America and West Indies: December 1731, 11-20

Pages 369-387

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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December 1731, 11-20

Dec. 12. 546. Governor Cosby to the Council of Trade and Plantations. My Lords, being oblidged to goe out of towne tomorrow morning for some time, prevents my waiteing onn your Lordps. to aquainte you that there is a vacancy in ye Councle of Antiego; I therefore take the liberty to recommend John Morris Esqr., who is a gentleman of that iland, and a very good intrest in it, a worthy honest man, much attached to ye present Govmt., very capable to be of the Councle, as there is a great many of the Councle of that iland onn this side, ye business is allmost at a stand. I therefore hope your Lordps. will be plaised to give all conveniant dispatch to it. Signed, W. Cosby. Endorsed, Recd. 13th, Read 17th Dec., 1731. Holograph. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 19. ff. 87, 90v.]
Dec. 14.
547. Order of Committee of Privy Council. After hearing the petition of Lord Percivai etc., upon the draught of the Charter for establishing colonies in America, refer the following points to the Council of Trade and Plantations, (i) For settling a western boundary to the said colony, and for ascertaining the distance of the islands upon the Eastern shore from the Continent. (ii). For fixing the number of acres proper to be granted to each person who shall settle there. Upon which points the said Lord Commissioners are to hear petitioners, and report their opinion thereon. Signed, Temple Stanyan. Endorsed, Recd., Read 17th Dec, 1731. l¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 362. ff 48, 48v., 53v.]
Dec. 14. 548. Thomas Lowndes to the Council of Trade and Plantations. (Cf. Aug. 13, Oct. 26 etc.) In all parts of America (Islands as well as others) the capias was the original process. But whenever there came to be a great disproportion of slaves to white people, the summons was found necessary to be introduced, as in S. Carolina in 1713 etc. About 1726, after the merchants had given the planters very large credit, the planters in a very tumultuous manner got (by act of Assembly) the summons superseded. Objects also to an act being repealed only by some loose general words, without reciting the act etc. Agrees with Mr. Johnson as to abuses committed by the Provost Marshalls under the Lords Proprietors, who, for their Governour's emolument, always permitted them to nominate the Provost Marshall, who was accountable to the Governours for half profits or more, and therefore generally protected in unjustifiable practices. But now he has to give security, and will be obliged to the faithful execution of his office as elsewhere. For had the practices of the Provost Marshal been not to be remedied, after 13 years trial of the summons act, some mention of such ill behaviour would have been made in the act of 1726, which repeals the summons. "And Mr. Johnson takes no notice of the hazard of his life, that the Marshal now runs, in serving the capias out of Charles Town, the frequent rescues from the officer, how the negroes are let loose upon him, and he frequently wiped or drawn through a ditch, and all complaints upon this head are to no purpose, for legal proof cannot be made that it was by their masters order, tho' every one knows it could not be done without it. And these irregularities which cannot otherwise be prevented were the cause of the summons both in S. Carolina, Jamaica, Barbados and other places where the negroes are numerous." Calls attention to the proviso in the act of 1720, for the amendment of the law, whereby 30 days is allowed before execution on judgment shall be granted, if the party be brought into Court by summons, in which time it is hardly possible, but he must be apprized of what is going on against him, unless he be an Indian trader, "for whom I some time ago took the liberty to propose a remedy" etc. By the present capias act he is entirely deprived of the benefit of H.M. Letters patents for the officer of Provost Marshall. "The last part of Mr. Johnson's letter is very fallacious, for what use can it be to the merchants, that they may try the causes out of the precinct-courts where they may have fair juries, unless they can bring their debtors (the planters) into court, which five miles out of Charles Town they cannot do, unless the summons be restored. The real truth, My Lords, is that the greatest part of the planters being indebted to the merchants, Mr. Johnson is afraid of doing anything that may disoblige the planters, especially at this juncture, his appointment being by the country only granted for one year. I numbly conjure your Lordships to hear the act for the amendement of the law read, and then your Lordships will be convinced that nothing is desired, but what is absolutely necessary for the obtaining common justice. P.S. If the objection that the act for the amendmt. of the law, was passed by Govr. More, be allowed, several of the best acts will be void, and great confusion ensue in the Province." Signed, Tho. Lowndes. Endorsed, Recd. 15th Dec, 1731, Read 22nd Feb., 1731/2. Holograph. 2¾ pp. [C.O. 5, 362. ff. 81—82v.]
Dec. 15.
549. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. To same effect as following. Adds: I have issued Proclamations for the Assembly's meeting on the third of January, which is as soon as they can meet, the members not dareing to leave their plantations in the holydays whilst their slaves by custom are indulg'd their diversions etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 17th Feb., Read 12th Sept., 1732. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 137, 20. ff. 35, 35v., 35 a.v.]
Dec. 15.
