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Part I. — Vol. I. 






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1660-16 8 8 










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Copyright, 1913, 

Set up and electrotyped. Published January, 1913, 

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Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 

Avec de la reflexion, des lectures et de Vhahitude, on 
^russit par degres a reproduire en soi-meme des sentiments 
r,j.xquels d'abord on etait etranger ; nous voyons qu^un autre 
jjf^jime, dans un autre temps, a d4 sentir autrement que 
nous-mhnes ; nous entrons dans ses vues, puis dans ses 
goilts; nous nous mettons a son point de vue, nous le com- 
prenons, et, a mesure que nous le comprenons mieux, nous 
.ous trouvons un peu moins sots. 

H. Taine, Voyage en Italie, I, pp. 5, 6. 

La storia, come tutti i fenomeni della vita, e Vopera 
inconsapevole di sforzi " infinitamente piccoli „ ; compiuti 
disordinataniente da uomini singoli e da gruppi di uomini, 
quasi sempre per motivi immediati, il cui ejfelto definitivo 
trascende sempre la intenzione e la conoscenza dei contem- 
poranei; e appena si rivela, qualche volta, alle generazioni 


Grandezza e Decadenza di Roma, I, pp. ix, x. 


It is the purpose of this work as a whole to describe 
the establishment, development, and operation of the 
English colonial system from the days of its formal 
creation down to the period leading to its disinte "rr 'ion. 
The era of inchoate beginnings has been tre. ce-' in 
the writer's " Origins of the British Colonial System, 
1 5 78-1 660," and the transitional years preceding the 
troublous days of the American Revolution have been 
discussed in some detail in the writer's " British Colo- 
nial Policy, 1 754-1 765." Thus this work is not only 
unhampered by problems of origins, but it is to a great 
extent liberated from those controversial questions which 
ultimately were decided, if not solved, by the ordeal of 

The term " colonial system " has no precise connota- -^ 
tion, and is susceptible of varying meanings of more 
or less ample extension. As employed here, it is 
synonymous with that complex system of regulations 
whose fundamental aim was to create a self-sufficienb 
commercial empire of mutually complementary eco4 
nomic parts. An understanding of this system must 
rest primarily upon an analysis of the economic theories 
then current, mainly in so far as they found expression in 
the Acts of Trade and Navigation. But these laws 


by no means constituted the whole system. The 
scheme of imperial defence was a closely correlated 
part, and the English fiscal arrangements, as well as 
the method of regulating the slave-trade, were integrally 
connected with it. In addition, it will be essential to 
study carefully both the administrative machinery in 
England and that established in the colonies for the 
purpose of carrying into effect these various laws and 
regulations. For, obviously, the efHcacy of a system 
cannot be gauged without a knowledge of the means 
and extent of its enforcement. Furthermore, in order 
to understand the operation of these regulations, it is 
essential to examine the political and economic devel- 
opment of the separate colonies, not, however, as inde- 
pendent processes of social evolution, but only to the 
extent that they were affected by English policy. Vari- 
ous fundamental phases of colonial development have 
consequently been kept in the dim background, and 
some even have been ignored. Thus, although the 
purpose is not to describe the economic genesis of the 
United States, and although the point of view is pri- 
marily the imperial one, the work is something more 
and also something less than merely an economic his- 
tory of the old Empire. One of its chief aims is to^ 
ascertain precisely what the statesmen of the day sought 
to accomplish, what means they employed for their pur- 
poses, to what extent these instruments were adapted to 
the actual situation, and how the various parts of the 
Empire developed under these regulations. 


It is a platitude scarcely worth mentioning that all 
historical facts should be approached without any pre- 
conceived ideas as to their meaning, but it is not suffi- 
ciently realized that economic data especially are liable 
to be distorted by the investigator's personal theory of 
social philosophy. In this work, the facts presented 
have not been weighed either in the scale of the free- 
trader or in that of the protectionist. In the form in 
which they are presented, they can be further inter- 
preted by either school, and probably both will draw 
from them conclusions satisfactory to themselves. The 
material has purposely been treated in a purely historical 
manner. No attention, for instance, has been paid to 
such questions as that raised by Adam Smith, whether 
the diversion of British capital from the European to 
the colonial trade was a national disadvantage. Nor 
has an attempt been made to ascertain whether in real- 
ity there was such a diversion ; and, if there were, 
whether it was a direct result of the laws of trade. 
Such questions are predominantly economic and to 
some extent academic. For our purposes it is merely 
necessary to see what the legislators and statesmen con- 
templated and if the desired results followed, dismissing 
all such purely hypothetical questions, whether the Em- 
pire would not have been better off without any attempts 
to mould its economic growth, or whether the actual/ 
results attained were not in despite of these efforts or] 
at the expense of other and possibly more vital interests.) 
No answer to such queries can carry universal convic- 


tion ; and, at the end of much argumentation, we would 
be just about where we started. 

The authorities for this work are manifold in nature 
and origin. To a preponderant extent, it is based upon 
the Colonial State Papers in the Public Record Office 
in London. In the aggregate, considerable material of 
importance has also been derived from the Treasury, 
Admiralty, Domestic, and Foreign Papers in the same 
repository. A large number of the official docu- 
ments — especially such as relate to the period under 
consideration in this section of the work — have been 
published more or less fully by the British Government 
in the various calendars, and a considerable number 
have appeared in such other collections as the New 
York Colonial Documents, the Virginia Magazine of 
History and Biography, and Lefroy's " Memorials of the 
Bermudas." In addition to the manuscript sources, 
these printed materials have been constantly used, but as a 
general rule the most important of the documents, both 
published and unpublished, have been consulted in their 
original form. The manuscript volumes of the Privy 
Council Register were also used before the publication 
of the calendar had rendered further recourse to them 
largely superfluous. Some invaluable information was 
also derived from the manuscripts in the British Mu- 
seum, as well as from those in the Bodleian at Oxford. 
Naturally the English and colonial statutes, the Journals 
of the House of Lords and House of Commons, the 
reports of the British Historical Manuscripts Commis- 



sion were continually used. Finally, the voluminous 
pamphlet literature of the day, the contemporary diaries, 
various collections of family papers, and other miscel- 
laneous sources yielded some indispensable imformation. 
In its entirety, this material forms an imposing mass, 
but it leaves many a detailed question unanswered. 
Moreover, its very bulk is embarrassing. As an emi- 
nent man of letters with a marked historical bent has 
said : " Quand un fait n'est connu que par un seul te- 
moignage, on I'admet sans beaucoup d'hesitation. Les 
perplexites commencent lorsque les evenements sont 
rapportes par deux ou plusieurs temoins; car leurs te- 
moignages sont toujours contradictoires et toujoursj 
inconciliables." Had Anatole France ever investisrated 
the economic history of the seventeenth-century English 
Empire, he would even more fully have appreciated the 
truth of his own words. The trace of deliberate exae- 
geration in them could then have been omitted. The 
statistics available for that peri#^ are not only most 
fragmentary, but they were gathered in a thoroughly 
unscientific manner. Accurate statistics are only of 
most recent date and are still far from general. More- 
over, a considerable portion of the evidence is embodied 
in memorials and petitions from interested parties, and 
hence cannot be accepted at its face value. It has to 
be compared with documents emanating from opposing 
sources, and must then be studied in connection with 
other data in order to estimate the de2:ree and extent 
of its credibility. Without some knowledge of their 


origin, so as to be able to discount the personal equa- 
tion, numbers of these documents would have to be 
discarded as worthless. Even with the immeasurably 
more complete means of information at the disposal of 
the student of present economic problems, it is most 
difficult to reach an agreement as to the precise facts. 
This would seem a hopeless task when long past phe- 
nomena are investigated. Still, the general course of 
development i^ the old Empire, as well as many of the 
subsidiary currents, can be traced with considerable 
precision; and this after all is the essential matter. 
Caution and care must, however, be observed at every 
turn ; and definite quantitative terms can be conscien- 
tiously used only with a reservation of considerable 

Without entering the polemical lists, where the ques- 
tion whether or no history is an art or a science can 
always count upon attracting intrepid opposing cham- 
pions, it is obvious that the modern historian's method 
of presentation must differ radically from that of the 
artist. " A picture is finished," said one of the greatest 
of modern painters, " when all trace of the means used 
to bring about the end has disappeared." In these 
days of critical scholarship, a history so constructed, 
no matter how authoritative its sources were, would 
have scant chance of escaping the fate of the still-born. 
Hence full references have been given for virtually 
every statement. In the foot-notes has also been printed 
considerable illustrative material; and to this place 


:ewise has been relegated a mass of more or less tech- 
cal matter, which will probably be of interest and impor- 
nce to the critical student, but assuredly would not 
ipeal to the general reader. It was hoped in this 
ly to keep the text readable. For it is fully realized 
at what Bishop Stubbs wrote about his own special 
ild of investigation is at least equally applicable to 
is branch of historical work : it " cannot be mastered, 
in scarcely be approached, — without an effort." 


New York City, 

November 26, 191 2. 




E Colonial Policy of the Period ^ Qi-^ 

An era of marked expansion — General policy of Charles 
II and his advisers — Sir George Downing and William 
Blathwayt — England's foreign and colonial trade — The 
opposition to emigration leads to objections to colonization 

— The answer of the imperialists — The transportation of 
convicts and others — Governmental regulation of emigra- 
tion — The economic advantages expected from coloniza- 
tion — The colony as a source of supply — The preference 
for the plantation t}'pe of colony. 

CHAPTER n t/^ 

E Laws of Trade and Navigation and Imperial De- 
fence V 5?^ 

The Navigation Act of 1660 — The Staple Act of 1663 ^~^ 

— The Plantation Duties of 1673 — Scotland under these 
statutes — Ireland and the colonies — Temporary dispensa- 
tions of the laws — The system of imperial defence — The 
colonial garrisons — The West Indian buccaneers — The 
Barbary pirates. 


; English Fiscal System and Imperial Finances . \ 128 

The tariff of 1660 — Its preferential treatment of English 
colonial products — The prohibition to plant tobacco in 
England and the efforts required to enforce it — The at- 
tempt in 1 67 1 to increase the sugar and tobacco duties — 
The impost of 1685 and colonial opposition to it — The 
Crown's dues in the colonies — The Restoration settlement 


in the Caribbee Islands — The four and a half per cent 
revenue and the opposition of Barbados to it — The Vir- 
ginia quit-rents — The establishment of a permanent rev- 
enue in Virginia under the control and at the disposal of 
the Crown, and the attempt to do so in Jamaica — The 
appointment of Blathwayt as Auditor-General of the colo- 
nial revenues. 


Central and Local Administrative Machinery 

Parliament and Crown — The Privy Council and its 
Committees — The Secretaries of State — The Council for 
Foreign Plantations of 1660 — The Council for Trade of 
1660 — Its revival in 1668 and that of the colonial council 
in 1670 — The Council for Trade and Plantations of 1672 

— The Lords of Trade — The Admiralty and the Colonies 

— The Treasury and the Commissioners of the Customs — 
The Royal Governor — The naval officers — The collectors 
of the customs — The Surveyor General of the Customs — 
Quarrel between Giles Bland and Governor Berkeley of 
Virginia — The colonial admiralty courts — The use of the 
navy to suppress illegal trading. 


The Slave-trade and the Plantation Colonies 

Classification of the colonies according to their imperial 
value — The demand for slaves in the West Indies — The 
English African Company — Dutch opposition to its trade 

— The complaints of Barbados against the Company — Its 
reorganization in 1672 — Opposition of the West Indian 
colonies to the Royal African Company — Its attempts to 
supply Spanish America — The interlopers. 





An era of marked expansion — General policy of Charles II and his advisers 
— Sir George Downing and WiUiam Blathwayt — England's foreign 
and colonial trade — The opposition to emigration leads to objections 
to colonization — The answer of the imperiahsts — The transportation 
of convicts and others — Governmental regulation of emigration — The 
economic advantages expected from colonization — The colony as a 
source of supply — The preference for the plantation type of colony. 

The normal development of every healthy and expand- 
ing state forms a series of alternating periods of internal 
readjustment and of external growth. The former are 
caused by the ever changing social conditions within the 
body politic and the ensuing more or less urgent necessity 
of bringing its institutions into harmony with the shifted 
balance of power. The latter inevitably result from the 
impact of state upon state in those competitive struggles and 
rivalries, either warlike or purely commercial, which con- 
stitute international histor}^ Rarely does a state develop to 
a marked extent simultaneously in both directions, because 
in the stress of confhcting interests single-min.ded concentra- 
tion can as a rule alone command success. 

The establishment of the Commonwealth in England, 
following the collapse of the Stuart cause after the execution 


of Charles I, gave the nation a sorely needed respite from the 
internal strife that for nearly two generations had hampered 
its external development. The decade that was dominated 
by Cromwell's vigorous personaUty was marked by the de- 
votion of keen attention to commercial and colonial expan- 
sion. It was clearly recognized that the commercial suprem- 
acy of the Dutch was a formidable obstacle in the path of 
England's economic development, and during the Inter- 
regnum considerable progress w^as made in overcoming this 
impediment.^ The Na\agation Acts of 1650 and 165 1, 
themselves based on earher but less comprehensive prece- 
dents, gave a great impetus to English shipping. At the 
same time, wdth a \'iew to increasing English sea power and 
commerce, considerable attention was devoted to colonial 
questions, and Jamaica and Nova Scotia were added to the 
over-sea dominions. Beyond furnishing valuable precedents, 
[little, however, was actually accompHshed either toward 
creating an efficient administrative machinery for governing 
the Empire, or toward developing a coherent system for 
regulating its commercial activities^ The position of the 
CromwelHan goverrunent was too insecure to permit thereof. 
Such a system was created after the reestablishment of the 
monarchy in 1660, when the fai rly stable e quihbrium within 
the body poUtic admitted the devotion of more undivided 
and closer attention to commercial and colonial matters, 

' See Beer, Origins of the British Colonial System, pp. 372 e/ seq., and 
Beer, Cromwell's Policy in its Economic Aspects, in Pol. Science Quart., 
Vols. XVI, XVII. 

''■ Beer, Origins, pp. 383 et seq. 


Those varied forces, which ever since the days of EHzabeth/ 
had under untoward circumstances been steadily working 
for national growth — for sea po\Y,er, commerce, and colonies 
— were then released from the trammels hitherto hampering 
their free action. 

-- The Rest oratiQmgas_^n era of marked exp ansion ; the 

exuberant vitality of the age found its chief outlet in this 

direction. Commercial wars were waged with the sword or 

by means of hostile tariffs; foreign trade was prosecuted 

<^with unwonted vigor by large companies f^in the Far East, in 

/Africa and in America, new factories, trading settlements 

! and colonies were added to the growing list of imperial out- 

(V^posts. It was a spontaneous national movement, based on 

the demands of the country's economic hfe, and in general 

enHsted the sincere and energetic support of the leading 

Vstatesmen of the period from King Charles down. However 


notable was their divergence regarding internal questions, 
in this respect there certainly was substantial unanimity. 
Despite his hedonistic attitude toward Hfe, his lazy, self- 
indulgent amiability, Charles II was an efficient man of 
affairs, with a clear insight into the fundamental causes of 
a nation's material prosperity. Hostility to his disingenu- 
, ous and tortuous course in religious and constitutional 
questions, and to the highly discreditable nature of his 
diplomatic relations with France, has thrust into the ob- 
scure background the more enduring and laudable phases 
of his varied activities. As a discerning critic has well said, 

1 England's rise as a maritime power dates from this period. C/. Brit. 
Mus., Lansdowne MSS. 691, f. 61. 


"however much he might disregard the sentiments of his 
subjects, he never played fast and loose with their material 
interests." ^ Charles II favored wise schemes of internal 
[improvement, supported the commercial and colonial enter-:! 
I prises of the day, and in his general foreign poHcy sought to* 
(overthrow the Dutch commercial dominion. "Upon the 
king's first arrival in England," so wnrites his confidential 
adviser Clarendon, " he manifested a very great desire to 
improve the general traffick and trade of the kingdom, and 
upon all occasions conferred with the most active merchants 
upon it, and offered all he could contribute to the advance- 
ment thereof," ^ His poHcy was largely dictated by the? 
commercial and colonial interests of England. ^ \ 

Immediately after the Restoration, the new government 
was put to the test, and its decision was significant. In his 
treaty of 1656 \\'ith Spain, Charles II had agreed, in the 
event of recovering the crown of his ancestors, that he would 
return Jamaica and would aid Philip IV to reconquer Portu- 

^ Cunningham, Growth of English Industry and Commerce, Modem 
Times (ed. 1903) II, p. 194. Some weight should, however, be given to the 
following contemporary anecdote. According to Bishop Burnet, '' Coventry 
told lord Essex, that there was once a Plantation cause at the council board, 
and he was troubled to see the king espouse the worst side : and upon that 
he went to him, and told him in his ear that it was a vile cause which he 
was supporting. The king answered him, he had got good money for doing 
it." Burnet, History of my own Time (ed. O. Airj') II, p. iii. 

2 Clarendon's Autobiography (Oxford, 1827) II, p. 231. In his speech 
in Parhament of September 13, 1660, Clarendon said that Charles II "doth 
consider the infinite Importance the Improvement of Trade must be to 
this Kingdom ; and therefore His Majesty intends forthwith to estabhsh a 
Council for Trade." Lords Journal XI, p. 17 s^- See also Clarendon's 
speech in December, Ibid. p. 237^; Pari. Hist. IV, p. 170. 


gal. But when England had acclaimed hhn as her la\^^ul 
king, Charles II, with the full support of the House of Com- 
mons,^ absolutely refused to surrender Dunkirk and Jamaica, 
the chief fruits of Cromwell's ambitious policy.^ At the 
same time, largely also for commercial reasons, steps were 
taken to strengthen still further the ties binding England 
and Portugal. In 1660 was proposed, and two years later was 
consummated, a marriage between Charles II and Catharine of 
Braganza, the sister of the King of Portugal. By the marriage 
treaty, England received Bombay in the East Indies, Tangier in ? 
northern Africa, and many important commercial concessions. ^ 

These two measures — the retention of Jamaica and the 
Portuguese marriage — together with the refusal to comply 
with France's demand for the restitution of Nova Scotia,^ 
// distinctly imphed the adoption and continuation of Crom- 
\ well's maritime policy.* Such a course was bound to bring 
England again into conflict mth the Dutch, then the 
dominant maritime and commercial nation. The Dutch, 
said Shaftesbury in 1673, are "England's eternal enemy, 
both by interest and inclination." ^ The intensity of this 

^ Com. Journal VIII, p. 163. 

"^ In his diary, Evelyn reports that on September 27, 1660, Charles 
"received the merchants' addresses in his closet, giving them assurances 
of his persisting to keep Jamaica." In answer to Spain's demand for its 
restitution and that of Dunkirk, the Privy Coimcil on December 6, 1660, 
wrote to the Spanish Ambassador that Charles II did not find himself 
obhged " de rendre ces deux places de la Jamajque et Dimquerque." Evelyn, 
Sept. 27, 1660 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 302. 

' C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 225, 226, 240-243, 322, 323. 

^ C/. Seeley, Growth of British Policy II, pp. 118, 128. 

" Pari. Hist. IV, p. 506. 


opposition of vital interests caused the two Dutch wars of 
the reign, which paved the way for England's ultimate com- 
mercial supremacy. The most prominent point of con- 
tention among others of equal, if not greater, fundamental 
importance, concerned England's right to engage in the 
African slave-trade, which the Dutch vigorously and even 
violently denied. These slaves were needed to develop the 
sugar plantations in the West Indies, and thus this trade 
was an integral part of the colonial movement.^ Charles II 
had personally invested in this African enterprise,^ and so 
also had several other members of the royal family, con- 
spicuously his cousin, Prince Rupert, and his brother, the 
future James II, then Duke of York. Rupert, moreover, 
was the founder of the Hudson's Bay Company, and for a 
number of years directed its activities.^ The future James 
II had also invested in this undertaking and took a personal 
part in its management. He was likewise a stockholder 
in the East India Company and in the Royal African Com- 
pany.* In addition to his connection with these chartered 

^ In 1695, a prominent Bristol merchant stated that the West Indian 
and African trades were in his estimation "the most profitable of any we 
drive, and (I) do joyn them together because of their dependance on each 
other." John Gary, An Essay on the State of England (Bristol, 1695), 
p. 65. 

