America and West Indies
January 1735, 11-15

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1953

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'America and West Indies: January 1735, 11-15', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 41: 1734-1735 (1953), pp. 351-368. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72778 Date accessed: 18 September 2014.


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January 1735, 11-15

Jan. 11.
Jamaica,
Spanish Town.
447. President Ayscough to the Council of Trade and Plantations. My Lords, nothing material since my last of the 4th inst., has occurred, but that we continue in possession of the Negro Town, and have since sent the Independent Company, of Capt. Benjamin Harris, with a detachment of thirty men more, out of two other Companies, under his command, to be barracked there; which will prove more healthy to them, than any other place, in regard, that the soldiers can come at no rum, but what they can have by the direction of their officer, for tho' they have been quartered in the plantations in the country, the King's Bounty money has furnished them with such a quantity of it, that almost one half of them are now sick, and several are dead. I take this opportunity, to inform your Lordships, that, agreeable to a proposal, recommended by your Lordships, to the late Governor Hunter, of capitulating with the rebellious negroes, to the end, that they may be made either usefull to the country, or shipped off to some other of H.M. Dominions; this would have been putt into execution; but a proper person could not then be found, but since the arrival of the forces one Mr. Bevil Granvill, whom I have appointed a Lieut, till H.M. pleasure is known, has undertaken to carry in person, ye terms of Peace, and Freedom, to the rebells; he setts out to-morrow morning to find them out, with proper instructions for that purpose; should he prove successfull, it will be of great service to the King and country, and save the expence of many thousand pounds. In my next I hope to give your Lordships, a better account of this intended Treaty. Signed, J. Ayscough. Endorsed, Recd. 3rd March, 1734, Read 11th July, 1735. Addressed. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 21. ff. 202, 205 v.]
Jan. 11.
Jamaica,
Spanish Town
448. President Ayscough to the Duke of Newcastle. Duplicate of preceding, mutatis mutandis. Signed, J. Ayscough. Endorsed, R. 3rd March. Addressed "on His Majesty's service." 1 p. [C.O. 137, 55. ff. 149, 150 v.]
Jan. 13.
Whitehall.
449. Order of Committee of Privy Council for Plantation Affairs. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report. Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 14th, Read 29th Jan., 1734/5. 1 p. Enclosed,
449. i. Petition of John Yeamans to the King. Similar to that of Jan. 7 supra. Prays for permission for the Governor of the Leeward Islands to pass a new powder act under such restrictions as H.M. should think proper. Copy. 1½ pp.[C.O. 152, 21. ff. 2, 3, 3 v., 6 v.]
Jan. 13.
Whitehall.
450. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Approving report of Council of Trade upon Mr. Yeamans' petition (7th Jan.), and ordering them to prepare an additional Instruction to the Governor of the Leeward Islands to give his assent to a Powder act on the conditions proposed by them. Signed, W. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd., Read 20th Feb., 1734/5. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 21. ff. 9, 14 v.]
Jan. 13.
Whitehall.
451. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Referring to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their opinion thereon, three acts prepared by the Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia, (i) an act for maintaining the peace with the Indians in the Province of Georgia; (ii) for rendring the Colony of Georgia more defencible by prohibiting the importation and use of black slaves or negroes; (iii) to prevent the importation and use of rum and brandies etc. Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 28th Jan., Read 6th Feb., 1734/5 1 p. [C.O. 5, 364. ff. 12, 17 v.]
Jan. 13.
Whitehall.
452. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report, etc. Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd, (from Mr. Paxton) 31st Jan., Read 12th Feb., 1734/5 1⅓ pp. Enclosed,
452. i. Petition of Robert Wright, Chief Justice, S. Carolina, to the King. Aug. 12, 1734. Since the ratification of the Act complained of in Petitioner's petition to H.M. Dec. 7 last, the Assembly has passed another act on 9th April, for the better regulating the Courts of Justice etc., which contains many clauses which have no proper relation to each other, are foreign to what the title of the act imports, and perpetual tho' parts of a temporary law, expressly contrary to H.M. Instructions, manifest infringements of the Prerogative, repugnant to the laws of Britain, and generally prejudiciall to private property and the publick administration of Justice as well as injurious to your petitioner in the Commission from H.M. etc. Before the ratification of the said act petitioner as one of H.M. Council presented these matters to the present Governor in Council, and endeavoured to dissuade him from assenting to the same at least without a saving clause until H.M. pleasure should be known therein. H.M. Attorney General of the said Province on a reference of the said Act to him by the Governor and Council reported against sundry clauses thereof as diminutions of H.M. royal authority and contrary to law and in particular agst. the clause which excuses Justices of the Peace and Constables from attending the General Sessions etc. Petitioner entered his protest agt. it on the Journals of Council, and conceives it his duty to transmit the act with his protest etc. against it, and prays for relief etc. Signed, Robt. Wright, Chief Justice. Copy. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 364. ff. 13–14 v., 16v.]
Jan. 13.
Whitehall.
453. Order of Committee of Privy Council. Referring to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report, Act of Pennsilvania for confirming the repeal of divers laws etc. Signed, W. Cary. Endorsed, Recd. 28th Jan., Read 6th Feb., 1734/5. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 147, 148 v.]
Jan. 14.
Annapolis
Royall.
