America and West Indies: October 1731, 6-10

Pages 290-296

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

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October 1731, 6-10

Oct. 6.
430. Samuel Barwick, President of the Council of Barbados, to the Duke of Newcastle. Col. Henry Worsley our late Governour has in pursuance of your Grace's letter delivered up the ensigns of Government to me as President and embarqued on board the Bridger Capt. Webster on 21st Sept., in order to saile for ye Kingdom of Great Britain. I shall endeavour to execute with all diligence and faithfulness H.M. Commission and Instructions etc. Signed, Samll. Barwick. Holograph. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 45. ff. 197.]
Oct. 6.
431. Samuel Barwick, President of the Council, Barbados, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. His late Excellency Coll. Henry Worsley embarqu'd on Tuesday 21st Sept., etc. having first delivered up the ensigns of Government to me as President, which office I shal endeavour to execute with all diligence and faithfulness etc. Signed, Samll. Barwick. Endorsed, Recd. 26th Nov., 1731, Read 23rd Feb., 1722/3. Holograph. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 23. ff. 39, 42v.]
Oct. 7. 432. Address of the Assembly of Barbados to the King. We etc. humbly begg leave with gratefull hearts to give your Majesty our unfeigned thanks for your Majesty's great goodness to us in removeing Coll. Henry Worsley from the government of this Island. Many and great were the hardships and heavy were the greivances that this your Majesty's Colony lay under for severall years last past under the administration of that Gentleman, who not content with an extravagant settlement of 7,800l. a year (which on his arrivall here, taking advantage of the then unsetled state of the times, he procured the publick to submitt to) omitted no art or means whatsoever to improve his advantages over them, and extorted many large summs of money from them, and made the Island no further his care than as it contributed to his private profit, and farr from promoting it's good ever opposed everything that tended thereto, and then debarred the opprest inhabitants the liberty, which all your Majesty's other Colonyes enjoy, of having Agents in Great Britain to preferr their complaints and represent their grievances to your Majesty, on whose paternall care and royall clemency they depend. This the sd. late Governour effected by his management with the members of your Majesty's Councill, too many of whom seem to have thought it their duty to pay a blind obedience to his will, and thro' the fear of an immediate suspension in case of any non-complyance with his interests or passions were influenc'd to the meanest submissions, and acted as if they had been indispensably bound to concurr with him in every attempt of his on the libertyes and propertyes of the poor inhabitants of this island, and in order to favour H.E.'s vexatious pretensions and demands on the publick have even ventured to affirm, in a late address to your sacred Majesty, that they are not sensible of any poverty in this your Majestye's island, but what has been occasioned only by personall extravaganzes, whereas 'tis most notoriously apparent that the wealth and strength of this island has for some years last past been continually declining, and that its trade is at present on so bad a foot that it must soon be intirely lost if some immediate remedy be not applyed; But the late signall instance of your Majestye's grace to the island in recalling Coll. Worsley (by whose removall a heavy annuall tax, too heavy indeed to be longer born, is at length determined) encourages us to hope still greater marks of your Royall favour, and that by your Majestye's continued goodness to us this Colony will not only be preserved from the ruin now impending over it but he restored to a flourishing condition under the dominion of the best of Kings. Wee ardently implore the Allmighty God to grant your Majesty health, wealth and length of dayes, and that the British Empire may be for ever established in your Majesty and your august house. Signed, Robt. Warren, Cl. of the Assembly. 1 large p. [C.O. 28, 45. ff. 199.]
Oct. 8.
