British Committees, Commissions, and Councils of Trade and Plantations , 1622-1675 Part 7

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Dr. Benjamin Worsley, who held the position of advisor and a.s.sistant secretary under Slingsby, the secretary of the Council, was allowed 300, while for contingent expenses 1,000, the same amount that had been placed at the disposal of each of the secretaries, Sir Philip Frowde and Col. Duke, of the former councils, was appropriated.[3] Five members, always including the president or one of the officers of state authorized to attend, const.i.tuted a quorum of the Council, which was ordered to meet for the first time at Ess.e.x House, the residence of the Lord Keeper, Sir Orlando Bridgeman, near Temple Bar, at two in the afternoon. After the addition of the new members, May 16, 1671, it removed to the Earl of Bristol's house in Queen Street near Lincoln's Inn Fields;[4] and after February 12, 1672, to Lord Arlington's lodgings in Whitehall, in order, as Evelyn tells us, that the King might be present and hear the debates. It was authorized to employ clerks, messengers, solicitors, doorkeepers, and other inferior officers and attendants as it should think fit and necessary for its service.

By their commission the members of the Council were empowered "to inform themselves by the best ways and meanes they can of the present State and condition of our Plantations, together with the Increase, or Decay of the Trade, and strength of each of them respectively, And the Causes and Reasons of such Encrease or Decay, And to use all Industry and Diligence for gaining the full knowledge of all things transacted within any part of those our Dominions, either by the respective Governours themselves or their respective Deputies or by them and the respective Councills, or a.s.semblies, belonging to any of our said respective Plantations, and thereof from time to time to give us a true faithfull and certaine Accompt togeather with their best advice and opinion thereupon." The range of colonial interest was a wide one, "all the affaires which doe or may touch or concerne any of our Forreigne Plantations, Colonies, or Dominions, situate, lying and being in any part of America or in the Ocean lying betweene this and the maine Land of America, or in any part of the Bay of Mexico, or upon the Coast of Guinea, or within any of that circuit of the Globe, that is generally known or called by the name of the West Indies, whether the said Plantations, Countries, and Territories, be immediately held by us, or held by any others of us, by vertue of any Charters, Graunts, or Letters Patents thereof already made or graunted, or hereafter to be made or graunted, and of all other and forreigne Plantations, Colonies, and Dominions (our Towne, Citty and Garrison of Tangier only excepted)." The Council had power to send for any person or persons whom it deemed able to furnish information or advice; to call for any books, papers, or records that it judged likely to be useful to it, and to require of every person called upon or colonial official addressed prompt and ready response.

By its instructions and additional instructions the Council was ordered to make full inquiry into the state of the plantations and to take every means of acquiring full and accurate information as to the powers of the governors, the execution of the same, the number of parishes, planters, servants, and slaves there, and the best means for increasing the supply where needed. It was to instruct the governors to live at peace with the Indians and not to suffer them to be injured in their persons, goods, or possessions; and to keep on terms of amity with their neighbors, whether Dutch, French, or Spanish; to take such measures that all commodities of the growth or making of the Plantations be duly manufactured and improved, and to inquire whether it were possible to promote in any way the production of such tropical commodities as cotton, ginger, cocoa, etc. It was to find out what islands were best fitted for the breeding of cattle and to encourage the same; to investigate the opportunities of obtaining masts and to stimulate the production of hemp, flax, pitch, and tar in New England, and the setting up of saw mills. It was instructed to study the question of procuring servants and slaves, to settle all difficulties between the Royal African Company and the colonies, and to do all in its power to check "spiriting" or the enticing of children and young persons from England to the plantations. It was to deal with colonial trade, both oceanic and coastwise, to see that the acts of navigation were duly enforced; to inquire into the conduct of colonial governments, to examine colonial laws and to recommend for annulment such as were contrary to honor, justice, or the law of England. It was to become familiar with colonial geography, to procure maps and charts, and to have them available for examination. It was to aid the spread of the Gospel, the purification of morals, and the instruction of Indians and slaves. By the additional instructions, issued August 1, 1670, it was to consider the question of colonial defence, to recommend the production of saltpetre, to consider how spices, gums, drugs, dyeing stuffs, etc., might be procured for the plantations from the East Indies, and to study the systems employed in other countries for the improvement of trade and the plantations.[5]