^ For his investment in the first African company of his reign, see PubHc 
Record Office, Declared Accounts: Audit Ofl5ce, Bundle 3, RoU i; Pipe 
Office, RoU 6. 

3 C. P. Lucas, Canada (Part I, New France), pp. 185, 186; W. R. Scott, 
Joint-Stock Companies to 1720 II, pp. 228, 229; Beckles Willson, The 
Great Company; A. C. Laut, The Conquest of the Great Northwest. 

* Before his accession to the throne, James had £3000 stock in the East 
India Co., £3000 stock in the Royal African Co., and £300 stock in the 
Hudson's Bay Co. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 15,896, p. 55. 


companies, James was energetically engaged in developing his 
proprietary dominion of New York, on which he spent no 
inconsiderable sums of money, from which, as all previous 
experience in such enterprises had amply manifested, no 
adequate return could reasonably be anticipated except in 
the more or less distant future. Moreover, James's sincere 
interest in the concerns of the navy constitutes one of the 
few bright spots in his checkered career,-^ 

The chief statesmen of the era were likewise keenly alive 
to the importance of colonial and commercial expansion. 
Administrative and executive authority centred in the 
Privy Council, which was composed both of members of the 
old Cromwellian group and of faithful adherents of Charles 
during his wanderings on the continent. The former, 
conspicuously prominent among them Shaftesbury, were 
naturally in favor of this movement. Shaftesbury was a 
vigorous opponent of the Dutch as the dominant commercial 
nation ; he was the leading spirit in the settlement of the 
Carolinas, and in 1672 was placed at the head of the Council 
of Trade and Foreign Plantations, which directed the 
colonial policy of the government. But the royalist section 
of the Privy Council was, at least in this respect, fully in 
accord with the old Cromwellians. During their decade of 
exile, they had suffered much from the success of Crom- 
well's vigorous, if not wholly scrupulous, policy, which had 

1 In his speech of May 30, 1685, in the House of Lords, asking for addi- 
tional revenue, James said : "But, above all, I must recommend to you the 
care of the Navy, the strength and glory of this Nation ; that you will put 
it into such a condition, as may make us considered and respected abroad." 
Grey, Debates, 1667-1694, VIII, pp. 347, 348. 


effectively deterred the continental powers from active 
aid in support of their master. The lesson was one not to 
be forgotten, especially by so intelligent a man as was the 
chief of these cavalier statesmen, Edward Hyde, Earl of 
Clarendon. Though cautious in his foreign pohcy,^ he fully 
appreciated the value of the colonies, and was actively 
interested in their development and administration. In 
his autobiography Clarendon writes that, both before and 
after the Restoration, "he had used all the endeavours he 
could to prepare and dispose the king to a great esteem of 
his" plantations, and to encourage the improvement of them 
by all the ways that could reasonably be proposed to him." ^ 
Other leading statesmen of the day, such as Henry Bennet, 
Earl of Arlington, likewise devoted great attention to these 
questions, and in addition there was a group of minor state s- 

^ In Parliament, Clarendon supported the Portuguese marriage even 
though Spain threatened war, saying that "whosoever is against the Match 
with Portugal is for the delivery of Dunkirk and Jamaica." Pari. Hist. IV, 
pp. i8i et seq. He was, however, anxious to avoid war with the Dutch. 
Bodleian, Clarendon MSS. 85, f. 430. 

2 Clarendon's Autobiography (Oxford, 1827) III, p. 407. In a speech 
in ParHament in 1662, Clarendon said : " How our neighbours and our rivals, 
who court one and the same mistress, trade and commerce, with all the 
world, are advanced in shipping, power, and an immoderate desire to en- 
gross the whole traffic of the universe, is notorious enough." Consequently, 
he said, England must spend large smns on the army and navy ; those who 
murmur at the expense of defending Dunkirk and the other new acquisi- 
tions, "which ought to be looked upon as jewels of an immense magnitude 
in the royal diadem, do not enough remember what we have lost by Dun- 
kirk, and should always do if it were in an enemy's hands ; nor duly con- 
sider the vast advantages those other dominions are like, by God's blessing, 
in short time, to bring to the trade, navigation, wealth, and honour of the 
king and kingdom." Pari. Hist. IV, p. 250. 


men, poKticians, and officials whose influence was most 
important. Prominent among them was ArUngton's suc- 
cessor as Secretary of State, Sir Joseph Williamson, whose 
carefully compiled note-books testify to his methodical 
study and detailed knowledge of colonial questions.^ But 
(of these men the most influential by far was Sir George 
/Downing, trained in New England, a nephew of the elder 
John Winthrop and the second on the list of Harvard's 
subsequent long roU of graduates. During his youth he 
had left Massachusetts for the West Indies,^ and shortly 
afterwards appeared in England. Under Cromwell, he filled 
satisfactorily several responsible administrative and financial 
positions, and at the time of the Restoration was England's 
representative at the Hague. Abandoning his late associates, 
he succeeded in ingratiating himself with Charles II and 
was continued in his post in HoUand. As a diplomat, he 
strenuously supported the English merchants in their 
acrimonious disputes with the Dutch, and was a strong ad- 
vocate of war as the best way out of the existing impasse. 
In addition to his diplomatic work, Downing was very active 
in the fields of administration and legislation.. From 1667 
on, under his supervision as Secretary to the Commissioners, 
"the routine of Treasury business and Treasury book- 
keeping was systematized and regulated in a remarkably 
thorough and able manner." ^ Later, as one of the Com- 

^ Sir Robert Southwell, however, said in 1680 that Williamson 'was not 
very attentive to the business of the Plantations.' C. C, 1677-16S0, p. 469. 
^ Winthrop Papers I, p. 536. 
^ Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, p. xliii. 


missioners of the Customs, he was most influential in shap- 
/ ing the details of colonial policy and the actual course of 
administration. But it was inJegislMionJliatJiisJn^^ 
on the colonies was most potent. In every one of that 
important series of statntpc; rpgnil ating colonial trad e, his 
hand was apparently the one that guided Parliament.^ 
V Downing's personal character, in so far as he was a time- 
server and had betrayed his former associates, the regicide 
refugees in Holland,^ has been probably only too justly im- 
pugned, but there can be no question of his great ability and 
efficiency as a public servant.^ The following excerpt from a 
letter written by him in 1663 to Clarendon embodies the 
economic creed of the day. "Be the Govemm- what it 
will," he held, "trade may be had if they give themselves 
to Encourage it. But it is not to be had in a day, nor by one 

1 The four chief laws affecting the colonies were 12 Ch. II, c. 18, 15 Ch. II, 
c. 7, 22 and 23 Ch. II, c. 26, and 25 Ch. II, c. 7. For Downing's activity in 
connection with the Navigation Act of 1660, see Com. Journal VHI, pp. 
120, 129, 142, 151, 153. It was apparently due to him that the celebrated 
"enumerated commodities" clause was added to the statute. The "Staple 
Act" of 1663 was also seemingly drafted by him. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 
22,920, ff. II, 12. Downing was also prominent in the passage of the Acts 
of 1671 and 1673. Com. Journal IX, pp. 224, 237, 238, 252, 273, 275. 
On Downing's influence see also post, passim. 

^ In this connection Pepys said that Downing had acted "Hke a perfidi- 
ous rogue," and that "aU the world takes notice of him for a most imgrateful 
villaine for his pains." Pepys, March 12 and 17, 1662. On this see R. C. H. 
Catterall, Sir George Downing and the Regicides, in Am. Hist. Rev. XVTI. 

^ When Pepys heard of Downing's appointment as Secretary to the 
Treasury, he wrote: "I think in my conscience they have done a great 
thing in it ; for he is active and a man of business, and values himself upon 
having things do well under his hand ; so that I am mightily pleased in their 
choice." Pepys, May 27, 1667. 


good act, but to be pursued from Step to Step." ^ In striv- 
ing for this end, Downing displayed marked intellectual 
consistency and great constructive ability. To him, far more 
Ithan to any other indi\'idual, is due_the_c ommercial systerq 
/which was elaborated during the Res toration era for th e 

/ regulation of th e EmpireV trade. 

Finally, mention should be made of another official, 
William JBlathwayt, who for thirty years was closely identi- 
fied \vith colonial affairs. His influence was, however, by 
no means so fundamental as was that of Downing. Blath- 
wayt had considerably less constructive ability and was 
active mainly in administration, while Downing powerfully 
influenced the underlying policy. By his industry and 
abihty — Blathwayt was "very dexterous in business, " re- 
cords the diarist Evelyn ^ — he had risen from very moder- 
ate circumstances,^ and in the course of time occupied simul- 

■ taneously a number of lucrative posts. Among these was 
that of Auditor General of the colonies, which brought under 
his supervision the various colonial financial systems. Then, 
as Secretary to the Lords of Trade, he virtually created the 
routine administrative machinery of the colonial office in 

\ London, which was continued after 1696 by the Board of 
Trade, of which he was at the outset a prominent member. 

r" In addition to these statesmen, pohticians, and officials, 
there was a large body of courtiers, noblemen, merchants, and 

1 Hague, Dec. 25, 1663, Downing to Clarendon. Bodleian, Clarendon 
MSS. 107, f. 53"^. 

"^ Evelyn, June 18, 1687. 

3 He was related to the Povey family, a number of whom held minor 
colonial positions. 



traders who, partly for personal and partly for patriotic 
reasons, were instrumental in furthering this move ment of 
expansion. Some devoted their attention to_priyatejcom- - 
merce^-others ta_the_deYelopmenLoi thereat trading_com- _ 
panies — preeminently those which had secured monopoHes 
of the commerce mth Africa and the East Indies. Closely 
affihated mth this body of men, and in many cases overlap- 
ping, wa^s^^rmi^^ enga^ed^injie^^^ such V 
as the Carojjnas an d Jerseys , and in developing the resources 
of the existing plantations. The governing classes, com- 
posed mainly of the landed gentry, were working in close 
cooperation with these groups to further the commercial 
and colonial expansion of England. The ensuing national 
• growth was on a conspicuously rapid scale. 
/( It was fully reahzed at the time that England's develop- 
l'v_ ment depended upon the possession of adequate naval 
" strength, and that sea power was the fundamental factor 
upon which must be based the future commercial and colonial 
empire, of which the statesmen of the day had some in- 
^ . e\dtably indistinct, but prescient, visions. In his speech on 
the adjournment of Parliament in September of 1660, the 
^ Speaker said that the Act of Navigation "will enable your 
majesty to give the law to foreign princes abroad as your 
royal predecessors have done before you : and it is the only 
way to enlarge you r majesty's domi nions^all overthejwarld ; 
for so long as your majesty is master at sea your merchants 
will be welcome wherever they come ; and that is the easiest 
way of conquering."^ The Restoration government zeal- 
1 Pari. Hist. IV, p. 120. 



ously pursued this policy of fostering the development of sea 
power by measures discriminating against alien shipping. 
Despite some unavoidable concomitant disadvantages, the 
actual end attained coincided mth the aims of those enact- 
ing these measures. To this notable extent the poUcy was 
imquestionably completely successful. 'Sir Josiah Child, one 
of the most intelligent men of affairs of the time, asserted 
that without the Navd^atipn Act "we had not been Owners 
of one hah of the Shiping, nor Trade, nor employed one 
half of the Sea-men which we do at present." ^ • Under the 
protection of this measure the Enghsh mercantile marine / , 
approximately doubled itself^between.i66Q- and j_688.^ The 
royal navy also, but to a somewhat less noteworthy degree, 
showed considerable advance.^ ^ 

This_greaLincr(easeJiii_ship_ping naturally implied a cor- 

^ Child, A New Discourse of Trade (London, 1693), p. 91. The Naviga- 
tion Act has been the subject of controversy from the day of its enactment 
until the present time. Later critics, tmder the influence of the free trade 
doctrine, have contended that the development of the English mercantile 
marine took place in spite of the law, or that it was at the expense of other 
interests equally, or possibly even more, important. Such criticism is largely 
academic ; it is ineffective and unconvincing, because it rests on a series of 
hypotheses that cannot be verified. The crucial point in judging the success 
of the policy is that certain means were adopted to attain a definite end 
and that the goal in view was actually reached. 

2 "As to our Stock in Shipping, old and experienc'd Merchants do 
all agree, that we had in 1688, near double the Tonnage of Trading 
Ships, to what we had Anno 1666." Charles Davenant, Discourses on 
the Pubhc Revenue and on the Trade of England (London, 1698) II, 
p. 29. 

^ In 1660 the tonnage of the navy was 62,594, in 1688 it was 101,032. 
Davenant, op. cit. II, p. 29. The great increase in the Enghsh navy dated 
from the period of the French wars. 



responding expansion in England's foreign commerce.^ C 
Shortly after the Restoration, London's foreign trade 
/ amounted to about six millions sterling, of which two- 
j thirds were imports.^ On this basis, the total foreign com- 
merce of England was somewhat over eight and a quarter 
millions.^ By the end of the century this figure had risen 
to nearly twelve and a half millions, and it was especially 
gratifying to the mercantilist mind that virtually this entire 
increase was in the exports. These had risen from about 
^wo and three-quarters to nearly seven millions.* 
^ Ships cleared outwards from England : 

English Tonnage 

Foreign Tonnage 

Total Tonnage 

1663 (about) 

1688 . . . 
1697 . . . 

1700 (about) 










Cunningham, op. cit. II, p. 932, appendix F. See also the statistics in 

Hovise of Lords MSS. (1695-1697) II, pp. 421, 422. 







CO. 388/8, E 31; Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2902, f. 118. Misselden 
estimated that in 1613 England's exports were £2,090,640 and the imports 
£2,141,151. The corresponding figures for 1622, as estimated by him, were 
£1,944,264 and £2,519,315. Misselden, The Circle of Commerce (London, 
1623), pp. 120, 121, 127-129. 

^Cf. W. R. Scott, Joint-Stock Companies to 1720 I, p. 266. 

^ The exports from England for the 4 years 3 months from Sept. 29, 1697, 
to Christmas, 1701, were £29,597,387. The total imports for the same 


r In this growing commerce, the trade with the American 
plantations — the colonial trade proper — was assuming an 
ever-increasing importance. During the first decade of the 
Restoration, it amounted to only about one-tenth of the 
Whole.^ Twenty years later this trade had increased from 
roughly £800,000 to £1,300,000,^ and towards the end of 
the century it had considerably more than doubled itself. 
It then amounted to £1,750,000 and constituted one-seventh 
^f England's total foreign commerce.^ 

period were £23,597,387. The annual averages were: exports £6,964,091, 
imports £5,486,941. C. O. 388/17, N 239. For the detailed statistics of 
these years, see House of Lords MSS. (1699-1702) IV, pp. 434, 435 ; \Vliit- 
worth, State of the Trade of England (London, 1776), Part I, pp. 1-6. 

^ Exports from London 


To THE Colonies 





Imports into London 


From the Colonies 





C. O. 388/8, E 31 ; Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2902, f. 118. 

2 For the six years from 1683 to 1688, the average exports to the American 
colonies were £350,000, and the imports thence, including Newfoundland, 
were £950,000. Davenant, op. cit. II, p. 218. 

' The average annual exports from England for the 4 years 3 months from 
Sept. 29, 1697, to Christmas, 1701, were £6,964,091, of which £753,404 went 
to the colonies, including therein Newfoundland. As regards imports, the 
corresponding figures were £5,486,941 and £1,013,086. For further details, 


These proportions are in themselves not large, but the 
rate_af_.iiicrease..was a disproportionately striking one; and, 
moreover, these bare figures by no means indicate the in- 
trinsic importance to England of this branch of her com- 
merce. The men of the day argued in a circle of sea power, 
1 commerce, and colonies. Sea p ow er enabled England-tojex- 
X pand and to pr otect her fore i gn t rade, while jthisjncxeased 
i _cominerce^ _in_ turn^._ai]gmen^ The 

argument in respect to colonies ran in the same unending 
strain, and underljdng both was the fundamental idea that 
sea power was the essential factor. Now, in proportion to its 
^ '"volume, the colonial trade employed far more English ship- 
ping than did England's commerce with foreign countries— 
In the first place, a considerable proportion of this foreign 
commerce was conveyed in alien shipping,^ while such vessels 
were by the Na\dgation Act totally excluded from the colonial 
trade. Furthermore, not only were the colonial products as 

see House of Lords MSS. (1699-1702) IV, pp. 434, 435; Whitworth, op. 
cit. Part I, pp. 1-6. 

^ Early in the following centur>-, Lord Haversham, in a speech before the 
House of Lords, well expressed the current xdew. "Your Fleet and your 
Trade," he said, "have so near a relation, and such mutual influence upon 
each other, they cannot well be separated ; your trade is the mother and 
nurse of your seamen ; your seamen are the Ufe of your fleet, and your 
fleet is the security and protection of your trade, and both together are the 
wealth, strength, security and glory of Britain." Pari. Hist. VL, p. 598. 
A writer of earlier date put the question thus: "The undoubted Interest 
of England is Trade, since it is that only which can make us either Rich or 
Safe; for without a powerful Navy, we should be a Prey to our Neighbours, 
and wthout Trade, we could neither have Sea-Men nor Ships.^' A Letter 
to Sir Thomas Osborn (London, 1672), p. 13. 

2 See ante, p. 14, note i. 


a rule bulky in relation to their first cost,^ but in addition a 
vessel was usually able to make only one voyage a year to 
America, while two, three, and even more could be made from 
England to the European continental countries. Thus the 
colonial trade gave employment to far more shipping than its 
mere volume indicated.^ In 1678, the Commissioners of the 
Customs reported to the Lords of Trade that "the Plantacon 
trade is one of the greatest Nurseries of the Shipping and 
Seamen of this Kingdome, and one of the greatest branches 
of its Trade." ^ Similarly, it was estimated in a memorial 
of the same year that "these Plantations, Newcastle Trade 
and the Fisher^', make f of all the Seamen in y^ Nation." * 

1 The rate of freight on tobacco from Virginia to England fluctuated 
greatly, and was naturally considerably higher in time of war than during 
peace. In the period under discussion the extreme limits seem to have 
been £5 55. and £16 a ton. Bruce, Economic History of Virginia I, pp. 
450-452. In a rough way, and naturally inversely, these amounts about 
equalled the fluctuating value in Virginia of the tobacco to be transported. 
The price of tobacco ranged approximately from Id. to 2d. a poxmd. In 
167 1, it was calculated that the net proceeds received by the planter from 
80 cwt. of raw sugar was £44 75., while the freight to England thereon 
amounted to £18 8s. C. O. 31/2 ff. 54 et seq. 

2 During the year ending Sept. 29, 1677, there came to London from the 
English West Indies and the Bermudas alone 155 ships of 15,845 total 
tonnage. During the same year, the entries from London outwards to 
these colonies were 80 ships of 11,365 total tonnage. C. 0. 1/42, 60 i, 60 ii; 
C. O. 324/4, flf. 58, 59. Cf. England's Guide to Industry (London, 1683), 

» C. 0. 1/42, 60; C. O. 324/4, ff. 56-58. 

* Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 574. Sir Josiah Child also pointed 
out that the trade of the EngUsh colonies in America was of great bulk, and 
employed as much shipping as most of the trades of England. Child, A 
New Discourse of Trade (London, 1693), p. 164. Similarly, John Pollexfen 
stated that the colonial trade ought to be encouraged since it employed so 


r Thus the colonial trade was becoming of ever-increasing 

|_ importance to the national development of England; its 

, value was fully recognized, and even over-emphasized, at 

C, ^the time by both Englishmen ^ and foreigners.^ The title 

of a contemporary pamphlet, "Plantation Work, the Work 

of this Generation," ^ is of considerable significance. The 

temtqriaj. acguisitions in America were, however, not prized 

\l as possible homes for an overflowing population in England, 

' but virtually solely as f eeders fo r Englis h_commerce. In 

the eyes of the English government, colonial expansion was 

a subordinate, though vital, part of the larger movement of 

commercial progress. This was a striking characteristic 

of Restoration thought, and naturally greatly influenced 

many ships and seamen, for this trade and that to Newcastle have become 
"the chief support of our Navigation, and Nursery for Seamen." Pollex- 
fen, A Discourse of Trade, Coyn and Paper Credit (London, 1697), p. 86. 
In the first decade of the following century, a writer, with a marked tendency 
to exaggeration, even estimated that nearly two-thirds of EngUsh shipping 
was employed in the colonial trade. Neh. Grew, The IMeanes of a most 
Ample Encrease of the Wealth and Strength of England, in Brit. Mus., 
Lansdowne MSS. 6gi, f. 61*^. 

1 Thus one writer, after carefully analyzing the plantation trade, claimed 
that the colonies "doe not more if soe much depend upon the interest of 
England, as the interest of England doth depend upon them." Bodleian, 
Rawlinson MSS. A 478, f. 48. 

^ In 167 1, the Venetian Ambassador in England, Pietro IMocenigo, 
wrote to his government: "Anco il negozio dell' America e in Uberta di 
ogni suddito inglese a praticarlo, quale ogni giorno si avanza e si rende piu 
florido, accresciutasi la coltura nella Giammaica, popolata I'isole di Bar- 
bada e di San Cristofero, e introdotta I'industria nelle provincie deUa Nuova 
Anglia, Virginia e Florida. Tale e il trafilaco dell' Inghilterra dilatato per 
tutto il mondo." Le Relazioni degli Stati Europei, Serie IV, Inghilterra 
(Venezia, 1863), p. 449. 

^ By W. L., published in London, 1682. See especially pp. 6-8. 


colonial policy. When England first embarked on this 
career of expansion, under Elizabeth and James I, the 
prevailing view was radically different.^ It was then gen- 
erally thought that England was over-populated, and conse- 
quently colonization was advocated as a means for reheving 
this congestion. It was, however, gradually realized that 
this diagnosis was incorrect, and that emigration not only 
was no remedy for pauperism and its attendant evils, but 
might be a drain on the national strength. England's own 
resources were by no means fully developed, and the great 1 
progress in industry and commerce during the Restoration! 
era afforded employment to increasing numbers. Further- ' 
more, the necessity for a large population was emphasized 
by the internationa,l rivalries of the day. As these became 
more acute, and especially when it was realized that a 
struggle w^ith France, whose population greatly exceeded | 
that of England, was inevitable, a loss in inhabitants was 
regarded with considerable alarm and trepidation. Hence, 
from about the middle of the seventeenth century on, when 
England became engaged in a bitter contest wdth HollandJ 
until the close of the period of the French wars, emigration/ 
was regarded as an inherently pernicious phenomenon, aa 
a positive evil, which should be tolerated only in return fori 
countervailing and greater advantages to be derived from' 
the colonies. A private individual, like William Penn, 1 
primarily interested in the settlement of his own vast con- 
cession, might claim that "colonies are the Seeds of Nations, 
begun and nourished by the Care of wise and populous 
^ Beer, Origins, Chapter II. 



Countries; as conceiving them best for the Increase of 
humane Stock, and beneficial for Commerce " ; ^ but this 
by no means represented the attitude and purpose of the 
nation and its government. At this time England did not 
'regard herself as the actual or prospective "Mother of 
Nations. " That was a part at first forced upon her by the 
inexorable facts of colonial development, and assumed 
voluntarily only in the nineteenth century, when the com- 
pleted industrial revolution had made necessary the posses- 
sion both of over-sea homes for her swarming multitudes and 
of expanding markets for her busy factories. Diametrically 
opposed was the Restoration attitude J* 

According to the view then prevailing, the population of 
England was not only not redundant, but by no means equal 
to its productive capacity. People were wealth,^ ran the 
argument, and hence it was even urged that Jnim igraJLiQiiiiitp 
^n^land shoul d be encouraged .^ The Earl of Shaftesbury 
gave expression to these current views in a memorial on the 
decay of lands, rents, and trade, which he addressed to 

1 William Penn, The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies, in Select Tracts 
relating to Colonies, p. 26 ; A. C. Myers, Narratives of Early Pennsylvania 
etc., p. 202. 

2 "All Kingdoms or Governments are Strong or Weak, Rich or Poor, 
according to the Plenty or Paucity of the People of that Government." 
The Irregular and Disorderly State of the Plantation-Trade (about 1694), 
in Am. Hist. Assoc. Report, 1892, p. 37. 

^ Samuel Fortrey, England's Interest and Improvement (Cambridge, 
1663), pp. 4-13. Among the fundamental characteristics of mercantUism 
was "the exaggerated importance attached to the number of population 
and its density." Ugo Rabbeno, The American Commercial Pohcy (Lon- 
don, 1S95), p. 27. 


Charles II in about 1672.^ "I Take it for granted," he said, 
"That the Strength & glory, of yo' Ma*'' and the wealth of 
yo' Kingdoms, depends not Soe much on anything, on this 
Side of heauven, as on the multitude of yo' Subjects, by whose 
mouths & backes, the fruits & Commoditys of yo' Lands 
may haue a hberall Consumption." Abundant people, he 
added, are necessary for military purposes, and to increase the 
public revenue and the national manufactures, but of late 
England's population has faUen off by reason of the plague, 
wars, and emigration to America, and consequently land has 
decreased in value, while the cost of manufacturing has 
risen. As a remedy, he proposed^ to encourage immigra- 
tion, and to " Stopp the draine, that carrys away the Natiues 
from us." This suggestion was adopted by the government, f' 
which enrnnrRg ejdjtheJirnmigration into England of_Joreigii u^ 
Protestants,^ especially oMFrench Hugiienots. _T^ 
ment of these refugees from Louis XIV's rehgi ous pe rsecu- 

tion in London and elsewhere was facilitated by grants 
Jrom the English^^Qveinment, which-weleomed: them as a 
valuable addition to the industrial population.^ The 
change in opinion regarding this question inevitably in- 
volved a fresh consideration and a revised estimate of the 
economic value of colonies. 

One of the ablest of the public men of the Restoration 
era,'* Sir William Coventry, in his "Essay concerning the 

^ Shaftesbury MSS., Section X, in Public Record Office. 

2 Cf. S. P. Dom. Chas. II, Entry Book 36, ff. 327, 328. 

3 Cunningham, op. cit. I, pp. 327-331. 

■* Lodge, England, 1660-1702, pp. 66, 67. 



Decay of Rents and their Remedies," written in about 1670, 
complained of "the long continued diverting of the Young 
and proUfick People to the Plantations." ^ At the same 
time, a well-known publicist, Roger Coke, maintained that 
"Ireland and our Plantations Rob us of all the growing 
Youth and Industry of the Nation, whereby it becomes 
week and feeble, and the Strength, as well as Trade, becomes 
decayed and diminished." ^ So general was this view that 
the imperialists of the day were put on the defensive, and 
were forced to answer these current charges.^ In 1689, the 
representatives of Barbados in England found it necessary 
to publish a refutation of the charge that the colonies v/ere 
weakening England. They skilfully pointed out that the 
population of a country depends upon its industrial develop- 
ment, and added "tis strange we should be thought to 

1 Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 3828, f. 205''. 

* Roger Coke, A Discourse of Trade (London, 1670), p. 46. Cf. pp. 12, 
13, 43. In 1667, Mr. Garroway said that the Enghsh colonies "have a 
constant supply out of England, which in time wiU drain us of people, as 
now Spain is, and will endanger our ruin, as now the Indies do Spain." 
Grey, Debates, 1667-1694, I, p. 40. Evelyn referred to "the ruinous 
numbers of our ISIen, daily flocking to the American Plantations, and from 
whence so few return." John Evelyn, Navigation and Commerce (Lon- 
don, 1674), p. 112. On this rare pamphlet, see the author's diary under 
date of August 19, 1674. For similar statements, see Carew ReyneU, The 
True EngUsh Interest (London, 1674), p. 33 ; Britamiia Languens (London, 
1680), p. 176; England's Guide to Industry (London, 1683), preface. 

^ The proprietors of East New Jersey, when engaged in an attempt to at- 
tract Scottish settlers to their colony, took pains to assert that "the chief 
Reason against Forraign Plantations being the drawing too many Inhabitants 
out of the Nation, and so leaving the Countries at Home unfurnished of Peo- 
ple " did not apply to Scotland, which could spare some of its population. A 
Brief Account of the Province of East-New-Jersey (Edinburgh, 1683), p. 3. 


diminish the people of England, when we do, so much increase 
^he Employments" there.^ 

In general, the defence of the colonial movement was 
conducted on these lines. Dalby Thomas, the author of an 
interesting account of the West Indies published in 1690, 
admitted that people were the wealth of a nation, but 
denied that the American colonies, by causing emigration 
from England, occasioned "the Decay both of the People 
and Riches of the Nation," because one laboring man in thej 
West Indies was of more advantage to England than were 
a considerable number of his fellows at home.^ Sir Francis 
Brewster maintained that it could not "be denied, however 
some may apprehend, but the Foreign Plantations add to the 
Strength and Treasure of the Nation, even in that of People, 
whichls generally thtught #ur Plantations abrtad consume ; 
but if it were considered. That by taking Off #ne useless 

^ The Groans of the Plantations (London, 1689), pp. 26-29. 

2 Dalby Thomas, An Historical Account of the Rise and Growth of the 
West-India Colonies (London, 1690), in Harleian Miscellany II, pp. 342, 346, 
363. Essentially the same argument was used by William Penn to "deny 
the vulgar Opinion against Plantations, that they weaken Engloid." He 
claimed that the colonies had enriched the mother country in various ways : 
first, because the industry of those settUng in them is worth more than if 
they had remained at home — "the Product of their Labour being in Com- 
modities of a superiour Nature to those of this Country" ; secondly, as more 
is produced in the colonies than can be consumed in England, this excess is 
exported to foreign nations, "which brings in Money, or the Growth of 
those Countries, which is the same Thing"; thirdly, by setthng in the 
colonies, many have prospered and are able to buy far greater quantities 
of English manufactures than if they had remained at home ; fourthly, the 
colonial trade employs a large number of ships. William Perm, op. cit. 
pp. 26-28 ; A. C. Myers, Narratives of Early Pennsylvania etc., pp. 202- 


person, for such generally go abroad, we add Twenty Blacks 
in the Labour and IManufactories of this Nation, that Mis- 
take would be removed." ^ 

John Gary, a prominent Bristol merchant and a \\Titer 
on the economic questions of the day, as a prehminary to 
his discussion of colonial trade also considered it necessary 
to discuss the doubt raised by "many thoughtful men," 
whether the colonies had been of advantage to England.^ 
These men, he said, urged that the colonies had drained 
England of multitudes of people, who might have been 
serviceable at home in impro\TJig husbandr}^ and manu- 
factures; and that, as its inhabitants are the wealth of a 
nation, England was the poorer to the extent of this emi- 
gration. Gary admitted that people were wealth, provided 
there was adequate employment for them, yet he claimed 
that the col onies were of distinct value to Engl and, b oth as 
a market for EngHsh produce and as a source ofsupply.^ 

1 Sir Francis Brewster, Essays on Trade and Navigation (London, 1695), 
p. 70. It was, however, contended by another writer that the labor of the 
same people in the EngHsh fisheries and manufactures would have produced 
a greater profit than that derived from the plantation commodities, sugar, 
tobacco, dyeing-stuffs, etc. raised by them. Moreover, had these people 
not emigrated, he maintained, they would have consumed more EngHsh 
produce, for England suppHed the colonies with only a smaU part of their 
foodstuffs. The bulk, he asserted, came from Ireland and from the north- 
ern colonies, and as a result, he concluded, the colonial trade had during 
the past twenty years become increasingly disadvantageous to England. 
Britannia Languens (London, 1680), p. 173. 

^ John Gary, An Essay on the State of England in relation to its Trade 
(Bristol, 1695), pp. 65-67. 

^ Gary said that, in varying degrees, the colonies were advantageous to 
England, "as they take off our Product and Manufactures, supply us with 


But without such compensating benefits, he wrote to a 
private correspondent, emigration would be Kke "opening 
a Vein in a Mans Body, & letting him bleed to death, w"^'' 
might be of good use to his health if no more Blood was 
taken from him than he could well Spare." ^ 

In another essay of about the same time, essentially the 
same \aews were expressed.^ Its author said that "a vulgar 
error has too much prevailed with some of our great men to 
the prejudice of those Plantations, and therein to the 
interest of England, \n.z. that the Colonies of the West 
Indies drains us of our people, in which consist our wealth 
and strength, and consequently we should be richer and 
greater without them," This argument he answered by 
stating that the colonies had returned as many people as 
they had received, and by pointing out that, in addition, these 
possessions were of great economic advantage to England. 
"The labor of the people there is twice the value to England 
that it would be at home, both because the commodities 
are more profitable, and that it gives England a market 

Commodities which may be either wrought up here, or Exported again, or 
prevent fetching things of the same Nature from other Princes for our 
home Consumption, employ our Poor, and encourage our Navigation ; for 
I take England and all its Plantations to be one great Body, those being so 
many Limbs or Counties belonging to it, therefore when we consume their 
Growth we do as it were Spend the Fruits of our own Land, and what 
thereof we sell to oiir Neighbours for Bullion, or such Commodities as we 
must pay for therein, brings a second Profit to the Nation." 

^ Cary to Edmund Bohim, Jan. 31, 1696. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 5540, 
f. 61. 

^ Considerations about the EngHsh Colonies in America, in MSS. of Duke 
of Buccleuch and Queensberry (H. M. C. 1903) II, pp. 735-737. 


she could not otherwise have, both abroad and at home, to 
her great enrichment." 

Similarly, Charles Davenant, in his well-known work on 
England's revenue and trade, discussed the two general 
objections to the colonies : first, that they are a retreat for 
men opposed to the established system in church and state ; j 
secondly, "that they drein this Kingdom of People, the 
"most Important Strength of any Nation." ^ In connection 
with this latter objection, Davenant called attention to the 
fact that, in spite of the colonies, England's population had 
greatly increased since 1600. He did not, however, deny the 
validity of this general argument against colonization, 
merely pointing out that in England this disadvantage had 
been more than counterbalanced by other factors. " Coun- 
tries that take no Care to encourage an Accession of stran- 
gers," he freely admitted, "in Course of Time, will find 
Plantations of Pernicious Consequence." But this, he said, 
was not the case \\ith England, which had added to its 
population a large number of Huguenot refugees. On the 
whole, he concluded that the colonies "are a spring of 
Wealth to this Nation, that they work for us, that their 
■ ^ Treasure centers all here." 

From this somewhat summary account of contemporary 
thought, it is apparent that in itself emigration to the 
•, plantations was in general deemed a decided e\dl, which 
could be condoned only if greater contervaihng advantages 
: were derived from the colonies. This phase of public opin- 
ion was naturally reflected in the views and attitude of the 
^ Davenant, op. cil. II, pp. 195-203. 




government. In this connection may profitably be cited an 
episode which throws considerable light on the poHcy of the 
authorities. In 1679, ^ suggestion was made to the Caro- 
lina proprietors that a considerable number of Huguenots 
should be transported to their colony, where they could raise 
silk, oil, wine, and such other products as England was obliged 
to purchase from southern Europe. The Lords Proprietors, 
however, stated that they had already spent large sums of 
money and had brought the colony to so prosperous a condi- 
tion that for years men had gone thither on their own account. 
Hence, the proprietors were not willing to incur this addi- 
tional expense, but they pointed out that the proposition 
would be advantageous both to them and to England, be- 
cause these French refugees were skilled in planting vine- 
yards and olive trees and in the making of silk; and, if these 
industries were once successfully established in Carolina, 
other foreign Protestants would be attracted there.^ The 
proposal appealed to the government, but before deciding 
to grant the desired assistance,^ it referred the matter to the 
Commissioners of the Customs, as was usual when an expert 
opinion was wanted on financial or commercial questions. 

As this board had not been informed whether these 
Huguenots were already in England or were stiU in France, 
their careful report of April 14, 1679,^ contained alterna- 

1 C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 321, 328, 336. 

^ These Huguenots requested that two ships of the navy transport eighty 
families to Carohna, and that £2000 be reimbursed to them for their ex- 
penses out of the English customs on commodities imported from the pro- 
posed settlement. Ibid. pp. 340, 341. 

' No. Ca. Col. Rec. I, p. 243. 


tive advice, contingent upon the ascertainment of this fact. 
"We canot," they wrote, "advise that his ma^'^ should give 
any Incouragement to any People who are settled in this 
Kingdome whether Natives or fforeigners to transport them- 
selves from hence into any of his Ma*'^^ Plantacons or Ire- 
land. On the contrary, we are of opinion that there are too 
many ffamilyes that do daylye Transport themselves both to 
the Plantacons & to Ireland to the unpeopling & ruine of 
this Kingdome. And we are of opinion that means are rather 
to be used for the hindring then the promoting thereof ; but 
if these ffamilies are now reaUy in parts beyond the Seas, we 
think that the Encouraging of them to come over to goe to 
Carolina is a very good Work." This report was approved, 
and orders were given to pro\dde two ships for the trans- 
portation of these Huguenots to Carolina, pro\dded they 
had or should come to England for this specific purpose 

In view of this attitude, it would, indeed, not have been 
surprising if the government had restricted emigration to the 
colonies. Under the prevailing conditions, the problem was, 
however, not an urgent one. Although there was a steady 
stream of people flowing from England to America, it was 
of but insignificant dimensions,^ and was composed in part 

1 C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 364, 366, 367, 428, 435, 455 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 
825, 826. 

2 Reliable figures are unfortunately not available. Davenant estimated 
that the annual average emigration to the colonies amounted to 1800 people 
as against 300 returning yearly from them to England. Davenant, op. cit. 
II, p. 203. Those who opposed colonization as tending to weaken England 
were inclined grossly to over-estimate the number of emigrants. C/. Carew 
Reynell, The True EngUsh Interest (London, 1674), pp. 7, 8. 


of foreigners who had sought a merely temporary refuge in 
England. There was not sufficient economic pressure in 
England to cause a marked dislocation of population. Nor 
were conditions in the colonies so attractive that adventur- 
ous spirits were drawn there in large numbers by the confi- 4>:«^ 
dent expectation of bettering their social status. Emigration ^ -^ 
and subsequent settlement involved heavy expenses/ and 
the outcome was at best an uncertain one. Some especially 
energetic, or merely sanguine, Englishmen emigrated with 
such hopes, but a large proportion of those voluntarily 
leaving England did so for non-economic reasons. It was 
to escape the penalties of the English religious code that 
many Quakers left their homes and settled in New Jersey T 
and Pennsylvania. 

In addition, the English government systematically de- 
ported to the colonies many undesirable elements in its 
population — political prisoners, religious nonconformists, 
delinquents, and criminals.^ Thus, in 1665, 126 Quakers in 
Newgate, as well as some others imprisoned elsewhere, were 
ordered to be transported to the colonies.^ In 1666, 100 ^ 
Irish rebels were deported to Barbados,^ and in 1685, after , 
the collapse of Monmouth's insurrection, 800 of his ad- -' 

^ The cost of transportation alone continued as formerly to be about £6. 
Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395 ff. 277 et seq.; A. C. Myers, Narratives of 
Early Pennsylvania, etc., pp. 194, 211. Cf. Beer, Origins, p. 49. 

^ J. D. Butler, in British Convicts shipped to American Colonies 
(Am. Hist. Rev. II), gives some interesting details, and shows that the 
convict element was of considerable proportions. 

3 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 393, 394, 402, 415, 417. 

