House of Commons Journal Volume 11: 2 March 1694

Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 11, 1693-1697. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1803.

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'House of Commons Journal Volume 11: 2 March 1694', in Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 11, 1693-1697( London, 1803), British History Online [accessed 25 July 2024].

'House of Commons Journal Volume 11: 2 March 1694', in Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 11, 1693-1697( London, 1803), British History Online, accessed July 25, 2024,

"House of Commons Journal Volume 11: 2 March 1694". Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 11, 1693-1697. (London, 1803), , British History Online. Web. 25 July 2024.


In this section

Veneris, 2 die Martii;

6° Gulielmi et Mariæ.


African Company.

MR. Harley reported from the Committee, to whom the Examination and Consideration of the Petition of the Royal African Company of England was referred, That they had examined and considered the same; and also the several other Petitions referred to the said Committee: And that they had directed him to report the Matter specially to the House; as also the several Resolutions of the said Committee: The which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered in at the Table: Where the same was read; and is as followeth; viz.

George Boone Esquire, Sub-Governor of the African Company, on behalf of the said Company, attended the Committee; and informed them, That the Company did not desire to have all that Tract of Land within their Charter, but were willing to leave out the greatest Part of that to any others to trade in; and should be very well satisfied, if they might be enabled, by Act of Parliament, to trade from Cape Lopez to Cape Blanco, exclusive to all others; that is, from 21 Degrees of Northern Latitude, to 2 of South Latitude; whereby all Angola, and many other Countries, are left out, where Negroes may plentifully be had for the Service of the Plantations.

He did also assert, That the Trade of Africa, which is of so great Concern to England by Vending of our Woollen Manufactures, cannot be carried on without Forts and Castles; and that the Forts and Castles cannot be maintained but by a Company, in a joint Stock, exclusive to all others.

And to prove this, several Witnesses were produced on behalf of the Company.

Henry Greenhill Esquire, one of the Commissioners of their Majesties Navy: Who told the Committee, He had known the Trade to Africa many Years; has no Stock in the Company; lived on the Place, as Agent-General for the Company, from 1680, to 1684.

And did further say, That, from the Experience he had, he was of Opinion, The Trade cannot be maintained without Forts and Castles; because without them there can be no Security from the Rapine or Plunder of the Natives; and the French, Dutch, Danes, Brandenburghers, and formerly the Portuguese, carry on their Trade with Forts and Castles; and without them, our Trade would be carried away by Europeans, as well as exposed to the Treachery of the Natives.

That the Charge, when he was there, of maintaining the Forts there only on the Gold-Coast, was about 10,000 l. per Ann. or 300 Marks in Gold: That Cape Coast Castle had 48, or 50, Guns mounted; 140, or 150, Men in Garison, besides about 300 Ardee Slaves.

That Cape Coast will defend Ships that lie under the Castle, as they did in the Dutch War; but the Natives may come and trade with Ships out of the Reach of the Guns of the Forts: And that if it were not for the Forts in Guinea we should have no Trade; for there would be no Security without them to any Factories.

That the Dutch did stir up the Natives against the English in his time, and the Blacks did confess it. That the Dutch made the Portuguese pay 25 l. per Cent. for Liberty to trade, because they had no Forts. That the Dutch will seize the Natives, and interrupt them from trading with other Nations: They also took a Toll of all Fish taken near their Forts.

He saith, There may be a Trade to the Bite for Negroes without Forts; and that there is none at Ardah, only a Factory: That, though Persons may Trade out of the Reach of the Guns of the Forts, the Fort encourages the Natives to come down with their Merchandize.

Mr. Henry Nurse said, he lived Three Years on the Coast, as Agent-General, from 1684, to 1688. He informed the Committee, That Forts and Castles were necessary to carry on the Trade.

African Company.

That the Natives burnt and plundered Cape Coast to a great Value, about 1669, in time of a free Trade.

That the other Nations of Europe, that trade there, have Forts; and the Portuguese, having lost their Forts, are often seized by the Dutch, and forced to pay 25 l. per Cent. for Liberty to trade.

He owned, He had a Stock in the Company.

Captain Nich. Peperhill lived there Three Years at a time, besides trading Voyages: He testifies to the same Purpose as Mr. Hen. Nurse; and adds, That the Dutch about Four Years since raised a Disturbance against the English there.

Mr. Alexander Cleve said, He lived at the River Gambo, at James-Island: That the French about 1686, took a Ship in Peace, sent her to Martinego, and condemned her, under colour that our Trade there was under the Pretence of the Dutch; and that we had not a Right to trade there.

Mr. Boon, to prove further the Forts necessary, produced a Grant from the Danes of a Castle, for which the Company paid 4,121 l.

Then they proceeded to prove, That a joint Stock is necessary to carry on the said Trade, and to maintain the Forts.

Mr. Warwick Yard, Accomptant to the Company, has computed the Charge of Seven Forts in their Possession, which amounts to 18,814 l. per Annum, besides the Factories; which is paid most in England, and, when paid on the Coast, in Gold.