550. Governor Hunter to the Duke of Newcastle. On Sunday last I had the news of our Grand Party from Port Antonio by three letters, copys of which I here inclose, one from Capt. Delamilliere who commanded the party, the other Major Ashworth, one of the Justices of Peace and Chief Commissary at Port Antonio, and the third from one Peters who formerly commanded the party that burnt the negro town, and now an overseer of the negros of the party, which is all the account I have as yet had of that disaster. Refers to other enclosures. Continues:—The flouds at an unusual season, the indisposition of the soldiery which oblig'd me to send a reinforcement round, and other accidents of which I had the honor to inform your Grace had retarded their march ; This is all the account I can as yet send of this unhappy affair. Immediately upon the receipt of these I assembl'd the Council and still keep them together, they are busied in concerting measures and means for a speedy new attempt to allay the general consternation of the inhabitants, and if possible whilst they have it more in their power than they may have hereafter to destroy that their chief settlement. Encloses copies of his letters to the Commanding Officer and Mágistrates etc. Continues:—This goes by a Bristol ship which I have ventur'd to stop one day for that purpose, a London vessel which is to sail from hence in a few days may bring your Grace a more full and distinct account of the whole. My conduct may be misrepresented but I think it in no danger of being misunderstood or misconstructed, having to the utmost of my power and best of my judgement acted in everything for H.M. service and the good of that part of his people committed to my charge. P.S. Since the writing of what is above I have reced. the inclos'd representation from the Council here with their earnest request to have it forthwith transmitted to your Grace in hopes that it may help to give more light into and a clearer view of the state and circumstances of this island than these which have been of late transmitted from other hands. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, R. Feb. 16th. 3 pp. Enclosed,
550. i. Governor Hunter's Orders to Capt. Bowen, Commanding the five Companies quartered at Titchfield. 25th July, 1731. To march against the rebel slaves in the N.E. part of the island, with four companies completed from the fifth etc., and take under his command the 80 armed negroes and 80 baggage men who, according to the Act for rendering the two regiments more serviceable, are to repair to Titchfield. The magistrates, in accordance with the said act, are to provide guides etc. He is to advance to Brest Work and cut a communication path to it from Titchfield; leave some armed men in a barrack there for the reception of sick or wounded. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Copy. 21/8 pp.
550. ii. Governor Hunter's Orders and Instructions for Capt. John Brooke, Commandant of the parties sent out against the rebel slaves etc., 5th Sept. 1730. Detailed instructions as to methods of advance etc. Copy. 3¼ pp.
550. iii. Major Jasper Ashworth to Governor Hunter. Port Antonio, Dec. 7, 1731. Announces defeat of the party "at or near the place and surpriz'd in the same manner Soaper was in his first expedition, when Mackintosh's ear was cut off etc. Refers to the Captain's Journal for a particular account etc. Continues: All agree that 8 soldiers are killed and several wounded etc., and that most of the soldiers and negroes run away on the enemies first fire, for as Capt. De La Milliere was following the advance guard which consisted of Ascroft and six negroes, a serjeant, corporal and six soldiers who were ordered to march to the ambush, he found himself abandoned by most of the party. As the rebells could not but observe the motions of our Party in the river, it is wonder'd they did not make use of the advantage and cut them all off, which induces some to think they were scarce of ammunition; for after the first volley which Capt. De La Milliere reckons at least 200 shott, their after fire was much thinner and our scatter'd defenceless party permitted to retreat without interruption or the least pursuit. We hope your Excellency will think it of utmost importance that the guard at Brest Work should be augmented, especially now the rebels are supply'd with arms and ammunition lost by this party. This misfortune has increas'd the fearfull apprehensions of the out settlements of St. George's and Portland. Mentions casualties in the Independant Company. P.S. The Party left this town the 26th Nov., march'd from Brest Work 30th. was ambush'd and defeated Sat. 4th Dec., and return'd back to Brest Work, 6th. It's wisper'd that in the party's return a soldier was left about ten mile beyond Brest Work. Signed, J. Ashworth. 1¾ large pp.
