Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations: Volume 14, January 1776 - May 1782. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1938.
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Journal, June 1779
Tuesday. June 1st. Present:—Lord Robert Spencer. Mr. Greville. Mr. Eden.
Lord George Germain. one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. attends.
Read a memorial of the General Convention of the Royal Boroughs of Scotland to the Board. presented by Mr. George Chalmers. agent for the said Convention. who attending in support of the same was called in. and produced a plan of the canal proposed to be compleated between the heads of the Friths of Forth and Clyde. together with a paper signed by many of the principal personages of Great Britain and Ireland, recommending the above publick work to the care and consideration of the legislature: and Mr. Chalmers in behalf of the memorialists having prayed their lordships to recommend the proposed undertaking in such manner as to their wisdom shall seem proper: their lordships did accordingly take the said memorial into their consideration; and Mr. Chalmers having stated and explained, upon the face of the plan, what part of the work was wanting to compleat the undertaking, their lordships were clearly of opinion, upon principles of general policy, that great savings and accommodation to the trade and commerce of Great Britain and Ireland. were to be expected from the junction of the East and West Seas by the proposed canal: and that such communication would be productive of particular advantages in time of war. in the protection it would give to the transportation of commodities without the risque of circumnavigation. and with a considerable saving of freight and insurances; as for the time which it might take to compleat the said work, and the expence attending it. their lordships having no other evidence than what appears upon a printed paper annexed to the said memorial, (stating that it might be a finished in one and a half or two years for a sum not exceeding seventy thousand pounds) they cannot take on themselves to give any opinion in the case: but they think. that if the publick should be induced to enable the proprietors to finish the work under their immediate protection. in that case, it would be adviseable to lower the rates of toll. at least upon all bulky articles of small value. a circumstance on which its general utility seems greatly to depend.
Read an Order of the Lords of the Privy Council. dated May 28th. 1779, referring to this Board, the petition of John Shoolbred, praying leave to export to St. Augustine in East Florida, on board the ship Britannia, certain military stores therein mentioned, for the purpose of fitting out privateers.
Their lordships, upon consideration of the above petition, were of opinion, that the exportation prayed for should be allowed; and the draught of a report to the Lords of the Privy Council thereupon having been prepared, was approved, transcribed and signed.
Pursuant to the resolution of the 18th of last month, their lordships resumed the consideration of the several Acts passed in the Island of Grenada in October, 1778.
Ordered, that the draught of a letter to Lord Macartney should be prepared, stating the observations which occur to their lordships upon the said Acts.
Read a letter from Mr. Knox to Mr. Cumberland, dated May
31st, 1779, transmitting, by direction of Lord George Germain, to
be laid before the Board,
A memorial of the principal inhabitants of the Mosquito Shore, signed on their behalf by Mr. Robert White.
Their lordships being informed that Mr. White attended, he was called in; and the minutes of the 27th of April and 4th of May last, respecting the memorial and papers presented by Mr. Hodgson having been read, Mr. White was asked by the Board if he was authorized and prepared to meet Mr. Hodgson by his counsel on the part of Mr. Lawrie; to which Mr. White replied, that he had no authority whatever to appear on behalf of Mr. Lawrie in particular, but on the part of the inhabitants in general he was empowered to appear; their lordships in reply observing that Mr. Hodgson's memorial was personal in respect to Mr. Lawrie, and repeating the question to Mr. White, whether he chose to appear in Mr. Lawrie's defence, Mr. White declined so to do; their lordships, therefore, in the usual course of proceedings, directed that the draught of a letter to Mr. Lawrie should be prepared, transmitting copies of Mr. Hodgson's memorial and papers beforementioned, and directing him to prepare his answer to the charges therein contained.
Mr. White thereupon desiring leave to withdraw his memorial, the Secretary of State, by whom it was referred, being present and consenting, his request was allowed by the Board, and he withdrew his memorial accordingly.
Their lordships took into further consideration the draught of instructions to be given to Major General Robertson, appointed by his Majesty Governor of New York, when a copy with the several alterations and omissions proposed at the meeting of the 4th of May, was laid before the Board; whereupon their lordships, after consultation had upon the subject of sundry articles in the said instructions with Mr. Jackson, who attended and was called in. Resolved, that in the present situation of the Province of New York, it would be adviseable to withold from proposing to his Majesty any other instructions to Governor Robertson. except such as involve the eleven first articles of the former code, in which are laid down the necessary qualifications on his taking on him the government: the appointment and qualifications of councillors: and the powers and authorities vested in him with respect to the said Council and other civil officers.
