America and West Indies
May 1731

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor) Arthur Percival Newton (introduction)

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1938

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101-116

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'America and West Indies: May 1731', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 38: 1731 (1938), pp. 101-116. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72570 Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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Contents

May 1731

May 2.
St. James's.
162. H.M. Warrant granting leave of absence to Lt.General Mathew for 12 months upon his private affairs. Signed, Holles Newcastle. [C.O. 324, 50. pp. 38, 39.]
May 2.
St. James's.
163. H.M. Warrant granting leave of absence to Lt. General Mathew for 12 months to attend his private affairs etc. Countersigned, Holles Newcastle. Copy. [C.O. 324, 36. p. 269.]
May 10.
Virginia
Wmsburgh.
164. Lt. Governor Gooch to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to previous answer (Feb. 27) to Commissioners of Customs etc. Has lately received advice of some fresh opposition to the Act for improving the staple of tobacco, with strong insinuations as if it was calculated to lessen the quantity of tobacco, raise the price in foreign markets and so injure H.M. revenue and the interests of England etc., and also that it will oppress and discourage the poor. (v. 11th and 12th March, 1731). Argues at length in reply. The county has already entred upon the expence of building the warehouses etc., weights and scales and nails etc., are likewise sent for from England etc. Hopes that the law may be allowed an opportunity of evincing its usefulness from the certainty of its four years continuance. The people are discouraged by the rumour, industriously reported, that it will stand but one year etc. Signed, William Gooch. Endorsed, Recd. 14th July, Read 25th Aug., 1731. Holograph. 4 pp. [C.O. 5, 1322. ff. 172–173v., 174v.]
May 11.
St. James's.
165. Order of King in Council. Restoring John Ayscough to his former place and rank as President in the Council of Jamaica, and suspending the youngest Councillor from sitting and acting, till a new vacancy shall happen. (Set out, A.P.C. III. No. 230.) Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 10th, Read 11th Aug., 1731. 5 ¾ pp. [C.O. 137, 19. ff. 90–92v., 93v.]
May 11
dated 1732?
by error).
Whitehall.
166. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Enclose following to be laid before the King. Annexed,
166. i. Same to the King. Lay before H.M. draught of a Commission for Walter Chetwynd, Esq., to be H.M. Governor of Barbadoes, being in the usual form etc. Mem. :—The Commission is not entered by reason of Mr. Chetwynd's death. [C.O. 29, 15. pp. 226, 227.]
May 11.
St. James's.
167. Order of King in Council. Approving draught of Commission for Governor Chetwynd. Signed, W. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Aug., Read 11th Aug., 1731. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 22. ff. 71, 72v.v.; and signed, W. Cary, 5, 192. f. 493.]
May 11.
Whitehall.
168. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Enclose following to be laid before H.M. Annexed,
168. i. Same to the King. Submit following, and will prepare the necessary Instructions with all possible dispatch etc. Annexed,
168.ii. Draft of H.M. Commission for Col. William Cosby to be Governor of the Leeward Islands. In the usual form. [C.O. 153, 15. pp. 71–98.]
May 11.
St. James's.
169. Order of King in Council. Approving Commission for Governor Cosby. Signed, W. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd. 10th, Read 11th Aug., 1731. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 19. ff. 63, 66v.]
May 11.
London.
"3 mo. or
May 11."
170. Mr. Partridge, Agent for New Jersey, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Requests report upon Acts of New Jersey, (i) for securing the freedom of Assemblys, and (ii) to enable the inhabitants to support their Government, discharge their engagements in the Loan Office etc. by makeing warrant 20,000l. in bills of credit. Signed, Richd. Partridge. Endorsed, Recd. 4th May, Read 15th June, 1731. Addressed. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 972. ff. 204, 205v.]
May 11.
Whitehall.
171. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Committee of Privy Council. In pursuance of Order on Mr. Noden's petition, 14th April, refer to representation of 5th Feb., 1730, and add:—The inhabitants of the Bermuda Islands are the only people concerned in the whale fishery there, and they have not hitherto made any objection to the paying for licences on this accompt to their Governor. But notwithstanding this, if your Lordships should be of opinion that this Instruction lately given for preventing the Governor from granting licences shou'd still continue in force in Bermuda since the benefit thereof will wholly result to the inhabitants of those islands, it would seem reasonable that they should make the Governour some satisfaction for it, and that he should be instructed to recommend in H.M. name to the Assembly of Bermuda, that they do take the proper means for raising and paying an adequate salary to him in lieu thereof not exceeding the annual sum of 100l., because the whale licences have always been computed to him as part of his salary to that value. [C.O. 38, 8. pp. 156–158.]