550. iv. Capt. De La Milliere to Governor Hunter. Titchfield, Dec. 8, 1731. [On 30th Nov.] I set out from the Breast Work etc., and march'd over steep rocks, and thro' deep and rapid rivers, till the 4th, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon when Mr. Ascraft one of my guides (who was with my advance guard) told me that we were come near the place where the rebellious negroes had formerly lain in ambush. I then told him we must not go near that place but cutt our way over thro' the wood, he replyed that it would take us two or three days to do that and continued marching on towards a river. I all along insisted upon cutting another way, he replyed there was no danger, and march'd on till we came to the river where he then told me we were past all danger. I there got as many of my people together as the small beach would contain and bid them keep very close : but having a steep rock about 3 yards high to climb over, and then the river to cross, prevented my men's keeping so close as was necessary. The advance guard and shott negroes march'd on and I was out of the river when I heard some shotts fired. I ran with all expedition towards the place of fire and at an angle where I must have turn'd, was met by all the shott negroes (except three) who ran down upon our men who were crossing the river. I cryed out to them to stop, and bid my men advance, and went up to our advance guard where the rebellious negroes gave us all their fire, kill'd the serjeant, three of his men, and one of the shott negroes; Peter La Fountaine, Mr. Lee and Mr. Peters were wounded. Upon this fire Mr. Ascraft ran away and cry'd out to my men who were in the river, Turn back, the front is all cutt off, which put them in great confusion, some falling in the river, and others throwing themselves from the rock. At this time Mr. Peters, Mr. Lee and myself were left in the midst of the negroes' fire, and finding none came up to join us we retreated and found our men in great disorder, we went into ye wood on the other side the river and halted. I there examined my men, and found 8 men wanting, and all the shott negroes except two, most of our arms and ammunition was wett in the river and most of the baggage negroes had thrown away their loads and ran off. I did not think it proper to make any other attempt, being to no purpose, to undertake the cutting of new roads thro' woods and over rocks. Our provisions being all lost I march'd back to the hutts where we had lain the night before; By the negroes' fire we judged the number to be about 200; the road we went is such that in a hundred different places, ten resolute men are sufficient to stop a thousand. On our march back to the Breast Work we had the misfortune to lose one man who was seiz'd with an ague, though I had given orders to the officer in the rear not to leave a man behind. I made frequent halts to give the rear time to come up and sent back twice some shott negroes to bring him: but they return'd without him: we arrived at the Breast Work the 6th etc.: yesterday we came to River Grandee but could not all pass, the river then beginning to swell, those that could not pass I order'd back to the Breast Work, which I had reinforced : and now consists of thirty men. As I am informed, my conduct ever since I came to this place has been much taken notice of and censur'd, and this unfortunate expedition will no doubt raise more clamour against me etc. Asks for a Court Martial to enquire into his conduct etc. Mr. Lee's and Mr. Peters' courage was very remarkable etc. Signed, H. de la Milliere. Copy. 2 large pp. Enclosed,
550. v. List of killed (8) and wounded (6), lost (1). 1 p.
550. vi. Thomas Peters to Governor Hunter. Titchfield, Dec. 9, 1731. Describes the ambush, "by ill management and cowardice by the soldiers and by the best part of the shott negroes" etc. Corroborates preceding, refers to his services and asks for leave etc. Signed, Thos. Peters. Copy. 1 large p.
550. vii. Deposition of Mr. Lee, 29th Nov. 1731. Corroborates preceding etc. Signed, Edmond Lee. Copy. 1 p.
550. viii. Governor Hunter to Capt. De La Milliere. Spanish Town, Dec. 14, 1731. Reply to No. iv. Asks for particulars, "particularly as to such as gave cause to so shamefull a deroute," what officers deserted you, what arms or ammunition were thrown away, that as soon as may be Justice may be done to H.M. service, the honor of his troops, and examples made to deterr others from the like guilt and shame." He is to keep his troops together and keep possession of the Breast Work. As to the Court Martial, he may depend upon it in proper time etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Copy. 1½ pp.
550. ix. Governor Hunter to Major Ashworth. Spanish Town. Dec. 14, 1731. Reply to encl. iii. To same effect as preceding. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Copy, ¾ p.
550. x. Duplicate of preceding.
550. xi. Representation of Council of Jamaica to Governor Hunter. 14th Dec, 1731. The Council, having taken into consideration the dispatches lately received from Great Britain, are under the greatest concern to find that your Excellency's conduct and their own has not met with that approbation their good intentions led them to expect etc. Continue: We are not so much affected with the injustice done your Excy. and ourselves by some late misrepresentations (because time and better information will set that right), as at the consequences, which may immediately prove fatal to H.M. and destructive to this island; in that these representations have influenced so farr, as to give occasion for recalling the two regiments sent for our preservation. It is intimated by the papers before us that they were sent upon the representation of the Council of the 30th Nov., setting forth the weak and defenceless condition of the island. If it was a good reason, then, we are sorry to say the same still subsists, and we are concerned to find our opinions then honestly and faithfully given, have since had less weight than the solicitations of some interested Officers, who from their first landing here have shewn a dislike to the country, and an indisposition to the service. We presume that these Officers the better to carry their point have transmitted a message from the Assembly to the Council, where it is insinuated the country had no occasion for them. If it was so, that was but the opinion of one part of the Legislature, and carried by a small minority, who under shew and pretence of popularity are running the country into the greatest disorder and confusion. But if the Officers had acted with candour, with a view to H.M. service and not their own interest, they should at the same time have sent some of the Minutes of the Assembly previous to that message, whereby the perversness and inconsistancy of