454. Lt. Governor Armstrong to the Council of Trade and Plantations. My Lords, I gratefully acknowledge the receipt of your Lordships' letter of the 11th of Sept. last, with the other papers therein mentioned in answer to severall of mine sent to your board in relation to the state of this H.M. Province; and think myself highly honoured with the advice you therein vouchsafe to give me, to which I shall constantly pay all due and possible obedience. I am sorry your letter came so late to my hands, that for want of time and opportunity I cannot possibly be so very explicite as I intended; for in relation to Canso I must deferr what your Lordships requires, 'till I have an opportunity of going thither, or can possibly procure from thence a state of the affairs of that harbour. As for the Indian presents and their shiness for the want thereof, I was in Brittain at that time, and could therefore know nothing of that affair 'till some years after my arrival hither. And I am of opinion that annual presents faithfully distributed amongs them may in time prove of some good account. As to the truck houses proposed at the River St. Johns, tho' I am still of my former opinion, I shall make no further advances therein 'till such a happy opportunity as you mention offers for the effecting thereof at the expence of the Province; and from time to time shall do myself the pleasure to forward to your Lordships as maney draughts and surveys as I am capable to procure. I heartily thank your Lordships for the copy of your report upon Mrs. Campble's petition etc. I must beg leave to represent to your Lordships (tho' I wish her all good success) that she hath sett forth in her said petition severall things prejudiciall to truth, and the intrest of her aunts and cousins who have all along remained in the province and pretend to an equall share with her in these demesins which she claims: and therefore first, I think myself oblidged to contradict her assertion (which I suppose only intended to move compassion) that her first husband Lieut. Broadstreet was killed by the Indians; it being so notoriously known that after a long lingring sickness he died in his bed, I think in December 1718 and that we had no disturbance from the Indians 'till the year 1722. And that these orders which she mentions were only given her in charity as an officer's widow during pleasure; and not as any right she ever claim'd which is well known in this place. And I must observe to your Lordships that Cobiguet and Chignecto were alwise distinct from any claim of the L'Tours, the first being by the French king given to one Matthew Martain who is but lately dead, and to the other I never heard that Monsieur L'Tour or any of his heirs ever laid claim. Her assertion that her severall brothers and sisters, her coheirs of the lands and premises in question, retired (soon after the publication of Her late Majestie's letter) into the neibouring provinces under the dominion of France and left her by conveyances sole proprietor, is almost of equall force with the former: for she never had but one brother, and her eldest sister married to a French officer retired with her uncle Charles imediately upon the reduction of the province and her said uncle Charles committed or endeavoured to commit hostilities on board a privateer upon H.M. subjects from that time to the Treaty of Utrecht; her youngest sister is still here and never retired from the province, and her brother being at that time a minor I humbly submitt to your Lordships whither any conveyances from such a person or persons can be of force and agreeable to the purport of H.M. aforesaid letter. If it is, I only beg leave to say that there can be no such thing as a forfeiture in this province, for all those who did retire as in manner aforesaid, hath equall right to dispose of their estates to such of their friends and acquaintances as remain'd, which will be a continuall barr to H.M. Brittish subjects. I must therefore observe to your Lordships that her claim by conveyance from her brother can be of no force because he was then a minor, and had he been of age could only dispose of his own part; so that according to my conception of your Lordships' opinion on that subject, she can only be entitled to her own share as a parcener. I can no ways contradict her grandfather's letters patent from the French king further than this, etc., that according to the best information I have met with here (having no other records of advice to apply to than tradition) that during the life of Marquis D'auney, he L'Tour was entitled to that part of the province by patent, reaching westerly from St. John's River on the north side of the Bay of Fundy; and that after Monsieur D'auney's death, Monsr. L'Tour having married his widow, he was through her intrest absolved from the crimes of maladministration alledged against him by her former husband who was Viceroy of the Province and his the said L'Tour's power was then enlarged; but being unable to answer H.M. the French king's intention in settling the province; he applyed himself to one Le Borgne, Sieur de Bellisle for assistance who supplied him with money and other effects to a very great sum in order to enable him to prosecute his design. Whereupon the said Sieur Le Borgne sent over his son to secure and take care of his intrest according to the agreemt. made between them two: and as things went cross with Mons. L'Tour he put the son in possession of most if not all of his estate as a security for the debt; which not being as yet paid, the son's widow, one of the daughters of said L'Tour by Madam D'auney, holds part of it to this day. I must again by the same report observe to your Lordships, that Madam D'auney after the death of her husband L'Tour, considering the low estate she and her five children by him were reduced to (the estate being disposed of as aforesaid) applying to the French king for reliefe, that it was decreed upon her petition, that Bellisle as a valuable consideration of the money advanced. should be seigneur and receive the rents and profits for seven years, and that the seignioriall estate should be divided share and share alike amongst her five children. This is asserted by the antientest people in this place, and is affirmed to be contained in a book called Arrest de Court, which I have not been able to get a sight of. So that, my Lords, supposing the conveyance from her brother and one of her sisters is good, she can only in my humble opinion be entitled to one fifth part: and those of the other branches who now are and allways have remained in the province, to their respective shares. I must also with submission to your Lordships in some measure oppose her assertion of the amount of the rents, for as I am informed those of Menis does not amount to a greater value than those of this river, of which having sent an account, I referr it to your Lordships' consideration. Upon the whole, and I hope your Lordships will pardon my freedom, I am of opinion that no Governor at that time could give away to any person whatso'ever that which then was, and all along hath been judged to be H.M. property; without speciall directions from H.M. communicated to the Council for that purpose. And I further presume