May 11.
Whitehall.
172. Mr. Popple to Mr. Attorney and Mr. Solicitor General. Encloses for their report petitions of Samuel Waldo and Sir Bibey Lake as to lands in New England etc. [C.O. 5, 916. p. 411.]
May 11.
St. James's.
173. Order of King in Council. Approving Commission for Governor George Clinton etc. Signed, W. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd. 10th, Read 11th Aug., 1731. 1 ¼ pp. [C.O. 194, 9. ff. 78, 78v., 81v.; and (signed, W. Cary) 5, 192. f. 541.]
May 11.
St. James's.
174. Order of King in Council. Approving Instructions for same. Signed and endorsed as preceding. 1 ½ pp. [C.O. 194, 9. ff. 79, 79v., 80v.; and (signed, W. Cary) 5, 192. f. 555.]
May 11.
St. James's.
175. H.M. Warrant for a Commission to Governor Clinton. [C.O. 5, 192. ff. 545–552.]
May 11.
St. James's.
176. Order of King in Council. Approving draughts of Additional Instructions to Governor Philips and Mr. Dunbar, empowering them, so soon as any quantity of wood land shall have been set out for the service of the Royal Navy by the Surveyor, to set out a like quantity of land not fit for that service, and to grant the same to such persons as shall be disposed to settle etc. (v. 9th Feb. and A.P.C. III.) No. 229. Signed, W. Cary. Copy. Annexed,
176. i. H. M. Additional Instructions to Governor Philips. St. James's. 12th May, 1731. To above effect.
176. ii. H. M. Additional Instructions to David Dunbar, Surveyor General of H.M. Woods. Of same date and to same effect. Endorsed, Recd. 10th, Read 11th Aug., 1731. 1 ½ pp. [C.O. 324, 36. pp. 271ndash;276; and (without enclosures). 217, 6. ff. 37, 37v., 38v.]
May 12.
St. Mary Ax.
177. Mr. Perry to [? the Duke of Newcastle]. Your Grace was so good yesterday as to promise me the nomination of a Councillor in the room of Mann Page Esq. decd. etc. Recommends John Taylor etc. Signed, Micajah Perry. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 1344. No. 6.]
[May 13]. 178. Sir Wm. Keith to the Council of Trade and Plantations. A petition is presented to the Board for their report to H.M. in favour of a certain tract of land lying to the westward of the great mountains in Virginia, as far as the River Messassippi, on which the petitioners engage themselves on pain of forfeiting the grant to sctle in three years time 300 Switz and German families all Protestants, at their own proper charge and in five years time to give 500l. sterl. pr. ann. for the support of such Governour as the King shall appoint. Sir Wm. Keith offers his service with the Crown's authority and instructions to go over and see this setlement effectually made, and he humbly conceives it to be of very great importance to secure, without loss of time, so good a barrier for all the British Colonies on the North Continent of America. Holograph. 1 p. Enclosed,
178. i. Proposals for a constitution for above proposed Colony. A Council of 9 to 15 to be yearly elected by the freemen, the majority, capable of speaking or writing English, together with the Governor to have authority to make laws etc. Holograph. 3 1/3 pp. The whole endorsed, Recd., Read 13th May, 1731. [C.O. 5, 1322. ff. 153–154, 155, 157, 157v.]
May 14.
Whitehall.
179. Duke of Newcastle to Governor Worsley. H.M., considering the length of time that you have been at Barbadoes, has been pleased to appoint Mr. Chetwynd to succeed you etc. I am to aquaint you at the same time with H.M. most gracious acceptance of your services in that employment. And H.M. leaves it to you to come away before Mr. Chetwynd's arrival, leaving the care of the Government to the President of the Council there according to what is directed by your Instructions, or to wait for Mr. Chetwynd's coming thither, as you shall think proper, and may best suit with your conveniency. I hope it will not be disagreeable to you after so long an absence to return home to your friends, among whom I desire the honour of being numbered etc. Signed, Holles Newcastle. [C.O. 324, 36. p. 270.]
May 15.
Boston.
180. Mr. Willard to [? Mr. Popple]. Encloses Minutes of Council and of Assembly for half year ending Feb. last, and Acts past at the Session in Feb. etc. Signed, J. Willard. Endorsed, Recd. 25th June, Read 22nd July, 1731. Holograph. ½ p. Enclosed,
180. i. Receipt for above papers. Signed, J. Mulberry. Slip. [C.O. 5, 873. ff. 39, 40, 41v.]