It is noteworthy that the sessions of the Council were held in secret, no one being admitted except the members, and even those only after each had taken an oath not to betray the proceedings. "You shall swear," so runs this oath, "to be true and faithful to our Sovereign Lord the King, his heirs and successors; you shall according to the best of your skill, discretion, knowledge, and experience give unto his Maj^{tie} true and faithful councell, in all things that shall be demanded of you touching or concerning his Ma^{ties} forreigne Plantations. You shall keepe secret and conceale his Ma^{ties} said Councells, without disclosing the same to any person except he be of the same Councill, and if the matter touch any of the same Councill you shall not disclose the same to him.

You shall not promote or further any matter in the said Councill, for any reward, favour, affection, or displeasure, And in case you shall perceive anything to be done contrary to his Ma^{ties} honour and service you shall to the utmost of your Power with stand and Lett the same."

The Council had its first meeting on August 3, 1670, when the commission and instructions were read; and from that time until September 20, 1672, a period of nearly twenty-three months, it held one hundred meetings of which we have record, and probably many more of which no record has been found.[6] It is reasonable to infer that during the working months the Council met twice a week.

The Council began by taking over much of the business left unfinished by the Committee of the Privy Council, but it soon increased its activity. It early inaugurated a policy and system of control that was more comprehensive than any which had been put into practice by the previous boards. Efficient though some of the former councils and committees had been, no one of them had endeavored to cover so wide a range of colonial business or to inquire so minutely into the details of colonial government as did this Council of 1670. It not only took into consideration all pet.i.tions, memorials, statements of claim, and subjects in dispute, but it also set up an elaborate system of inquiry on its own part, following out the instructions which had been given to it to require of every colonial governor frequent information regarding the condition of his government. It drafted long series of queries which were despatched to all the colonies, and to which elaborate replies were received, notably from Berkeley, of Virginia, Wheeler, of St.

Christopher, and Lynch, of Jamaica. It supplemented the information thus received by demanding letters from the governors, and received in response long and frequent epistles, dealing with colonial affairs in the most minute detail. Wheeler, Stapleton, Lynch, Willoughby, Colleton, and others furnished the Council with all sorts of descriptive and statistical matter, and were always ready to offer suggestion and advice. Merchants, planters, agents, and others familiar with colonial trade were also called upon for statements, either in person or in writing, and at many a meeting outsiders were called in to make reports to the board. The evidence thus obtained was generally discussed in the Council itself, at which the King and officers of state were occasionally present, and it was also referred to committees of two or more, which made their report to the Council. Upon the information and opinions thus obtained, the Council based its orders and reports to the Privy Council.[7]

In addition to these functions, the Council a.s.sumed an important and in some ways a new role when it took upon itself the business of preparing all the preliminary drafts of the various commissions and instructions of the governors, often spending many days in the consideration of these instruments, and often receiving from the appointees themselves suggestions as to the wording of certain clauses. As far as the more general powers and duties were concerned, these instructions were modelled somewhat after those which the Council itself had received, and lively debate arose not infrequently over the nature and extent of the authority that ought to be conferred on the appointees. The drafts of the commission and instructions, when completed, were sent to the Secretary of State, by whom corrections might be made, then conveyed to the Privy Council, where the doc.u.ments were frequently referred to the attorney general for his advice on legal points, and sometimes to the Committee of the Council, which at this time, as well as afterward, felt itself fully empowered to make any alterations it pleased. Thus many hands may have had a share in shaping these important papers before they were finally engrossed, although it is probable that in the majority of instances the draft of the Council was accepted unchanged by the King.