some of those Gentlemen would have appeared, as (i) Resolved, it is the opinion of this Committee that the Militia as they now stand are not sufficient for the security of this island etc., and therefore that the House do appoint a Committee to bring in a bill to regulate and render them more useful, but that no application be made for a standing force. After this a conferrence was desired with the Council and the Committees appointed on both sides came to this resolution:— It was absolutely necessary to think of securing the island in case a rupture should happen with any of our neighbours, and that therefore it would be necessary either to apply for a body of troops or fall into some more effectual measures than had been hitherto done for rendring the Militia more useful. Both Committees made this report to their respective House. The Council unanimously agreed to it, the Assembly disagreed. The Assembly did not after this, nor even to this day, prepare any bill for rendring the Militia more useful, but in Nov. 1730 they brought in a bill to oblige the inhabitants to provide themselves with a number of white men in proportion to their negroes to be sent out to reduce the rebellious negroes etc. This bill was past in great hurry and liable to many exceptions, and in some parts intrench'd upon the prerogative. Upon which the Council made several amendments and past the bill, and sent it to the Assembly, who sent a message that they agreed to the first and second amendment, etc., and disagreed to all the rest, "several of them being for raising and appropriating money, which being the sole right of Assemblys they can never part therewith without betraying their rights and privileges as well as those of the people of this island." This bill as it then stood without the amendments offer'd by the Council was judged useless and impracticable, and therefore they adhered to their amendments, and the bill was dropt. Refer Board of Trade to Minutes of Council and Assembly. Continue: The Council can't help lamenting their misfortune that they should be suspected of imposing upon H.M. by their groundless informations. If they were not absolutely convinc'd of the necessity of regular forces what could induce them to any such application? Are any people fond of a military government etc., or fond of unnecessary taxes when they are so little able to bear the necessary ones? The very report of the Lords Commissioners of Trade justify our former and present assertion of the insecurity of this island without a standing force etc. Quote numbers of whites (7698) and blacks (74,525) exclusive of free negroes, as laid down by the Board of Trade, to which the number of rebellious negroes, at least 2000 must be added etc. Continue: The indented servants are supposed to consist of 1500, amongst them are several Irish Papists and the rest have no property to lose consequently little temptation to fight for us, but supposing the best what an inconsiderable force is the whole to defend an island 150 miles by 60 etc. So that we were so little apprehensive of the forces being recall'd, that we rather hop'd they would have been augmented. If there wanted still further proof of our danger, the late unhappy defeat of the strong party of regular forces by the rebellious negroes is a most convincing one. What spirit must this new success inspire them with, and if the troops are recall'd what an unhappy influence must it have over our other slaves etc. The consequences are but too visible etc. We need be very little sollicitous about other affairs, for if we lose the protection of the soldiers all must soon be at an end etc. As to the objections to the Additional duty bill, they seem to be sufficiently answer'd at home. We shall only say, it is in aid of H.M. Revenue, the duty upon negroes has been laid for 40 years past except the 15s. extraordinary upon the late emergency of subsisting the soldiers, the merchants share with the planter the benefits of their protection, and therefore it is reasonable they should bear some proportion in the charge of supporting them. As to the tax laid upon the Jews they have always quietly submitted to it and think themselves well used that it is no higher, besides we never thought them of any advantage to the island, they take the bread out of the mouths of more deserving people, they have no religion to fight for and provided their property can be secured they are very indifferent under what Prince they enjoy it. As to the penalty laid upon the importation of convicts, it is no new thing. We have constantly done so, the penalty is indeed now enlarged, but we did not imagine that would be any objection to the bill, for [if] it be prudence in England to banish rogues; it must certainly be prudence here to endeavour to keep them out. As to the schemes proposed for treating with the rebellious negroes, they have hitherto been found impracticable, and at this time as they are flusht with success they would rather impose than receive terms, nothing but arms can bring them to submit, much less a proposal to bannish them to the Bahamas. The Musketto Indians were never made use of by this country but once for the reduction of the rebellious negroes and then they acquitted themselves so ill that the country did not think it worth while to employ them again, neither did they care any more for that service when they found the rebells knew the use and were provided with fire arms etc. Pray H.E. to transmit this true state of the facts to Great Britain, "as a justification of their conduct and of the necessity of continuing or sending sufficient force for our preservation" etc. Continue: We have no other views than the honour and dignity of H.M. Government and the welfare and security of the inhabitants, nor can it be supposed that we can be under any other influence there being no salarys affix'd to our posts, nor any places in the gift of this Government to tempt us to act partially, etc. Signed, Jos. Maxwell, Cl. Conc. 4⅓ pp. [C.O. 137, 53. ff. 412–415, 416–418v., 420, 420v., 422, 423, 425, 427, 427v., 429, 431, 433–435.]
Dec. 15.
551. Mr. Burchett to Mr. Popple. In reply to 26th Oct., the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty are of opinion that, as Col. Dunbar is appointed Surveyor General of H.M. woods in New England by the Lords of the Treasury, the prosecution of the appeal ought more properly to be carryed on by their directions, since if the person accused shall be convicted, H.M., and the accuser will have the benefit of the penalty; "besides my Lords have not any fund of naval money out of which the charge of the prosecution can regularly be defrayed" etc. Signed, J. Burchell. Endorsed, Read 21st Dec, 1731. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 873. ff. 259, 260v.]
Dec. 15.
552. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council. Enclose and describe following. Annexed,
552. i. Draught of H.M. Instruction to Michael Smith, President of the Council of Nevis, (i) We have thought fit to disallow the act of Antigua, 1728, to supply the defects of an act for constituting a Court of Chancery etc. But to prevent any delays or inconveniences to our subjects in the prosecuting their rights in Chamcery by reason of your absence, or of the absence of the Commander in Chief etc. from Antigua, you are to recommend to our Council and Assembly of the said Island the passing of an act to repeal so much of the act passed in 1715 referred to in the fore-recited title, or of any other law or act now in force in Antigua etc., which may restrain the power of Us, Our heirs and Successors from appointing who shall preside in the said Court of Chancery, (ii) So soon as the Council and Assembly shall have passed an act in complyance with the foregoing Instruction, you shall cause Our will and pleasure to be signified to them and to be entred upon the Journal of Our Council, that Our Capt. Genl. or Commander in Chief of Our Leeward Charibbee Islands for the time being, during his residence on the island of Antigua, shall preside in our said Court of Chancery there; that in his absence from the said island of Antigua the Lieut. Genl. of Our said Islands for the time being shall preside in the said Court, and in the absence of both Capt. Genl. and Lieut. Genl. from the said island, that the Lieut. Govr. of the said island shall preside in Our said Court, and that each of them respectively during the time they shall so preside as aforesaid, shall and may execute all the powers and authorities belonging to that office according to the laws of that Our said island, (iii) As some of the rules and regulations prescribed by the aforesaid act of Antigua passed in 1728, to be observed in the Chancery Court of that island, seem calculated for the good of Our people and ease of Our subjects trading thereto, We are graciously pleased to allow you to give your assent to a new law for prescribing such rules and regulations as may be thought necessary to be observed in the proceedings of the said Court, provided a clause be inserted therein for suspending and deferring the execution thereof until Our pleasure shall be known concerning the same. [C.O. 153, 15. pp. 116—121.]
Dec. 15. 553. Mr. Fane to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Has no objection to 13 out of 14 Acts of New Jersey submitted to him. "But as to the Act imposing a duty on persons convicted of heinous Crimes and to prevent poor impotent persons being imported etc., it is plainly intended to prevent the importation of felons into this province who are transported from hence and therefore I apprehend it is very unfitt to be confirmed" etc. Signed, Fran. Fane. Endorsed, Recd. 20th Dec., 1731, Read 8th March, 1731/2. 2½ pp. [C.O. 5, 972. ff. 228–229v.]
[Dec. 16]. 554. Petition of Thomas Beake, Agent of St. Christophers, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The said island hath for some time past been in a very weak and impaired condition in regard to its forts, fortifications and all manner of stores, and tho' its condition was so bad is now rendred much worse by an accident of having the principal magazine in the island lately blown up by lightning in which was contained the greatest part of the arms and ammunition belonging to the said island whereby they were all destroyed. By this misfortune added to the former weak state the said island was in and more particularly that part which was formerly in the possession of the French and lately purchased from the Crown, it is now left in so naked and defenceless a condition as not to be able to make any opposition in case of an invasion, and this island being but at a small distance from the French etc., might become an easy conquest to them etc. The Legislature there are preparing and putting in order the several forts and fortifications with all possible expedition, and have therefore directed memorialist to make the proper application for sixteen cannon for Brimstone Hill, 8 of which to be 12 pounders and 8 nine pounders, five other cannon for French Figg Tree Fort three of which to be nine pounders and the other two 12 pounders, twelve other cannon for Fort Londonderry, six of which to be 12 pounders, and the other six eighteen pounders, with carriages, rammers, spunges, ladles and all other things proper for the same, as likewise 500 small arms with bagonetts fixt to them, and 200 barrells of powder. Prays the Board to represent to H.M. that the furnishing the said stores is highly expedient and necessary etc. Endorsed, Recd., Read 16th Dec. 1731. 1½ pp. [C.O. 152, 19. ff. 86., 86v., 91v.]
Dec. 16.
555. Governor Johnson to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following as ordered 16th June. Continues: As the navigation of Great Britain is very much affected to its advantage by the trade of this place, and the manufactorys noways prejudiced, I am in hopes your Lordships will think this Colony in a particular manner deserves the concern and encouragement of the Legislature at home. Your Lordships will perceive by the said account that altho' this Province has within this ten years more than doubled the produce in rice, which imploys more than double the negros, more than double the land cultivated, and consequently double the labour and industry, and double the quantity of shipping employed and clothing made in England (no small advantage to the Brittish nation) yet from their being obliged to sell it all in Europe, and most of it in England, 50,000 barrels has produced them less sterling money this last year 1731 than 22,000 did shipt home in 1721, and it is to be feared very justly that if they continue to increase that commodity they will still lose more in proportion to that increase unless the trade to Portugal should very much augment the demand, which good effect we have not yet found: But if we had been permitted by the late Act of Parliament that gives us leave to send it directly there, to have sent it also to any part southward of Cape Ushant, we had then had all Biscay and some part of France, as well as all America to have taken off