1. Letters (many being in duplicate) of William Matheu, Gilbert Fleming, and Edward Mann, Commissioners for the sale of the French part of the Island of St Christophers, called Basse Terre and Cabecça Terre, Basse Terre Town and Deep Bay Town, some addressed to the Lords of the Treasury and others to their Secretary, John Scrope, Esq., giving an account of their proceedings in carrying out their Commission, in which they were a good deal involved in disputes with the Governor (General Hart), who had greatly obstructed their proceedings. In the letter of 12 Jan. 1726–7 they say: “We hope sir, from this, that His Excellency's conduct will be alter'd for the future, and be no more an impediment to the service, and in this hope, we humbly offerr there may be an oblivion as to what is past; unlesse Mr Hart should give us fresh occasion of application to you, and then we shall be more perticuler on the foregoing, and send you copys of the above mentioned letters. We own we are the more inclin'd to this because we have strong reports that Mr Hart is remov'd from his Governmt. His actions, therefore, will hereafter have the lesse influence to the prejudice of our proceedings, and (unlesse we should find it necessary) we would not pursue him under this mortification, and indeed, on the compremising this matter, we were under some engagements of honour not to carry it further.”|
In another of the same date they say: “We fear at last we shall be distressed in getting ridd of the Salt Pond lands, even at an average of 25s. sterl. p[er] acre. 'Tis a miserable poor barren, dry soil. We have gott into a project, and made a little beginning in it. We find in the good part of the Island many poor settlers on five to fifteen acres of land. These are not able to purchase, and 'tis pity too to weaken the Island by driving them off. We are therefore trying to persuade them to remove to the salt ponds, on lands to be given them gratis, and by selling the lands they quitt to greedy neighbours, we expect to find our account in the price we make them pay, which shall be, at least, equall to the value of the land we pretendedly give att the salt ponds, and these convenient patches too; and both partys pleas'd without hurt to His Majesty's service.”
In that for 22 March 1727 they say: “We already grow fearfull that Genl Hart will break with us again. He still seems to decline treating for his plantation, till he can bring us to his terms of purchase and this we cannot gratify him in, without justly incurring their Lordship's displeasure.”
In another of 27 March 1727 they say: “We pray leave to observe to you the improvements allready made in the Island since the sales. Instead of little thatched cottages we see handsome buildings rising, substantially built of brick, stone or good timber boarded and shingled, which purchasers now erect with pleasure.”
In that of 6 May to Mr Scrope they say of Governor Hart: “Of late he has been so outragious and especially on our proceeding in a dispute between him and Mr Boyd, which we formerly mention'd to you that he has made it impossible for us to forbear remonstrating to their Lordships his behaviour, with respect to our Commission, or to treat further with him.”
In a second letter to him of the same date they enclose a letter to the Lords of the Treasury, and “Observations on a scheme for sale of the late French Lands in St Christophers.” [This latter contains particulars of the produce, &c. of the Island.]
In the letter of 6 May to the Lords of the Treasury are inclosed two Accounts (1) of lands sold, the quantities whereof are ascertained by an actual survey, for which the Comrs have signed contracts and (2) of lands similarly sold, for which contracts have not been signed.
In that to Mr Scrope of 22 June they set out in detail the dispute between Governor Hart and Mr Boyd, which principally caused the resentment of the Governor to the Comrs. It arose from Mr Boyd proposing to purchase a parcel of land formerly called “Bourks plantation,” and lately belonging to one James Ward, in the possession of the Governor, and of which he claimed the pre-emption.
In that of 27 July to the Lords of the Treasury they enclose duplicates of their last, and of the several accounts therein referred to. They also “send a separate and very candid account” relating to Governor Hart, and an account of some further sales in Basse Terre and Deep Bay towns. Compute that they have yet about 1,646 acres of manurable land to sell besides the salt ponds. (7 enclosures.)
In that of the same date to Mr Scrope encloses duplicate of their last, &c. 101 pages. Most of the letters are 4to.
2. Another collection of papers connected with the proceedings of the above Commissioners, including the following:—|
Memorials of Dame Frances Stapleton.
Articles of agreement between the King on the one part, and Giles Mardenbrough, of the Island of St Christopher [of the other], in respect to a purchase of land in Basse Terre. Dated 23 Jan. 172.
On the back is a certificate of the Lords of the Treasury confirming the purchase. Dated 2nd of Nov. 1730.
Letter signed “Galfridus Gray” to John Scrope, Esq., and a paper docketed “Mr Scrope's observations on Gray's scheme.”
Certified copy of the report of the Board of Trade on the case of Captain Andrew Thauvet, an inhabitant of St Christopher's.
Copy of articles of agreement between the King and William McDowall, and confirmation similar to those above named, as entered in the books of the Auditor of Plantations.