Ordered, that the draught of the said instructions be transcribed, and the draught of a representation to his Majesty thereupon be prepared.
Tuesday, June 8th. Present:—Mr. Jenyns. Mr. Greville, Mr. Eden.
Lord George Germain, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, attends.
Read a letter from William Mathew Burt, esquire, Governor
of the Leeward Islands, to the Board. dated February 28th. 1779,
acquainting their lordships with the surrender and capitulation
of the French parts of the Islands of St. Martin and St. Bartholomew. with the advantages likely to accrue from their possession,
and transmitting. with his observations.
Minutes of the Assembly of the Island of Antigua from the 21st of March to the 15th of September, 1778.
An Act passed in the Island of Antigua in October, 1778. for raising a tax to pay publick debts.
Ordered, that the above Act be sent to Mr. Jackson, for his opinion thereupon in point of law, together with an extract of so much of the letter beforementioned as relates to the said Act.
Their lordships read and considered three Acts passed in the Island of Jamaica in December, 1778, relating to the militia, and also two Bills passed by the Council and Assembly in November, 1778. not assented to by the Governor. together with Mr. Jackson's report thereupon.
Ordered, that the draught of a letter to Governor Dalling be prepared, acquainting him with the opinion of the Board upon the two Bills abovementioned: and informing him that his Majesty had thought fit to disallow one of the three Acts, intituled, an Act for ascertaining who shall compose future Councils of War.
Read a letter from Mr. Knox to Mr. Cumberland, dated June
1st, 1779. transmitting, by direction of Lord George Germain, for
the information of the Board,
An extract of a letter from John Dalling, esquire, Governor of the Island of Jamaica, dated January 27th, 1779, recommending the following gentlemen to be of the Council for the island, vizt., Thomas Davison, William Lewis, and Gardner Kemyss, esquires.
Read a letter from John Gambier, esquire, Lieutenant Governor
of the Bahama Islands, and four other members of the Council of
those islands, to the Board, dated Providence, February 22nd,
1779, stating several complaints against Montfort Browne,
esquire, Governor of the Bahama Islands, and transmitting with
Copy of a proclamation issued by Governor Browne, dated 4th of January, 1779, declaring a pardon to all such persons, inhabitants of those islands, who have deviated from their duty to the King, during the rebellion.
Copy of a letter from Parr Ross, esquire, to Lieutenant Governor Gambier, dated Nassau, February 6th, 1779, stating his reasons for discontinuing to act as a magistrate.
Ordered, that the draught of a letter to Governor Browne be prepared, transmitting copies of the letter and papers abovementioned, and also of such of the papers, mentioned in the minutes of the 13th of April last, as relate to the complaints against Governor Browne, and that he be directed to transmit his answer thereto.
Read a letter from Valentine Morris, esquire, Governor of the Island of St. Vincent's, to the Board, dated December 29th, 177, transmitting with his observations, a copy of the minutes of the Assembly on the 22nd December, 1778. [See folio 59.]
Read a memorial of John Gilbert, esquire, late Speaker of the Assembly of St. Vincent's, to the Board, stating, that in consideration of his services, Governor Morris had granted to him a tract of land not exceeding three hundred acres, and praying to be recommended to his Majesty for a confirmation of the said grant.
Their lordships, upon consideration of the above memorial, were of opinion, that it would not be adviseable to recommend the prayer of it.
Read a memorial of Robert Hodgson, esquire, late Superintendant, agent and Commander in Chief of the Mosquito Shore, to the Board, in which, after stating the several matters contained in his memorial, mentioned in the minutes of the 27th of April last, and acquainting their lordships, that he has been informed Mr. White has signified his readiness to meet the memorialist, on the part of the inhabitants of the Mosquito Shore; the memorialist further states, that he does not mean to criminate any individual beyond what may be fairly concluded, and implied, by the general charge he now brings against those persons, whose names are signed to a memorial presented to Lord Dartmouth by Mr. White, their agent, on the 11th of November, 1773, and who are therein called "his Majesty's subjects the principal inhabitants of the Mosquito Shore"; the memorialist therefore now prays that he may be heard by counsel upon the premises, and that such right and justice may be done thereon, as may be found becoming.
Ordered, that a copy of the memorial beforementioned be sent to Mr. Robert White, and that he, together with Mr. Hodgson, be desired to attend the Board on Tuesday next at twelve o'clock.
Read the following Orders of the Lords of the Privy Council,
Order dated June 3rd. 1779. referring the petition of Robert Norris. praying leave to export from Liverpool to NewYork. sundry ordnance and stores, on board the ship Wallace. for trade.