some of it, and this we were in hopes to have obtained, and still are in hopes that thro' your Lordships' good offices, the Parliament may in some short time be induced to give us, since it is plain that let us sell where we will, the nett proceed is so much added to the wealth of Great Britain, besides the great advantage of employing so many ships; and the low price it is now fallen to, makes the Assembly talk of confining the planters to cultivate a certain quantity of land, each according to the number of their slaves, to prevent their being ruind by their own industry. This they have done in Virginia, with their tobacco, which althô it has produced the effect the planters wanted, has however, to be sure, been very prejudicial to his Majesty in his customs, and much lessened the number of ships employed in that trade, which must also be the consequence in our case, if we are obliged to do the same thing, which may be worth your Lordships' consideration. Refers to letter of 16th Nov. relating to act for ascertaining H.M. quit-rents. Continues:—That act seems in a manner almost suspended until we can have H.M. directions thereon, it being of great concern as well to H.M. as the Province. I am in hopes your Lordships will send me your thoughts, and H.M. orders thereon as soon as possible, and Mr. Fury our Agent has directions to attend your Lordships for that purpose, and unless I know H.M. pleasure upon it, I refuse, to grant warrants to survey or lay out any lands granted by patents by the late Lords Proprietors, fearing it might strengthen their titles; on the other hand I find people very backwards in registring their titles, till they know the fate of the quit-rent law. The land office is now open and I send your Lordships a copy of the altered form of grants. Several gentlemen of great fortune are come here from Barbados and elsewhere to see how they like the country, and being desirous to secure lands to settle, but not having brought slaves or whites with them, to intitle them to take up a sufficient quantity of land, and they applying for the same, by the advice of the Council, we have granted them the lands they desire, at the annual quit-rent of 3s. sterl. per hundred acres, they first having given bond to H.M. at the rate of £50 sterl. for every 500 acres, that they will in three years import a soul, either black or white, according to the King's Instructions for every 50 acres. Signed, Robt. Johnson. Endorsed, Recd. 26th Jan., Read 16th Feb., 1731/2. 3 pp. Enclosed,
555. i. Account of rice shipped to Great Britain from S. Carolina in 1721 and 1731. In 1721, 22,000 barrels of 4 cwt. each, sold at a medium of 18/per cwt. 10,000 negros computed in the Province at £20 sterl. per head. In 1731, 50,000 barrels at 14/6 per cwt. 20,000 negroes. The fall in price is so great that the 50,000 barrels of 1731 yielded clear of all expenses in Great Britain only £4671l. 13s. 4d. more than the 22,000 of 1721 etc. (v. preceding). Endorsed as preceding. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 362. ff. 77–78v., 79v.–80v.; and (abstract of letter) 76, 76v.]
Dec. 17.
556. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council. In pursuance of Orders of 27th July etc., we have been attended by the petitioners, and have heard Counsel in support of their petition, who endeavoured to shew the ill use that might be made of this Additional Instruction, from the influence which the Governor of Barbados may be presumed to have over the Assembly of that island etc. We have in vain represented to the petitioners the evils that may possibly arise to them for the temptation any future Governor may lye under by so great a reduction of their salary, of being prevailed upon to let their duty give way to their intrest; But the petitioners ultimately declared their dislike of any additional allowance to be settled upon the future Govrs. of Barbados at the expence of that island, except only £500 pr. aim. to defray the charge of their cellars, which summ hath been always allowed for that purpose, since the time that Sir Beville Granville was Govr. of that Colony. We take leave however to represent to your Lordsps., that considering the dearness of provisions in Barbados, and the very great expence which every Govr. must necessarily be at, to support the proper dignity of his office; and that it is of great consequence to the service and to the honour of the Crown that all H.M. Governors in America should be independant of their respective Colonies, for their support: we think, that some addition should be made to ye present salary; and we humbly apprehend, that if Mr. Chetwynd, whom H.M. has been pleased to appoint his Governor of Barbados, were allowed to take a salary from the Assembly of that Isld., not exceeding £3000 sterl. pr. annum they might, without inconvenience to themselves, be able to settle that annual summ upon him during his continuance in that Govermt.; which would be but half of what they settled upon their former Governor, and we the rather incline to propose that summ, because altho' the merchants did inform us, that the perquisites of the Governor of Barbados did amount to about £2000 a year, yet upon our desiring they would explain to us how that summ was computed, we do not find either from them or from the best information we can get, that the known perquisites are of any considerable value. [C.O. 29, 15. pp. 243–246.]
Dec. 17.
557. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Recommend John Morris for the Council of Antigua, in the room of Wm. Byam decd. [C.O. 153, 15. p. 121.]
Dec. 17.
558. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Enclose following to be laid before H.M. Annexed,
558. Draft of H.M. Warrant to Lewis Morris, President of the Council of New Jersey empowering him to use the new seal sent therewith (described). [C.O. 5, 996. pp. 277–280.]
Dec. 17.
559. Order of Committee of Council. The petition of William Smith, C.J. of N. Carolina, on behalf of the Assembly, Council and Planters, complaining against Governor Burrington, Mr. Lovick, and Mr. Little, is to be transmitted to them for their answer and depositions etc. to be returned in six months etc. (v. A.P.C. III. No. 254). Unsigned. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 21. ff. 9, 9v.]