< MSS. of Earl of Egmont (H. M. C. 1909) II, p. 16. 



herents were sent to forced labor in the same colony/ and 
some also were transported to Jamaica.^ Disorderly persons 
and convicts were regularly shipped to America.^ Virginia 
objected to this policy and secm-ed exemption from it;^ but, 
in 1684, St. Kitts sent to England a petition, which was 
granted, that the 300 malefactors "long since ordered" 
might finally be transported so as to strengthen the colony.^ 
Many of these con\dcts were well adapted to their new life ; 
in ^ome, the ver}^ qualities that had brought them into difficul- 
ties wdth the complex ci^dlization of England fitted them 
admirably for the primitive conditions in the colonies, where 
extreme indi\ddualism and independence were an advantage 
in the conflict -v^dth the more or less untamed forces of nature. 
These various elements, voluntarily setthng in America or 
forcibly located there, in part peopled the new colonies th at 

^ G. M. Trevelyan, England under the Stuarts, p. 431. See also C. C. 
1685-1688, pp. 139, 140, i47-i49> 651. 

- Ibid. p. 201. 

3 Cf. P. C. Cal. I, pp. 370, 371 ; II, p. 36. 

* Charles II, being informed by letters from Virginia that "great danger 
and disrepute is brought vpon that his Majestys Plantation by the frequent 
sending thither of flfeUons and other Condemned Persons," for the preven- 
tion whereof Virginia had passed an order prohibiting such importation, on 
October 21, 1670, by Order in Council, directed that in future no felons nor 
con\'icts be sent to Mrginia, but only to the other colonies. P. C. Cal. I, 
p. 553. See also Va. Mag. XIX, pp. 355, 356. 

^ P. C. Cal. II, pp. 68, 69. Already in 1676 the Enghsh government 
had agreed to meet the expense involved in their transportation, and in 1677 
Treasurer Danby instructed the sherififs of London and Middlesex to deUver 
300 comdcts to a London merchant, who was to give bond to take them to 
St. Kitts. Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 826 ; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 335, 
346, 347; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 708, 709. See also C. C. 1677-16S0, pp. 572, 


were founde d in the Restoration er a./ But to some extent 
these territories, especially the Carolinas and the Jerseys, were 
settled by the surplus population of Barbados, the Bermudas, 
Virginia, and New England. The restless spirit of the people 
in some of the older colonies, the gradual displacement of 
white labor by the negro in the sugar plantations of the 
West Indies, the confined limits of the already more than 
adequately populated Bermudas, combined ^\dth the fact 
that by reproduction alone the population of these colonies 
was increasing rapidly, greatly facilitated and would in itself 
probably have led to this territorial extension of the Empire. 
The Atlantic seaboard, not the interior, was the line of 
least resistance for this expanding population. 

2n_general, except in so far as the deportation of those \ 
deemed undesirable at home was concerned, -the English 
government was naturally adverse to emigration__from j 7 
England-' Tt tried, however, to facilitate immigration into / 
the colonies from Scotland and Ireland.^ Yet the govern- 1^ 

1 As it was deemed important that Jamaica should be speedily settled, 
emigration to that colony was even encouraged. In 1661, a royal procla- 
mation offered thirty acres of land to each settler, and stated that "all 
Free persons shall have hberty without Interruption, to transport them- 
selves and their Famihes, and any their Goods (except only Coyn and 
BuUions) from any of Our Dominions and Territories, to the said Island of 
Jamaica." When, in 1662, the new Governor, Lord Windsor, came to 
Jamaica, he brought this proclamation with him. British Royal Proclama- 
tions, 1603-1783 (Am. Antiqu. Soc. 1911), pp. 112-114; W. J. Gardner, 
A History of Jamaica (London, 1909), p. 51. 

2 The "Staple Act" of 1663, which prohibited the importation of Euro- 
pean commodities into the colonies except from England, specifically ex- 
empted from this prohibition servants from Ireland and Scotland. 15 Ch, 
II, c. 7, § v. 



mentf'did not find it necessary, except in one respect, to 
adopt measures to restrict the slight spontaneous movement 
of emigration to the colonies^ One of the chief benefits 
expected from the Newfoundland fishery was the training 
and increase of seamen, and hence the crew of every EngHsh 
fishing vessel had to be composed in part of inexperienced 
and untrained men. If these seamen were allowed to settle 
in Newfoundland or to emigrate thence to the other colonies, 
the advantage of this country as "a nursery of seamen" 
would be greatly diminished. Hence, the English vessels 
going to Newfoundland for their annual fishing were obli- 
gated to bring their crews back to England and the emigra- 
tion of seamen from Newfoundland to New England was 
strictly forbidden.^ 

While the extent of emigration did not necessitate the 
adoption of any comprehensive measures to check its course, 
in connection with it there developed certain evils which 
occasioned governmental interfej£nce_and^ control. As a 
rule, in return for his passage to America, the emigrant 
agreed to work in semi-servitude for a term of years, usually 
L five. On arrival in the colonies, the master or o^vner of the 

^ The officials who supervised emigration could, however, readily restrict 
the movement by creating obstacles. In 1682, Governor Lynch of Jamaica 
complained to the Lords of Trade that few or no servants came from Eng- 
land and that he was informed 'that my Lord Chief Justice will permit 
none to come, though they are willing and go to acknowledge it before the 
Magistrate as the law directs.' He asserted that the idle people, who did 
mischief in London, would prove beneficial in Jamaica. C. C. 1681-1685, 
p. 282. 

2 C. O. I9S/2, f. 7; P. C. Cal. I, pp. "558-563; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 
600, 601 ; C. C. 1681-1685, p. 294. See post, Chapter X. 



ship recouped himself by selling this temporary slave, 
euphemistically known as an indentured servant. Since 
the demand for labor in the colonies was very keen, this 
traffic was found most profitable, and inevitably led to 
many grave abuses. In 1660, it was said that " diuerse 
Children from their Parents, and Seruants from their Masters, 
are dayhe inticed away, taken upp, and kept from their said 
Parents and Masters against their Wills, by Merchants, 
Planters, Commanders of Shipps, and Seamen trading to 
Virginia, Barbados, Charibee Islands and other parts of 
the West Indies, and their Factors and Agents, and shipped 
away to make Sale and Merchandize of." ^ Accordingly, in 
16^, an office was created for registering the contracts of 
such persons as should go to the colonies as servants.^ 
The evils complained of, however, still continued.^ In 
addition to "spiriting," as this kidnapping and forcible 
transportation was popularly called, another abuse developed. 
Many persons, who had agreed to go to the colonies and had 
received money for so doing, afterwards pretended that they 
had been carried away against their \\dll, and induced their 
friends to prosecute the merchants who had transported them. 

1 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 296, 297. See also Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, ff. 
277 et seq. The Council for Foreign Plantations, appointed in 1660, was 
instructed to consider how the colonies may best be supplied with servants, 
but that none should be forced to emigrate or be enticed away and that only 
such as were willing "to seeke better fortunes than they can meete \\ith at 
nome" should be encouraged. C. O. 1/14, 59, ff. 3, 4 ; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, 
ip. 34-36. 

- P. C. Cal. I, p. 384. 

' B. T. Journals 124 (Miscellanies, 1664-1674), flf. 1-19. For a case of 
"spiriting" in 1679, see P. C. Cal. I, p. 863. 


As a result, in 1682, the ofi&ce established in 1664 was 
abolished, and a more elaborate and effective method was 
inaugurated for controlling this system of contract labor. ^ 

From the foregoing, it will be plainly apparent that one 

of the chief advantages originally anticipated from the 

colonial movement by the contemporaries of Hakluyt and 

Raleigh and by their successors under the first Stuarts had 

^proven illusory. England no longer wanted over-sea domin- 

/ \ ions as homes for a population that was thought excessive, 

^ and had even veered to the opposite point and regarded 

colonies as an evil sapping the national strength to the 

extent that they attracted to them the inhabitants of the 

metropolis. Hence, there was a marked tendency in favor 

of the colonization of tropical and sub-tropical regions which 

, / could be advantageously exploited by a small white popu- 

r J'^ / I 

\^ xylation superintending the labor of a large number of negro • 
slaves. Thus Sir Josiah Child, in discussing the ^^'ide- 
spread ■ view that the colonies had prejudiced England 
"by draining us of our People," conceded that, "people 
_bein^ Riches," emigration to America would be a distinct 
national loss, unless "the employment of those People 
abroad do cause the employment of so many more at home 

V' > ; in their Mother Kingdoms." ^ He then pointed out that 
for one Enghshman in the West Indies there were as a rule 
eight to ten negro slaves, and that, as their joint labor gave 
employment to four men in England, emigration to those 
colonies would increase the population of the mother country. 

1 P. C. Cal. II, pp. 41-43- 

2 Child, A New Discourse of Trade (London, 1693), p. 184. 



On the other hand, according to him, ten men in the northern 
colonies, such as Massachusetts, did not employ one man 
in England,^ Hence it followed inevitably that the southern , 
continental and especially the island colonies were regarded 
with marked favor. 

^^ This attitude hkewise was a direct consequence of the ,, 

\ \ prevailing economic theory of colonization and of the actual "^ , ^ 
course of colonial trade. What exactly were these economic 
benefits that England expected to derive from the colonies in 
order to counteract any loss that might be suffered through 
emigration to them ? \ As has alr eady^ be en point ed_ou t, the 
I colonial trade was highly valued as one of the main founda- 
tions^brEThgTaiid^sgiwing sea_powei:.,Mrliis view was more 
emphasized than it had been in the period of origins.^ In^ 
addition^ there were claimei -certain specific, fiscal am 
economic advant ages . A curious idea prevailed extensivel] 
during the seventeenth century that theJEngjish_aistaais^| 
duties on colonial produce were paid by the colonies and 
that they consequently contributed largely to the pubhq 
revenue.^ Thus Clarendon tells us that, before the restora- 
tion of the kingship, he had become convinced of the value 
of the colonies and that "he had been confirmed in that 

^ Ibid. pp. 207, 208. Early in the following century, N. Grew, in the 
course of an essay on the economic condition of England, said that "the 
Transporting of People to our Plantations Should be Stinted. Whether 
with the Addition of their Blacks they may not Multiply Sufficiently to 
Answer the Trade we haue or may haue with them without sending them 
any more People or with fewer Sent I humbly Conceiue deserves to be 
Considered." Brit. Mus., Lansdowne MSS. 691, f. 108. 

■ Beer, Origins, pp. 73, 74. 

^ This idea was prominent before 1660. Ibid. pp. 201-203, 



opinion and desire, as soon as he had a \dew of the entries in 
the custom house ; by which he found what a great revenue 
accrued to the Crown from those plantations." ^ Many- 
other writers also called attention to this supposed benefit. 
William Perm pointed out that each Virginia planter pro- 
duced three thousand pounds of tobacco yearly which paid in. 
England an import duty of £25, "an extraordinary^ Profit." - 
Similarly, the writer of "Some Observations about the 
Plantations" stated that the customs on tobacco and sugar, 
amounting yearly to £160,000, were paid by the colonies.^ 
It does not require much subtle or searching analysis to 
perceive that the reasoning leading to this conclusion was 
largely erroneous. In so far as was concerned JJiat-portion 
of the colonial prodiLclsconsuniedJi]. England, these duties 
were shifted to the English consumer, and affected the 
colonial producer only to the limited extent that they re- 
stricted the available demand by enhancing the retail price. 
This constituted the bulk of the customs revenue derived 
from the colonial trade, and unquestionably the same 
amount would have arisen if the tobacco and sugar had been 
imported from foreign countries instead of from the colonies. 
In addition, a considerabk proportio n of the co lonia l im- 

1 Clarendon's Autobiography (Oxford, 1827) III, p. 407. 

2 William Penn, op. cit. p. 27 ; A. C. Myers, Narratives of Early Penn- 
sylvania etc., p. 203. 

3 Brit. Mus., Add. IMSS. 28,079, f- 85. See also Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 
2395, f. 574- In his Discourse and View of Virginia, Governor Berkeley 
pointed out that one-quarter of the Enghsh customs revenue was derived 
from colonial goods. Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 357''. In the seventies this 
revenue amounted to about £600,000. W. R. Scott, op. cit. Ill, pp. 530, 531. 


parte intn FTi^lhriH^jvag^gniri reex^vrrteH ; in such cases 
the greater part of the EngHsh duties was repaid, on tobacco 
three-quarters, on sugar one-haK. Whsit remained in the 
Exchequer was not large in amount, but to this extent 
certainly the colonies contributed to England's public 
revenue. Likewise the smaU export duties levied in Eng- 
land on English goods shipped to the colonies were ultimately 
paid by the colonial consumer, as were also the customs 
duties collected on foreign goods in course of shipment via 
England to the colonies. But, in the main, this supposed 
advantage was fictitious. Delusions are, however, as effec- \ 
tive in social evolution as are unassailable facts. The bulk 
of the revenue from the colonial trade was derived from the 
import duties on tobacco and sugar,^ and this fact furnished an/ 
^additional reason for favoring the plantation type of colony. 
- Apart from the greater stress laid on the colonial trade 
as a source of sea power, and apart from this somewhat 
higher estimate of its fiscal importance, the_^^estoration \ 
economic theory of colonization corresponded closely with 
that obtaining at the outset of the movement, under Eliza- 
beth and her successors.^ It was still deemed the primary , 
function of the colony to furnish the metropolis with supplies -^ ' 
not produced there, and which otherwise would have to be 

1 See an account of the customs paid in the year 167 6- 1677 on goods 
imported from : 

Barbados and the Leeward Isles £20,781 

Jamaica £ 3,500 

Bermudas £ 2,406 

C. O. 1/42, 6oiii; C. O. 324/4, ff. 58, 59. For further details see post, 
Chapter III. 

2 Beer, Origins, Chapter III. 



secured from foreign rivals in Europe. In other words, 
the ideal colony was one which would have freed England 
from the necessity of importing anything from her com- 
petitors. In addition, the supplies obtained from the plan- 
tations were not to be entirely consumed in England, but 
their surplus was to be exported to foreign countries to the 
manifest advantage of the nation's trade balance.^ As far as 
it was possible the colony was to differ from England in its 
economic pursuits, producing nothing that interfered with 

'f the fullest development of any English industry or trade. 
It was to be the economic complement of the mother country, 
both together constituting a self-suflBicient commercial 

-empire. It naturally followed that the colony was to 
purchase its manufactures from England and thus employ 
English labor. But while its value as a market was fully 

. recognized,^ chief stress was laid upon the colony as a source 
I * of supply.^ ''The ends of their first settlement," wrote 
Gary, "were rather to provide Materials for the increas- 
ing our Trade at home, and keeping our people at work 

1 Without these reexports of colonial produce, it was claimed, England's 
balance of trade would have been an unfavorable- one. Bodleian, Raw- 
Hnson A 478, f. 48. 

2 PoUexfen pointed out that the colonies consumed large quantities of 
EngUsh products and manufactures, as well as provisions and handicraft 
wares, and suppUed England with some goods for further manufacture and 
others in great abundance, especially tobacco and sugar, for export to for- 
eign nations. John Pollexfen, A Discourse of Trade, Coyn and Paper 
Credit (London, 1697), p. 86. 

2 Among the papers of WiUiam Bridgeman, Clerk of the Privy Council 
toward the end of the seventeenth century (Evelyn, May 7, 1699; Diet, 
of Nat. Biography : John Bridgeman), is an unsigned and undated memorial 
on the plantation trade which, more than was customary, emphasized the 



(here." ^ This view was supported by the actual facts of 
the existing colonial trade. 

The exports to the colonies were far less than the imports 
thence. In 1 66 2-1 663 the exports from London to the planta- 
tions were only £105,910, as opposed to imports of £484,641. 
Six years later, although these exports had remained at vir- 
tually the same figure — they were £107,791 — the imports 
had risen to £605,574.^ The exports ^ were comparatively 

value of the colonies as markets. Its author pointed out that England 
exported to other places but few manufactures, except woollens, and rarely 
many foreign commodities, while to the colonies were sent manufactures of 
wool, iron, brass, tin, lead, leather, silk, and also pro\'isions and other 
necessaries, "which we cannot with any profitt carry into other Countryes." 
Nor, he added, do we export much less of foreign commodities than of our 
own. He ■wrote pessimistically about England's export trade in woollens, 
which he claimed was decHning rapidly, and asserted that the colonies 
alone could compensate for this loss of foreign markets. Bodleian, Rawlin- 
son A 478, f. 48. 

1 Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 5540, f. 61. In his Discourse and View of Vir- 
ginia, Governor Berkeley especially emphasized the importance of coloniza- 
tion in that "those coihodities wee were wont to purchase at great rates and 
hazards, wee now purchase at half the usuall prices. Nor is this all, but we 
buy them w*?* our own manufactures, which here at home employ thousands 
of poor people." Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 357''. 

2 C. O. 388/8, E 31; Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2902, f. 118. It should 
be noted that these statistics were not compiled in a scientific manner, and 
should not be used for precise deductions. It is not even certain that 
these figures do not include the entire colonial trade of England. The 
great disparity between exports and imports was due mainly to the fact that 
the value of the imports included the charges in bringing the colonial 
goods to England. In addition, in the EngHsh exports was not included 
the important item of negro slaves sold to the colonies. 

' They included a great variety of goods — textiles, medicines, provisions, 
liquors, books, candles, instruments, tools, hardware, clothing, etc. Details, 
with the exact quantities exported from England during the years 1662- 
1663 and 1 668-1 669, may be found in B. T. Trade Papers 4. 



insignificant, and their economic importance was still further 
diminished by the fact that they included a considerable 
proportion of foreign goods reexported from England.^ 

^ This has, however, been questioned. W. R. Scott, op. cit. I, p. 266. 
In 1678, the Commissioners of the Customs reported that "ships bound 
from England to the plantacons do usually Carry great Quantities 
of all English Manufactures & Comodities as also Considerable quantities 
of forreign Goods imported into England, whereof halfe of the Custome 
upon Exportacon againe remaynes to the King." CO. 1/40, 60; C. 
O. 324/4, £f. 56-58. In 16S0, a pessimistic writer, vath. a marked tend- 
ency to exaggeration, complained that as a result of "the insufficiency 
of our home-Manufactures, and the gro-mng Luxury of our Planters we are 
forced to send vast quantities (of foreign goods) thither already, particularly, 
foreign Linnens of all sorts, Paper, Silks, a7id Wines of all sorts, Brandies, and 
other things mentioned in the next Section, besides great quantities of Wines 
sent from the Madera's, paid by Bills of Exchange drawn on our Merchants 
in Lisbony Britannia Languens (London, 1680), pp. 163, 164. In the first 
decade of the following century, a writer stated : "Nor is there any Sort of 
Goods of our own Growth or Make or from abroad, but they are Exported 
to Some or other of your Majesties Plantations." Brit. }(Ius., Lansdowne 
MSS. 691, f. 61''. See also Bodleian, Rawhnson MSS. A 478, f. 48. 

IiiPORis EN'TO England 

From Sept. 29, 1662 to From Sept. 29, 1668 to 
Sept. 29, 1663 Sept. 29, 1669 


Sugar : brown 













7,367,140 lbs. 
130,000 cwt. 
16,000 cwt. 
7,500 bags 
2,000 cwt. 
1,200 cwt. 
14,600 skins 
4,278 skins 

14,000 lbs. 
4,334 cwt. 
1,088 cwt. 
2,896 lbs. 
144 cwt. 

9,026,046 lbs. 
166,776 cwt. 
23,720 cwt. 
6,472 bags 
3,318 cwt. 
2,264 cwt. 
13,900 skins 
6,271 skins 
16,000 lbs. 
4,420 cwt. 
1,042 cwt. 
3,292 lbs. 
skins £92 = 12 = 2. 