Order dated June 3rd. 1779. referring the petition of John Shoolbred. praying leave to export to East Florida. on board the ship Rodney. sundry military stores. for the use of privateers fitting out there.
Order dated June 5th. 1779. referring the petition of Samuel Wilson, praying leave to export eighty barrels of gunpowder to Antigua. on board the ship Randolf. for the use of privateers.
Order dated June 5th, 1779. referring the petition of the Carron Company. praying leave to export from their works in Scotland to Harlingen in Vriesland. on board the ship King of Spain. sundry iron guns and shot. for the use of the Admiralty there.
Their lordships. upon consideration of the foregoing petitions, were of opinion. that it would be proper to recommend the exportation prayed for; and the draughts of four reports to the Lords of the Privy Council thereupon having been prepared, were approved. transcribed and signed.
The draught of instructions for Major General James Robertson. Governor of New York. having been transcribed pursuant to order of the 1st instant. was approved: and the draught of a representation to his Majesty thereupon prepared pursuant to order of the same day. was approved. transcribed and signed.
Their lordships having resumed the consideration of the matters referred by his Majesty's command relative to the Courts of Judicature in Quebec, stated in the minutes of their proceedings on the 27th day of April last: they read and considered a report of Mr. Jackson stating his opinion in point of law upon the questions referred to him by order of the same day.
Tuesday, June 13th. Present:—Mr. Jenyns. Mr. Gascoyne, Lord Robert Spencer. Mr. Greville. Mr. Eden. Mr. de Grey.
Lord George Germain, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. attends.
Read a letter from John Gambier. esquire. Lieutenant
Governor, and four other members of the Council for the Bahama
Islands, to the Board, dated New Providence. March 31st. 1779.
informing their lordships of the steps they have been obliged to
take. upon the Governor's attempt to introduce Mr. Cumming
into the Council: complaining of the anarchy which prevails
in those islands by the misconduct of the Governor: and transmitting the following papers. vizt.,
Copy of a letter from Mr. Chief Justice Atwood to Governor Browne, dated February 23rd, 1779, desiring leave of absence, etc.
Protest of Lieutenant Governor Gambier and four other members of the Council, dated March 30th, 1779, against Governor Browne, for attempting to appoint a councillor, when there was no vacancy in Council.
Remonstrance of the Council and Assembly, dated March 12th, 1779, upon the charges made by the Governor "that he was deserted by all the inhabitants in the defence of the place, etc."
Governor Browne's answer to the Council and Assembly upon the foregoing remonstrance, dated March 17th, 1779.
Affidavit of John Grant, esquire, dated February 11th, 1779.
Affidavit of William Watherstone, esquire, dated March 10th, 1779.
Second letter from Lieutenant Governor Gambier and four
members of the Council of the Bahama Islands, to the Board,
dated March 31st, 1779, stating their observations on the attack
made on those islands in 1776, and transmitting,
An attested narrative of the transactions on the invasion of the rebels in 1776.
A plan of the town and harbour of New Providence.
Deposition of Mr. Stirling, Major of the Militia, dated March 30th, 1779.
Deposition of Mr. Dorset, master mariner, dated April 2nd, 1779.
Journal of the Council of the Bahama Islands on the 20th of March and 1st of May, 1776.
Lord George Germain having acquainted the Board, that he had received several papers from Governor Browne, relative to the charges and transactions contained in the papers beforementioned, and in those mentioned in the minutes of the 8th instant, which his Lordship intended to transmit for their consideration, it was Resolved, that the execution of the order made on the 8th instant, should be postponed, until their lordships shall have received and considered the said papers.
Read a letter from Mr. Knox to Mr. Cumberland, dated June
9th, 1779, transmitting, by direction of Lord George Germain,
to be laid before the Board,
A memorial of the Reverend Peter de la Roche of Lunenburgh in the Province of Nova Scotia, to the late Lieutenant Governor and Council of the said province, praying, that in consideration of his services, he may have granted to him two tracts of land, which were in the year 1765 granted to his predecessor the Reverend Mr. Vincent, and which, on account of his death and that of his widow, remain unimproved, unappropriated, and are now escheated.
Copy of a letter from Lieutenant Governor Arbuthnot to Lord George Germain, dated Halifax, December 1st, 1777, recommending the above memorial.