to signiefy to your Lordships, that unless she is limited in her demands, your honble. Board will be eternally troubled with continuall claims by the other coheirs the aunts and cousins, who upon thoughts of retiring at the publication of H.M. said letter made the aforesaid conveyances; and not her brothers and sisters upon which she founds her claim, and as I am informed only conditionally. I am entirely of opinion that there being so few English inhabitants in this place, that they ought to be used with tenderness and not rigour upon every slight occation, which is contrary to my nature; but I hope your Lordships will agree, that a vacancy is preferable to a deceitfull member, and that is my reason why (for the good of H.M. service) I suspended Wm. Winniett Esqr. from his seat, upon the information laid against him, and his other disrespectfull and contemptous behaviour not only in Council but likewise abroad, to the overthrow and prejudice of everything proposed or intended for the good of H.M. service. I am now to acknowledge a letter the 30th of May from Mr. Secretary Pople of your Board, desiring my opinion upon what further encouragement may be given to engage the inhabitants of this Province etc., to apply their industry to the cultivation of naval stores; to which I can make no other answer at present then that I know not what encouragement is already given: However I shall take all opportunities of informing my self amongst the inhabitants, and should be glad your Lordships would order us directions on that head, for I am certain that none of the inhabitants knows in the least how to manufacture it, and as they are generally idle and lazy, it is what can scarcely be expected untill we have English inhabitants. P.S.—I hope you will excuse me by way of postscript to inform your Lordships that I shall strictly observe my Instructions relating to grants, however having received from his Grace the Duke of Chandois a copy of a Minute of H.M. Privy Council upon the representation of John Hart Esqr. relating to some uninhabited lands in this Province for which I am directed to prepare a patent under the Seal of this Province, with an exemption of quitrents for the first ten years after the date of the said grant, and under a moderate quitrent of four shillings sterling for every hundred acres, and to make the same payable at the expiration of the term of ten years from the date of the said grant. Which being a much greater encouragement than I am confin'd to by my instructions, I hope your Lordships will allow that if every person who had a mind to settle here were admitted upon the same terms, would be a great means of drawing inhabitants hither, there being so much barren and unprofitable land almost in every lot: which though I shall not swerve from my instructions; I heartily recomend to your Lordships' consideration, that being also the chief reason why none of the French will accept of patents in H.M. name, etc. Signed, L. Armstrong. Enclosed, Minutes of Council of Nova Scotia. Annapolis Royal, 15th Jan., 1735. Approving Lt. Governor Armstrong's reply as above. Same endorsement, 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 4th July, Read 4th Sept., 1735. 5¾ pp. [C.O. 217, 7. ff. 123, 124 v., 126–128 v., 129 v.]
Jan. 14.
Boston.
455. Benjamin Pemberton to the Duke of Newcastle. Complains that upon presenting H.M. Royal warrant for the Naval Office in the Province, the Governor gave him a patent "revokable at his pleasure and without any relation to the King's warrant." He accepted this rather than "interrupt your Grace's precious time"; He has ever since been" wading through one continued course of opposition"; A party of merchants and traders have formed a party against him, being displeased first at his appointment to the office, and then at his exactness in keeping it. The Governor has acted in concert with them. Two months ago he received a Royal licence of leave through Mr. Pelham, which he proposed to avail himself of. The Governor first consented to his going, but afterwards refused to allow him, until he had had an answer from his Grace. The Governor promises to pass a patent exactly conformable to the King's warrant if he remains until he has had such answer. Begs for a favourable reply etc. Signed, Benja. Pemberton. 3 pp. [C.O. 5, 899. ff. 130–131.]
Jan. 14.
Boston.
456. Same to Mr. Crow. Repeats what he has written to the Duke of Newcastle, and begs for his assistance that he may not be "condemned unheard" in the dispute with the Governor. Signed, Benja. Pemberton. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 899. ff. 132, 132 v.]
Jan. 14.
Whitehall.
457. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled. Representation in reply to Addresses of 1st and 5th April, 1734, for the Board to lay before the House a state of the British Islands in America, with regard to their trade, their strength and fortifications, together with their opinion what may be further necessary for the encouragement of their trade, and security of those Islands; and also to revise and consider the several proposals that may at any time have been laid before them, relating to such encouragements as may be necessary to engage the inhabitants of the British Colonies on the Continent in America, to apply their industry to the cultivation of naval stores of all kinds, and likewise of such other products as may be proper for the soil of the said Colonies, and do not interfere with the trade or produce of Great Britain. In treating these subjects we shall follow the order observed by your Lordships in your addresses to H.M., which leads us to begin with what relates to the trade, the strength and fortifications of our Island Colonies in America, namely, Jamaica, Barbados, the Leeward Islands, the Bahamas and the Bermuda or Summer Islands, of which the three first mentioned are called Sugar Colonies, and are of great importance to the trade and navigation of this kingdom. The trade of Jamaica consists in an exchange of its productions and merchandize for the manufactures and merchandize of Great Britain, Ireland, Africa, the British Colonies on the Continent of America, Madera and the Bay of Honduras. The principal articles that we export thither are woollen cloths and stuffs of all sorts, wrought silks plain and brocaded, hats of various kinds, leather both tanned and wrought, German and Dutch linnens, cordage, beeswax, several sorts of drugs and grocery, paper, wine, soap, tea, coffee, arrack, East India silks, stuffs and calicoes, and several other particulars of less consideration. In exchange for these goods the people of Jamaica furnish us with the natural productions and merchandize of that Island; sugar, rum and molosses, cotton, piemento, (commonly called Jamaica pepper), ginger, fustick, ebony, lignum vitae, mahogony, with many other kinds of valuable timber and wood proper for dyeing, and for the use of our cabinet makers and carpenters; we likewise import indigo from Jamaica, which was formerly a production of that Island, but is now brought thither from the French Colonies. The annual amount of our exports to Jamaica at a medium of four years from Christmas 1728, to Christmas 1732, as it stands computed in the Custom