. Number of families who keep private houses, 24, who keep publick do., 6. Number of inhabitants, masters 30, men servants 100, mistrises 11, women servants none, children 38. Remained last winter, masters 30, men servants 190 (sic), mistrises 11, children 38. Born, since the departure of the last convoy, 4, died, 2. Signed, S. Gledhill. 1 p.
421. ii. Fishing Admirals of Placentia to Governor Gledhill. Placentia, Sept. 10, 1731. Sr. We take the liberty to lay before your honour the grievances that we have suffered during your absence these two last winters by evil-minded people who distroyed and puled down all our houses, cook rooms, wharfs and stages, which is very destructive to our fishing voyages the ensueing season and is of fatal consequence to the Fishery. The new Justices we trusted and believed wo'ld have taken some care to prevent such disorders by themselves or some proper persons. But we were mistaken, two of them being abroad in Europe and the other sick at home. They wo'ld insinuate that the troops in the Garrison were blameable on this head, therefore we pray your Honour will represent this to the Secretary that the Garrison may be supplyed with coal in lieu of wood for their fires and suffer the soldiers to patrole soe in the winter as may prevent the dis- truction of our sd. houses and wharfs etc., the loss whereof is very great to our owners and a hindrance to our prosecuting their business in the spring haveing noe place to land our good[s] in at our arival. Signed, James Chapple, Admiral, Chr. Chapple Vice-Admiral, Williams Brooks R. Admiral, William Chapple, John Brooks. 1 p. [C.O. 194, 24. Nos. 21, 21 i, ii.]