May 17. 181. Mr. Fane to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Has no objection to the 12 acts of New York, passed in 1730, but thinks that the act to prevent the taking or levying on specialtys more than the principal interest and cost of suit ought to be repealed "for the reasons mentioned in the annext paper delivered me by Mr. Paris" etc. Signed, Fran. Fane. Endorsed, Recd., Read 19th May, 1731. l ½ pp. Enclosed,
181. i. Objections to Act of New York referred to in preceding. There is no more occasion for such a law in New York than in Gt. Britain, much less for such an extraordinary remedy as this. It directly encourages an infinity of actions. It tempts the defendant to agree first that there is more due than there really is and pay it, and then bring his action for these double damages and treble costs etc. Arguments at length against the Act. 3 closely written pp. (v. May 25th no. 197). [C.O. 5, 1055. ff. 184– 186, 187v.]
[May 17]. 182. Petition of Ralph Noden to the Duke of Newcastle. In behalf of himself and the rest of the merchants of London trading to Bermuda etc. Prays for a decision upon their petition for the return of the Independent Company to Bermuda etc. Enclosed, Rd. from the Duke of Newcastle's Office, 17th May, 1731. 1 p. [C.O. 37, 26. No. 42.]
[May 17]. 183. Petition of John Yeamans, Agent of Antigua to the Council of Trade and Plantations. There is a standing instruction, that in the absence of the Capt. General of the Leeward Islands, the Lt.–General shall have the chief command, and in his absence the Lt. Govr. of Nevis, and in his absence the President of the Councill there. It may be of ill consequence to oblige the Lt. Governor of the other islands to receive their orders from the Lt. Governor or President in Nevis, not only on account of the inferior rank and value that island holds among the rest, but also because it is situated to the leeward of Antigua and Montserrat. There has been no person at the head of Nevis for several years resident there bearing H.M. Commission. As the Lt. General is in a few days expected in England, the chief command must devolve on the President of Nevis etc. Antigua is generally esteemed the most considerable of the Leeward Islands on account of its produce, and is by reason of its strength, situation and the convenience of its harbours, of much more consequence to the Crown than either of the rest. It lies to windward of all the rest, and in case of any attempt from an enemy, orders may be dispatched and succours from thence landed in a night's time, in any of the other islands, which could not without great difficulty and length of time be dispatched from either of the said islands to Antigua, because the vessels that carry them must ply to windward, and run the risque of being intercepted by an enemy. 'Tis owing to these advantages, as memorialist concieves, that the Capt. General is obliged by his Instructions to reside in Antigua nine months in the year; that it has always been thought necessary to keep the greatest part of H.M. forces there, and that this is the station appointed for the King's ships of warr, unless when the service requires they should be out upon the cruize. It seems where the greatest strength is etc. Prays that the Lt. Governor of Antigua may be appointed to command in chief in the absence of the Capt. and Lt. General etc. Endorsed, Recd. 17th, Read 21st May, 1731. 2 1/3 pp. [C.O. 152, 19. ff. 45–46v.]
May 18.
Admty.
Office.
184. Mr. Burchett to Mr. Popple. Desires that the usual Heads of Enquiry may be transmitted for Capt. Clinton, who is under orders to proceed to Newfoundland, "without staying for his Commission appointing him Governor, in case it does not pass very quickly, the season of the year, requiring his being there as soon as possible." Signed, J. Burchett. Endorsed, Recd., Read 18th May, 1731. Addressed. ¾ p. [C.O. 194, 9. ff 77, 82v.]
May 18.
Whitehall.
185. Mr. Popple to Mr. Burchett. Reply to preceding. The usual Heads of Enquiry were sent to you 30th March etc. [C.O. 195, 7. pp. 261, 262.]
May 18.
Whitehall.
186. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Recommend David Bray for the Council of Virginia, in the room of Colo. Man Page, decd. [C.O. 5, 1366. p. 60.]
May 19.
Whitehall.