Depositions of John Willett, Esq. before one of the Justices of the King's Bench and Common Pleas in the above Island.
(These relate to Mr Mann's affairs, hereafter noticed.)
Letter from Governor Hart to Mr Scrope. Had applied to have his salary as Governor, which was payable out of the 4½ per cent. accepted in part payment of what was due to the Comrs for the purchase of his plantation; but as that could not be complied with, has drawn bills of Exchange. Prays that the warrants for his salary may be signed, there being 3½ years due. It will be ruin to him by not having his bills paid, for want of effects in his agent's hands, at a time when he is superseded in his government by Lord Londonderry. 30 March 1727.
Two dockets for grants of land to Robert Cunningham, Esq.
Another letter of Governor Hart to J. Scroope, Esq., respecting his plantation of 280 acres, on which he had laid out 4,000l. in works and buildings, besides double that amount in stocking it with negroes. The Comrs had not power to sell more than 200 acres to any one person, and a great part of his (the General's) expense would be useless if he could not purchase the whole. A claim to purchase 50 acres had been made, and the matter was considered by the Comrs, who eventually refused to treat with the writer, and alleged that he had so behaved himself that they would represent his conduct to the Lords of the Treasury. Asks Mr Scroope to desire their Lps to suspend the matter till he can give them satisfaction. Adds that perhaps some former obligations which he put Mr Mathew under, of doing his duty, as Lieut.-Governor, had contributed to this resentment.
Several papers relating to disputes between Edward Mann, Esq., on the one part, and John Willett and John Spooner, Esq., on the other, concerning a plantation lately belonging to President Davis, deceased.
“A List of Plantations in St. Christopher's which the Commissioners have contracted or agreed for, which will bear an additional price, and how much per acre.”
Abraham Meure to — as to licence to Mr Mathew to come to England, he having been left out of the Council of three of the Islands by Lord Londonderry's instructions. He must think it an insupportable disgrace. Encloses the address of the Assembly of the Island of St Christopher praising his administration.
“Extract [or abstract] of letters from [the] Commrs for sale of French lands in St Christophers to [the Lo]rds of the Treasury” (39 letters in all). 79 pages.
3. Papers relating to the collection of, and accounting for, taxes, including “A state of the severall accompts of the Receivers of the publick taxes behind and undeclared;” a report of the Comrs of Taxes on the arrears of the tax upon Papists and on land, and petitions for employment in connexion with the taxes. 12 pages.
4. Monthly debtor and creditor accounts of fees of the Treasury officers from Jan. to September (February being wanting). 24 pages or parts of pages.
5. Three warrants, two signed by the Duke of Grafton, the other by the Duke of Sussex, to the Master of the Great Wardrobe, for supply of furniture for the House of Peers, &c. (being parts of a series), also a merchant's bill of articles delivered into the wardrobe. 6 pages.
6. Several certificates of receipts, payments, and remains of the revenue arising by Wine Licences and two or three other papers connected with the business of the Wine Licence Commissioners. 15 pages.
7. Memorials, &c. of the Board of Works to the Lords of the Treasury relating to works at Hampton Court, Kensington Gardens, the Court of requests at Westminster, set apart for keeping the Records of the Court of King's Bench, Essex House in Essex Street, taken for “repositing” his Majesty's and the Cotton Libraries, preparations for the Coronation, the Earl of Leicester's House in Leicester Square, keeping the gardens in order at Windsor, Hampton Court, Kensington, St. James's, and Newmarket.|
There is also an attested copy of the establishment of the Office of Works as it stood at the time of the King's demise; also another memorial as to the expense of the Coronation, together with an account of the ordinary expense in the office, which included the Tower of London, Whitehall, St. James's, Westminster, Denmark House, Winchester, Newmarket, Hampton Court House and Gardens, and Kensington House and Gardens, Windsor Castle, and the Mews. 22 pages.
8. Four letters from H. Pelham, Secretary at War, to John Scroope, Esq., Secretary to the Treasury, (1) for the Lords of the Treasury to be moved in respect to an order to Mr Missing, contractor for provisions for the garrison of Gibraltar, to furnish provisions for 1,200 more men; (2) for a warrant for payment of 2,008l. 17s. 6d. for transport of troops from Ireland to England, to be countersigned, and for an order to issue moneys into the hands of the Paymaster General for the remainder, 808l. 17s. 6d.; (3) for directions to be given to the King's printer to send to his office 200 Acts of Parliament for punishing mutiny, desertion, &c., and the like number of printed books of the Articles of War, to be distributed among the land forces; (4) for a warrant of his Majesty to pay 500 men 1,160l. 1s. 9d. to the paymaster of the forces in Minorca, to be countersigned. 16 Dec. 1726 to 14 Sept. 1727. 5 pages.