[Dec. 20]. 560. [? Mr. Paris] to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Reasons humbly offered on behalf of the Province of Pennsylvania against the restraint on one side, and monoply on the other, prayed by the Assemblys of Barbados, Antigua and Christopher etc. Pennsilvania may be called one of the Bread Collonies etc. It produces provisions (as wheat, Indian-corn, flower and other corn, beef, pork and butter) horses and timber. The inhabitants are very numerous, and yearly take from Great Britain vast quantitys of woollen manufactures for cloathing and preservation from the severe cold of their winters (more than all the three Sugar Islands abovemend, together), also great quantitys of linens, silks, haberdashery, ironware and other materials for husbandry and building and the furniture of their houses. With some of their own provisions, horses and lumber they purchase from the Brittish and Dutch Sugar Islands sugar, rum and molosses. With some of the Brittish manufactures (as woolens, linnens, shot, cutlery etc.) they purchase from the Indians skinns and furrs. The expence of clearing and setling so young a Colony (not 50 years old) and the charges in buying all things necessary to their subsistance (except provisions only) from great Brittain are so great, that without liberty to dispose of the whole of their provisions, horses and lumber, above their own consumption, it would be impossible for them to proceed in setling the Collony, or even to subsist there, which is the most they can at present do, with the utmost industry and frugality. The Brittish Sugar Colonys alone, cannot take off near the provisions which the Bread Colonys export, and the residue must be lost to the Bread Colonys, as not being worth the while to bring to Europe. Nor on the other hand are the Brittish Colonys able to supply the Northern Colonys and its sevl. occasions with the rum and molasses there consumed, without greatly diminishing the quantity of sugar they make. The Sugar Colonys have long enjoyed the utmost sunshine of wealth and plenty, which is a state the Northern colonys have never yet once arrived at, nor are ever likely to attain. And the consequences of restraining the Northern Colonys' trade to Great Britain and the Brittish Sugar Islands (wch. is in effect to the Sugar Islands only) and of monopolizing by the Brittish Sugar Islands of the sale to the Northern Colonys of the sugar, rum and molasses they consume etc. would be:–The takeing from H.M. faithful subjects in N. America that liberty and freedom of commerce which is their birthright and yet unrestrained The makeing them the slaves and bondmen of their fellow subjects in the Sugar Islands; The aggrandizeing a few of H.M. opulent subjects in the Sugar Islands at the expence and ruin of prodigious numbers of persons who are as much, as loyally, and as usefully, H.M. subjects in the Northern Colonies, tho' not blest with the affluence the Sugar Islanders can boast; The stripping the inhabitants of Pensilva. of the means of subsistence and of purchaseing the necessarys and conveniencys of life and of setling the Colony etc. Great Britain itself would be exceedingly prejudiced thereby in its manufactures and navigation, trade and revenue, for the Sugar Islands would have demands from N. America that would take off all their rum and most of their sugar, so that little would be brought to Great Britain even for its own consumption and the navigation with it to forreign markets would be quite at an end etc. Endorsed, Recd, (from Mr. Paris), Read 20th Dec., 1731. 2¾ pp. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 31–32v.]
[Dec. 20]. 561. Some short observations on and reasons in answer to the three Representations from Barbadoes, Antigua and St. Christophers etc., for and on behalfe of severall of the Northern Colonies (Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York). To the Council of Trade and Plantations. The advantage of the Sugar Islands to the trade and shipping of Great Britain does not stand in any degree of competition with the Northern Colonies etc. For the balance of trade with Great Britain is in favour of the Sugar Islands, but against the Northern Colonies. The export of British woollen manufactures to Barbados and the Leeward Islands bears no proportion with that to the Northern Colonies. As to the Africa trade, that depends on them as well as the Sugar Islands, tobacco and rice plantations requiring negroes as well as they. The Northern Colonies are the occasion of employing a farr greater number of tradesmen in Great Brittain than the Sugar Islands, both in regard to their exportations in which they greatly exceed Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands, and in regard to their importations, particularly in the articles of peltry which employs one of our most considerable manufactorys. And with regard to the number of their shipping and sailors employed in the trade of the Northern Colonies they greatly exceed those employed in the Sugar Islands. The revenues of the Crown, it is believed, arising from the Northern Colonies will likewise greatly exceed those arising from the Sugar Islands. As to the interest of Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands being united with that of Great Brittain, so is the interest of the Northern Colonies, who must be ever as dependent on their Mother Country as the Sugar, and fetch their supplyes from thence, unless they shou'd be necessitated to fall into making manufactures which may interfere with Great Brittain by having unreasonable restrictions laid on the trade they now carry on. The improvement in the Dutch and French Sugar Colonies is not owing to this trade with the Northern Colonies; the restraining such trade would only make them more our rivals in the sugar trade etc. For they would then be supplied with lumber from their own settlements and manufacture their own molosses into rum, to bring which about the Crown of France have prohibited this trade etc. Refer to following printed case. As to the French being improved in their sugar trade and supplying foreign markets, that cannot be imputed to the trade of the Northern Colonies, but to the Barbadians themselves, who had all the foreign sugar trade in their own power till 1715, when they by act prohibited the French from bringing their sugar to Barbadoes whereby they necessitated the French to find out some other vent etc., as the granting of the proposed prohibition would