House accompts, appears to have been £147,675 2s. 3¾d. The medium of our imports from Jamaica in the same years, is £539,499 18s. 3½d. So that the annual excess of our imports in that period, is no less than £391,824 15s. 11¾d. But it must not be imagined that this excess is a debt upon Great Britain to the Island of Jamaica; a part of it must be placed to the account of negroes sent to the Spanish West Indies by our South Sea Company, the produce of which is returned to England by way of Jamaica; another part of the debt due to our African traders from the people of Jamaica for the negroes which are purchased and remain there for the service of the Island; a third proportion must be placed to the account of our northern Colonies on the Continent of America, who discharge part of their ballance with Great Britain by consignments from Jamaica arising from the pro visions and lumber with which they supply that Island; all which will appear more fully in the following articles. The remaining part of the excess in our importations from this Colony, is profit made upon our trade, whether immediately from Great Britain or by way of Africa; and lastly it is a consideration of great importance in the general trade of Great Britain, that part of the sugar and merchandize which we bring from Jamaica is re-exported from hence, and helps to make good our ballance in trade with other countries in Europe. The particulars with which Jamaica is supplyed from the British Colonies of North America, are flower, biscuit, corn, beef, pork, butter, salt, fish, rice, staves, hoops, timber in several shapes, and horses, great part of which is paid for in rum, sugar, molosses, ginger, with other productions and merchandize of the Island and the ballance discharged with mony, some part of which, as hath been already observed, is remitted to Great Britain. From the coast of Africa large numbers of negroes are carryed to Jamaica, of which many are re-exported from thence by the South Sea Company, to make good their Assiento contract with the Spaniards, another part of them are re-exported by private traders both to the Spanish and French settlements in their neighbourhood; some are sent to the British Colonies in North America, and the rest are purchased by the people of the Islands to carry on their sugar works and plantations. We cannot enumerate the particulars which Ireland exchanges with Jamaica, our Office not being supplyed with Custom House accounts from that kingdom; but in general, it appears from accounts transmitted to us by the naval officers in Jamaica, that Ireland has always supplyed that Island with large quantities of beef, pork, butter and other provisions for which it is to be presumed, the returns are generaly made to this Kingdom, because the people of Ireland have not till very lately been allowed to bring home any part of the product of the Plantations directly to Ireland, and even at this time are restrained to such commodities as are not enumerated in our Acts of Navigation. From the Island of Madera the people of Jamaica import large quantities of wine; and from the Bay of Honduras they are supplyed with great quantities of logwood, in exchange for provisions and other necessaries which they furnish to the logwood cutters. With regard to the strength and fortifications of Jamaica, the military establishment there, consists of nine regiments of militia, with their superior and subaltern officers, all of them commissioned by the Governor, agreeable to an Act of Assembly for regulating the Militia in this Island. By our last return from the Government of Jamaica upon this subject, it appears that in 1730, the number of white inhabitants did not exceed 7,644 persons, and the Militia, including horse and foot, was then computed at 3,000 men, dispersed over all the inhabited part of the Island. For some years past there have been independent companies of H.M. forces quartered in Jamaica; and H.M. hath lately been pleased to order six other independent Companies of one hundred men each to be transported thither, for the defence and protection of this Colony. There are six forts in Jamaica, the principal of which is Fort Charles at Port Royal, lately rebuilt and in a good state of defence; the second is called the Rock Fort, upon the harbour of Kingston; there is a third lately built at Port Antonio, and the other three which are called Fort William, Fort Morant, and the Fort of Carlisle Bay are in very bad repair. Fort Charles has a captain and a lieutenant, with other subaltern officers and twelve gunners; there is a captain of the train of artillery in Spanish Town, and we are in constant expectation of hearing that proper officers are appointed for the new fortification at Port Antonio, which is all that we have to offer to your Lordships in answer to that part of your address which relates to the present state of the trade, the strength and fortifications of Jamaica. We come now to give your Lordships an account of the like particulars with regard to the Island of Barbados, which was settled more early, and hath been improved with more industry and vigour than any other of H.M. territories in America. The Islands comprised in H.M. Commission to the Govr. of this Colony, are Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominico, St. Vincents, Tobago and the rest of H.M. Islands, Colonies and Plantations in America, commonly called by the name of the Charibbee Islands lying to the windward of Guardaloupe; but of these only the Island of Barbados is setled, whose natural productions are rum and molosses, ginger, cotton, aloes and several kinds of fruits. Sugar is the principal commodity in the trade of this Island, which consists in an exchange of that and its other productions for the manufactures and merchandize of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Colonies on the Continent of America, and slaves from Africa. The general exports from Great Britain to Barbados between Christmas 1728 and Christmas 1732, according to their valuation in the Custom House books amounted, at a medium of those years to £85,780 15s. 7d. p. annum. Our imports from Barbados at a like medium for the same years amounted to £246,599 13s. 10¼d. Therefore the annual excess of our imports from this Colony, during that period, was £160,518 18sd. There is little or no variation between the commodities which Barbados receives from Great Britain, Ireland or our Northern Colonies in America, and those which we have already enumerated to your Lordships, under the title of Jamaica, and the excess of our imports from Barbados must be accounted for in the same manner by mony due to Great Britain from our American Colonies, and for slaves brought to Barbados by our African traders. With regard to the strength and fortifications of this Island, which being the most windward of all H.M. Colonies in America is therefore of very great importance on account of its situation, it appears from the answers we received to our general queries from the Governor of this Colony in the year 1724, that there was in Barbados no less than 22 castles and forts, and 26 batteries mounted with 463 peices of ordnance, but it was computed at that time, that about 100 peices of cannon were