Their lordships having taken the said papers into their consideration and having received a very respectable testimony of the character of Mr. de la Roche. it was ordered, that the draught of a representation to his Majesty should be prepared, recommending to his Majesty to direct his Governor of Nova Scotia to pass a grant of the lands abovementioned to Mr. de la Roche, provided it shall appear that the said lands are become duely escheated.
Mr. White and Mr. Hodgson attending pursuant to order. were called in, and Mr. Hodgson's memorial, mentioned in the last minutes. having been read. Mr. Hodgson informed the Board of the reasons which induced him to change the mode of his complaint against Mr. Lawrie in particular, to those whom Mr. White called the inhabitants of the Mosquito Shore; upon which Mr. Hodgson was acquainted by the Board, that they could not take cognizance of any charge tending to criminate a body of people, as it was not in their power to give him redress, even if the charges against them should be proved: if he was yet in the mind to support the charges contained in his memorial against Mr. Lawrie, mentioned in the minutes of the 27th of April. and 4th of May last. the Board had only to repeat, that they would, in the usual course of practice, transmit copies of his charges to Mr. Lawrie. and direct him to reply thereto: but for the reasons before stated, their lordships could not take upon them to hear evidence in support of his present memorial.
Leeward Islands, Antigua.
Their lordships read and considered an Act passed in the Island of Antigua in October, 1778. for raising a tax for paying publick debts, etc., together with Mr. Jackson's report thereupon.
Their lordships made further progress in the consideration of the matter referred to them by his Majesty's commands on the 27th of April last, relative to the Courts of Judicature in the Province of Quebec.
Read an Order of the Lords of the Privy Council, dated June 14th, 1779. referring to this Board, the petition of Messieurs Bush. Elton and Bush. praying leave to export to Jamaica, one hundred barrels of gunpowder, on board the ship Lord North.
Their lordships, upon consideration of the foregoing petition, were of opinion, that the exportation prayed for should be allowed; and the draught of a report to the Lords of the Privy Council having been prepared thereupon was approved, transcribed and signed.
The Secretary laid before the Board the following papers, vizt.,
Minutes of Council of the Island of Jamaica from February 3rd to December 22nd, 1778.
Journal of Council in Assembly from October 20th to December 23rd. 1778.
Journal of Assembly from October 20th to December 23rd, 1778.
Twenty nine Acts passed in the Island of Jamaica in October, November and December, 1778.
Ordered, that the above Acts be sent to Mr. Jackson, for his opinion thereupon in point of law.
The Secretary having acquainted the Board, that Mr. Chamberlain Davis, one of the clerks in the Office, had requested him to signify to their lordships his desire of resigning his place, their lordships were pleased to accept the said resignation, and to declare a vacancy in the place of junior clerk from the 5th of April last; directing at the same time, that the clerks below Mr. Davis should rise according to the established rule of rotation and seniority; upon which it being proposed that a proper person should be nominated to the vacant seat of junior clerk, a doubt arose, whether, or not, the rule heretofore observed, whereby the first Lord of Trade had the nomination of the first vacancy which happened after his appointment, should continue to be observed in the person of the Secretary of State attending the Board.
Their lordships, after due consideration upon the subject, were of opinion, that the presence of the Secretary of State, for the American Department, at the Board, being made indispensable, by the terms of his Majesty's Commission, the rule of office heretofore observed in like cases, and the privileges thereby annexed to the first Lord of Trade for the time being, should and ought to continue, and devolve upon the Secretary of State attending the Board under his Majesty's Commission; and in consequence, that the nomination in question rested in the Right Honourable Lord George Germain.
Their lordships having also taken into their consideration the business of settling the office of Solicitor and Clerk of the Reports, in the room of Ambrose Serle, esquire, to whom leave was given by the minute of the 7th of May, 1776, to attend Lord Viscount Howe, as Under Secretary to the Commission which his Lordship was then carrying out with him to North America, with permission to resume his place and employment in this Office, in case he should not, in the meantime, be otherwise provided for; and their lordships being fully satisfied that Mr. Serle had received an ample provision from Government, they were pleased to declare a vacancy in the Office of Solicitor and Clerk of the Reports, and to appoint John Goddard and Grey Elliott, esquires, (who have done the duty of the said Office agreable to the minute of the 16th of December, 1777) jointly and equally to be Solicitor and Clerk of the Reports, in the room of the said Mr. Serle, and to direct, that the salary, fees and emoluments of the said Office should be equally divided between the said persons, during the time they shall hold the said Office, jointly.
Their lordships were also pleased to permit Mr. Goddard to continue to hold his place as one of the clerks in the Office, with the salary, fees and emoluments thereunto belonging, together with the appointment abovementioned.