also do etc. The Sugar Islands are greatly mistaken in asserting that the Northern Colonies will take nothing but money from them in exchange for their lumber, the Northern Colonies being more desirous of taking their molosses etc. They are equally mistaken when they alledge they are not sufficiently [? supplied] with lumber and provisions, or that the Northern Colonies make them pay more than the French etc. They have always carried full supplies of lumber to the Sugar Islands, and even more than they will take, and sold 'em at such low rates that they have frequently been loosers etc. If there was any want of lumber in Barbadoes occasioned by ye late hurricane there, it was their own fault in not laying in sufficient stores against such accidents, when the lumber ships were there. As to the many complaints of the great decay in the Sugar trade etc., there is not really that foundation they would seem to suggest, for at the price sugars are now sold and have been sold for many years, it produces very great profitts to the prudent and industrious planter infinitely beyond the best land either in Old or New England. Besides our Sugar Islands have always sold their molasses and rum without having any left on their hands and that at higher prices since the trade carried on by the Northern Colonies with the French than before, and it is very extraordinary to attempt to restrain the Northern Colonies from supplying themselves with what further quantities they may want of these commodities from the French in exchange for their lumber and provisions the naturall produce of their own country after having taken from our own Sugar Islands all that they can supply the Northern Colonies with. As to this trade being contrary to the Treaty of Peace and Neutrality, it appears from the 96th Instruction to the Governors of the Sugar Islands, that the Crown, the Lords of the Councill, and the Lords Commissioners of Trade have understood this treaty in a quite different sense from that contended for by the Sugar Islands etc. The carrying on this trade is no real injury to the Sugar Islands and if prohibited would yeild them no advantage etc., but would be of the most fatal consequence to the Northern Colonies etc.; in regard they would want proper encouragement for clearing their lands and a proper vent for their lumber and provisions, which there is no pretence to say the Sugar Islands could take off their hands; in regard all the Sugar Colonies cannot supply 'em with molosses near sufficient for their necessary occasions and for ye supply of Virginia and the Newfoundland Fishery which cannot subsist without it; in regard such a prohibition would oblige the French to fall into the distilling of their molosses into rum which would be of very dangerous consequence to Great Brittain; in regard etc. it would oblige the Northern Colonies to sell their lumber and provisions to the Sugar Islands in exchange for their rum and sugar and that at their own rates which would ruin all the distillerys erected in the Northern Colonies, make the Northern Colonies entirely dependant on the Sugar Islands and disable them from paying for their British manufactures. It would also greatly diminish the consumption of the British woollen manufactures and the shipping and navigation of this Kingdom now employed in the trade of the Northern Colonies. It would likewise occasion such a vast rise in the price of rum as would occasion the Sugar Islands to make less sugar in order to make more rum. The necessary consequence of which would be that the price of sugars wd. be enhanced and the quantity lessened so that none would be exported which would throw the whole sugar trade in foreign marketts into the hands of the French and Dutch. Upon the whole therefore and as the prohibition desired would lessen the importation of rum which brings in a considerable revenue to the civil list and as the trade of the British Northern Colonies is already greatly cramped, It is hoped for the reasons contained in their printed case herewith left etc., that the Northern Colonies shall not be deprived of this branch of their commerce, a just liberty they have always hitherto enjoyed and which they are assured will still be continued to them. Endorsed, Recd., Read 20th Dec., 1731. 3⅓ pp. Enclosed,
561. i. The Case of the British Northern Colonies. Referred to in preceding. Printed. 3 large pp. [C.O. 28, 22. ff. 137, 138v., 139v.,–141v.]
[Dec. 20]. 562. The Case of the British Northern Colonies, (v. preceding). Endorsed, Recd, (from Mr. John Sharpe). Read 20th Dec., 1731. Printed. 3 pp. [C.O. 323, 9 ff. 83–84v.]
[Dec. 20]. 563. Petition of Richard Partridge, Agent of Rhoad Island and Providence Plantations, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Prays for a copy of memorial from Rhode Island (v. Sept. 2, encl. i), in order to his vindicating the Assembly etc. Endorsed, Recd. 24th, Read 25th Jan., 1731/2. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 34, 37v.]
Dec. 20.
564. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. This serves to cover a duplicate of my last of the 15th inst. I have as yet no further advice from Port Antonio, my messenger not being return'd. Transmits two acts passed last session of Assembly, (i) for the further quieting possessions and regulating resurveys, and (ii) for the better preserving of the records in the several publick offices, etc., and remedying defects in former laws, for preventing fraudulent deeds and conveyances, and recording old wills in a prefixed time. Transmits Minutes of Council and Journal of Assembly. Continues: The Attorney General and other good judges have assur'd me that they could not see any objection to either, and I assure your Lordships they are as necessary to the peace of this Island as anything that can be thought of, being calculated to prevent multiplicity of letigious law-suits, the bane of this country. I am so much indispos'd, that I have much ado to write or dictate. I hope soon to have the opportunity of another ship, when I perhaps may be able to write more fully etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 7th March, Read 12th Sept., 1732. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 137, 20. ff. 38, 38v., 43v.]
[Dec. 20]. 565. Representation of President, Council and Assembly of New York to the King (v. Nov. 2 encl. i). Copy. Endorsed, Recd., Read 20th Dec, 1731. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 1055. ff. 200, 200v., 201v.]