wanting to compleat ye fortifications, that most of the cannon in the Island were honeycombed, all the fortifications in a ruinous condition, and all the military stores and arms in the magazines gone to decay; all which having been lately represented to the King by the present Governor and Council of Barbados, it is not to be doubted that H.M. will be pleased to give proper directions thereupon. The Militia of this Colony consists of one troop, two regiments of horse and seven regiments of foot, of which two bear the title of Guards. The number of men contained in these corps is always relative to that of the white inhabitants, for by the Act of Militia all free men are obliged to enter themselves in the regiment of their own district. In 1724 there were 18,295 white persons in Barbados, amongst whom they reckoned 4,812 men able to bear arms, which was therefore the number of the Militia, and these with a few matrosses and gunners for the management of their batteries, is all the military force of this Island. We now come to give your Lordships an account of the Leeward Islands. The territories which compose H.M. Government of the Leeward Islands, are Antigua, St. Christophers, Nevis and Mountserrat, with their dependencies, Barbouda and Anguilla, Spanish Town, Tortola, and the rest of the Virgin Islands. The commerce of these Colonies is almost entirely the same with that of Barbados; they have trade with Great Britain and Ireland, the British Colonies of North America, Madera and Africa, and the goods they import from these countries and exchange with them, are of the same kinds with those enumerated under the titles of Jamaica and Barbados. The annual value of our exports to the Leeward Islands, between Christmas 1728 and Christmas 1732, amounted at a medium of those years, to £69,410 15s. 9¼d. The medium of our imports from those Colonies, during the same period, was £642,269 9s. 6¼d. So that the annual excess of the latter was £572,858 13s. 9d. which must be accompted for in the same manner with the excess of our imports from Barbados. Ireland supplies the Leeward Islands with beef, pork, butter, herrings and salmon, as likewise with linnen manufactured in that kingdom, to the amount, as it has been computed, of £40,000 p. annum, the value of which is ballanced by the sugar and other productions of those countries returned to Great Britain. On the coast of Africa the people of the Leeward Islands have sometimes purchased negroes with their own rum, which is a valuable commodity in Guinea, and with the goods which they import from Great Britain for that purpose. At the Maderas they buy large quantities of wine, which they pay for with negroes and provisions, or by bills of exchange drawn upon London. To the British Colonies in North America they send rum and molosses in exchange for the products of those countries, which we have already described. Amongst the Virgin Islands which are very numerous and extend about fifty leagues from east to west, only three Anguilla, Spanish Town and Tortola, are inhabited by H.M. subjects. These have no immediate intercourse with Great Britain or any part of Europe, and their commerce hath hitherto been so inconsiderable, as not to deserve the establishment of Custom House officers to superintend it. As to the strength and fortifications of these Colonies, in the year 1724 there were 12,420 whites in all the Islands, who are now reduced to 10,262 persons, of which number there are 3,284 men and consequently the Militia cannot exceed that number, whereas in 1724 it consisted of 3,513 men divided in the following manner, in Antigua 1,400, in St. Christophers 1,200, in Nevis 300, in Montserrat 350–3,250. In Anguilla 85, in Spanish Town 78, in Tortola 100. Total 3,513. The fortification of greatest importance in the Island of Antigua is Monks Hill Fort, which is at present mounted with thirty peices of ordnance of different sizes, and has a magazine with about four hundred muskets and 700 bayonets in good order: There is also another fort in this Island, erected at the mouth of St. Johns River, mounted with 14 ps. of cannon, and 7 other batteries raised for the defence of so many landing places, which together are mounted with 46 ps. of ordnance. The principal fortification in the Island of St. Xtophers is a fort erected on Brimstone Hill, which is furnished with 49 ps. of cannon of different dimensions, and contains a magazine which is at present supplied with 16,000 pounds of powder, 700 firelocks, 500 bayonets and some other military stores. Charles Fort is another fortification of this Island, wch. is furnished wth. 46 ps. of ordnance of different dimensions, and a sufficient quantity of military stores; Mr. Mathew the present Governor of the Leeward Islands informs us, that they are now employed in repairing and compleating the fortifications of Londonderry Fort situated to the eastward of the town of Basseterre, which will protect that side of the Island, and there are six other batteries in St. Xtophers erected at so many landing places, which together are mounted with forty-three peices of ordnance. There is only one old fort in the Island of Nevis, mounted with 19 guns, and one fort or rather a battery of 7 guns in the Isld. of Montserrat, exclusive of a small number old dismounted cannon formerly planted for the defence of different landing places, and these two last mentioned Islds. seem at present incapable of putting themselves into a better posture of defence, having suffered very much from the enemy in the late war, to whose depredations they would be very much exposed in case of another. We come now to speak of ye Bahama Islds. which are of importance to Gt. Britain on account of their situation, and when they shall once be fully peopled and cultivated, may also come to be considerable for their productions and commerce. These productions are salt wch. is made in the Isld. of Euxma and other of the Bahamas, in so large a quantity as would be sufficient to supply all the English Colonies in America: large sugar canes, mahogony, cedar, and pine fit for building vessels, palmetto trees which afford a production called plat, of which they make hats equal to those of Bermuda, manchineel, prince wood, lignum vitae, brown ebony of a strong aromatick scent, with great quantities of braziletto, fustick and other dying woods, senna, gum elemi, guiacum, mastick with several other gums and medicinal drugs, citrons, oranges, limes and other kinds of fine fruit are all said to be produced in the Bahamas; their pineapple is thought to be the best in America, and their soil is capable of bearing most sorts of provisions as well as cotton, ginger, sugar, tobacco, and in general every thing that is produced in any part of ye West Indies. They have great plenty of turtle, they find large quantities of ambergreece upon their coasts, and make train oyle of the whales and other fishes wch. they take there. From the year 1723 to the year 1728, it was computed that all their imports from this kingdom did not exceed the value of £2,000 p. ann. divided upon woollen and silk manufactures, East India goods, linnen, shoes, haberdashery and small wares, a small quantity of spice and grocery, stationers' goods, arms, ammunition, cordage, anchors