The Council was also beginning to exercise another important function in receiving from the Privy Council copies of laws pa.s.sed in the colonies upon the character of which its opinion was desired, and in being called upon by the Privy Council or the Secretary of State to make recommendations as to fit persons to hold colonial offices. In this particular, the most responsible task of the Council lay in the selection and instruction of special commissioners, who in accordance with many earlier precedents were vested with authority to go to the colonies for the settlement of difficult questions there. Three such commissions were set on foot by the Council of Plantations: that appointed to bring to an end the dispute with the French at St.

Christopher; that appointed to treat with the Dutch regarding the English subjects at Surinam; and that designed for New England, which was to be openly commissioned to settle boundary disputes, but to be secretly instructed to inform the Council of the condition of the New England colonies, "and whether they were of such power as to be able to resist his Majesty and declare for themselves as independent of the Crown." No commissioners were, however, sent until the time of Edward Randolph.[8]

A large amount of time was consumed by the Council in considering the pet.i.tions and memorials of private persons, who had some grounds of complaint against one or other of the colonial governments. Among these the charges of Mason and Gorges against Ma.s.sachusetts hold prominent place, but other complainants were none the less insistent; Capt.

Archibald Henderson, of Antigua, who had been imprisoned by Governor Wheeler for alleged seditious practices; the owners of the s.h.i.+p _James_, of Belfast, which had been seized by Wheeler as a "stranger-built"

trading contrary to the Navigation Acts; the owners of the logwood s.h.i.+p _William and Nicholas_, also seized by Wheeler on suspicion that it had obtained its lading in violation of the treaty of 1670 with Spain; owners of the _Peter_, of London, seized by the Spaniards in violation of the same treaty; Jamaica planters who claimed that Spain had broken the clause of the treaty relating to logwood cutting at Campeachy; one Mark Gabry, exporter of wool; merchants in Jamaica complaining of the number of Jews there and their engrossment of trade; inhabitants of Easthampton, Southampton, and Southold in Long Island in regard to their whale fishery and their relations with the Dutch at New Amsterdam; the government of Virginia against the Arlington and Culpeper grant. The Council also discussed many other matters, all more or less closely bound up with the welfare of the plantations and of plantation trade, such as the despatch of their letters and orders; the proper time for the sailing of merchant s.h.i.+ps in order that advantage might be taken of companies or convoys; the sugar question in the West Indies, notably Barbadoes, that perennial cause of dispute from the point of view of customs and impositions; the enticing or spiriting away of young people from England to go as servants to the plantations, a grievance almost as old as the plantations themselves and one which Ashley had made a special subject of inquiry with the result that Parliament pa.s.sed an Act, March 18, 1670, making "spiriting" a capital offence; the fisheries and the abuses in the Newfoundland trade; privateering, especially in relation to the act of Governor Modyford in commissioning Capt. Morgan to cruise against the Spaniards and to capture Panama; the slave trade and the relations of the plantations with the Royal African Company; and lastly, in obedience to the fourth article of its additional instructions, the proper supplying of the West India colonies with such commodities as silk, galls, spices, senna and other dyeing materials, in order to see whether or not such things could be obtained from the plantations, a subject upon which Dr. Worsley, who had already experimented with senna, was deemed an authority.