433. Governor Hunter to the Duke of Newcastle. Encloses duplicate of Council's Address; repeats condition of regiments as preceding (v. Sept. 24) (No. 415). Continues: Having by advice of the Council ordered out a party from Port Antonio to destroy or dislodge the rebel slaves in the neighbourhood of that place and sent thither the arm'd and baggage negroes as directed by an act of Assembly, sickness or rum has reduced these five companys to such a pass that, as the Commanding Officer there writes, he has not twenty men able to march. I have ordered a reinforcement of thirty men from this side to embark on board one of H.M. ships forthwith for Port Antonio, that the country after this great expense may not be disappointed and the rebels encourag'd, but services of this sort go so heavily forward that I can entertain but faint hopes of success. Encloses list of Acts passed etc. Continues:—One of the King's ships sent out by Rear Admiral Stewart to cruize upon the Guarda costas has brought in hither two Spanish trading sloops, this has given Mr. Stewart much disquiet having engaged him in a paper squable with the merchants of Kingston. The young gentleman Crawford who commanded that cruizer stretcht his orders as I realy believe for fear of falling short of them; however at Mr. Stewart's desire I lay'd the whole affair before H.M. Council here who were unanimous in their opinion that since H.M. had been pleased to approve of his conduct in suspending the execution of his orders relating to reprisals and that he was made to expect speedily further orders in that matter, and that no formal information of captures of English vessels had been given in here since that of Benson's, which indeed was the only one we have had, he should release them; which I believe he will do speedily. He has sent a particular account to the Admiralty etc. I have not had the honor of any commands or advices from any of the publick offices of later date than the midle of May last. A merchant ship lately arrived on the North side of this island brings news of a general march of the forces towards the coasts in the Channel a general press for manning fifty ships of the line. This may be such ship news as we have been used to, but I must in duty acquaint your Grace that in case of any rupture this island is in a bad state of defence. There has been for many years pass'd great numbers of Irish introduc'd here as servants which constitute the body of our Militia, hired servants of any sort will make but bad soldiers, but those of that nation whose hearts are against us and have neither honor or interest to regard must be reckond as a drawback upon the real strength we may have, as I too well know by experience, and which makes that matter still worse, some of them, lawyers, have got such an ascendant over the thoughtless planters, that they have the chief influence in the election of Assemblymen, and great influence in that House to the obstruction of publick business and all measures for the safety of this island. If your Grace would be pleased to advise H.M. to reject the Act repealing the Protestant act, as 'tis call'd, it may help us in some measure, but his approbation of it will give such matter of triumph to that party that all my endeavours how vigorous soever may be rendr'd of little use to H.M. in the preservation of this island when it may be in danger. On the 19th of August last the gallions twelve in number met with a hurricane in the latitude of Bermudas, four of them put into Porto Rico, two to Cape Francois all without their masts, the other six we know nothing of hitherto. That storm did not reach this island. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, R. Jan. 22. 4¾ pp. Enclosed,
433. i. List of Acts passed last session of Assembly. Duplicate of July 22. encl i. No. 316 i. [C.O. 137, 53. ff. 378–380, 381v.–382.]
Oct. 8.
434. Merchants of London to the Council of Trade and Plantations. In reply to Sept. 1st, enclose following in support of their grievance. Signed, Hum. Morice, Micajah Perry, Rd. Harris and five others. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd Oct., Read 16th Nov., 1731. 1 p. Enclosed,
434. i. Particular facts and instances in support of the Merchants' petition, (v. 12th Aug. No. 367 i.). (i) Lands and houses are not liable to pay debts in Jamaica and some other Colonies, though by the laws of England estates in the Plantations are deemed chattel. On a representation of their not being liable to pay debts in Jamaica, H.M. gave instructions to Governor Sir Nicholas Lawes that "whereas it appears that lands are not extendible in Jamaica by the act for establishing courts etc., which is a great prejudice to creditors and discredit to trade; you are therefore to recommend to the Assembly the passing a law for remedying that inconveniency, or for the more easy recovery of debts." The passing a law to this effect was recom- mended several times by Sir N. Lawes, to the Assembly, as also by the Duke of Portland in his Government, and by the present Governor etc., but the Assemblies have refused passing any such law etc. Refers to encl. ii. (ii) By an act passed in Virginia, 1705, declaring how long judgments, bonds and accounts shall be in force etc., there was a method prescribed for the recovery of debts, but the act having H.M. disapprobation on account of some other clauses, it was expected the method prescribed would have been reenacted, but the Assembly refused etc. (v. Minutes of Council and Assembly 1730 and encl. iii.) By an act in the volume of laws of Virginia, 1661, the priority of the payment of debts is given to the creditors who are inhabitants of that Province, and by another act, 1663, debts owing to persons, non residents were not pleadable, unless for goods imported. By another act, 1661, Virginia owners are exempt from paying the duties of 2s. per hhd., which the merchants of Great Britain and other owners of ships are obliged to pay. By another act, 1669, the Virginia owners are also exempt from paying the Castle duty of 1s. 3d. pr. ton which the merchants and others residing in this Kingdom are obliged to pay. By another act, 1680, the Virginia owners have the above priviledges confirmed to them. By another act, 1730, for continuing part of an act for laying a duty on liquors etc., there is 3d. per gall, laid on all liquors imported by merchants and others residing in this Kingdom, and but half that duty on persons residing in the said Province, (iii) By an act of Maryland a duty of 3d. pr. ton is imposed on English ships, from which the ships of the inhabitants are exempted. (Note, now repealed). By another act non-residents are obliged to pay a double duty for furrs exported. Traders from Great Britain were deemed residents. By another a duty of 1s. pr. barrel is laid on pork imported by any but inhabitants in lieu of the duty on furrs, but the English traders' priviledges not preserved. By another a duty of 3d. pr. gall, (which duty if brought by land from Pensilvania is greater) is laid on all liquors; and also a duty of 20s. pr. head on negroes and Irish servants, neither of which are to be paid, if imported in vessels belonging to inhabitants of the said Province. By another, for the relief of creditors in England against bankrupts who have imported any goods into this Province not accounted for, no creditor of a bankrupt can recover any debt etc. (v. encl. iv.). By an act of Jamaica for repairing the walls of Port Royal, a duty of 1s. pr. ton is imposed on all shipping. (Note: expired). By another, to oblige the inhabitants to provide themselves with a sufficient number of white people etc., there is 1s. pr. ton laid upon all snipping coming from any place to the Norward, or trading any way to the Southward of the Tropic of Cancer, for the space of one year. By another, for raising several sums etc., there is a duty of 15s. a head laid on the importation of all negroes etc., and 30s. on the exportation of them etc. Quote H.M. Instructions to show that it is his pleasure that no duties should be imposed by Assemblies, whereby the trade and shipping of this Kingdom can be anyways affected. Copy. 2¾ pp.