and some other small articles. They likewise take a small quantity of provisions from Ireland as well as from South Carolina and other parts of America which last are paid for with turtle and fruit, and in exchange for their salt they import the sugar and other productions of Jamaica. In the year 1728, they computed five hundred white persons on the Island of Providence, which is the only one of the Bahamas that is peopled in any degree, out to whom they have formed six companies of Militia, which with one independent company in H.M.'s pay, is all the military force in these Islands. For many years past there hath been one fort in the Island of Providence, and in 1728 they began to build another, to command the east entrance of the harbour, which are all the regular fortifications in the Bahamas. It now remains, that we give your Lordships an account of the like particulars in the Bermuda or Summer Islands, whose productions are cedar, palmetto trees and train oyl drawn from the small whales that are taken on their coasts, with small quantities of tobacco, pineapples, oranges, onions, potatoes, and cabbages. Of the tops of palmetto trees they make the above mentioned straw called plat, which is worked up in hats, for the use of women, which bear the name of these Islands; but the most material article in their present trade, is that of sloops built of their own cedar, which are distinguished likewise by the name of the Islands, and are equally remarkable for their form and the excellency of their sailing. The people of Bermudas build annually between twenty and thirty sloops, which generally sail out in ballast to the Salt Islands, from whence they carry salt to some parts of the English Continent of America, where they traffick from [for] lumber and provisions, and when they are not able to purchase a cargoe, they take one in upon freight, and so sail to the British Islands in America, or from one part of the Continent to another, and having at last disposed of their sloop they return to Bermudas in order to build a new vessel for an adventure of the like nature. This is the ordinary round of trade pursued by four parts in five of all the vessels that are sent out of the Summer Islands, and by the sale of these sloops the Bermudians are supply'd with peices of eight, and with sugar, rum, rice, cocoa, pitch and tar, logwood and other dyeing stuffs, deer skins and other productions of America, which being added to their plat, and sent to England, they are thereby enabled to take off large quantities of our woollen manufactures, East India goods, linnen, household furniture, haberdashery, and in general all those commodities which are comprehended by merchants under the denomination of dry goods. In the year 1729, there were upwards of 5,000 white persons in the Summer Islands, who are divided into eight tribes; and the militia consists of one company of foot drawn from each tribe, which together form a regiment of about 1,000 men and these with one independent company in H.M. pay and one troop of horse of about 100 men exclusive of officers, is all the military force in these Islands. The fortifications in the Bermudas are the King's Fort mounted with 29 peices of ordnance, and six other open batteries mounted with 41 guns, but for several years past they have all been in a very ruinous condition. Having thus described the present state of our Island Colonies in the West Indies with respect to their trade, their strength and fortifications, we come now to that part of your Lordships' address which requires us to give our opinion of what may be further necessary for the encouragement of the trade and security of these Islands; whereupon we beg leave to observe to your Lordships that as sugar is the production of the greatest consequence in Barbados, the Leeward Islands and Jamaica, the prosperity of those Colonies will therefore depend in great measure upon the consumption of that commodity in H.M. Dominions, and the price it will sell for in the other markets of Europe. The use of sugar in this Kingdom has augmented very much in the last thirty years, which is undoubtedly owing to the encreased consumption of tea and coffee within that period, but on the other hand our exportations of this commodity have of late years diminished very considerably, which must be attributed to the great en crease of the French Plantations, and the large quantities of sugar brought into Europe from those settlements, as well as by the Dutch and Portugeze, which may be afforded, and are actually sold much cheaper than sugars imported from the English Colonies. The principal causes that concur in creating this difference in the price between English and foreign sugar, are the great charges attending our navigation, the high duties imposed upon our sugars at importation, the importation of French sugars into Ireland, and above all, the great expence our planters are at in cultivating this commodity, some of our Sugar Islands being almost worn out, especially Barbados, where many more hands and much more manure are requisite than in the fresh lands lately planted by the French in Hispaniola and other parts of the West Indies. With respect to the charges of our navigation, it would be impossible to give our traders any relief in this particular, without breaking thro some established customs, and making great alterations in several laws, by which many general charges have been imposed upon shipping for the repair of the peers and light houses: But they have long been desirous of the liberty of carrying their sugars directly to all the European markets to the southward of Cape Finistere, and we would humbly submit it to your Lordships, whether such a liberty might not be granted under proper restrictions. They likewise propose that the reduction should be made upon the duties payable upon rum imported into Great Britain, apprehending that such a reduction would not interfere with the sale of our British spirits, but rather with French brandies and other foreign spirits, which carry great sums of mony out of the Kingdom, whereas rum is paid for in our own manufactures. With respect to the advantage which the French derive from the freshness of their sugar plantations, it is impossible to prescribe any remedy which might put our planters in Barbados, and the greatest part of the Leeward Islands, upon a par with them in this particular, because, as we have already observed, the soil of those countries, especially Barbados, is much exhausted. But in the Island of Jamaica there are very large tracts of lands proper for bearing sugar canes, and capable of most other American productions, which have not yet been cultivated; and we are sorry to observe to your Lordships, that the most fertile and best situated lands in this Colony have been formerly granted to private persons in such exorbitant quantities, that at present there remains very little or no land for the reception of new comers, unless they purchase it at a very high price, except in such parts of the Island as are very much exposed and lye under such disadvantages as may justly deter men from settling upon them. We conceive the best means of promoting the prosperity of Jamaica, and of