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, December 1781
Tuesday, December 4th. Present:— Lord Grantham, Mr Stuart, Mr. Gibbon, Mr. Sloane.
The minutes of the last Board were read, approved and signed.
Read an order of the Lords of the Privy Council, dated November 28th, 1781, referring the petition of Abraham Clibborn, praying leave to export sundry military stores therein specified, to Tortola, on board the ship Aurora.
Their Lordships being of opinion, that the exportation prayed for should be allowed; and the draft of a report to the Lords of the Privy Council having been prepared thereupon, was approved, transcribed and signed.
Read a report of Mr. Jackson's of the 28th of November on the Act of Jamaica, mentioned in the last minutes, for making the places of Judges of that Island more permanent, etc.,
Their Lordships having passed some time in the consideration of this Act, resolved to resume the same upon the next meeting.
Read two letters from Sir A. S. Hammond, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, to the Board, both dated Halifax, 12th September, 1781, the one, acknowledging his having a duplicate of their Lordships' letter of the 13th of December, 1780, relative to his correspondence with their Lordships, which will be duly attended to; the other, acknowledging the receipt of their Lordships' letter of the 3rd of March, 1781, and referring to the proceedings of the late Lieutenant Governor, relative to the Act recommended to be passed, for exempting from certain duties rum and molasses imported for his Majesty's troops; signifying also, that the papers, in justification of certain officers of the Crown, complained of by William Lovegrove, shall be transmitted by the next opportunity; and likewise notifying the receipt of his Majesty's ratification to an Act of that Province, for appointing sheriffs in such counties where it may be necessary.
Mr. Shoolbred and another member of the African Committee together with their Secretary attending the Board pursuant to the minute of the preceding Board, were called in, and Mr. Shoolbred informed their Lordships that the Committee had entered into a full investigation of the accounts of Richard Miles, esquire, by which it appeared that a very considerable sum was due to him from the publick, and that the surcharges as stated in his account by a former Committee and by which a ballance was said to be due from him to the publick were founded on erroneous principles. The Committee had thereupon thought it incumbent upon them to restore him to the command of Cape Coast Castle and that having laid the minutes of the Committee before their Lordships, they had desired to be admitted in order to be acquainted with the observations and receive the directions of the Board thereupon; that the enquiry in question had been carried on with all possible precision and coolness, and with equal candour; three of the former Committee who had concurred in the surcharges abovementioned having been always present and their resolutions having been unanimous; that thinking it their duty to apply to Parliament for a grant, which exclusive of the usual and necessary annual expence might be sufficient to discharge the debts due from the publick to Mr. Miles, and others, they hoped for the sanction and concurrence of the Board therein.
The Board thereupon informed Mr. Shoolbred, that without entertaining any doubt of the precision or candour of the Committee in the statement of Mr. Miles's account as contained in the minutes before them, they thought it by no means proper to enter into a discussion of those accounts; that they had upon a former occasion given a full and decisive opinion of the steps they thought it would be proper for the Committee to pursue in order to establish a legal and uncontrovertible right to the claims upon the publick, should they appear to be well founded, or if otherwise to obtain a conclusive bar to them; that the mode recommended by the Board not having been adopted and their Lordships still retaining their former opinion, they could not, therefore, give any sanction and concurrence to the application the Committee proposed to make to Parliament for a grant to discharge the debts said to be due to Mr. Miles and others; and their Lordships directing the minute of the 29th of January last to be read, they required the Committee forthwith to communicate so much of the Journal of their proceedings in consequence of the said minute as relates to their continuing the suspension of the proceedings upon the information therein mentioned, and also to furnish the Board with their reasons in writing for not complying with the advice contained in the said minute of the 29th of January last and discontinuing the said proceedings.
The Committee having signified that they would lose no time in complying with this requisition, withdrew.
Their Lordships then took into consideration the state of the office occasioned by the death of Mr. Silas Bradbury, late deputy Secretary; and Mr. William Roberts, one of the clerks, appearing to their Lordships to be well qualified to supply the vacancy occasioned by Mr. Bradbury's decease, it was ordered, that the said Mr. Roberts be appointed deputy Secretary, and that in consequence of his promotion, the rest of the clerks shall take their seats according to seniority in regular rotation.
Tuesday, December 11th. Present:— Lord Grantham, Mr. Stuart, Mr. Gibbon, Mr. Sloane.
The minutes of the last Board were read, approved and signed.
A letter to the Postmaster General, signifying the appointments of Mr. Elliott and Mr. Roberts and claiming the usual privilege and exemption according to the forms of office, being prepared according to order, was read, approved and signed.
Read a letter from Mr. Fisher to Mr. Cumberland, dated the 8th of November, transmitting, by direction of Lord George Germain, for the information of the Board, extract of a letter from Governor Cuninghame to his Lordship of the 15th of August last, covering a copy of the opinion of the Attorney General of Barbados on the subject of fees established by the Governor and Council, and signifying that his answer to the petition of the former Assembly and to Mr. Estwick's memorial shall be sent by the next packet.