187. Same to Same. Representation upon Act of Virginia for amending the staple of tobacco etc. Quote views of Mr. Fane, Lt. Gov. Gooch, and the Commissioners of Customs, and the Agent for Virignia. (v. supra.) The most considerable merchants in the tobacco trade concurred with the Lt. Govr. and Agent of Virginia in desiring that the act might be confirmed. Continue:—We are obliged however to take notice to your Majesty, that some time since a law of this kind, which had been in force about three years, was repealed at the desire of the merchts., which in many particulars bore a very near resemblance to the act in question, tho' they now seem to have altered their opinion upon that subject, yet since the Commissrs. of the Customs do apprehend that this act may be prejudicial to your Majesty's revenue at home, we could not advise the immediate confirmation of it. But, considering that this act is calculated to recover the credit of so important a staple as that of tobacco, considering it contains many clauses well intended for the prevention of frauds, and that your Majesty's quit-rents and the duty of 2s. upon every hogshead of tobacco in Virginia may be thereby improved, because the same will for the future be paid in better tobacco than formerly; we are humbly of opinion that your Majesty may be pleased to suffer this act to lye by probationary, until the effects of it may be seen. This being a temporary law, will of itself expire in four years, but, by the method we humbly propose, it will be always in your Majesty's power to repeal the same within that term, if it shall be found prejudicial to your Majesty's revenue, or to the trade of your subjects. [C.O. 5, 1366. pp. 61–71.]
May 19. 188. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Referring enclosed Whitehall, memorial to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report. Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 21st May, Read 8th June, 1731. ¾ p. Enclosed,
188. i. Petition of Thomas Beake, Agent for St. Christophers, to the King in Council. The Legislature of said island finding that the fees in the Court of Chancery were very grievous, and that some of them had a law for their sanction and that in other the Secretary had bound himself by no rule but his own will, and that in several other branches of his office, and particularly in the Ordinaries he had raised his own fees and the Governor's to near the double of what they are settled at by law, and Wavell Smith the Secretary having of late set no bounds to his fees, occasioned a generall dissatisfaction and outcry among the people, and some instances of it happening to appear in proof before the Assembly, when the Chief Justice and Mr. Smith were heard at the barr of their house upon a contest between them, and the Assembly being then upon a bill for regulating fees they thought it proper to enquire into the Secretary's fees and to redress any grievance that might arise therefrom. To this end on 19th Dec. 1729 the Assembly appointed a Committee to enquire what fees were then taken by the Officers attending the Courts of Justice etc., with power to send for persons, papers and records. Mr. Smith allarmed at such an order and well knowing his actions would not bear examination, when the Committee summoned him and his deputy to attend with an account of such fees, himself refused to attend, and sent his Deputy with an account only of what fees he took in the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas, and of no other fees in his other offices etc. On 30th Dec. therefore it was resolved by the House that he was guilty of an act of disobedience to its authority, but deferred passing any censure upon him, to see whether he would make any excuse and produce his docquett of fees and offer himself to be examined thereupon etc. But in defiance and contempt of the House, he went off to Antigua, whereby it was evident he refused to comply with the orders of the House etc. Whereupon the House addressed the Governor to suspend him from the Council until H.M. pleasure should be known, (21st April). The Council on the same day resolved that his refusing to attend the Committee in order to his being examined was a great contempt and indignity offered to that House, and that such his refusall was a presumptious offence. They also advised the Commander in Chief to send a copy of the Assembly's address and their resolve to Mr. Smith requiring him to send immediately a satisfactory answer, in default whereof they then advised his Honour to suspend him from his office as Councillor. Mr. Smith sent (19th May) an answer upon which the House resolved that it was untrue and evasive and reflecting on the honour and justice of the House and in a conference with the Council resolved to request his Honour to suspend Mr. Smith. Prays that H.M. will remove him from the Council etc. Copy. 6 ½ pp. [C.O. 152, 19. ff. 48, 49–52, 53v.]
May 19.
Whitehall.
189. Order of Committee of Privy Council. The representation of the Council of Trade 27th Oct., having been referred to the Committee, order that John Ashley be inserted in Governor Chetwynd's Instructions as a Councillor of Barbados etc. Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 9th, Read 15th June, 1731. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 22. ff. 49, 50v.]
May 19.
Whitehall.
190. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Similar order, upon representation of 15th Nov., for Othniel Haggot to be Councillor of Barbados. Signed and endorsed as preceding. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 22. ff. 51, 52v.]
May 19.
Whitehall.
191. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report. Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 21st May, Read 1st June, 1731. 1 p. Enclosed,
191. i. Petition of George Phenney, late Governor of Bahama Islands, to the King. Prays to be relieved from the bond into which the Assembly compelled him to enter for repayment of the sums levied during his administration. The money never came into his hands, but was applied solely to the public service with the consent and advice of the Council. Petitioner with great assiduity repaired the forts etc. He was obliged to build two large sloops to fetch provisions for the garrison, which being cast away, he lost upwards of 800l. Prays for an allowance for his expences and losses etc. (Set out, A.P.C. III. pp. 316–318.) 4 pp.
1731. 191. ii. Certificate by the Council of Bahama Islands as to the additions and repairs made by Governor Phenney to Fort Nassau etc. S., 2nd Dec., 1727. Eleven signatures. Copy. 1 ¾ pp. [C.O. 23, 2. ff. 226, 227– 229v., 230v.]