securing the possession of it to Great Britain, would be to take all possible methods to people it with white inhabitants, and to encourage every kind of agriculture proper for the soil, and capable of being carryed on by people of small substance, but tho' we have long understood this to be the principal interest of Jamaica, we conceive it impossible to invent methods of attracting new inhabitants thither, whilst the lands of the country remain confin'd as they are at present, in the possession of a few wealthy planters. The people of Jamaica have appeared so sensible of these truths, and of the ill consequencies that might arise from them, that in the year 1722, they made a law for vesting all such lands in the Crown for which the proprietors had paid no Quit Rents within a certain time, upon condition that the lands so forfeited should be re-granted in small parcels to new inhabitants, under certain conditions mentioned in the Act. Four other Acts were afterwards passed for purchasing more land to the publick for the use and encouragement of new comers for building a town to be called by the name of Portland, and for forming a settlement at Port Antonio, which is a port of consequence in the north-east part of Jamaica. But either these Acts were insufficient to effectuate the purposes for which they were designd, or the execution of them hath been evaded, or the intention of them weakned by subsequent laws, because those lands have not been purchased by new inhabitants, but for the most part lye still uncultivated, and the Island is more destitute than ever of white inhabitants. We are humbly of opinion therefore, that if the people of Jamaica will not be induced to frame an Act which may divest particular persons of those extensive tracts which now lye uncultivated, this may be a proper subject for the consideration of the British Parliament, by whose authority an effective method may be taken to reassume those ancient grants that have hitherto been useless even to their owners as well as the publick or otherwise to put the proprietors under a necessity of cultivating them. This reform in the State of Jamaica will be the more necessary, as it is in reality the only means that can effectually provide for the domestick happyness of that Island, or secure the possession of it to Great Britain; and on the other hand, were that once done to the extent the country is capable of, it would not only be in a condition to defend itself against any force that could be raised by the future enemies of Great Britain in America, but might also prove a bulwark to the rest of H.M. Sugar Plantations, and be able to give them assistance in case of a rupture with the French Colonies in their neighbourhood, which from the freshness and fertility of their soil joyned with other advantages in commerce are become very flourishing and prosperous. It remains that we mention two other points to your Lordships, which are essential to the prosperity of all H.M. Plantations and especially to the Island Colonies, namely, that the care which hath hitherto been had to guard the coast of Africa by ships of war, from pirates, be duly continued that so the rate of insurance which is an heavy clog upon commerce, may be kept low, and our Colonies receive a constant supply of slaves, without which they cannot possibly subsist: Secondly, that in time of war such a squadron of British ships may be stationed in the West Indies as may be able to give the law to our enemies at sea, without which all other dispositions that can be made in our Dominions there, will be fruitless; and the French in case of a rupture with that Crown, will be able both to invade our Plantations and prey upon our navigation, in such a manner as might in a short time prove fatal both to one and the other. From the description we have given your Lordships of the Bahama Islands in the foregoing part of this representation, it might be highly reasonable to expect great advantages in trade from countries that abound with productions of so rich a nature, if those Islands were fully peopled; but hitherto the number of their inhabitants hath been too small to admit of a considerable trade, and until they shall be encreased, we cannot propose any new improvements with respect to their commerce. We beg leave however to observe to your Lordships, that these Islands, which lye in the Gulph of Florida, and near the windward passage, may from their situation prove of consequence to this Kingdom, in case of a rupture with Spain, by receiving such light frigates as may be stationed there for the protection of our own trade betwixt the Islands and Continent of America, or for intercepting Spanish or French ships in their voyages between Europe and the Spanish West Indies. The Bermuda or Summer Islands having for many years been well peopled and cultivated, their commerce hath been extended as far as can well be expected from such small Colonies; nor can we add any thing to the acct. we have already given of it to your Lordships in this report, unless they should be induced to turn some part of their land into vineyards, which might probably produce as good wine as the Maderas. These Islands lye in the midst of a very tempestuous ocean, and are surrounded by a chain of rocks, most of which lye under water, when the tide is at the highest, so that their security from the invasions of foreign enemies seems to be provided for by their natural situation, and indeed it is affirmed by voyage writers of the best authority, that the Spaniards never thought of planting a Colony in these Islands and made no other use of their discovery than to avoid them in their navigation between Europe and the Indies. With regard to your Lordships' Address of the 5th of April, 1734, that we should revise and consider the several proposals that may at any time have been laid before us relating to such encouragements as may be necessary to engage the inhabitants of the British Colonies on the Continent in America, to apply their industry to the cultivation of naval stores of all kinds, and likewise of such other products as may be proper for the soil of the said Colonies, and do not interfere with the trade or produce of Great Britain, we beg leave to acquaint your Lordships, that we have frequently represented the great advantage that would arise to this Kingdom from receiving such supplies of naval stores from our American Colonies, as might render us independent of our northern neighbours in an article so highly important to the defence the trade and navigation of Great Britain: We have never failed to urge the necessity of this proposition upon all fit occasions, and the Legislature have often made it the subject of their consideration: Hence the several acts have taken rise which heretofore gave praemiums upon the importation of naval stores from the British Colonies in America, which were attended with so good success as to reduce the price of some of those stores very considerably, particularly of pitch and tar. But as all these Acts expired in 1725–6, except those that related to hemp, we therefore thought it our duty to represent in the year 1727, that it might be necessary to settle new praemiums upon naval stores imported from our