B. T. Trade Papers 4. 



I The relatively large imports were \drtuaUy entirely composed 
lof tobacco and sugar, the northern colonies contributing 
nothing but a few skins and furs.^ During the follo\\ing 
decades the imports into England still continued to be 
greatly in excess of the exports, though the disparity was 
decreasing. For the six years from 1683 to 1688, the average 
annual amounts were estimated at respectively £950,000 
and £350,000.^ At the beginning of the new century, the 
discrepancy, though still noteworthy, had still further de- 
creased, the average imports being £995,288 as opposed 
to exports of £737,284.^ 

An analysis of this trade for one or two years ^ will disclose 
a curiously instructive state of affairs. Of England's total 
colonial trade of £1,638,086 in the year 1697-1698 about 

^ See footnote 2 on p. 40. 
2 Davenant, op. cit. II, p. 21S. 

^ These are the averages for the 4 years and 3 months from Sept. 29, 
1697, to Christmas, 1701. C. O. 388/17, N 239. 

England's Imports 

England's Exports 

FROM THE Colonies 

to Them 

Sept. 29, 1696 to do. 1697 .... 



Sept. 29, 1697 to do. 1698 



Sept. 29, 1698 to Xmas, 1698 



Xmas, 1698 to Xmas, 1699 . 



Xmas, 1699 to Xmas, 1700 . 



Xmas, 1700 to Xmas, 1701 . 



Xmas, 1 701 to Xmas, 1702 . 



These figures do not include New-foundland. 

House of Lords MSS. (1699-1702), IV, pp. 434, 435 ; C. O. 388/9, F. 61. 
These figures are also available in more detailed fonn in Sir Charles Whit- 
worth, op. cit. Part I, pp. 1-6. 

^ See footnote i on p. 42. 



seven-eighths, £1,420,207, was with the sugar and tobacco 
colonies.^ The trade with the northern continental colo- 
nies — New England, New York, and Pennsylvania — 
amounted to only £172,191, less than 11 per cent of the 

Sept. 29 

1697 TO 

Christmas 1698 to 

Sept. 29, 1698 

Christmas 1699 

Imports into 

Exports from 

Imports into 

Exports from 

England from 

England to 

England from 

England to 






























Virginia and Maryland . . 

















Hudson Bay 















New York 





New England 










House of Lords MSS. (1699-1702), IV, pp. 446, 447; B. T. Trade 
Papers 15, f. 267 ; Whitworth, loc. cit. The slight discrepancies between this 
table and the preceding one are due to the omissions of the fractions of a 
pound and to insignificant errors on the part of the original compiler. 

^ The exports to Virginia and Marjdand were abnormally large in order 
to supply the deficiency of European suppUes resulting from the war which 
ended in 1697. In 1696-1697 these exports were only £58,796 and in 1698- 
1699 £205,074. It was only toward the middle of the eighteenth century 
that these exports normally reached this figure of £300,000. Whitworth, 
op. cit. Part I, pp. 1-6, 51-56. 



total. Of this amount, the exports were £129,454, which 
while not an insignificant quantity, was by no means an impos- 
ing one. Without taking into account the slaves purchased, 
Jamaica alone afforded just as big a market. The imports 
were only £42,737 and moreover consisted in part of tobacco, 
sugar, and other West Indian produce.-^ Furthermore, this 
small trade with the northern continental colonies between 
Maryland and Canada employed but Httle English shipping. 
[T)f the 226 ships sailing from England for the colonies in 
I 1 690-1 69 1, only eight were bound for these colonies.^ Their 

^ An analysis of the figures for 1 698-1 699 affords essentially the same 

The total colonial trade amounted to £1,666,936 

That with the sugar colonies was £ 997,979 (60%—) 

That with the tobacco colonies was £ 403,189 (24%+) 

That with Pennsylvania, New York, and New England 

was £ 235,138 (14%+) 

That with the remaining colonies was £ 30,630 (2%—) 

£1,666,936 (100%) 

^ In order that the navy should not suffer for want of seamen, during 
time of war permission had to be secured by mercantile vessels before de- 
parting from England. The following table of ships allowed to sail, dated 
Dec. 2, 1690, is of considerable interest : 


No. OF Ships 

Tonnage No. of Seamen 

Virginia and ]Maryland 


Leeward Isles . . . 



New England . . . 
Pennsylvania . . . 


























commercial insignificance from the imperial standpoint 
would be still further emphasized if in the total of the 
colonial trade were included, as might legitimately be, the 
English exports to Africa and the number of ships employed 
(in carrying slaves to the plantation colonies.-^ 
r From this brief analysis of England's colonial trade it is 
apparent that the northern continental colonies in no degree 
conformed to the ideal t^-pe and to \drtually no extent con- 
r tributed any of the advantages expected from colonization. 
\ The favor mth which the plantation t>'pe of colony was 
^ regarded for other reasons was inevitably greatly strength- 
ened by these facts. As this had important consequences 

C. O. 324/5, f. 150. See also B. T. Trade Papers 12, ff. 58, go. The 
figures for the following year give the same general result : 

West Indies 95 ships \\-ith 1858 men 

Virginia and Maryland 76 ships with 1241 men 

New England and New York 6 ships with 107 men 
Other colonies 17 ships wdt h 244 men 

194 ships 3450 men 

B. T. Trade Papers 12, f. 138. See also similar figures for one month of 
1681 in C. O. s/iiii, flf. 79, 80. 


I 700-1 701 



£ 6,615 

£ 13,435 











Whitworth, op. cit. Part I, pp. 1-6. 


both on the economic and on the political policy toward 

these dependencies, an account of contemporary thought on 

^his subject should prove instructive. Those who were 

\ interested in developing the resources of the West Indies 

S • • • 

were naturally especially vehement m urging the cause of 

tropical colonization. The general argument was clearly 
expressed in a memorial ^ sent in 1671 to the Council of 
Foreign Plantations by one Andrew Orgill, who had lived in 
Barbados and subsequently became a prominent citizen of 
pjamaica.^ He divided the existing colonies into two distinct 
classes,^ of which one is "already, and will dayly grow more 
destructive to the trade of this Kingdome," because those 
colonies belonging to it do not produce sufficient commodi- 
ties different from those of England, so as "to imploy the 
people that live there, but are forced to use our Trade to 
subsist by." The other group supply such commodities as 
cannot be produced in England, and if encouraged will be of 
infinite advantage, "because they are, as it were, new Trades 

IB. T. Journals 124 (Miscellanies, 1664-1674), ff. 19-23. 

2 C. C. 1669-1674, p. 129; C. C. 1675-1676, p. 521; C. C. 1677-1680, 
PP- 55) 58, 146. Orgill was the inventor of a successful device for extract- 
ing the juice from the sugar cane. P. C. Cal. I, p. 647 ; Cal. Dom, 1675- 
1676, p. 493 ; Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 104. 

^ The anonymous author of a letter written in 1673 to Sir Robert Howard, 
on the subject of securing and improving the colonial trade, divided the 
colonies into four groups : (i) such whose produce is the same as that of 
Europe and which consequently are "diametrically opposite to the Interest 
of England"; (2) the tobacco plantations, whence is imported nearly all 
the tobacco consimied in England, and in whose interest "wee are so zealous 
as to prevent the growth thereof even in England " ; (3) the not very impor- 
tant cotton, indigo, ginger, and cacao colonies; (4) the sugar colonies. 
C. O. 1/30, lo. 


found out to employ great numbers of people." ^ Conse- 
quently, Orgill argued, colonies of the first class — such as 
New England, which has the same products as England and 
competes with her, which builds ships and is bound to engage 
in manufacturing — should be discouraged, while those of the 
\ other t}pe should be fostered. This "may draw the In- 
habitants from the first to this other, which if effected must 
be of infinite advantage to the trade and Navigation of this 
Kingdome." ^ 

1 These colonies "must be Supplyed with Clothes, and all kind of our 
Manifactoryes from hence, because their Countries are not capable of pro- 
ducing them, but of other rich Coinodities gained with lesse Labour, which 
wtII beget great employment for his Maj^'f Subjects here, and our !Mer- 
chant shipps to export our Comodities to them, and import theirs to vis." 

- Orgill predicted that, as their population increased, Virginia and ]Mary- 
land would become like New England, because the over-production of 
tobacco would force them to build ships and set up manufactures to clothe 
themselves. "Tobacco," he said, "sometimes wiU doe noe more then pay 
the duty, and charge of bringing it to the market, therefore, they must 
eyther become very poor, or remove to a better place, or sett up our Trades 
and IManifactures for their Subsistance." In order to prevent the increase 
of the continental colonies, he urged that inducements be offered to their 
people to remove to Jamaica, which produces "many very rich Comodities 
that grow not in Europe." He said that fifteen hundred to sixteen himdred 
people in New England were ready to settle in Jamaica, provided hberty of 
conscience were assured to them. The author of a contemporary " Treatise 
to prove England by its Trade and Commerce equivalent in Wealth and 
Strength to a far greater Territory" pointed out that in New England 
were large mnnbers of able-bodied EngUshmen employed chiefly in the 
lowest form of agriculture, the breeding of cattle, and that Ireland could 
have contained all these people. The other colonies, he said, while they do 
indeed plant commodities which will not grow so well in England, weaken 
themselves by living too scattered and grasping at more land than wiU 
suffice to produce "said Exotics." As to the people of New England, he 
added, "I can but wish they were transplanted into old England or Ireland 


Similar ideas were embodied in a memorial ^ presented to 
the government in 1674 by Ferdinando Gorges, who, in 
addition to his inherited rights to Maine, had important 
interests in the West Indies. As a member of that active 
and influential, and to a great extent unique, body, the Com- 
mittee of Gentlemen Planters of Barbados in London, his 
expressed opinions were naturally somewhat tinged by 
personal bias. In this memorial he laid down the general 
rule, that "such plantations as are settled uppon the Con- 
tinent of America or large Islands which doe Swallow upp 
greate numbers of people and by reason of Vast Tracts of 
Land are able to produce Both food and Rayment for thire 
livelyhood & requireth neither from their Mother Nation 
are Doubtless rather Injurious then profitable to this 
Kingdome." Lea\dng the general for the particular, he 
pointed out that these objections did not apply to Bar- 
bados and the Caribbee Islands; for Barbados, being 
managed by about 5000 Enghshmen, who had purchased 
70,000 negroes, is supphed ^^-ith "a great part of their 
Provisions & all their Clothing household stuffe horses & 
necessaries from England to the Value of aboue Three hun- 
dred Thousand pounds p ann." Furthermore, these few 
Enghshmen give emplojTnent to 200 ships and 6000 sea- 
men, and together mth the other West Indian colonies 
send yearly to England a native commodity, sugar, worth 

(according to proposalls of their owne made w**^in these 20 yeares)." Brit. 
Mus., Add. MSS. 22,781, Q. 29, 30. This statement, in the same words, 
can also be found in England's Guide to Industry (London, 1683), p. 78. 

iC. 0. 1/31, 21 ; Brit. Mus., EgertonMSS. 2395^.490; C. C. 1669-1674, 
pp. 564, 565. 


£600,000, "a great part whereof is yearly exported which 
is no small help to the Ballance of Trade of this Nation." 
Moreover, he continued, England's trade to Africa depends 
entirely on these colonies. Gorges's inevitable conclusion 
' from these premises was that only colonies of the plantation 
type should be encouraged. 

The same views, though generally in a less extreme form, 
were presented by the economic writers of the day.^ In 
his celebrated essay on trade, Sir Josiah Child asserted that 

I" New-England is the most prejudicial Plantation to this 
Kingdom," because its inhabitants produce the same com- 
modities as England and compete with her in the fisheries. 
Besides, England buys from them only a few great masts, 
some furs and train-oil, whose yearly value is small, the bulk 
of the imports from New England consisting of sugar, cotton, 
and tobacco obtained from the other colonies in return for 
provisions which otherwise would be furnished by the 
mother country.^ Similarly, in his valuable account of 
the colonies,^ published in 1690, Dalby Thomas pointed out 
that New England did not plant any American commodities, 
except for their own use, but "by Tillage, Pasture, Fishing, 
Manufactures and Trade, they, to all Intents and Purposes 

1 According to one writer, "the Southern Plantations are the most ad- 
vantageous to us. . . . For our North Colonies, as those of New England, 
and the rest afford only such Commodities as we have our selves, and so 
breed no good Commerce." Carew ReyneU, The True English Interest 
(London, 1674), pp. go, 91. See. also p. T)T,. 

2 Child, A New Discourse of Trade (London, 1693), pp. 204-20S. 

' Dalby Thomas, An Historical Account of the Rise and Growth of 
the West-India Colonies (London, 169c), in Harleian Miscellany II, p. 



imitate Old Englaitd, and did formerly much, and in some 
Degree do now, supply the other Colonies with Provisions 
in Exchange for their Commodities. ... But this cannot 
chuse but be allowed, that, if any Hands in the Indies be 
wrong employed for domestick Interest, it must be theirs, 
and those other Colonies, which settle with no other Prospect 
than the like Way of Living : Therefore, if any, such only 
should be neglected, and discouraged, who pursue a Method, 
that rivals our native Kingdom, and threatens, in Time, a 
total Independency thereupon. But, as this cannot be 
said of our Tobacco Colonies, much less is it to be feared 
from our Sugar Plantations." 

■^ John Cary/ likewise, stated that of all the plantations 
New England was of least advantage to England, for its 
inhabitants, being industrious, trade to the rest of the colo- 
nies, which they supply with provisions and other goods, and 
in return take their products to foreign markets and thus 
hurt the trade of England. To debar them from this trade 
in provisions to the southern colonies, he thought, would be 
inadvisable, but thei^^ xports thp n^p ^hnnlH hp sfnVtly prm- 
fined to England.^ By these means England would become 

1 Cary, An Essay on the State of England in Relation to its Trade (Bristol, 
1695), pp. 69, 70. 

^Another writer complained that the northern colonies "hinder Trade 
to our Southern Plantations, by supplying Barbadoes, Jamaica, and the 
rest, with such things as we do : so that they take the bread out of our 
mouths, and are rather a disadvantage, than advantage to us." Carew 
Rejrnell, The True Enghsh Interest (London, 1674), pp. 90, 91. See also 
p. zz. Six years later, it was asserted that the Irish "furnish our Foreign 
Plantations with very much of their Butter, Cheese, Clothes, and other 
necessaries of the growth and product of Irelattd: Considering which, and 


the centre of imperial trade, "and standing like the Sun in 
the midst of its Plantations would not only refresh them, 
but also draw Profits from them." * 

Charles Davenant's views were exceptionally moderate. 
While recognizing the bad features inherent in colonies like 
New England, he maintained that the concomitant advan- 
tages outweighed them. He admitted the truth of the cur- 
rent charge that the northern colonies had drained England 
of the majority of those emigrating, and yet had yielded 
commodities of but scant value. "The Fact is so," he said, 
"but if it were otherwise, the Plantation Trade could not 
perhaps be carry'd on," for the southern colonies cannot feed 
themselves and, especially during war, are dependent on the 
northern colonies. It is true, he further conceded, that 
England could furnish these provisions, but, he added, per- 
haps only at such high prices as would retard the develop- 
ment of the sugar colonies. Besides, England exports to these 
northern colonies all kinds of manufactures, "Cloaths, and 
House-hold Furniture, much oftener renew'd, and thrice as 
good, as the same Number of People could afford to have at 
home." On the whole, his conclusion was that these colonies 
were advantageous, because, instead of sending provisions 

that those of New England of late furnish the rest with Flower, Bisket, Salt, 
Flesh, Fish &c. (all which were formerly Exported from hence) we may 
expect our Plantation-Trade for Sugar, Tobacco, &c. must ere long be wholly 
driven with Exported Money, or with foreign Goods bought with Exported 
Money." For this and other reasons, this pessimistic TATiter concluded that 
the colonies in general "may be Considered as the true Grounds and Causes 
of all our present Mischiefs." Britannia Languens (London, 1680), pp. 
163, 164, 176. 


to the southern plantations, England was thus enabled to 
send manufactures to the northern colonies.^ His some- 
what negatively favorable opinion of these colonies was, 
however, made contingent upon one crucial factor — that 
they obeyed the provisions of the colonial commercial code.^ 
Similarly, in its report of December 23, 1697,^ the Board of 
Trade called attention to the fact that from the American 
colonies were imported large quantities of sugar, tobacco, 
and other goods, exceeding much in value the merchandise 
exported to them, and that over one-half of these products 
was again exported, after having paid considerable duties in 
England. In general, however, they remarked that "al- 
tho the more Southern Colonies are much more beneficial to 
England than the Northern, yet being all contribute to the 
taking off great Quantities of Our Woollen Goods, other 
products, and handicraft Wares, & to maintain and en- 
crease Our Navigation, and the Inhabitants being Your 
Majestys Subjects, We humbly conceive the Trade to and 
from those Colonies deserves the greatest Encouragement," 
and will be advantageous so long as the laws of trade and 
navigation are obeyed by them. 

It is thus apparent that the northern continental colonies 
— Newfoundland of course excepted — diverged radically 

* Charles Davenant, op. cit. II, p. 225. Cf. pp. 204, 205. Later he 
says: "We hope 'tis sufficiently prov'd, that the Plantations are Advan- 
tagious to England, and that the Southward and Northward Colonies, 
having such a mutual Dependance upon each other, all Circumstances con- 
sidered, are almost equally important." Ibid. p. 230. 

* Ihid. pp. 204-206. 

' B. T. Trade Papers 23, ff. 130-170. 


from the ideal type conceived by the seventeenth-century 
statesmen. Beyond some masts, a few furs, a small quantity 
of fish-oil and some vessels, these colonies produced nothing 
jto send to England, with whom, on the other hand, they 
competed in a Jiumber of directions : in the carrj^ing trade, 
in the fisheries, and in suppl>dng the island colonies with 
food-stuffs. While they bought a considerable proportion 
of their European manufactures in England, this quantity 
was in itself not very large, and it was decidedly a moot 
J question whether or no this fact counterbalanced the existing 

) manifest disadvantages. Hence English statesmen looked 
askance at the development of New England. Moreover, 
its political recalcitrancy and disinclination t o conform ^to 
the imperial conimercial^odeimpflsed^iQany irksorQe_p^ob- 
lems ; and, even if these were settled in accordance with the 
wishes of the English government, the ensuing advantage 
was problematical. No matter what the outcome, England 
according to the current view seemed bound to lose. New 

' England did not fit mto the colonial scheme. Its entire elim- 
ination from the globe would probably have been welcomed. 
Yet, for many reasons, England could not afford to let 
the northern continental colonies renounce their allegiance. 
Under the prevailing conditions, political independence was 
for these colonies an impossibihty ; freedom from England 
inevitably implied subjection to some other European power, 
in this instance France. To England this would have meant 
an incalculable loss of prestige, and moreover, as a French 
colony. New England would have been an even more vexa- 
tious thorn in the side of the Empire, rendering insecure 



the invaluable possessions to the north and south — New- 
foundland, the nursery of seamen, and the tobacco colonies, 
Mar>'land and Virginia. Thus England clung to this region, 
and even sanctioned its further settlement, not for any 
clearly defined economic advantages, but in order to obviate 
the greater negative losses resulting from its domination 
by others. 

At_thp 'Rpg^i-nraHnri in jr66n^Tip English Empire was com- 
posed of several distinct groups of colonies, separated by 
large primeval tracts, stretching along the sea-board from 
Newfoundland to Florida. In South America Enghsh 
colonial enterprise was represented by Surinam. In addi- 
tion, there were in the Caribbean Sea a number of island 
colonies whose resources were being rapidly exploited. Far- 
ther north in the Atlantic were the Bermudas. During the 
Restoration era, instead of new acquisitions being made in 
tropical regions. Lord WiUoughby's colony of Surinam was 
conquered by the Dutch and subsequently ceded to them by 
treaty ; all that England secured in this area was a doubtful 
title to trade in Yucatan. On the other hand, on the con- 
tinent, while Nova Scotia was restored to France, the entire 
region between New England and Maryland was settled, and 
also the countr}^ south of Virginia. Thus it would appear 
that in the broad facts of territorial expansion the course 
of events ran diametrically counter to the tendency toward 
tropical colonization. The favor with which the plantation 
t3^e of colony was regarded apparently found only a most 
inadequate expression in the actual facts of colonial develop- 
ment. To a certain extent this was true, for the Enghsh 



government was unable to shape the actual development 
in accord with its desires. The English Empire was prima- 
rily a product of private initiative. From the very be- 
ginning there were present in it an inherent contradiction of 
purposes and two irreconcilable tendencies, which ultimately 
led to the American Revolution. The colonization of New 
England was not the result of a normal movement of ex- 
pansion, but was rather a political and religious schism in the 
state. In consequence thereof there was planted on Ameri- 
can soil a group of communities whose actual development, 
} fostered by the conscious and unconscious aims of its mem- 
\ bers, tended steadily toward the formation of an organic 
body politic mth interests distinct from those of the Empire. 
This was radically opposed to the aims of the Restoration 
statesmen and their successors. 