May 19.
Whitehall.
192. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations. (Set out, A.P.C. III. No. 236. q.v.) Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 21st, Read 26th May, 1731. 1 p. Enclosed,
May 20.
Whitehall.
192. i. Petition of Alured Popple to the King. Prays for an establishment of fees, as in other offices, in place of certain voluntary gratuities hitherto customarily paid by persons reaping benefit from the labour of petitioner and his clerks etc. Concludes:—Petitioner has faithfully served the Crown, under the Commission of Trade above 16 years, 9 as Secretary etc. And forasmuch as Petitioner and his clerks have no other advantage from their places than their salarys, (so long as these gratuitys are suspended) which salarys are not a sufficient subsistence for the said Clerks, and after the usuall deductions but a very moderate maintenance for your petitioner and his family, prays that annexed schedule of fees may be approved etc. (v. A.P.C. III. No. 236). 5 pp. Annexed,
192. ii. Schedule of fees proposed. 1 p. [C.O. 388, 80. Nos. 5, 5 i, ii.]
May 20.
Richmond.
193. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Enclose extract of Govr. Worsley's letter of 27th March, in relation to same English vessels lately seized at Sta. Lucia etc., for H.M. directions thereupon. Autograph signatures. 1 p. Enclosed,
193. i. Extract referred to in preceding. 1 p. [C.O. 253, Nos. 61, 61 i; and (without enclosure) 29, 15. p. 228.]
May 20.
Richmond.
194. H.M. Instructions to Governor Clinton. [C.O. 5, 192. ff. 559–597.]
May 22.
No.
Carolina.
195. Mr. Moseley to the Duke of Newcastle. Encloses "as the most direct way of it's coming to the Royal presence. If I err in the manner I humbly ask your Grace's pardon." Continues:—So soon as the Committee shall have prepared the representation of the state of this country, I shall transmit it unto your Grace, and to the Lords Commrs. of Trade etc. pursuant to the directions of the Assembly. In the mean time I ask liberty to assure your Grace, that I find in the people of this province a most hearty zeal and affection for H.M. person and Government, and a readiness to comply with ail H.M. Instructions to the utmost of their power, which I trust will be very evident to your Grace when you shall see the Journal of the Assembly. I am preparing a large map of this province for H.M. view, drawn from several observations I collected when I was Surveyor Genll, of this Province and many helps I have received from several gentlemen of this and the neighbouring Governments, the particulars whereof shall communicate to your Grace when I send the map, etc. Signed, E. Moseley. 1 ¼ pp. Enclosed,
195. i. Address of the General Assembly of North Carolina to the King. We etc. with chearfulness lay hold of this opportunity on our first meeting after the publication of your Majesty's purchase of the sovereignty of this Province; to acknowledge with the profoundest gratitude the many blessings we enjoy under your auspicious and happy reign. It is with the greatest pleasure we observe your Majesty and our gracious Queen Caroline always intent on promoting the happiness of all your people; and altho' we are so remote from your Royal presence, we find ourselves nevertheless assured of your fatherly care and concern. We are in duty bound to acknowledge as a particular mark of your indulgence, the placing over us H. E. George Burrington Esq. etc., who by his behaviour during the time he governed this Province for the Lords Proprietors rendred himself very agreable to the people by the great care he then shewed in his due administration of Justice, and in promoting the wellfare of this Province; on which occasion his indefatigable industry and the hardships he underwent in carrying on the settlement at Cape Fear deserves our thankful remembrance. The Governor having laid before us several of your Majesty's Instructions relating to this Province, we think it our duty thankfully to acknowledge your Majesty's great clemency and goodness expressed in those Instructions toward the people of this your Province; and as some of them do necessarily require that your Majesty should be informed of the state and condition of this country, we have directed a Committee to transmit a true state thereof. Pray for H.M. long reign and the succession of the House of Hanover. Signed, E. Moseley, Speaker. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 308. Nos. 11, 11 i.]
May 22.
Richmond.
196. H.M. Warrant for a Commission to Governor Chetwynd and revoking that of Governor Worsley. [C.O. 5, 192. ff. 497–540.]
1731.
[May 25].