Plantations, tho' not in the same degree as they had been given by the former Acts; and a Law did pass in the succeeding session of Parliament, entituled, An Act for better preservation of H.M. Woods in America, and for the encouragement of the Importation of Naval Stores from thence, and to encourage the importation of Masts, Yards, and Bowsprits from that part of Great Britain called Scotland; by which provision was made against the destruction of H.M. Woods in America, and praemiums setled upon the importation of masts, yards and bowsprits, tar, pitch and turpentine; so that iron is the only article of naval stores which remains destitute of any encouragement upon importation into this Kingdom from our American Colonies. The Deputy-Governor of Maryland hath informed us, by his letter dated the 16th of October last, that if iron was eased from the present duty of importation, a large supply of that commodity might be imported into this Kingdom from Maryland and the neighbouring provinces. He is also of opinion that very good wine might be made there, if the inhabitants had proper encouragement to attempt so new a thing. The Deputy Governor of Pensylvania acquaints us, in his letter dated the 31st of October last, that this Province produces hemp and iron, which last is generally allowed to be as good as any whatsoever, and that upon proper encouragement Pensylvania and the neighbouring Colonies might be able to supply Great Britain with considerable quantities of this necessary commodity. He adds, that flax is found to agree so well with their soil, that it is not to be doubted but a considerable progress will soon be made in raising this commodity: that the mulberry tree grows so naturally and the silk worm thrives so well there, as to give them a distant prospect of a silk manufacture; and that some essays have been made towards the manufacturing of pot-ashes, which he believes would, with suitable encouragement be brought to perfection. The Governor of South Carolina, in his letter of the 9th of Novr. last, acquaints us, that hitherto rice, tar and pitch have been the staple commodities of that Province, but that they have lately made some progress towards the raising hemp, and that persons of judgement believe that good flax might also be produced there, if necessary encouragement was given for the propagation of it: They have made some disposition, both here and in Georgia, for manufacturing pot and pearl ashes, and they have lately propagated a large number of white mulberry trees for the subsistence of silk-worms in hopes of accomplishing a silk manufacture; their soil is also thought capable of producing good vines; and they have hopes, that several valuable drugs might be produced in Georgia, which they design to bring from Natolia, Syria and other places in the Streights that lye in the same latitude with this Province: But the Governor adds, that praemiums are necessary to bring these undertakings to perfection, which South Carolina is not at present able to give; to which he adds, this Province likewise abounds with live oak, cyprus trees and other kinds of timber, which would be proper for the use of the Navy, if such bounties were setled upon them as might answer the great expence of freight to this Kingdom, and by that means make it practicable to import them. It may be proper for us to acquaint your Lordships under this head, that the liberty given by an Act passed in the third year of His Present Majesty, for exporting rice directly from South Carolina to any European ports southward of Cape Finisterre, has had a very good effect, and it being now near expiring, we would beg leave to submit to your Lordships, whether it may be deserve to be continued. A Bill did formerly pass the House of Commons, wherein the encouragement proposed for importing iron in pig and sows from America, was the taking off the duty payable upon it at importation, which amounts to three shillings and nine pence half penny p. ton, and this encouragement would, in our opinion, engage the planters to furnish us with such quantities of iron in pigs and sows as might be sufficient for the use of our manufactures. We import annually into this Kingdom about 20,000 tons of this commodity, the greatest part of which is brought from Sweden, and paid for with ready mony; so that in our humble opinion nothing could be more prudent or indeed more necessary for the welfare of Great Britain, than to give such encouragement to the importation of iron from our Plantations, which abound both with oar and wood, for the use of the furnaces, as might render us independent of our northern neighbours, for a supply of a commodity so essential to the support of our fleet and of our navigation in general. We annually import from Sweden only about 14,300 tons, which computed at no more than £10 p. ton, would amount to upwards of £143,000, the which we pay to that kingdom in ready mony, and therefore an encouragement upon the importation of this commodity may be the more necessary at this time, because the people of America having discovered several iron mines and set up forges, it is to be feared that they will work up their iron in manufactures, which may be prejudicial to those of this Kingdom, if some effectual means be not found out to induce them to import it in pigs and sows into Great Britain. Thus we have laid before your Lordships what hath occurred to us concerning the cultivation of naval stores, and such other products as may be proper for the soil of our American Colonies; and as some of them, particularly the northern Provinces, do very much resemble England in their climate, soil and productions, we conceive that the most natural and the only effectual method of keeping the people there from raising sheep and establishing such manufactures as might in time be detrimental to the trade and manufactures of Great Britain, will be to continue the present bounties upon naval stores, and give encouragement to the importation of iron and such other particulars as the wisdom of the Legislature shall think advantageous for Great Britain to have from those countries, as may induce them to apply their utmost industry in the improvement of such necessary commodities, of which there will always be a consumption in H.M.'s Kingdoms. 42 2/3 pp. [C.O. 5, 5. ff. 102–122; and 324, 12. pp. 79–120.]
[Jan. 14]458. Abstract of above representation concerning Barbados. [C.O. 28, 40. ff. 161–164 v.]
Jan. 15.
Whitehall.
459. Mr. Popple to Mr. Attorney and Mr. Solicitor General. Having laid your letter of the 10th inst., desiring an explanation of the questions proposed to you in mine of the 8th of March last, relating to the bounds between New Hampshire and the Massachusetts Bay, before my Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, I am commanded to acquaint you, that the question to which my Lords desire your answer, is, from what part of Merrimack River, the three miles from whence the dividing line, between the Province of New Hampshire and the Province of the Massachusetts Bay is to begin, ought to be taken, according to the intent of the Charter of William and Mary? I am sorry my last letter to you, upon this subject, was not sufficiently explicit. [C.O. 5, 917. pp. 106, 107.]