,r" But a mere recital of the bald facts of colonial expansion 
during the Restoration, without further examination of their 
real meaning, tends t o a.n exagger ation of the divergenc e 

•j^ i^ between the aims of/The government and the actual resul ts 
accomplished. The conquest of New York from the Dutch^ 
in 1664, leading directly to the settlement of the Jerseys and 
Pennsylvania, w^s undertaken by the English government 
partly for military reasons, in order to consolidate the exist- 
ing colonies, and partly also to prevent the illegal trading in 
tobacco between the Dutch settlements and Virginia and 
Maryland, which lessened the economic value of these 
colonies to England.^ In other words, -one ol the main 

1 C. O. 1/44, 59, ff- 53-55 ; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 44-49 ; C. C. 1661- 
1668, nos. 345, 357, 597, 605, 644. See post, Chapter XII. 


ideas imderlying^tMs^enteiprjsajaias-^o-sea^ 
the fullest advantage from the possession pX these. iobacco 
colonies . Moreover, William Penn sought to develop in 
his dominion such commodities as England was obliged to 
purchase in southern Europe. "We hope," he wrote in 1685, 
"that good skill in our most Southern Parts wiR yield us 
several of the Straights Commodities, especially Oyle, Dates, 
Figgs, Almonds, Raisins and Currans."^ In the actual 
course of imperial development, however, the most sahent 
fact at the time was the settlement of Jamaica and the rapid 
rise of that colony and of the other West Indies to great 
wealth and prosperity. Nor should it be forgotten that the 
Carolinas were designed to be colonies of the plantation 
pattern, and that in South Carolina ultimately was de- 
veloped the purest type of such a colony that existed on 
the continent. 

In so far as policy was concerned, apart from actual 
achievement, the colonization of the Carolinas was of far '^^ 
greater significance than the conquest of New Netherland 
and its annexed territories. With a view to furthering the 
settlement of that region, the charter of 1663 for a limited 
period exempted certain products of the proposed colony 
from the English import duties.^ The list included silks, 
wines, currants, oils, and oUves, products that could be ob- 

* A. C. Myers, Narratives of Early Pennsylvania etc., p. 265. On this 
subject and especially on Penn's attempts to introduce the production of 
wine, see ibid. pp. 207, 224, 241, 242, 287, 288. 

^ No. Ca. Col. Rec. I, p. 27 ; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 427. This exemption 
was repeated in the charter of 1665. No. Ca. Col. Rec. I, p. loS ; C. C. 
1661-1668, no. loii. 



tained by England only from the countries of southern 
Europe. It was hoped that the Carolinas would free Eng- 
land from such dependence on foreigners. Here again is 
manifest the stress that was laid on the colony as a source 
of supply.^ 

To the men of the day the veryjde a of uncontrolled^ om- 
merce was totally foreign, and jjjthe^coLonies ta-the pxteTit. 
that.theyLjdxe3Y upoiL the^ population, of England wera re- 
garded as evJls-to-be-eeuntenaneed-only in-i^eturn-for-greater 
rompensatin^, adyantagfis^t followed that a system of regu- 
lations _wauld_ Jbe_-£reat€d--t-0--se€ure th€se--4Denefits_±Q_J:he 
metropolis . This relation is clearly expressed in the oft- 
quoted words of Sir Josiah Child. It was in connection 
with his discussion of emigration, wherein he adhered to the 
current view, that he said : "All Colonies and foreign Planta- 
tions do endamage their Mother-Kingdom, whereof the 
Trades of such Plantations are not confined to their said 
Mother Kingdom by good Laws and severe Execution of 
those Laws."^ In a similar strain, John Cary wrote to a 
correspondent: "Please to note that all Plantations settled 
abroad out of our own People must needs be a Loss to this 
Kingdome except they are imployed there to Serve its 

1 In order to obtain settlers, the patentees turned to Barbados, stating 
that it was not the purpose of the new colony to raise sugar or tobacco, 
but mne, oil, currants, raisins, silk, etc., "by means whereof the money of 
the nation that goes out for these things wilbe Keept in the ELinges Do- 
minions and the planting part of the people imploy there time in planting 
those comodyties that will not injure nor overthrow the other plantations." 
So. Ca. Hist. Soc. Coll. V, pp. 13, 14; No. Ca. Col. Rec. I, pp. 46, 47 j C. C. 
1661-1668, no. 547. 

2 Child, op. cit. p. 183. 


Interest." ^ It would_alinost seem that the systematic com- 
mercial code_of the_ Restoration era, which was based on 
the somewhat sc attered , though definite^^gredecents of the 
former age, was an inevitable consequence of the change in 
attitude towards emigration, in consequence of which colo- 
nies were valued solely as sources of maritime and commer- 
cial strength. The nature of thes e regulations was deter-^ 
mined by the current economic theory of colonization and 
by^ the ultimate end in view, which was the creation of a 
po werful self -sufficient_ commercial empire, do minating the \ 
seas and controllings die^urse of foreign exchanges. 

^ Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 5540, f. 61. This direct connection is also 
plainly expressed in the Act of 1671, which prohibited the future shipment 
of the "enumerated goods" from the colonies to Ireland, because otherwise 
the advantages derived from the possession of colonies would be diverted 
from England, "although this kingdom hath, and doth daily suffer a great 
prejudice by the transporting great number of the people thereof to the 
said plantations, for the peopling of them." 22 and 23 Ch. II, c. 26, §§ x, xi. 





The Navigation Act of 1660 — The Staple Act of 1663 — The Plantation 
Duties of 1673 — Scotland under these statutes — Ireland and the colonies 
— Temporary dispensations of the laws — The system of imperial de- 
fence — The colonial garrisons — The West Indian buccaneers — The 
Barbary pirates. 

Shortly after the reestablishment of the monarchy in 
England, Parliament passed the famous Navigation A ct of 
1660, which was followed by so rapid a^eyelopment of the 
English mercantile marine, that contemporary writers with 
feelings of profound admiration termed it the "Sea Magna 
Charta"^ and the "Charta Maritima." ^ This important 
statute took less than a month to pass the House of Com- 
mons,^ there being virtually no opposition, since the bill em- 
bodied principles that were then universally accepted, and 
which already formed part of England's traditional policy. 
In the first place, [the Act discriminated in many ways 
against foreign shipping and in some specific instances, as in 
the colonial trade, absolutely prohibited its employmeri^ In 
the second place,(the law was designed to prevent foreigners 

1 Sir Francis Brewster, Essays on Trade and Navigation (London, 1695), 
p. 92. 

^ Josiah Child, op. cit. (ed. 1694), preface and p. 112. 
^ Com. Journal VIII, pp. 120, 129, 142, 151, 153. 



from securing the benefit of the new sources of supply- 
opened up by Enghsh colonizatiorj 

[■ The pohcy of <^rotecting the national shipping from 
foreign competition was of most ancient date, and had 
been followed fairly consistently since mediaeval times- 
It was as far back as the fourteenth century, in the reign 
of Richard II, that the first navigation act had been 
■passed, and during the two following centuries a number 
• of similar measures were enacted.^ Under the first two 
■ Stuarts (this policy had been somiewhat intermittently en- 
forced by royal orders and^irodainationsj with the distinct^ 
purpose of making England a great maritime power.^ During^- 
the Commonwealth, this policy was definitely embodied in 
the comprehensive statute of 1651. Subordinate to this 
policy 01 fostering t he growth of the n ational rnercantile ma- 
rine by pro tectiv£Lmea.sures, and at the same time a logical 
outcome and an integral part thereof, was the practice of 
"jexcluding foreigners from trading with the English colonies 
and of confining their export trade to the metropolis^ Prior 
to the Restoration, these principles had already "Been ap- 
phed in an unsystematic manner to the growing Empireln ^ 
America and the West Indies.^ The Order in Council of' 

' Beer, Commercial Policy of England toward the American Colonies, pp. 

^ Beer, Origins, pp. 238-240. 

^In 1635, the Venetian ambassador in England wrote: "E massima 
fondamentale di State in Inghilterra, d'invigilare sempre ad essere effetti- 
vamente piii potente di tutt'i suoi vicini sul mare." Le Relazioni degli 
Stati Europei, Serie IV, Inghilterra (Venezia, 1863), p. 306. 

* Beer, Origins, Chapters VII, VIII, XII. 




1621,^ prohibiting Virginia from exporting its produce to 
foreign countries, was subsequently expanded in scope to 
- embrace - tiie other colonies, except Newfoundland. In 
1633, foreigners were forbidden to trade in Virginia,^ and 
by the far-reaching Act of 1650 they were excluded from 
commercial intercourse with any and all of the colonies. 
These two closely related policies were embodied in the 

^.Navigation Act of 1660. Its fundamental purpose was to 

j>f oster the development of national strength by anjncreasej)f 

sea power and com merce . Inevitably, it amounted to an act 

7 of economic warfare against the Dutch. Despite their un- 
derlying racial sympathies and their common Protestantism, 
which had within the memory of living man emerged victori- 
ous from a severe struggle \\dth the weU-organized and still 
threatening forces of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the 
English and Dutch jwerS-fingaged^irL-one^M .lhose_bi^er 
fecbnomIc)contests which constitute so great a part of modern 
international history. / In the fisheries of northern Europe, 
in the trade to the Baltic which alone furnished the naval 
stores that were absolutely indispensable to the maritime 
powers, in the commerce with the spice islands of the Far 
East and with opulent India, in the slave-trade to Africa 
whose profits and whose apparent necessity dulled whatever 
moral aversion from the system that otherwise might have 
existed, theJDutch had for two generations stood directlyjn 
thejpath of EnglarLd's ambitious plans, for economic expan- 
sion . In addition, owing to lower freight rates, combined 

^ C. O. 5/1354, ff. 201, 202 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 48, 49. 
2 P . C. Cal. I, p. 192. 


with more abundant capital and a more efficient system of 
credit, the Dutch monopohzed to a marked degree the carry- 
ing trade and to a less extent the foreign commerce of 
Europe. Up to the Navigation Act of 1651, a considerable 
portion of England's foreign trade had been carried in Dutch 
bottoms. Moreover, during the anarchy of the Civil War, 
the Stuart regulations of colonial commerce had inevitably 
fallen into disregard, and as a result the Dutch merchants 
had secured an alarmingly large share of the trade with the 
EngUsh tobacco and sugar colonies.^ The Act of 1650 had 
to some extent redressed this situation, but had not com- 
pletely ousted the Dutch from what all European govern- 
ments then regarded as an exclusive national preserve.^ It 
was thus ine3tdtabl£^lhat_the Dutch, as the leading com- 
mercial and maritime power, should suffer most from the 
protectee measures_ embodied in. the^J^avi^ Act of 
1660. Shortly after its passage, on October i, 1660, the 
Venetian representative at the court of Charles II wrote 
/to the Senate of his city-state that this Act would afifect ad- 
I versely all commercial centres, but particularly Holland 
\and other northern countries, which had the largest commerce 
with England.^ 

In the regulation of EnglandlsJEuropean trade, the Naviga- 
tion Act of 1660 was less rigid and stringent than had been 

1 Beer, Origins, pp. 352 et seq. 

^ Ibid. pp. 388 et seq. 

^ The Italians, he added, would be little affected, "ma Olandesi, Danesi, 
et altri Settentrionali son li piu attacati, perche questi solevano portare gran 
parte deUe Merci forestieri, e particolarm'? dall' Indie." V'enetian Ar- 
chives, Inghil terra, Dispacci al Senato 50, no. 257. 


its predecessor passed in 1651.^ By means of prohibitions 
and discriminating duties, embodied in two rather obscurely- 
worded clauses, which were supplemented by other legis- 

1 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § viii provided that no goods of the growth or manufac- 
ture of Russia, no masts, timber or boards, salt, pitch, tar, resin, hemp, flax, 
raisins, figs, prunes, olive-oils, no grain or com, sugar, potashes, wines, 
vinegar, spirits or brandy could be imported into England and Ireland, 
except in ships belonging to the people thereof, whose master and three- 
quarters of whose crew were EngUsh. Furthermore, no currants or com- 
modities of the Turkish Empire could be imported into England and Ireland 
except in EngHsh-built shipping navigated as above, or in ships of the place 
of production or of the ports whence the goods could only or usually had 
been transported. The subsequent clause somewhat mitigated this pro- 
hibition. Section ix provided that all wines of the growth of France or 
Germany, if imported in ships not belonging to those places, should pay 
aliens' duties ; and similarly, that all Spanish, Portuguese, Madeira, Ca- 
nary wines, and all the commodities mentioned in the preceding clause were 
subject to the payment of these additional duties, if imported in other 
than legally navigated Enghsh shipping. These aUens' duties, dating back 
to mediaeval times (Gerard Malynes, Consuetudo, vel Lex IMercatoria (3d ed., 
London, 1686), p. 139 ; Laws, Ordinances, and Institutions of the Admiralty 
of Great Britain (London, 1767) I, p. 307 ; Atton and Holland, The King's 
Customs (New York, 1908), pp. 13, 112, 321) were considerably amplified 
by the " Old Subsidy " of 1660. (12 Ch. 11, c. 4, §§ i, ii and the annexed Book 
of Rates.) They constituted a marked discrimination against foreign 
shipping. In 1677, the Commissioners of the Customs reported that these 
additional duties amounted "in a manner to a prohibition." (Cal. Dom. 
1677-1678, pp. 470, 472.) Under these regulations, however, Holland could 
still remain the entrepot for a large number of European goods consumed in 
England. Therefore, it was further provided in 1662 that no wines other 
than Rhenish, no spicery, grocery, tobacco, potash, pitch, tar, salt, resin, 
boards, timber, ohve-oil could be imported from the Netherlands or Germany 
in any ship whatsoever. (13 & 14 Ch. II, c. 11, § xxiii.) The complexity 
of these regulations naturally caused many difficulties of interpretation. 
See John Reeves, History of the Law of Shipping and Na\dgation (Dublin, 
1792) and D. O. McGovney, The Navigation Acts as appHed to European 
Trade, in Am. Hist. Rev. IX, pp. 725-734, 


lation, English shipping was given a marked advantage over 
its competitors in the importation of European commodi- 
ties into England and Ireland. Furthermore, foreign ships 
were excluded from the English and Irish coastwise trades/ 
and fish caught in such vessels was subjected to the payment 
of onerous duties.^ 

In so far as the history of the development of the old 
colonial system is concerned, these regulations of England's 
European, coasting, and fishing trades have only an indirect 
importance, except in that it was d istinctly provid ed that 
j s hip^ ^^j^^ '^^ ^^^ colonies werejo enjoy the same privileges 
[ as those of England and Ireland.^ Similarly, to be legally 
n navigated, thejnasteiLAndjthree::gua^ of the crew hadjto 
'be English, which term naturally included such subjects 
'^ as resided in the colonies. /The Navigation Act protected 
Tand encouraged equally the_domestic an d the ^colonial mer- 
Icantile marine. This was a cardinal maxim in English pol- 
icy, departed from in only one insignificant instance,^ while 

1 The coast district included Ireland, England, Wales, Berwick-on-Tweed, 
Guernsey and Jersey. 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § vi. Wherever England is mentioned 
in this exposition of the laws, the term is intended to include also Wales 
and Berwick-on-Tweed. 

^12 Ch. II, c. 18 § V. The provisions against foreign fish were made much 
more rigorous by 15 Ch. II, c. 7, §§ xvi, xvii, and 18 Ch. II, c. 2, § ii. 

^ 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § vii. 

^ The Act of 1673 for encouraging the Greenland whale fishery provided 
that whale-fins and train-oil caught and imported in EngHsh ships were to 
be duty free. If imported and caught in colonial vessels, oil was to pay 
6s. a ton and whale-fins $os. If caught in colonial, but imported in Eng- 
lish vessels, these duties were one-half. If caught in foreign vessels, these 
respective duties were £9 and £18. 25 Ch. II, c. 7, § i. For the working of 
this act, see C. O. 194/8, O 46. At one time also, an incorrect interpreta- 


a number of the colonies persistently discriminated against 
English shipping.! Thanks to this virtual parity of treat- 
ment, colonial vessels, after taking their fish to the Mediter- 
ranean ports, were able to sail thence with European products 
\to England. 

As regards the produce of the non-English parts of Amer- 
ica, Africa, and Asia, the Navigation Act provided that such 
goods could not be imported into England or Ireland except 
in English, Irish, or colonial ships, legally navigated, and 
then only "from their place of growth and production or 
from such ports whence they had usually been shipped.- 
A subsequent clause somewhat modified this, and made it 
legal to import in Enghsh vessels from Spain and Portugal 
the products of the colonial possessions of these two coun- 
tries.^ The_4irect intent of this regu lation was tc^event ^ 
the products of the foreign colonies, especially those of the 
Dutch in the Orient, from being imported into England 
iiLloreignshipping^ But, as English ships were generally 
not allowed access to these foreign possessions, their prod- 

j uce was by these clauses virtually debarred from the Eng- 
lish and Irish markets to the manifest advantage of the 

I English colonies.^ 

tion of the law threatened to a minor extent to discriminate against colonial 
shipping. See post, Chapter VIII. 

1 See post, Chapters III, XL 

2 12 Ch. II, c. i8, §§ iii, iv. See also §§ xii, xiii. 

3 These products could also be imported from the Azores, Canaries, and 
Madeiras. Ibid. § xiv. 

^ Under the tariff of i66o, sarsaparilla had to pay a duty of 2d. a pound, but 
if imported directly from the place of growth in Enghsh shipping only one- 




As regards the colonial trade proper, the Navigation Act 
provided that no goods could be imported into or exported 
from any of the English possessions in- America, Africa, or 
Asia but in vessels belonging to the people of England or 
Ireland, or in such as had been built in and belonged to "any 
said plantations." The master and at least three-quarters 
of the crew of these ships had to be EngHsh.^ As the ves- 
sels engaged in certain branches of England's European trade 
had to be of both English build and ownership in order not 
to incur the penalty of the onerous aliens' duties, the colonial 
trade was in this respect somewhat less restricted.^ This 

third of this duty was payable. Some sarsaparilla was imported from Ja- 
maica, but it not being clear that it was of the production of that colony, 
the question of the amount of customs payable was submitted to Sir William 
Jones, Solicitor-General from 1673 to 1675 and Attorney-General from 
1675 to 1679. Jones decided that, if this sarsaparilla was not of the growth 
of Jamaica, it must pay the full duties, on the ground that America was of 
vast extent, and "as much Navigation may be used by bringing it from one 
part of America to another as from some part of America home." Brit. 
Mus., Add. MSS. 30,218, ff. 64'', 65. In 1717, an English ship imported 
into England some foreign colonial cocoa-nuts from New York and Barbados, 
and the question arose whether or no said ship and the cocoa-nuts were liable 
to forfeiture. The Attorney-General, Sir Edward Northey, held that, as 
these cocoa-nuts were the produce of the Spanish colonies where Englishmen 
were not permitted to trade, and as, both before and after 1660, they had 
always been imported into England from the EngUsh colonies, this method 
of importation was legal. Other authorities disagreed with him, and con- 
sidered the forfeiture vahd. Brit. Mus., Hargrave MSS. 275, f. 6$^ ; Add. 
MSS. 8832, flf. 308, 309. 