The efficiency of the Council of Foreign Plantations and the inefficiency of the Council of Trade during the same period may well have led to the belief that the work would be better done if the functions of the latter were transferred to the former body. The death of the Earl of Sandwich, who lost his life in the naval engagement of Southwold Bay with De Ruyter, May 28, 1672, may have hastened this conclusion, and the need of economy, especially manifest in this year, 1672, may have been a further influence. Whatever the causes, as early as the summer of 1672 the decision was reached, undoubtedly through the advice of Lord Ashley, now the Earl of Shaftesbury, to reconst.i.tute the Council, and to issue a new patent which should cover trade as well as foreign plantations. Evelyn says that the old Council met at Shaftesbury's house on September 1, 1672, to consider the draft of the new commission. The form of the commission having been approved, the warrant was issued to the attorney general on September 16 to prepare the bill for the King's signature, and on the twenty-seventh the Council was duly commissioned by writ of privy seal. The members.h.i.+p remained the same as before, with the single exception that the Earl of Shaftesbury took the place of the Earl of Sandwich as the president of the board, with Lord Culpeper as vice-president. When in December of the same year Sir John Finch was appointed amba.s.sador to the Ottoman Empire, in place of Sir Daniel Harvey, deceased, Sir William Hickman was const.i.tuted a member of the Council in his stead. As in the case of the former Council, the Duke of York, Prince Rupert, and the chief officers of state were authorized to attend and vote but without pay. To their number were now added the Duke of Ormond, George, Viscount Halifax; Sir Thomas...o...b..rne, and Sir Robert Long, all of whom, except Long, had been members of the Council of Trade, while Halifax, who had just returned from an important mission to France and was rapidly rising to power, had been a member of the committee of the House of Lords, appointed in October, 1669, to consider the improvement of trade. Sandwich and Shaftesbury had both been on the same committee, and it is not unlikely that the latter was responsible for the remarkable report made by this committee to the Lords that "some relaxation in ecclesiastical matters will be a means of improving the trade of this kingdom."[9]

According to its commission, the Council of Trade and Plantations was "to take care of the welfare of our said Colonies and Plantations and of the Trade and Navigation of these our Kingdomes and of our said colonies and plantations," and was to be a council of advice to the King "in and for all the affairs which do or may any way concern the navigation, commerce, or trade, as well domestic as foreign of these our kingdoms and our said foreign colonies and plantations." Five were to const.i.tute a quorum of which the president or vice-president or one of the unsalaried members should always be one. The salary of the president was raised to 800, that of the vice-president was made 700, while that of the other salaried members remained as before, 500. No treasurer or secretary is named in the commission, but Dr. Worsley held these offices until in September, 1673, he was discharged and John Locke took his place. In all other respects the commission of 1672 reproduces that of 1670.

The most noteworthy difference between the two councils is to be found in the instructions, which for the Council of 1672 form a very comprehensive and intelligent statement of the essentials of plantation control. The draft was undoubtedly written by Shaftesbury and Locke, for a preliminary sketch is to be found among the Shaftesbury Papers; the preliminary meeting for the consideration and approval of the articles was held at Shaftesbury's residence, Exeter House; and the essential portions of the doc.u.ment are all to be found embodied in one form or another in the instructions and suggestions sent to the planters in the Bahamas and Carolina, colonies which for two years had been a kind of experimental station for Shaftesbury's and Locke's ideas. All the later commissions and instructions were based in the main on the principles laid down in these doc.u.ments, and neither the Lords of Trade from 1675 to 1696 nor the Board of Trade from 1696 to 1782 ever in any important particular pa.s.sed the limits herein defined. Probably the instructions of 1672 became from this time forward the precedent and guide for those who in later years were called upon to shape the powers vested in the boards of trade and plantations. It frequently happened, of course, that orders in Council directed the attention of the boards to matters which needed special examination, but in the main it may be said that Povey first and Shaftesbury afterward mapped out the lines to be followed by future commissions in their control of plantation affairs. This fact gives to the work of these men a peculiar interest and value.