He did also prove the Losses of the Company to be 79,830 l. since the War with France; and that they had taken Two Forts, viz. Senigall, and Goree, from the French.

The Committee thought fit to summon the Merchants that are not of the Company, but trade to Africa; and also those concerned in our West-India Plantations.

Edward Littleton Esquire, Mr. Gardner, and Mr. Hethcot, appeared, and produced Witnesses.

Mr. Gardner said, That there is no such Thing as the African Company; but that the same is dissolved for not paying the Tax, according to the late Act of Parliament.

The Company offered to answer that: But the Committee being of Opinion, That they were to consider of the Trade; and the other was not a Matter before them; they proceed to their Proofs, and produced,

Captain Humphry South, That there was a great Trade to Guinea, Thirty-two Years ago, when he was there; but is satisfied the same is much increased, since there has been a Company.

That the Trade was then carried on by Five or Six small Vessels, inconsiderable to what are now sent out.

That Men of War are proper to maintain and secure the Trade at Sea; but that Forts and Castles are as necessary on Land; without which, the Natives would annoy the Traders', and soon destroy all Commerce, and the Markets kept where the Forts are: That, when he was there, and used to go for Bartering of Goods at any Place where there was no Factory, the Negroes used to come off to the Ships in their Canoes, with their Commodities to trade.

That he has heard the Dutch say, That if the English had continued to carry on an open Trade, they had broke their Guinea Company.

That if there were an open Trade, he believes it might be to the general Advantage of England: But knows not, whether it might be as advantageous to the particular Traders thither; because a great Exportation of our Commodities thither would lessen the Value of them there, and raise the Price of the African Goods.

That he has often returned with Part of his Cargo, when he traded thither; and that the not having of Forts and Castles would much lessen the Trade.

That any Person may trade within a Mile of Cape Coast Castle; and the Negroes will come off from thence by Stealth.

That the Negroes were then sold to the Plantations, for 2,000 Pound of Sugar per Head; which was worth about 25s. per Cent. here: That he then used to buy the Negroes at 3 l. per Head, First Cost: That, if the Trade was open, there would be no Place unattempted upon the Coast, for a Discovery of a Market; and, the Coast being of a large Extent, it might admit of an Increase in Trade.

Mr. Dockwra, That he was a Searcher in the Customhouse, from 1664, to 1674; where he made his Observation, That when the Trade was open, there was a greater Exportation of the Woollen Manufactures.

That, in the Four Years, when the Trade was open, before the restraining it to a Company, there were 103 Ships went out, that paid Licences to the old Company, besides 32, that stole out of England without Licences; and that, in the Four Years succeeding them, when the Trade was so restained, the Company did not send out 45 Ships: But that the Company, in those Four Years, made use of 16,000 Ton of Shipping, and the Merchants not above 9,000 in the Four Years before: But the Merchants Cargoes exceeded the Company's.

That he himself, in 1676, traded to those Parts, and knows there were treble the Quantities of the Manufactures of England exported then, to what was since.

Mr. Richard Holder, That he hath been acquainted with the Guinea Trade for Twelve Years: That if this Trade were open, it would produce Three times the Trade it now does.

That he has been concerned . . . 40,000 l. in this Trade and has made 50 l. per Cent. and returned in Seven Months: That he gave 26 l. per Cent. Licence, and made a good Voyage; and the Second Year gave 40 l. per Cent. and was obliged to take the Goods from the Company; and believes he paid 3 or 4 per Cent. more than elsewhere he might have bought them: That he was limited to certain Places, and could not go where he though fit.

That Forts and Castles are of Use to protect the Goods from the Negroes: If the English had but Men of War, the Forts would not signify any thing; the Forts being only a Protection to the Warehouses, where the Company's Goods lie.

Captain Robert Portin, Has known the Trade ever since 1660: That he was at the Taking of Cape Coast Castle from the Dutch, by the Jersey, there being about 22 Guns mounted.

That there is 900 Miles Trading in the African Coasts, without Forts and Castles.

That the Company did not hinder Two Portuguese Ships from Trading, when he durst not trade himself: They would not let him have Covert under their Cannon; but admitted a Pirate to make his Attempt upon him.

That the Negroes chuse rather to trade with an Interloper, than the Company's Ships, because the Interlopers sell cheaper.

That he can trade safe on Shore at Comenda, where the Natives turned the Company's Servant's from their Houses in 1678; the which the Company would have gotten again, but could not, the Dutch having gotten thither.

That there is much more Room to be discovered upon the Shore, limited in the Company's Charters, for a Trade that now is not used.

That the Plantations would be much plentifuller served with Negroes, by an open Trade; and that he traded thither with much Credit, giving Trust for above 13,000 Hogsheads of Sugar at Antegoa.

That Forts and Castles might be maintained and supported without a Company; a Contribution being raised by all trading to Africa.