1 Under exceptional circumstances, this provision as regards the crew was 
not rigidly insisted upon. Cf. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 11, ff. 
19, 20; Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, Jan. 31, 1677. 

^ For an instance in 1660 of a foreign-buUt ship in the colonial trade, see 
Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 5489, f. 61. 


led to some dissatisfaction,^ and accordingly, in 1662, 
Parliament enacted that no foreign-built ships, except 
those bought before October ist of that year, should 
enjoy the privileges of an English-owned ship, although 
na\agated and o\\Tied by Englishmen, but that all these 
vessels should be deemed alien and as such their cargoes 
should be subject to the additional customs duties.^ This 

^ In 1662, the elder Brethren of Trinity House were asked to "give an 
opinion whether we have ships enough of our own to drive our own trade, 
or in case there be not, what time is fit to be allowed for buying, or building 
of them, and whether they do not esteem it advantageous for this nation 
to forbid any foreign built ships after the prefixt time." They rephed that 
the shipping of England was more than enough for carrying on the existing 
trade, and that the buying of foreign ships would be disadvantageous. 
MSS. of Trinity House (H. M. C. VIII, i), p. 251^ 

2 13 & 14 Ch. II, c. II, § vi; Com. Journal VIII, pp. 347, 353, 354, 383, 
384, 390-392; Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 30,218, ff. 27, 28. Hence, v.'hile 
foreign-built vessels bought after 1662 could legally engage in the colonial 
trade, their cargoes had to pay the aliens' duties. See Northey's decision of 
1706, in Brit. Mus., Hargrave MSS. 141, flf. 35'', 36. Cf. also P. C. Cal. I, 
pp. 824, 825 ; Va. Mag. XX, p. 250. The Staple Act somewhat restricted 
this right, providing that no commodities of the growth or production of 
Europe could be imported into the colonies except in English-built ships or 
in such as had been bought before Oct. i, 1662. 15 Ch. II, c. 7, §vi. For an 
instance in 1677 of the exaction of the aliens' duties on some sugars imported 
from Barbados into London in the ship Sitcccss of Bristol, see Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1676-1679, pp. 625, 626. Danby subsequently ordered the restitution 
of these duties, as he intended to order this vessel entered on the register of free 
ships. Ibid. These duties were in themselves sufficiently high to drive prac- 
tically aU unfree ships from the colonial trade, but in addition the EngUsh 
government in 1685, apparently without legal warrant, ordered the seizure in 
the colonies of "aU vessels belonging to strangers and forreine vessells not 
made free" found trading there. C. O. 324/4, f. 142 ; P. C. Cal. II, p. 81 ; 
C. C. 1685-1688, p. 27. See also P. C. Cal. II, pp. 86, 87. In 1686, the 
O^Brien, an Irish ship bound for Jamaica, was seized on the high seas and 


pro\'ision practically barred all foreign ships purchased 
after 1662 from the colonial trade, though in some instances 
the owners were able to induce the government to place them 
on the free Hst.^ Ships purchased by the colonies from for- 
eigners were also treated as unfree, and no provision was 
made for naturahzing alien vessels condemned in the colonial 

subsequently condemned in the Nevis Admiralty Court as an unfree bottom. 
At the trial unanswerable evidence was introduced to the effect that the 
vessel had originally been of foreign build, but that it had been rebuilt in 
Ireland. According to the owner's statement she was " not a free ship although 
in ReaUity ought to be, being Cast away in this Countrey (Ireland) and Re- 
built here." C. O. 1/57, 51 ; C. 0. 1/58, Sai-viii; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 257, 
263, 264. As a result of these conditions, the number of foreign-buUt ships 
engaged in the colonial trade steadily decreased. Of 5 1 ships loading enumer- 
ated commodities in Barbados from April 14, 1678, to Oct. 14, 1679, as many 
as 12 were of foreign build. Of 115 ships entering in the same colony from 
March 25, 1688, to June 25, 1688, only 5 were foreign-built. All the 55 vessels 
entering there from Aug. 12, 1690, to Nov. 12, 1690, were English-built. C. O. 
33/13, nos. I et seq. The legal difficulty was definitely settled by the adminis- 
trative statute of 1696, which absolutely debarred foreign-built vessels from 
the colonial trade. 7 & 8 W. Ill, c. 22, §ii. A complaint made at that time 
against this specific provision of the new law indicates clearly that such ships 
were still to some extent employed in the colonial trade. House of Lords 
MSS. (1695-1697) II, p. 233. 

1 On Nov. 24, 1685, Treasiurer Rochester ordered the CommissionipFs of 
Customs to continue in force the warrants that Charles II had issued to 
a number of ships exempting their cargoes from the aliens' duties, as their 
withdrawal would be very injurious to the plantation trade. Treas. Books, 
Out-Letters, Customs 10, ff. 74, 75. 

2 In 1672, Sir Charles Wheler wrote to the Council of Trade that the 
Dutch derived good profits from selling shallops to the Leeward Islands, of 
which he was Governor, and that the Act of Navigation obhged him to 
seize such vessels without giving him any power to naturalize them after 
condemnation. C. 0. 1/28, 9 ; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 328. In 1683, a Scotch 
vessel trading to Pennsylvania was seized and condemned in Pennsylvania. 


As the lack of such a provision was found highly in- 
convenient, a custom estabhshed itself in some of the colo- 
nies, especially in Jamaica, of considering foreign-built 
vessels condemned in the local admiralty courts and subse- 
quently bought by Englishmen as "free in all parts between 
the Tropicks." ^ When this matter was brought to the 
attention of the English government, it was referred to the 
Commissioners of the Customs, who reported in 1687 that 
this practice was without any legal warrant and that such 
certificates of freedom as had been issued by the Governor 
of Jamaica should be revoked.^ Though contrary to the 

Its new owners then imported in it into England some sugar and molasses 
from Barbados and, subsequently, a cargo of lumber from Norv\^ay. The 
English customs ofl&cials seized the vessel as forfeited under the Act of Navi- 
gation. But on the protest of the owners, it was discharged on payment of 
the aUens' duties on the cargoes of both voyages. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, 
Customs 10, ff. 177, 178. 

1 In 1686, Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth of Jamacia wTote that this 
was a "long allow'd practice," in whose favor much could be said, and that 
"a Certificat vnder the Gov'"? hand & seal of the Island (according y^ vsuaU 
form) hath been for many years accounted among vs a tantamoimt to the 
making of a Ship free in all parts between the Tropicks." C. O. 138/5, 
ff. 199-219; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 272-275. 

2 In 1686, Captain Talbot of H. M. S. Falcon had seized such a ship 
as unfree. This vessel had originally come from Cadiz to Jamaica, where 
it was condemned in the Admiralty Court. It was then purchased 
by some local merchants and was used in the logAvood trade between 
Jamaica and Campeachy. On the trial of Talbot's seizure, the Judge of the 
Jamaica Admiralty Court on a technical legal point, not germane to the ques- 
tion here under discussion, ordered the release of the vessel and its cargo. 
Captain Talbot appealed to England, and in 1687 the Commissioners of the 
Customs reported on this case that, by collusion and fraud, foreign-built 
ships were thus made free in the colonies. On information mainly derived 
from Molesworth's despatches, they further stated that foreign ships were 


letter of the law, vessels in distress belonging to friendly 
foreign nations were, however, allowed to refit in the Eng- 
lish colonies and to purchase there such supplies as were 
indispensable, as well as to sell sufficient goods to cover 
these expenses.^ The penalty imposed upon unfree bot- 
toms trading to the colonies was forfeiture of the vessel 
and its cargo as well.^ To render these regulations more 

tried in the colonial courts on the information of the owner ; they were then 
condemned and appraised at an exceedingly low valuation. Of this amount 
the o\\Tier, as informer, was entitled to one-third and to him also the Governor 
ceded his third. Thus these ships were made free within the tropics by pay- 
ing to the Crown only one-third of an exceedingly low appraisal. The Com- 
missioners then pointed out that this distinction, that is of freedom within the 
tropics and not elsewhere, was without any legal basis, and advised that 
such certificates, of which they imderstood about twenty were outstanding, 
be called in, but only slowly so as not to dislocate the logwood trade of 
Jamaica. CO. 138/5,2. 199-219,326-333 ; C. 0. 1/58, 64,641; C.O.i/60, 
28, 40, 401; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 255, 272-275, 303, 356, 357, 361. 

1 A provision to this effect was usually introduced in the international 
treaties. C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 383, 384; Haring, The Buccaneers in the 
West Indies, p. 197. In the instructions issued in 1663 to Governor Wil- 
loughby of Barbados was a clause permitting the giving of "Wood and Water 
and such Ships provision, as the Subjects of any Nation in amity -nath Vs, 
shall stand in need of." P. C. Cal. I, p. 359. For such an instance in 167 1, 
see C. C. 1669-1674, p. 155. In 1672, Lieutenant-Governor Lynch of 
Jamaica allowed a Dutchman driven by stress of weather to that island to 
seU as many negroes as were required to refit his ship. Ibid. p. 323. As a 
rule, the colonial authorities carefully reported the details of such cases to 
the English government so as to protect themselves against charges of 
countenancing illegal trade. On the privileges accorded to English ships 
seeking aid in the French colonies, see S. L. Mims, Colbert's West India 
Policy, pp. 199, 200. 

"^ One-third of such forfeitures was apportioned to the Crown, one-third 
to the Governor of the colony in case the ships were seized where the law 
had been violated (otherwise this share also went to the Crown), and one- 
third belonged to the seizer or informer. But in case the offending vessel 


effective the statute of 1660 further prohibited all aliens 
from acting as merchants or factors in the colonies.-^ 

was seized by a ship of the royal navy, one-half went to the Crown and one- 
half to the officers of the royal navy to be apportioned among them accord- 
ing to the rules for the division of prizes. This naturally led to some dis- 
putes between the officers of the navy and the governors. See, e.g., C. O. 
1/26, 79, 79i, ii; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 233. 

^ 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § ii. Foreigners, who had become naturalized or had 
been made denizens, enjoyed the privileges to which natural-born subjects 
of the Crown were entitled. Cf. C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 144, 147. As a num- 
ber of foreigners had settled in the colonies, some means had to be devised 
for conferring these rights other than by naturalization by Act of ParUament 
or by the issue of letters of denization by the Cro^\^l. Accordingly, natu- 
ralization laws were passed by some of the colonial legislatures and the 
governors also on their own authority bestowed the privileges of an English 
subject on foreigners within their jurisdiction. Such naturalization con- 
ferred the rights of an EngUsh subject within the specific colony and 
enabled an ahen to act as a merchant there. But immediately the ques- 
tion arose, whether such naturalization were valid in the other dominions. 
This was a difficult problem, which even to this day has not been satis- 
factorily solved. See E. B. Sargant, British Citizenship (London, 1912). 
EngUsh practice varied. Thus in 1671, the ship of a Jewish resident of 
New York, although provided with a pass from Governor Lovelace of that 
colony, was condemned in Jamaica on the ground that the owner was 
not a denizen. This decision was, however, reversed in England. C. C. 
1669-1674, pp. 434-436, 453. In 1682, the English government took a 
diametrically opposite position. In that year a New England vessel was 
seized in St. Kitts because a native of France was a part owner. As this 
Frenchman had received letters of naturalization from Governor Culpeper 
of Virginia, Governor Stapleton of the Leeward Islands deferred the execu- 
tion of the sentence of condemnation and wrote to England for instructions. 
Acting on the opinion of Chief Justice North, that naturalization in any 
colony was only local, the Lords of Trade ordered the condemnation carried 
into effect. C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 198, 211, 243, 250, 258, 346; P. C. Cal. 
II, p. 38; Blathwayt, Journal I, f. 102. In 1691, a similar case called for 
decision. A Dutch merchant of New York petitioned the government, 
stating that he and his fellows in that colony had since 1664 regarded them- 


p These provisions of the Navigation Act of 1660, though 
much more elaborate in form, in their general effect merely 
reproduced the earlier Stuart regulations and that of the 
Act of 1650 prohibiting foreigners from trading to the Eng- 
lish colonies. At the last moment, however, apparently 

^ under the inspiration of Downing, was added a provision 
with distinctly original features.^ The pohcy of confining ^ 
the colonial export trade to England had already been 
unequivocally adopted by the first Stuarts. During the 
anarchy of the Civil War their regulations had fallen into 
desuetude and, except in isolated, sporadic instances, had 
not been re\dved by the Interregnum authorities.- This 
regulation was now elaborated in a form far more definite 
and scientific than the earlier precedents upon which it 
was based. The belated clause in the Act of Navigation 

selves as "free subjects of England," but that some of the officers of the 
customs in England had demanded aliens' duties on goods imported by them. 
In pursuance of a report of the Customs board, the Treasury ordered that 
these merchants should enjoy the same privileges as any other subjects. 
Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 12, f. 309. Foreigners seeking a new 
home in the colonies had to meet these facts. In 1685, some Huguenots, who 
were about to sail from England for New York, were warned by the govern- 
ment that their French-built ship and their goods would be seized if they 
proceeded to the English colonies, and that, being aUens, they could not 
become merchants or factors there under pain of forfeiture of their entire 
property. Ihid. 10, f. 54. On this entire subject, see Chalmers, Political 
Annals (London, 1780), pp. 316, 317 ; W. A. Shaw, Denizations and Naturali- 
zations of Aliens (Huguenot Society of London Publ. Vol. XVIII) ; Car- 
penter, Naturalization in England and the American Colonies (Am. Hist. 
Rev. IX, pp. 288-304); Start, Naturalization in the English Colonies of 
America (Am. Hist. Assoc. 1893, pp. 317-339). 

' 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § xviii; Com. Journal VIII, pp. 120, 129, 142, 151. 

^ Beer, Origins, pp. 400-403. 





provided that, under penalty of forfeiture of the offending 

/' vessel and its cargo/ no sugar, tobacco, cotton-wool, indigo, 
ginger, fustic or other dyeing-woods produced in the English 

I colonies could be shipped elsewhere than to England, Ire- 

1 land or some other English colony.^ 

With the exception of tobacco, of which the chief 
producers were Virginia and Maryland, the commodities 
enumerated in this list — whence the pohcy is commonly 
known as that of enumeration — were exclusively the 
produce of the West Indies. No one of the typical prod- 
ucts of the New Eng].aftd..„colonies was enumerated for 
the obvious reason that, with insignificajit~excepHons^^ they 
could not bejmported on a commercially pr^taBlrtJHSTs; 
and, even if it had been otherwise, England did not want 
them, as they ran parallel to English products and hence 
their importation would have injured English industries. 

"The exotic commodities which England did not produce 
were enumerated, because England required them in order 
to become economically independent of her competing 
European rivals, and also to sell to them whatever surplus 

1 According to a legal opinion given in 1698, if a ship took any of the 
enumerated goods to a foreign port, both the vessel and its cargo were sub- 
ject to forfeiture in case the enumeration bond had been given in England, 
but if the bond had been given in the colonies, then only the amount stipu- 
lated therein could be claimed as a penalty. Brit. jVIus., Add. MSS. 9747, 
f. 107. 

^ When shipped to England, these commodities had to be actually landed 
and had to pay the English customs as well as a number of petty charges, 
such as town-dues and wharfage. Only then could they be reshipped to 
foreign markets. C. O. 324/4, £f. 191-206; C. C. 16S5-16S8, pp. 175- 


might remain after the Enghsh consumption had been 
supphed. In both ways would the nation's balance of 
trade be fortified and its economic welfare advanced. T^e 
policy of CTLumeration was the clearest^iQSsible expression^ 
of the current e conomi c creed. 

In order to make this regulation effective, ships intending 
to sail to the colonies from England or Ireland were first re- 
quired to give bonds, either of £1000 or of £2000 contingent 
upon their tonnage, to carry these enumerated commodities 
to England or Ireland.^ On the other hand, vessels arriving 
in the colonies from any other place were obliged to give 
bonds in like amounts there to take these products either 
to England or Ireland, or to some other English colony. This 
dift'erence between these two kinds of bonds was distinctly' 
favorable to colonial_^ips. If strictly enforced, it would ) 
have given them a virtual monopoly of the intercolonial 
trade, since the terms of their bonds debarred most English 
ships trading to America from taking the enumerated com- 
modities from one colony to another.^ As a matter of fact, 

1 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § xix. In the colonies, certificates that such bonds had 
been given in England or Ireland had to be produced to the proper authorities. 
For these certificates, see C. O. 1/56, nos. 29, 30, 30 i. 

2 In his notes of 1676, after reciting the terms of the bonds given by Eng- 
hsh ships trading to the colonies, Sir Joseph WiUiamson wrote: 'It shall 
seem an English ship going from hence cannot trade from one plantation 
to another ; or on lading in any plantation she must either produce a certifi- 
cate of such a bond having been enacted into here in England, or must then 
enter into such a bond to the Governor to carry the goods to England or 
some other of the plantations (so by this clause it should seem such an 
English ship may trade directly from one Plantation to another. Qu. 
how this consists with the first clause ?).' C. C. 1675-1676, p. 3S1. 


for approximately the first twenty-five years after 1660, 
no special stress was placed upon this distinction/ which 
seems to have been the result of careless legislation rather 
than of deliberate intent, and English vessels did extensively 
engage in the intercolonial trade. ^ Towards the end of the 
Restoration period, when in every respect a more rigid and 
meticulous enforcement of the law in the colonies was de- 
manded by the home government, this distinction in the 
two kinds of bonds was, however, strictly insisted upon.^ 

^ In 1672, the Lords of the Treasury wrote to the Governors of Barbados, 
Jamaica, and Virginia to seize six specific ships that had left England without 
giving bonds, in case they should arrive within their respective jurisdictions. 
But in the same year the King wrote to the West Indian Governors to en- 
force the laws of trade ; and, in case any ships should arrive from England 
without having given bond there, they were instructed not to permit them 
to lade any enumerated goods without first taking bond from them. Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1669-1672, p. 1232; ibid. 1672-1675, pp. 15, 16. 

^ An examination of some of the naval olfice lists of the period, defective 
and incomplete though they are, shows conclusively that English vessels did 
not abide by the strict letter of the law. In a list of 1678-1679, of 51 ships ar- 
riving in Barbados, 43 had given bonds in England, and 8, which had not sailed 
from England, gave bonds in the colony. Yet of these 51 vessels only 32 
were bound directly for England, though all had on board enumerated com- 
modities. C. O. 33/13, no. I (Barbados Naval Office Lists, 1678-1703). 
An account of the 25 Ch. II, c. 7 duties paid in Barbados at about the same 
time shows that 27 ships were bound for the other colonies, of which 7 be- 
longed to England and 20 to the colonies. Ibid. no. 2. In 1679-1680, of 50 
ships lading enumerated commodities in this colony, 13 had given bonds in 
the plantations. Of these 50, only 4 belonged to the colonies, yet a consider- 
able number were bound for New England, New York, Virginia, Mary- 
land, etc. C. 0. 33/14, no. i. See also the subsequent accounts in this and 
the preceding volume. The above facts show clearly that English ships 
were at this time able to engage in the intercolonial trade. 