By the terms of the instructions of 1672, the Council was to consider first of all the trade of the kingdom and of the plantations in the following particulars: the increase and improvement of raw commodities for use at home, the promotion of manufactures, the betterment of the fis.h.i.+ng trade at home and abroad, the opening of rivers, ports, and harbors, the proper distribution of trade and manufactures, the obstacles that lay in the way of English trade as compared with those confronting the trade of other nations, and all abuses of trade and manufactures in the kingdom. It was to inquire into the best methods of increasing the sale and export of native commodities and manufactures, of encouraging the importation of foreign goods at the cheapest rates, of building s.h.i.+ps for the carrying of such bulky articles as masts and timber, of extending correspondence with the great commercial centers abroad, and of opening free ports where foreign commodities might be landed and stored with small charge if designed for reexportation. It was also to take into special consideration the advantages of a more open and free trade than that of companies and corporations, and to encourage inventions and improvements designed to improve any art, trade, or manufacture or to secure and promote trade and navigation.

So far as the plantations were concerned, the Council was to inquire into the general state of the colonies, and to obtain full information regarding councils, a.s.semblies, courts of judicature, courts of admiralty, legislative and executive powers, statutes, laws and ordinances, militia, fortifications, arms, and ammunition. It was to learn all it could about boundaries, lands, mines, staple products, and manufactures; to determine whether or not nutmegs, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and other spices would grow if planted; to inform itself regarding rivers, harbors, and fis.h.i.+ng banks; and to estimate how many planters and parishes there were, how many whites and blacks yearly arrived, and how many people died each year. It was to learn the number of s.h.i.+ps trading to the plantations, to discover the obstacles to trade and how they could be removed, the advantages and how they could be increased; it was to concern itself with export and import dues, public revenues, measures taken for the instruction of the people and the maintenance of the ministry. It was especially instructed to keep in frequent correspondence with the governors, to urge upon them the necessity of maintaining peace with their neighbors, the Indians and others, of taking the Indians under their protection and of guarding their persons, goods, and possessions according to law. Furthermore, it was to procure copies of all necessary doc.u.ments, to purchase maps, plats, and charts when needed, to study those portions of treaties made with other countries that related to peace and commerce, and to determine how far those articles had been upheld and performed. And lastly, it was to consider the practice of other countries in matters of trade, commerce, and the colonies, and to see how far such practices might be of value to England.

The Council had its first meeting on October 13, at Ess.e.x House, and there the commission was read and the oaths were taken. Soon after, it took up its abode at Villier's House in King's Street near Whitehall, which it rented of the d.u.c.h.ess of Cleveland for 200 a year. There it had a council chamber, an office for the clerks, two messengers, a porter, a maid, and a chamber keeper, all of whom were paid out of the 1,000 allowed for contingent expenses. We have record of seventy-six meetings held between October 13, 1672, and December 22, 1674, a period of twenty-six months; but it is quite certain that more meetings than this were held, inasmuch as the session-days were every Wednesday and Friday at ten in the morning.[10] So far as the plantations were concerned the Council did little more than continue the work of its predecessor, the Council of 1670, but in addition it concerned itself with a large number of questions that had to do with domestic and foreign as well as with colonial trade. The most important of these related to the pet.i.tion of the English consul at Venice that his consulage be levied on goods and not on s.h.i.+ps, a matter that aroused prolonged debate; to the pet.i.tion of the Gambia adventurers against the importation by the East India Company of the dyeing wood called "sanders" which, because cheaper, was taking the place of their redwood from Africa; to the ordinances issued in Sweden against the English "privileges" concerning naval stores; to the exportation of wool from England, a matter already dealt with in an Act of Parliament; and to the treatment of merchants at the hands of the Spaniards, regarding which a number of pet.i.tions had been received by the board. A few new pet.i.tions were taken into consideration from traders and others in the plantations, notably those of the Jew Rabba Couty, whose s.h.i.+p had been seized at Jamaica on the ground that he was a foreigner; of William Helyar, whose woodland in Jamaica had been seized by Governor Lynch; of John Rodney and his wife Frances, whose plantation in Nevis had been seized by Governor Russell, a case destined to drag on for nearly two years.