197. Mr. Paris to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Prays on behalf of Wm. Jamison, Jos. Murray and Wm. Smith of New York that the Act of New York to prevent the taking or levying on specialities etc. (v. 17th May) may be reported for repeal. The Act is wholly unnecessary, in no sort agreeable to the laws of Great Britain, and fatal to fair traders and creditors in that province, who cannot run the risks they must do under it in sueing for their just debts etc. Signed, Ferd. John Paris. Endorsed, Recd., Read 23rd May, 1731. 1 p. Enclosed,
197. i. Order of Supreme Court, New York, 20th Oct., 1730, upon a petition of William Fowler, alleging that John Leisley had levied the penalty of a bond amounting to 122l. 7s. sued for besides costs of suit etc. Copy. Signed, Fred. Morris. D. Secry. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 1055. ff. 188, 189, 191.]
May 26. 198. Sir W. Keith to Mr. Delafaye. If his Grace the Duke of Newcastle is pleased to bestow but a very little time in considering the nature of our petition etc., and the immense view as well as importance of the settlement proposed, I can make no doubt etc. of his patronage etc. and favourable influence towards promoteing so generous an undertakeing for the defence of H.M. Dominions and the public benefit of this Kingdom etc. If explanations or his attendance are desired, he is daily to be found at his lodgings "in Brew House yard near Privy Garden" etc. Signed, W. Keith. Holograph. 1 ½ pp. [C.O. 5, 12. ff. 62, 62v.]
May 27.
Whitehall.
199. Council of Trade and Plantations to Lt. Governor Gooch. Acknowledges letters etc. of 29th June and 7th Sept., 1729, 9th Jan., 9th April, 29th May, 23rd July and 14th Sept., 1730, and 12th and 27th Feb., 1731. Continue:— We commend your punctuality in corresponding with us, and we should not have been wanting in proper returns to you, but the subject matter of most of the above-mentioned letters related principally to your scheme for improving the staple of tobacco, and the law which you pass'd in consequence of it, which being matters of very great consequence, required a very mature consideration, and it is but very lately that we have been able to come to any determination concerning them, wherefore we chose to defer writing to you, till we could give you some account of them in our letter. Upon considering this law, we thought it for H.M. service, and for the service of all those who are concern'd in the trade to Virginia, to receive the different opinions of such persons as might give us any further light into this matter; and as we have met with some who were very sanguine for the confirmation of this act, and some as sanguine for the repeal of it, we have chose the midway, and have offer'd our opinion to H.M. that the same may lye by probationary, in order to try the good effects you expect may result from it; As the pressing instances you have made, and the many reasons you have offer'd to us in behalf of this act, have greatly weigh'd with us in our resolution concerning the same, we think it the more incumbent upon you, supposing H.M. should be graciously pleased to confirm our report, to have a watchfull eye over the persons who are to put this act in execution, that no partiality be shewn to any person, and thereby bad tobacco exported from your Colony; For we must upon this occasion remind you, that an act of this nature was pass'd in 1713, and after some years experience was repealed in 1717, at the desire of all the Virginia merchts., who did assure the then Board of Trade, that the Agents, who by that act were the same officers, and had the same duty as those who by this are called inspectors, did permit as much trash tobacco, to be exported as before the passing that act. This was one of the reasons why we did not propose your law to be confirm'd, and because we shall now have it in our power to advise the King to repeal the same, as we certainly shall do, if we find by experience that this act does not answer the intent of its passing, better than the other law did, in which case the Colony of Virginia will have been put to a very great expence to no purpose; we must therefore repeat once more, that it is the more incumbent upon you to take great care of the execution of this law, since you have been so very pressing for its confirmation. We have recommended Col. Harrison to be of the Council etc., and he has been appointed accordingly. It was not possible for us to comply with your request in favour of Mr. Armistead, having been for some time before engag'd to recommend Col. Bray, as we have now done in the room of Mr. Page. We are glad to find that you have at last brought the negroes to a quiet submission, and we hope that by your prudent management they may be kept so for the future. Your letter of 14th Dec. last, wherein, you say, you gave us an account of the insurrection of the negroes, never came to our hands. [C.O. 5, 1366. pp. 71–74.]
May 27.
Whitehall.
200. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Representation upon Act of Antigua, 1728, to supply the defects of an act for constituting a Court of Chancery etc. There are many provisions in this Act for regulating the proceedings of the Court of Chancery in Antigua, and for supplying some defects in a former act referr'd to in the title. But the main purport of the act, is to enable the Lieut. General in the absence of your Majesty's Capt. General, the Lieut. Govr. of Antigua, in their absence, and the President of the Council, in the absence of the other three Officers aforesaid, to preside in and hold Courts of Chancery there, for the hearing of causes and the dispatch of such business as shall be depending in the said Court. We have taken the opinion of Mr. Fane, one of your Majesty's Counsel learned in the law, and he conceives the several provisions therein contained, not to be lyable to any objection in point of law, save in one particular only, where it is attempted to exclude all Courts held in any other country except in the island of Antigua, from making decrees or orders in case of suit for lands, tenements or hereditaments, where the interest or thing sued for, shall lye in that island, and in case of personal demands where the person or persons of the defendant or defendants are or shall be resident in the said island, for tho' he is of opinion that this clause will not be sufficient to restrain the jurisdiction of any of the Courts in Great Britain, yet he thinks, it seems to be particularly calculated against the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery here, which is an attempt which ought to be discountenanced. We have likewise been attended by several merchants and planters, who are desirous that this act should receive your Majesty's royal approbation. The principal reason offered in support of this act, and contained in the preamble, are, that the inhabitants labour under great delays and inconveniences in the prosecuting of their rights in Chancery, by reason of the Chief Governor's frequent and long absence from Antigua, and from a power exercised by the said Govrs. Of granting and dissolving of injunctions in causes depending in Antigua, whilst they are resident in some other of the Leeward Islands; and we are of opinion that proper remedies should be provided against these evils. We have no objection therefore to such parts of this act as relate simply to the regulation of proceedings in the Court of Chancery; but we cannot approve that part of it, whereby the Lieut. General, in the absence of your Majesty's Capt. General, or the Lt. Govr. Etc. in their absence are enabled to preside in and hold Courts of Chancery, because we do apprehend that the appointment of Judges and Chancellors, being a very material part of the royal prerogative, ought always to be exercised immediately by your Majesty, or, by some persons to whom your Majesty shall especially delegate that power, and not by a clause in an act of Assembly, and the rather, because your Majesty may from time to time make such alterations or additions to your Royal orders and appointments as may be suitable to the occasions and advantage of your subjects, but an act of Assembly cannot be repealed, whatever inconveniences may ensue from it, without the consent of the people. The most proper method, therefore, in our humble opinion, of attaining what is proposed by this act, most suitable to your Majesty's royal prerogative, and equally safe and expedient for the people of Antigua, would be, that your Majesty should be pleased especially to appoint some person in Antigua to preside as Chancellor, and execute all the functions of that Office, in the absence of your Majesty's Capt. General or Commander in Chief, by which means the course of Justice would be continued without interruption, and the complaint, which has been so much insisted upon, of granting and revoking injunctions by the Governor General, when absent from Antigua, might likewise be entirely removed. The only objection to the doing of this now, arises from some words in the first Chancery act already refer'd to, whereby it is presumed your Majesty cannot, in any case or on any emergency, appoint another person to preside in the said Court, during the residence of the Commander in Chief in any other of the Leeward Islands, because it is by that law enacted, that from henceforth all and every Court and Courts of Chancery which shall be holden for this island of Antigua, shall consist of and be holden by the Capt. General or Governor in Chief etc., and five or more of the Council of this island at least. But if this be a real difficulty it is at least a difficulty which the Assembly of Antigua may easily remove by a new law, whereby your Majesty may be impowered, notwithstanding the aforesaid Chancery act, or anything therein contained from time to time to nominate such person or persons as your Majesty shall think most proper to supply the duty of the Commander in Chief, and preside, during his absence, in the Court of Chancery in Antigua, may do; But upon this occasion, we cannot help observing, that great caution ought to be had in making concessions of this sort to any Colony, when an uncommon favour already granted, is made use of, as an argument to obtain another still more extraordinary. The people of Antigua are already upon a different footing from the rest of the Leeward Islands, by virtue of the law which this act is intended to amend: For in Antigua only the Councillors have the right of sitting and voting in the Court of Chancery with your Majesty's Governor; But if this new act should pass, the Council with their President, may some times have opportunities of deciding causes without the assistance of the Capt. Genl., Lieut. Genl., or Lieut. Governor, whose presence may reasonably be assumed to be some check upon their proceedings, which might possibly be subject to strong influences, from consanguinity at least, in an island where all the principal inhabitants, by frequent intermarriages, are nearly related. For all which reasons, we humbly propose that your Majesty should be pleased to signify your disallowance of this act. [C.O. 153, 15. pp. 98–105.]Wt. 441 CP. XXXVIII—8
May 27.
Whitehall.
201. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Representation upon Act of New York, 1730, to prevent the taking or levying on specialities more than the principal, interest and cost of suit, and other purposes therein mentioned etc. Continue: Mr. Fane has made several objections to the confirmation of it, which are both of a legal and prudential nature. The Act appears to have taken its rise from some late executions had upon judgments obtained in the Province of New York, whereby the whole penalties of the bonds have been levied instead of the sums really due, and to prevent this practice for the future, this law provides that if, upon any judgment obtained, or upon actions brought and agreed before judgment, any plaintiff or his attorney shall take or levy more than the principal debt, lawful interest and costs of suit, the person or persons so offending shall forfeit double damages to the party grieved, with treble costs of suit, to be recovered in any Court of Record in the province of New York. To this provision, it is objected that according to the practice of the Law Courts in England, plaintiffs do always recover the whole penalties of their bonds, but should they levy more than the real debt, with cost and charges, the party grieved has a remedy by a bill in equity, in which case the plaintiff shall refund with costs, and the people of New York have not only the same opportunity of redressing themselves in a Court of Equity, but likewise an easier way of obtaining Justice, because their common law courts will, upon motion, examine in a summary way into any wrong of that sort, which is what the common law courts in England cannot do, whereby the injured party is obliged to sue for relief in a Court of Equity. It is likewise apprehended that this Act will tend to multiply litigious suits at law, by encouraging the debtor not to oppose or remonstrate against an unwarrantable levy in execution of judgment, or what is still worse, by tempting him to agree in appearance to any exorbitant demand of the plaintiff, and accordingly to pay more than was really due to him, with no other prospect than that of recovering double damages and treble costs of suit, in which case, his gain upon recovery would be proportionable to the money he had knowingly paid in his own wrong. We therefore humbly propose that your Majesty should be pleased to signify your disallowance of it etc. [C.O. 5, 1125. pp. 162–164.]
May 29.
Jamca.
202. Governor Hunter to the Duke of Newcastle. This serves only to cover enclosed, by a chance ship for London, that your Grace may have the earliest notice of what may fall out here. By Capt. Reddish who is to sayle next week will write more particularly of the state of affairs here etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, R. 27th July. Holograph. 1 p. Enclosed,
202. i. Same to Sir W. Strickland. Jamaica, May 29th. Announces deaths of two officers etc. Continues:— The companys are all at their respective quarters in the country, and well barrack'd or lodg'd pretty healthy, and might be kept so were it not for rumm. Our Genll. Assembly are employ'd in finding out methods to accommodate our partys with what may be necessary to enable them to pursue and destroy the rebel slaves etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. [C.O. 137, 53. ff. 348, 349v.–350v.]
May 31. 203. Mr. Popple to Governor Talcot. Acknowledges letter of 9th Sept. Concludes:—My Lords Commissioners desire that you will constantly transmit to them authentick copies of the laws passed in your Assembly, and also accounts of all the publick transactions in your Government for the future. PS. I find that by a letter from your predecessor Mr. Saltonstall, dated so long since as 8th Aug., 1710, he promised the then Lords Commrs. a copy of your Laws as soon as they should come out of the Press; tho' it has not yet been received here. [C.O. 5, 1294. p. 29.]
May 31.
Richmond.
204. The King to Governor Hunter. Order for restoring John Ayscough to his place in the Council of Jamaica and suspending the youngest Councillor there, till a vacancy occur etc. [For circumstances v. A.P.C. III. No. 230.] Countersigned, Holles Newcastle. Copy. [C.O. 324, 36. pp. 277–279.]
May 31.
Philadelphia.
205. Lt. Governor Gordon to the Council of Trade and Plantations. On the 29th ult. I had the honour to receive your Lordships' commands of 8th Sept. delivered to me by Mr. Browne etc. I am so conscious, my Lords, of having done nothing with relation fro Mr. Brown but what is just and well to be defended, that I may venture to assure your Lordships his complaint shall receive a proper answer. I have given him regular notice to attend the examinations on my side etc. with leave to cross-examine; and he hath already heard such depositions as must make him ashamed to have troubled your Lordships with an affair so frivolous with respect to me, and so exceedingly dishonourable to himself etc. Continues: In answer to a paragraph in your Lordships' said orders etc., when I received a deputation from the Proprietors etc., I had their instructions to correspond frequently with them, and to acquaint them with the state of their Province, which I have punctually done etc.; I likewise knew it was my duty to acquaint H.M. Ministers and particularly your Right Honourable Board, in case anything of moment which might be for H.M. service should occurr, and to acknowledge and pay due obedience to those directions I should receive from them, which last I have never neglected to doe. But in this inland Province so few things happen of any consequence to H.M. interest, and scarce any at all have happened since my arrival here, that I judged it improper to take up your Lordships' time with matters of so small importance. Signed, P. Gordon. Endorsed, Recd. 28th Sept., 1731, Read 4th Oct., 1731 (? by error for 1732). 1 ¾ pp. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 113, 113v., 118v.]