Captain Jedediah Barker, That he used the Trade in 1677.: That the chief Places are Ardah, Tredah, Old Calabar, and New Calabar, for Negroes; where there are no Forts or Castles.

That the Spaniards like the Angola Negroes, rather than the others.

That the Plantations desire Negroes of several Nations, because they are thereby not so subject to Rebellion.

That, if there were no Forts or Castles, the Negroes might come off to trade; and that it would be less Charge to manage and secure the Trade by Men of War, than by Forts; and that the Ships might lie there all the Year round.

That there are Interlopers of all Nations; and no Men of War but ours, that guard those Seas.

Mr. Robert Walker, That the Planters do not admire the Angola Negroes; and that they desire Negroes from many Parts, for fear of Rebellion: That the Planters have bought of the Dutch, Negroes, 700 in a Ship, for want of Supplies from the Company.

Mr. Thomas, That an Imposition upon the Trade of Guinea would be sufficient to maintain their Forts; and that the old Company formerly raised more at 3 l. per Ton, than would do; so that a Duty would be the best Way for Trade: That less than 10 l. and about 5 l. per Cent. upon an open Trade, would maintain the Forts, and all Matters necessary to secure the Trade: That he hath given 35, and 40, per Cent. for Licence, to the Company to trade thither; taking the Goods at their Rates; and the Company put the Drawback also into their Pockets.

That an open Trade would supply the Islands with Negroes, much more to their Satisfaction, than now they are supplied.

Mr. Melisha Holder, That the Company have not always supplied the Plantations with Negroes; he being used to buy of the Interlopers for Twenty-five Years last past.

That the Company have 10 l. per Cent. Interest for Credit they give, as he hath heard; and also the Interlopers do take the like of those they give Credit to.

That sometimes the Planters will give more for Negroes to an Interloper, than the Company, purposely to encourage the Interlopers to trade with them.

Mr. Boone, the Sub-Governor, in Reply, on behalf of the Company did produce to the Committee, under the Hand of the Searcher of the Custom-house, An Account of Says, and Perpetuanas, shipped off for Guinea, in the Port of London, from 1665, to 1670: And also,

An Abstract of the Woollen Manufacture yearly exported by the Company, from the Year 1673, to 1693.

And acquainted the Committee, That the Company were content to part with above Two Thirds of what is in their Charter, for further Discovery to the Industrious.

And that as to furnishing the Plantations with Negroes, they will submit to any Rules or Directions, . . . . shall be thought fit and equitable.

The Committee did also take into their Consideration Two other Petitions referred unto them by the House: The one from the Mayor, Aldermen, and CommonCouncilmen of the City of Exeter; praying, That the Trade to Africa may not be restrained: And the other, from the Clothiers of Witney; praying, That the Traffick of the African Company may be protected.

And that, upon the whole Matter, the Committee came to the several Resolutions following.

Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That Forts and Castles are necessary for carrying on the Trade to Africa.

Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That the Trade to Africa will be best carried on, for the Advantage of England, in a joint Stock.

Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That the House be moved, That Leave be given to bring in a Bill pursuant to the said Resolutions.

Ordered, That the Consideration of the said Report be adjourned until Saturday Sevennight.

A Member discharged from custody.

Ordered, That Sir Thomas Grosvencr, in the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, for absenting himself from his Service in Parliament, be discharged out of Custody, paying his Fees.

Northampton Writ.

Ordered, That Mr. Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, to make out a new Writ, for electing a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the Town of Northampton, in the room of Sir Thomas Samwell Baronet, deceased.

Supply Bill; Duties on Salt, Beer, &c.

Resolved, That this House will, To-morrow Morning at Eleven a Clock, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the Bill for granting to their Majesties certain Rates and Duties upon Salt, and upon Beer, Ale, and other Liquors, for securing certain Recompences and Advantages, in the said Bill mentioned, to such Persons as shall voluntarily advance the Sum of Ten hundred thousand Pounds, towards carrying on the War against France.

Ways and Means.

Resolved, That this House do immediately resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of Ways and Means for raising the Supplies to be granted to their Majesties, for the Maintenance of the Fleet, and Land-Forces, for the Service of the Year 1694.

Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Sir Tho. Littleton took the Chair of the Committee.

Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair.

Sir Thomas Littleton reported from the said Committee, That they had come to several Resolutions; which they had directed him to report, when the House would please to receive the same.

Ordered, That the said Report be made To-morrow Morning.

London Orphans Fund.

Sir John Fleet, according to Order, presented to the House a List of the Debts due and owing to the several Orphans of the City of London: And also,

A List of the several and respective Debts due, upon Bond, for the said City.

Ordered, That the said Lists do lie upon the Table until the House shall resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the Bill for Relief of the Orphans of the City of London.

Ease of Jurors.

Ordered, That the adjourned Debate, upon the ingrossed Bill for the Ease of Jurors who serve at the Assizes in England and Wales, be resumed upon Tuesday Morning next.

And then the House adjourned till To-morrow Morning Nine a Clock.