In recommending the appointment of governors and other officials, pa.s.sing upon colonial laws, scrutinizing nominations as of colonial councillors, corresponding with the governors, organizing an efficient system of communication and supervision in all matters touching trade and commerce, and in making reports to the King in Council,--in short, in the control and management of colonial affairs, the Council of 1672 placed the British colonial policy on a broader and more comprehensive foundation than had hitherto been laid and inaugurated a more thorough system of colonial control than had been established by any of its predecessors. It is doubtful if even the Lords of Trade or the Board of Trade surpa.s.sed the Councils of 1670 and 1672 in enthusiasm, loyalty, or dispatch of business.

On December 21, 1674, Charles II revoked the commission of the Council, and plantation affairs under their cognizance thus being "left loose and at large" were "restored to their accustomed channel of a Committee of the Privy Council," that is, to the Committee of the Board appointed for matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations.[11] The reasons for this step are of course to be found in the first instance in the fall of Shaftesbury from power the summer before, but that event is not in itself a sufficient explanation of the change. At least it is worthy of remark that the dissolution of the Council took place many months after Shaftesbury's dismissal. Probably a further cause is to be found in the widespread demand for economy and retrenchment. The Council of 1672 cost the King nearly 8,000 a year; the Committee of the Privy Council cost the King nothing for the services of its members, although its contingent expenses ran higher than had those of any previous board, amounting to between 275 and 400 a quarter from 1676 to 1687 and 250 and 300 from 1689 to 1696.[12]

Probably a greater reason for the dissolution of the Council of 1672 is to be found in the dissatisfaction which existed with the system of advisory and independent bodies. Povey expressed the matter well when he wrote:

"His Ma^{tie} since his happy Restoraton, rightly considering of how great Consequence his foreign Plantations are to this Crowne, hath at several times Commissionated certain select persons to be Councells for the Plantations, every one of which Councels were variously framed, instructed and encouraged, w^{ch} have all expired without any considerable advantage, or satisfaction to his Ma^{tie} or the Plantations. Among the other Reasons w^{ch} may be given, why they proved fruitless, it seems, That it is found by experience that whatsoever Council is not enabled as well to execute as advise, must needs produce very imperfect and weak effects. It being, by its subordination and impotency obliged to have a continual recourse to superior Ministers, and Councels filled with other business, w^{ch} ofttimes gives great and prejudicial delays and usually begets new or slower deliberations and results, than the matter in hand may stand in need of, by w^{ch} means the authority and virtue of this little Council became faint and ineffectual.

Seeing therefore it hath been held at all times, that may distant Colonies, and the manifold Concernments thereof do require and deserve to be consider'd and provided for by some select persons as a Councel for those affairs, And that the wisdome of our Government admits not such a plenary Authority, but solely in the highest Council, it remains only as the best expedient, That Com^{rs} be appointed out of the Privy Council under the Great Seal, who may sit on some appointed day in every [blank] and sometimes an hour before the Councel shall sit, as occasion may call for it, to take consideration of any of the affairs of the Plantations, who may give direcions in ordinary cases, and in cases extraordinary may report to the King and Councel."[13]

We do not know when this paper was written nor do we know whether it ever came to the attention of the King and his advisers. Its recommendation was certainly carried out, when the King, taking into his own hands again the full control of trade and the plantations, issued a commission in February, 1675, placing the entire charge of these matters in the hands of the committee of the Council, which through all the changes of fifteen years had never ceased to exercise its functions of supervision and control of colonial affairs. This committee, known as the Lords of Trade, acted as a board of trade and plantations for twenty years and conducted its business with eminent success. Its members.h.i.+p was occasionally changed, though as a rule the work fell upon a comparatively small number of men who were in frequent attendance. After the fall of the Stuarts, King William continued the same policy, appointing a new Council Committee and resisting all attempts of Parliament to interfere.

Parliament, however, determined to obtain control of the management of colonial affairs, and as early as 1694 made an effort in that direction.