434. ii. John Tymms, merchant in Jamaica, to Humfrey Morice Esq. 13th Sept. 1731. It seems quite counter to the inclinations and intentions of the Assembly to pass a law for the easier recovery of debts, as had been hoped, they having rejected a motion made for that purpose by a considerable majority etc. It is evident we must still labour under the uncertainties and difficulties we have done for many years to our unspeakable loss etc. Insists on the need of a law to extend both real and personal estate etc. As it is, the principal parts of their estates are exempted by law from the payment of debts and negroes are frequently driven away into the woods or mountains out of the Marschall's way. For instance the small benefit accruing from legal processes, the Houses in Kingston in which I am a partner obtained in one fraud Court 22 judgments, and the Provost Marshall returned to 19 of them nulla bona nee persona et non est inventus. This is an evil which prevents attempts at the better settlement of the island etc. Another evil which is not only mischievous but scandalous, and altho' expedients have been frequently offered by several Governors to remedy it, yet hitherto nothing has been done in it; which is the uncertain value of the money. It has been raised within my knowledge 25 pr. cent., and until the real value is ascertained, it is impossible to say how much higher it may advance. So long as any person or persons have it in their power to alter the value of our currency, no man can be sure to receive 10s. in the pound for his debt who has any concern in the Island, etc. Does not reflect upon the honour of anyone in Jamaica, but imagines they do not see the prejudice and detriment these evils must be to themselves if not remedied etc. Copy. 2 pp.
434. iii. Extract of letter from the Attorney General of Virginia (John Clayton) to Mr. Alderman Perry. Williamsburgh. July 23, 1730. Describes how he himself brought a bill into the Lower House for allowing the former method of proving accounts of persons living out of the country, but it was rejected after the first reading etc. Copy. 1 p.
434. iv. Opinion on a case of recovery of debts in Maryland. Annapolis, 13th May, 1728. Signed, Edm. Jenings. Copy. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 323, 9. ff. 73, 75, 76–77, 78, 78v., 80v.]
Oct. 8.
435. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Transmits by H.M.S. Larke the six acts passed in the last session of Assembly. Continues: Two of them only are of a publick nature, one for continuing the country subsistance, and another for continuing in force a former party act. Encloses Journals and Minutes of Council and of Assembly. Continues: I think none of the acts want any remarks. The private acts the partys concern'd will solicit. For we have now no Agent for this Island, the Council and Assembly differing as to the nomination and instructions. The two Regiments sent hither are in a deplorable condition of health, one half of the men dead, by dint of rumm, and Officers, the rest very sickly. I hope all is quiet at home, we are but in a poor state for defence here, our Militia consisting chiefly of servants, and these of a sort whose hearts are not with us, consequently their hands of little use for us, whatever they may be of against us. The island is richer in its produce but poorer in people than ever etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 24th Jan., Read 8th Feb., 1731/2. 12/3 pp. [C.O. 137, 19. ff. 105, 105v., 106v.]
Oct. 10.
436. Governor Rogers to Mr. Delafaye. Refers to letter of 29th June, "by a vessell sent by Mr. Colebrooke with his appeal to H.M. in Council, from the sentence passed on him here." Has transmitted the trial to his Agents to be laid before H.M. etc., " which I hope will prevent any ill impression being taken to my prejudice, from any complaint of Mr. Colebrooke till my son appears to answer to such, being the bearer of this etc., and now going home on purpose to extricate himself from his unfortunate partnership, and to answer whatever allegations, Mr. Colebrooke may make to justifie his unaccountable behaviour in this Government." Continues:—I could wish the most material circumstances of the tryal had been insisted on with less warmth than appears to have been used by the Attorney General, notwithstanding Mr. Colebrooke's aggra- vations, but as there cannot be expected the same decorum in these as in the Courts of Europe, I hope these slips will be passed over, and the more essential points regarded; from which I doubt not it will appear that unless Mr. Colebrooke is restrain'd from his violent attempts to disturb the Government, and influence the ignorant, it will be impossible for any Governr. to doe his duty or support his authority, which I have fully experienc'd since my last arrival here. Refers him to his son for information etc. Signed, Woodes Rogers. Endorsed R. Dec. 16. 2½ pp. [C.O. 23, 12. No. 103.]