Read an order of the Lords of the Privy Council, dated the 29th of November, referring to the Board for their examination and report, a certified account of sundry goods of the growth, product or manufacture of the Kingdom of Great Britain, as also of other goods and merchandize exported from the Port of London for account of the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies between the 29th of September, 1780, and the 29th of September, 1781.
Read a letter from Mr. Fisher to Mr. Cumberland of the 10th instant, transmitting, by direction of Lord George Germain, a copy of the minutes of the Assembly of Jamaica from 3rd to 21st July, 1781, together with an Act of that Island, for providing additional subsistence to the 99th regiment, etc., etc., to be laid before the Board for their Lordships' information.
Ordered, that the above Act be sent to Mr. Jackson, for his opinion in point of law.
Their Lordships took up the further consideration of the Act of Jamaica respecting the Judges, as mentioned in the minutes of the last meeting, and having made a further progress in their deliberations on this important matter, and having again consulted the minutes of the Council, and also of the Assembly thereunto relating, Mr. Fuller, agent for the Island, who attended for that purpose, was admitted and heard, in what he had to offer, whereupon their Lordships resolved to resume the consideration of this Act at their next meeting, for the determination of their opinion and report thereupon.
Friday, December 21st. Present:— Lord Grantham, Mr. Stuart, Mr. Gibbon, Mr. Sloane.
The minutes of the last Board were read, approved and signed.
Read an order of the Lords of the Privy Council, dated December 17th, 1781, referring the petition of William Lee, praying leave to export four hundred and fifty-two pistols to Leghorn, on board a neutral ship.
Their Lordships being 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.
Read and considered three Ordinances passed by the Legislative Council of Quebec in January last (numbered in the list of Acts No. 62, 63 and 64), together with Mr. Jackson's report thereupon, dated December 5th, 1781.
Their Lordships read and considered eleven Acts passed by the Legislature of Nova Scotia (numbered in the list of Acts No. 321 to 331, both inclusive), together with Mr. Jackson's report thereupon, dated December 18th, 1781.
Ordered, that the draught of a letter to Sir Andrew Snape Hammond, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, be prepared, advising him of an informality in the Act No. 327, for establishing the time of holding the Supreme Court, etc., in the County of Hants, and proposing a mode for obviating the same; also stating an objection to the Act No. 324, for regulating the militia on actual service in time of war, etc., and recommending to the said Lieutenant Governor to remedy the same, by proposing to the Legislature of Nova Scotia, to enact laws explanatory of the informality and objection pointed out in the above laws.
Read a letter from Mr. Rutherford, Secretary to the African Committee, to Mr. Cumberland, dated December 21st, 1781, inclosing,
Copy of the minutes of the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, on the 12th and 18th, containing their reasons for not proceeding at law, against certain of their officers.
The draught of a representation to his Majesty, proposing the confirmation of an Act passed by the Legislature of Jamaica in January last, to make the places of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature, etc., more permanent, having been prepared, was approved of, transcribed and signed.
Hemp and Flax.
Their Lordships took into consideration, what orders and regulations might be proper for them to make, under the powers and authorities vested in them, by an Act passed in the last sessions of Parliament, intituled, An Act for rendering more effectual so much of an Act, made in the tenth year of his Majesty's reign intituled, An Act for appropriating a fund established by an Act made in the seventh year of the reign of his present Majesty, "for granting to his Majesty additional duties on certain foreign linens imported into this Kingdom; and for establishing a fund for the encouraging the raising and dressing of hemp and flax," as relates to the distributing and paying the proportion of the fund, thereby appropriated for the encouragement of the growth of hemp and flax, in that part of Great Britain called England, by applying a sum not exceeding fifteen thousand pounds per annum, out of the said arrears and duties, to the purposes aforesaid for a time limited; and Mr. Stuart having communicated to the Board, what information he had collected, as to the manner in which the Commissioners and Trustees for improving manufactures in Scotland had proceeded, for promoting the culture of hemp and flax in that Kingdom, and having amongst other papers laid before the Board, a pamphlet distributed by the said Commissioners intitled, Directions for raising flax. Their Lordships, upon consideration thereof, were of opinion, that a distribution of this pamphlet through the counties in England might be productive of general benefit, and thereupon ordered, that the said pamphlet be reprinted; that 1,000 copies be taken off, and that the Secretary write to the several clerks of the Peace for the counties in England and Wales, transmitting a suitable number of the said copies to each for distribution, together with a copy of the said Act of Parliament; expressing at the same time, that the Board have no doubt, that the Justices in each county had, at their last Michaelmas Quarter Sessions, duly complied with the directions therein contained.
Letter (circulatory) from the Secretary to the different Clerks of the Peace being prepared in pursuance of the above order, was submitted to their Lordships, and being approved of, was transcribed and transmitted accordingly.