Acting evidently under the influence of the merchants of London, who resented the fact that affairs of this character should be entrusted to "courtiers without experience," it took into consideration the appointment of a separate board, whose members should be chosen by itself. The first bill was thrown out by Parliament, but the matter was brought up at the next session in December, 1695. Strenuous efforts were made by a few of the leading out-ports, such as Bristol, to obtain, through their members in Parliament, a representation on the proposed board, in order to overcome "the growing greatness of London." During December and January the matter was debated with great heat in the House, and Bristol went so far as to send up a special delegation to lobby in its behalf. The proposal was defeated by the King's opposition to this attempt to encroach upon his prerogative, and a compromise was effected, in which the out-ports played no part. Influenced by the determination of the majority in Parliament, William issued a commission on May 15, 1696, to a separate Board of Trade and Plantations, the members.h.i.+p of which was, however, to be controlled by the Crown.

Of the history of the Board of Trade, thus established in 1696, little need be said here. The board pa.s.sed through many vicissitudes in its life of nearly eighty-seven years. It enjoyed its greatest repute during the first fifteen years of its existence, falling into the hands of inferior officials and placemen during the era of Walpole and the first years of the supremacy of Newcastle. Granted new powers in 1752, it rose again to a position of prominence which it held for fourteen years, and it reached a climax in 1765, when it was made a ministerial executive office of government, as were the Secretary's office and the boards of the Admiralty and the Treasury, possessing full authority and complete jurisdiction in all matters relative to its own department. This position of independence was, however, soon lost. On August 8, 1766, an order in Council declared that all measures relative to commerce and the colonies should originate either with the King in Council, the Committee of the Council, or one of the Secretaries of State.

This order, which evidently originated with Shelburne, Secretary of the Southern Department, that he might increase thereby his control over all colonial affairs, reduced the board to the position of an advisory and consulting body upon such matters as the Council might refer to it. Henceforth all estimates for colonial services and the direction and application of money granted thereupon, which had hitherto been transacted by the board, were resumed by the higher authorities. From this time the importance and influence of the board steadily declined until it was finally abolished in 1782. The control of the colonies during the period from 1768 to 1782 was a.s.sumed by the new Secretary of State for the colonies and remained in his charge until his office also was abolished in the same year.

[Footnote 1: See various papers among the Shaftesbury MSS., Division X, particularly 8, No. 4, "L^{d} Shaftesbury's Advice to his Majesty about Trade, etc."]

[Footnote 2: Edward Long, governor and historian of Jamaica, viewed the appointment of the Council as a piece of jobbery and graft, an undertaking espoused not for the national good, but in order to obtain new and lucrative offices for Ashley and others "his Brethren in the ministry." Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 12438, iii, f. 17.]

[Footnote 3: Henry Slingsby is named secretary and treasurer in the commission and his signature or initials are appended to all orders from October 5, 1670, to July 23, 1672. During this time and until September 13, 1673, Dr. Worsley acted as a.s.sistant and is called "secretary" until November 15, 1672, when he was made treasurer also. On October 15, 1673, after the discharge of Worsley, John Locke, secretary, friend, and ally of the Earl of Shaftesbury, president of the new Council of 1672, was sworn in as secretary and as treasurer on December 16, 1673. He remained in service until the abolition of the Council. Evelyn speaks of Worsley as dead on October 15, but this statement cannot be true as Worsley was still alive in March, 1675.]

[Footnote 4: Evelyn in describing the room in which the Council sat mentions atlases, maps, charts, globes, etc., but Locke when called upon to hand over the papers in March, 1675, reported that he never had had any globes and maps.]

[Footnote 5: The commission, instructions, and additional instructions of the Council for Foreign Plantations are to be found among the Shaftesbury Papers in the Public Record Office, fair written in an entry book bound in vellum. Div. X, 10. Another copy of the instructions is contained in X, 8 (11).]

[Footnote 6: The sources for the history of the councils of 1670 and 1672 are: The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1669-1674, which contains abstracts of the papers of the Councils now among the Colonial Papers. Had it been possible to examine each original doc.u.ment before writing this paper there is no doubt that the list of the meetings given in the Appendix would have been considerably extended. The calendaring is often far from clear and the indexing, as far as all the boards are concerned from 1622 to 1675, is a muddle of confusion. Among the Board of Trade Papers is an Index to the entry books of the councils, which shows that the following books, "called in the stile of the office, the 'rough books,'" were kept: "A Journal," "Orders of Council of Foreign Plantations," "Pet.i.tions, References, and Reports," "Addresses and Advices," "Letters and Answers," "Miscellanies," "Barbadoes," "Leeward Islands," "Jamaica," "Virginia," "Letters from the Council," "New England," "Fishery," "West India, Surinam," and "Letters to the Council." Most of these entry books have been found scattered among the Colonial Office volumes. Unfortunately the most important book, "A Journal," is missing and has been missing for two centuries. The "Index," however, contains a series of entries ent.i.tled, "Heads of Business," which is very incomplete as an index to the meetings, but upon which I have drawn in making up my list. The "Virginia" volume is also missing, but it apparently contained nothing except blank leaves. Part one of the volume ent.i.tled "Letters and Answers" and the whole of "Letters to the Council" are also missing. The "New England"

volume contains only a copy of the Ma.s.sachusetts charter; that ent.i.tled "Miscellaneous" three interesting papers "Concerning Spiriting,"

"Consideration about Foreign Plantations," and "Other considerations concerning Plantations." The complete minutes of two meetings are among the Shaftesbury Papers and very interesting notes in Evelyn's Diary.]

[Footnote 7: Cal. State Papers, Col., 1669-1674, ---- 327, I, 415, 565, 663, 680, 697, 704, 737, 804, 805, 891, 896, 1044, 1101.]

[Footnote 8: Cal. State Papers, Col., 1669-1674, ---- 287, 365, 822, 834, 917, 1003, 1011-1013, 1100, 1186, 1197, 1212, 1251-1252, 1255, 1295, 1300, 1306, 1386.]

[Footnote 9: Lord's Journal, XII, pp. 254, 257, 273-274, 284.]

[Footnote 10: Cal. State Papers, Dom., 1672-1673, pp. 213-214.]

[Footnote 11: New York Col. Docts., III, pp. 228, 229-230; Cal. State Papers, Col., 1675-1676, ---- 648, 649.]

[Footnote 12: Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 9767, 9768, containing an itemized expense account of the Lords of Trade from 1676 to 1696.]

[Footnote 13: Brit. Mus., Egerton, 2395, f. 276.]


Instructions, Board of Trade, 1650.

_First._--They are to take notice of all the Native commodities of this Land, or what Time and Industry may hereafter make Native and advise how they may not only be fully Manufactured, but well and truly wrought, to the Honor and Profit of the Commonwealth.

_Secondly._--They are to consider how the Trades and Manufactures of this Nation may most fitly and equally be distributed to every part; to the end that one part may not abound with Trade, and another remain poor and desolate for the want of the same.

_Thirdly._--They are to consult how the Trade may most conveniently be driven from one part of this Land to another. To which purpose they are to consider how the Rivers may be made more Navigable and the Ports more capable of s.h.i.+pping.

_Fourthly._--They are to consider how the Commodities of this Land may be vented, to the best advantage thereof, into Foraign Countreys, and not undervalued by the evil management of Trade, And that they advise how Obstructions of Trade into Foraign parts may be removed; and desire by all means, how new ways and places may be found out, for the better venting of the Native commodities of this Land.

_Fifthly._--They are to advise how Free Ports or Landing-places for Foreign Commodities imported (without paying of Custom if again exported) may be appointed in several parts of this Land, and in what manner the same is to be effected.

British Committees, Commissions, and Councils of Trade and Plantations , 1622-1675 Part 7

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