^ In 1685, Captain Allen, R. N., who was employed in suppressing illegal 
trade in Virginia and Maryland, asked for further instructions on several 


f The Navigation Act of 1660 introduced no fundamentally " 
new principle in the regulation of colonial trade. For the 
exclusion of foreigners from commerce with the Enghsh 
plantations and for the restriction of their export trade to 
the metropolis, ample precedents could be found in former 

questions about which he was in doubt. One concerned his duty in regard 
to a number of Enghsh-built ships that had cleared in England for the 
Madeiras or Cape Verde Islands, but had come to the colonies without 
having given bond in England. The report of the Commissioners of the 
Customs, which was approved by the Lord Treasurer and the Privy Council, 
instructed him that "no Ship coming from any part of the World, except 
from one Plantation to another, or from his Majestys Islands or Territorys 
in Asia, Africa or America, is to be permitted to enter into any Bond what- 
ever in the Plantations but if they take in any Goods there, both the said 
ship and Goods are become forfeitable, and ought to be seized and prose- 
cuted accordingly." P. C. Cal. II, pp. 85-88. This distinction was also 
clearly emphasized in the trade instructions issued in 1686 to Sir Edmund 
Andros. In case any ship shovdd arrive in New England with enumerated 
commodities, he was to see if bond had been duly given, and if not, he was 
to seize the vessel and cargo. If bond had been given, he was to examine it 
to see if its condition was to come to England alone, or to England or some 
other English colony. In the former case he was to forbid the vessel to 
unload. C. O. 5/904, flf. 330-332. Similarly, the instructions issued in 1686 
by the Surveyor General of the Customs in the colonies, Patrick Mein, to 
the Virginia collectors stated that no enumerated goods were to be laden on 
any vessel coming from England vmtil a certificate should have been pro- 
duced of a bond given in England to carry these goods there ; but, in case the 
ship should come from any other place, bond was to be given to carry these 
products to England or to some other EngUsh colony. C. O. 1/59, 34, § 9. 
Cf. also C. 0. 5/903, f. 106. In reply to one of the charges made by Captain 
Crofts, R. N., against the Virginia administration, the Governor, Lord Howard 
of Effingham, at this time stated that no one of the Council, except Bacon, 
was engaged in trade, but that some were part owners of London ships, 
which fact did not concern the one-penny duty. He meant by this that English 
ships were prevented by the terms of their bonds from taking tobacco to 
another colony. C. O. 1/62, 20 ii. 



English practice. The effect of the Act was to give Eng- 
lish, Irish, and colonial shipping a monopoly of the carrying 
trade within the Empire, and to make England the staple 
for tobacco and the West Indian products. Under this 
law, however, Enghsh merchants, and even those of ahen 
nationality, could send foreign manufactures and other 
commodities from the various states in Europe in English 
shipping to the colonies. In this way, the colonial trade 
would to some extent be taken out of the hands of English 
merchants and the value of the colonies as markets for Eng- 
land lessened. In order to obviate this. Parliament in 1663 
passed an additional law, whose preamble^ outlines con- 
cisely, but clearly, its underlying motives. Such direct trade 
from the continent of Europe was in the future forbidden in 
order to maintain "sl greater correspondence and kindness" 
between the colonies and England and for " keeping them in 
a firmer dependance upon it, and rendring them yet more 
beneficial and advantagious unto it in the further imploy- 
ment and increase of English shipping and seamen, vent of 
English woolen and other manufactures and commodities, 
rendring the navigation to and from the same more safe and 
cheap, and making this kingdom a staple, not only of the 
commodities of those plantations, but also of the commodi- 
ties of other countries and places, for the supplying of them." 
An analysis of this condensed statement will show that the 
motives, though mainly economic, were also partly political 
and miHtary. Thr nh\nn^^<- prnnnrn ir a dv ^^i tages we re^ an 
increase in the business of the English merchants, with prob- 
1 IS Ch II, c. 7, § V. 


ably an enlarged consu mption of EngUsh ^ manufactures 
by the colonies ; mo re emp loyment for English shi ppin g^on 
account of the indirect voyages resulting from the law ; and 
also a larger customs revenue, since European products 
shipped to the coloniest hrough England would in _the pro- 
cess have to pay some duties.^ As a result of the ensuing 
closer commercial relations, the political ties binding the 
colonies to the mother country would inevitably become 
closer. Finally, the trade to the colonies, instead of being 
carried on from scattered points on the continent, would 
become centralized in a few clearly marked trade-routes radi- 
ating from England. This would be an immense military 
advantage and would greatly facilitate England's onerous 
task of defending this trade from pirate or enemy. 

Accordingly, the "Staple Act" of 1663 prohibited, under 
the same severe penalties as were imposed by the Naviga- 
tion Act of 1660, the importation into the colonies of any 
European commodities that had not been laden and shipped 
in England.^ Goods whose importation into England for 

1 This fiscal advantage was not very marked, as these duties were insig- 
nificant. It is not mentioned in the Act of 1663, but a subsequent statute 
summarizes the reasons for the poHcy of enumeration and that of the staple, 
stating that otherwise the trade of the colonies would "in a great measure 
be diverted from hence, and carried elsewhere, his Majestys customs and 
other revenues much lessened, and this kingdom not continue a staple of the 
said commodities of the said plantations, nor that vent for the future of the 
victual and other native commodities of this kingdom." 22 & 23 Ch. II, 
c. 26, §§ X, xi. 

^ As in the case of the enumerated conmiodities, before they could be 
reexported from England, these foreign goods had to be actually landed in 
England. This provision was, however, not always strictly enforced and, 
in consequence, in 1676 the Enghsh customs officials were instructed to see 


consumption there was strictly forbidden could, however, 
be shipped to the colonies; for otherwise, the authorities 
said, they would be "debarred of all such comodities." ^ 
From the rigor of the law were also excepted certain articles, 
whose inclusion in the prohibition would have been obvi- 
ously detrimental to the welfare of the colonies. Thus 
salt for the Newfoundland and New England fisheries was 
exempted, in order not to hamper in any way these indus- 
tries in their competition with England's foreign rivals 
for the markets of southern Europe.^ Similarly, horses and 
provisions ^ were allowed to be exported directly from Scot- 
land and Ireland to the colonies, mainly in order not to 
raise the cost of the production of sugar and other commodi- 
ties in the West Indies. Finally, wine of the Madeiras 
and Azores, possessions of England's ally, Portugal, could 
be shipped directly from these places. This last clause was 
somewhat obscurely worded, so that it was not clear whether 
or no Parliament had intended to include as well the wdnes 

that these goods were "entirely unladen and actually put on shore." In 
1679, renewed orders to this effect were issued. Cal. Treas. Books, 1676- 
1679, p. 206 ; Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 5, f. 30. The object, of 
course, was to ensure fuU payment of the English customs duties. 

^ Cal. Treas. Books. 1660-1667, pp. 620, 621. 

2 In 1687, some London merchants requested permission to ship salt 
directly from Europe to Virginia for use in a fishery that they proposed to 
estabhsh there. The matter was referred to the Treasury and by them to 
the Customs, who recommended granting the request, but for one voyage 
only, as an experiment, with proper safeguards to prevent any violation of 
the other provisions of the commercial system. This report was approved, 
and the petition was granted. P. C. Cal. II, pp. 102, 103. C/. Treas. Books, 
Out-Letters, Customs 11, ff. 100, loi. 

^ And also servants. 


of the Canaries, which belonged to Spain. Regarding this 
moot point many and bitter were the disputes, attaining a 
political significance totally incommensurate with its in- 
trinsic economic importance, and still remaining not defi- 
nitely decided when the American Revolution rendered 
unnecessary all further argument.^ 

1 The Act of 1663 does not specifically name the Canaries, but enumerates 
the Madeiras and Western Islands of Azores. The Navigation Act of 1660, 
however, mentions the "Western Islands, commonly called Azores, or IVIa- 
dera or Canary islands." Thus there was some reason for holding that Par- 
liament had intended to include the Canaries. But, apart from the intent 
of the legislature, the crux of the question was whether these islands formed 
part of Africa or of Europe. If they were held to belong geographically to 
Africa, which was the more natural view, the direct importation of wine 
from them into the colonies would stUl have been perfectly legal, even if men- 
tion of the Canaries had been intentionally omitted from the Act of 1663. 
In 1706, Sir Edward Northey, then Attorney- General, held that the Canaries 
formed part of Africa. Brit. Mus., Hargrave MSS. 141, fif. 35'', 36. During 
the Restoration period, however, the EngUsh government consistently main- 
tained that the importation of wine from the Canaries into the colonies was 
illegal. The royal proclamation of Nov. 24, 1675, enjoining the enforcement 
of the trade laws, especially the Staple Act of 1663, mentioned among the 
commodities exempted wines only from the Madeiras and from the Western 
Islands or Azores. British Royal Proclamation, 1603-1783 (Am. Antiqu. 
Soc, 1911), pp. 126-128. A not inconsiderable part of Randolph's com- 
plaints against Massachusetts concerned this trade. See post, Chapter XI. 
In 1686, came before the English government the case of a vessel condemned 
by the New England Admiralty Court for importing Canary wines. The 
Commissioners of the Customs reported that in construction and practice 
these islands were considered to be in Europe, though at times placed in the 
maps of Africa. They further added that, although the Madeiras were 
also geographically in Africa, yet the Act of 1663 supposed them to be in 
Europe, as otherwise it would not have specifically excepted their wines. 
Moreover, they said, Spain did not consider the Canaries as a colony, but as a 
part of itself, and hence foreigners were allowed to trade there. As, however, 
the master of the vessel in question was ignorant of his transgression, and for 


In the course of a few years it was found that, in the actual 
working of the enumeration clauses of the Act of Navigation, 
there developed certain definite inconveniences, for which a 
remedy was deemed desirable. When imported into England, 
these commodities paid duties, but, when shipped ta another 
colony, either no or very slight customs were levied by the 
local authorities and none of course by England, and thus 
the colonial consumer fared muifE better than his fellow 
in the mother country. Moreover, when reexported from 
England,^iiry"'a parf~T>f " the duties-xollgcted thHrB~^s re- 
paid, and~Tohsequently'~such goods were under some disad- 
vanfage iiTcompeting in foreign markets with those shipped 
there directly from the colonies in violation of the law.^ 
The latter was a very important consideration, and was 
brought to the attention of Parhament by some merchants 
engaged in the Virginia trade, who complained "that New 
England men did carry much tobaccoe & other Commoditys 
of the Growth of the plantations to New England, & from 
thence did carr>' them to fforraigne nations, whereby they 
could undersell them & Lessen his ma*^'" Customes." ^ 

other reasons as well, the Commissioners advised its release. The Attorney- 
General, Sir Robert Sawyer, did not agree with this report, stating that the 
Canaries were a part of Africa, and that the law must be construed in accord- 
ance with the geographical facts. Accordingly, Governor Andros was in- 
structed to discharge the seizure and the bond given to abide by the decision 
of the case in England. Blathwayt, Journal I, ff. 201-203, 210. See also 
Goodrick, Randolph VI, p. 195. 

1 25 Ch. II, c. 7, § ii, expUcitly gives these as the two reasons for the duties 
imposed thereby. 

2 This statement and the following facts regarding the passage of the law 
are derived from a letter of Edward Thornburgh, on behalf of the Com- 


Upon learning of this complaint, the Committee of 
Gentlemen Planters, who looked after the interests of 
Barbados in England, appeared before the parliamentary 
committee ha\ang this matter under consideration. They 
assured this body that all the sugar exported from the 
West Indies to New England (except wdiat was consimied 
there) was ultimately brought to England, and that it was 
impossible for the New England traders to ship it to Spain 
and Portugal, where the English product was prohibited, or 
to France, because of the high impost there. These Bar- 
badians likewise pointed out how necessary to them was 
their trade wdth New England, and further "Possessed 
seuerall Parliam* men how impracticable it was for them to 
Lay a tax on those that had noe members in theire house." ^ 
ParHament, however, was not converted by these arguments, 
and early in 1673^ passed a law laying export duties on 
the enumerated products when shipped to another colony.^ 
The Act provided that, if any vessel should lade any of 

mittee of Gentlemen Planters, to the Barbados Assembly, dated April i, 
1673. C. O. 31/2, ff. 123, 124; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 475. In "Some 
Observations about the Plantations," it was also said that these 1673 duties 
were "wholly made in reference to New-England." Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 
28,079, f. 85. 

1 They pointed out "the great necessity the Sugar Plantations had of a 
trade with them for Boards timber pipstaues horses & fish, & that they could 
not mainetaine theire buildings, nor send home theire Sugars, nor make 
aboue halfe that quantity without a Supply of those things from New 

- These duties are occasionally referred to as those of 1672. The bill 
was, however, agreed to by the House of Lords on March 29, 1673. Com. 
Journal IX, p. 281. 

3 25 Ch. II, c. 7, § ii. 



these commodities, and also cocoa-nuts,^ without first giving 
bond to take them to England and nowhere else, then there 
should be paid certain duties, which were roughly based on 
those imposed by the English tariff of 1660, generally known 
as the Old Subsidy.^ Of these duties by far the most im- 
portant were those on tobacco and sugar,^ which were the 

^ Although sometimes so stated, cocoa-nuts were not placed on the enu- 
merated list by the statute. A duty of id. a lb. was merely imposed if 
they were exported elsewhere than to England. This error even crops up 
in unexpected quarters. In the draft instructions for the customs officials 
in America, prepared by the Customs Board and sent by them in 1697 to 
the House of Lords, appears on the margin of § 3 a Hst of the enimierated 
commodities in which were included cocoa-nuts. House of Lords MSS, 
(1695-1697), II, p. 473. Elsewhere this list is correctly given. Ibid. p. 17. 

Sugar : white per cwt 

bro-^Ti and muscovado per avt. 

Tobacco per lb 

Cotton-wool per lb 

Indigo per lb 

Ginger per cwt 

Logwood per civt ^ 

Fustic and other dyeing-woods per avt. 
Cocoa-nuts per lb 

Plaktation Duties 

English Duties 

OF 1673 

OF 1660 



IS. 6d. 

IS. 6d. 














6d. per cwt. 

^ The subsidy of 1660 itself imposed a duty of only id., but in the Book of 
Rates of 1660 provision was made for an additional duty of id. 

^ It was presiunably an error for £5 a ton. 13 & 14 Ch. II, c. 11, §§ xxvi, 
xxvii, allowed the importation of logwood into England, and imposed a duty 
of £5 a ton. It may be mentioned that Charles II granted the revenue from 
these logT^ood duties in England to Nell Gwyn for twenty-one years from 
Sept. 29, 1683 on. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 8, ff. 239, 273 ; 10, 
f. 36. 

3 CJ. C. O. 29/3, 7. 


only commodities entering extensively into intercolonial 
commerce. The sugar duties were the same as those of the 
EngHsh tariff of 1660; on raw sugar, the most important 
variety, they amounted to one shilling and sixpence the 
hundredweight, a not inconsiderable tax. On tobacco 
the duty imposed was one-penny a pound, which was only 
one-half of the EngUsh customs of 1660, possibly because 
the legislators overlooked the additional duty of one-penny 
imposed at the same time in the Book of Rates annexed to 
the statute. 

Though distinctly in the form of a revenue bill, the main 
purpose of this law was to render unprofitable \'iolations 
of the enumeration clauses of the Act of 1660.^ Some rev- 
enue of but insignificant size, it is true, was naturally de- 
rived from it, but this was an incidental feature.^ Even 

^ Forty years after its passage, the question arose whether these duties 
were payable on some sugar shipped from St. Christopher to Nevis for 
trans-shipment to England. In support of the affirmative, it was argued that 
the Leeward Islands were distinct colonies, each under a heutenant-governor 
with separate assembUes, although in extraordinary cases the governor- 
general could call a general assembly, capable of making laws binding aU the 
islands. April 28, 17 15, the Attorney-General, Sir Edward Northey, gave 
his opinion that the intent of the law was to impose the duties when the goods 
were shipped from colony to colony for sale, but not if merely for further 
trans-shipment, and that consequently these duties were not payable in 
the case before him. Brit. Mus., Hargrave MSS. 275, f. 39" ; Add. MSS. 
8,832, flf. 245-249. However equitable this decision, it grossly misrepre- 
sented the purposes of the law. 

^ The earliest original colonial account that I have seen is one from Barba- 
dos, giving the details of the collection of £63 from 27 vessels during the lat- 
ter half of 1679. The destination of these vessels was, to Virginia 10, to New 
England 9, to Carolina 4, to New York 2, to the Bermudas i, and to New- 
foundland I. C. O. 33/13, 2. There is extant, however, an account pre- 


when these duties were paid, the goods were still subject 
to the enumeration regulation and could not be reshipped 
from the intermediate colony directly to foreign markets. 
The wording of the law was somewhat ambiguous on this 
point, but the English government ruled decisively in favor of 
this interpretation,^ and all question was definitely removed 
by a clause in the great administrative statute of 1696.^ 

These three Acts of Parliament — the Navigation Act of 
1660, the Staple Act of 1663, and that of 1673 imposing the 
Plantation Duties — constitute the economic framework of 
the old colonial system. They have hitherto been consid- 

pared by the Comptroller- General of the Customs in England in 1679, giving 
in detail the quantities of these commodities, with the duties paid thereon 
in each West Indian island during the year beginning Sept. 29, 1677. In 
submitting this account, the Comptroller stated that no accounts had hith- 
erto come from New England, and that those from Virginia, Antigua, and 
some of the other colonies were stiE in the hands of the Auditor. The 
major portion of these commoditie's consisted of 962,166 lbs. of sugar shipped 
mainly to New England and \^irginia, on which about £640 must have been 
collected. 57,409 lbs. of cotton were shipped, virtually aU to New Eng- 
land, on which the duty amounted to about £120. Brit. Mus., Add. iSISS. 
8133', f- 237; C. O. 1/43, 180. 

^ In 1676, in consequence of a complaint that some New England mer- 
chants were violating the enumeration clauses, this point was submitted to 
the Attorney-General by the Lords of Trade. In reply, Sir William Jones 
stated that these goods were still subject to the enumeration clauses of the 
Act of 1660. C. O. s/903, f- 106; C. O. 324/4, flf. 29, 30; C. C. 1675- 
1676, pp. 337, 350 ; Chalmers, PoHtical Annals (London, 1780), pp. 319, 323, 
324. The officials in America were instructed so to interpret and enforce 
the law. N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, p. 384; Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 3d series, 
VII, pp. 132, 133- 

2 7 & 8 W. Ill, c. 22, § viii ; House of Lords MSS. (1695-1697) II, p. 478. 
Hence, as often as these goods were shipped from colony to colony, so often 
were these duties payable. 


ered solely with reference to England and the colonies ; it 
remains now to see what provision was made for regulating 
the trade between the English colonies and Scotland and 
Ireland. On the Restoration, the union of the three king- 
doms in the British Isles that had been effected by Crom- 
well, and which in the eyes of some constitutes one of his 
two chief titles to everlasting fame,^ was again dissolved. 
Scotland again became a separate kingdom, united to Eng- 
land only by virtue of a common sovereign, and Ireland 
once more reverted to its status of a subordinate principality. 
As the American colonies were dominions of the English 
Crown, it is not surprising that free intercourse between 
them and Scotland was not allowed.^ The Navigation x\ct 
of 1660 treated Scottish ships as unfree,^ and excluded them 

1 Cf. John Morley, Cromwell, p. 466 ; Seeley, British Policy II, p. 103 ; 
Goldwin Smith, The United Kingdom, II, p. 21. 

^ It should also be pointed out that the enumerated articles could not be 
imported into the Channel Islands and that European goods could not be 
shipped directly from them to the colonies. The States of Jersey desired 
some modification of the law, but this was refused as no adequate means 
could be devised to prevent the enumerated goods from being shipped from 
that island to foreign ports. The law was, however, occasionally evaded, 
and some seizures were made in consequence thereof. P. C. Register Charles 
II, XI, flf. 159, 160, 178; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 568-570, 574, 587, 588, 657-659, 
666, 748, 749; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 358, 359; C. O. 388/s, 420; Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1669-1672, pp. loii, 1027, 1030, 1034, 1170. The Isle of 
Man was likewise outside of the EngHsh fiscal barriers and the same regu- 
lations applied to it. 

' It was, however, provided by 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § xvi, that ahens' duties 
should not be levied on corn and salt of Scottish production, or on fish caught 
and cured by Scotsmen and imported by them directly in Scottish-built ships, 
whereof the master and three-quarters of the mariners were subjects of 
Charles II. CJ. Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, p. 325. 


from the colonial trade. Under it the enumerated articles 
could not be shipped directly from the colonies to Scotland; 
and, furthermore, the Staple Act of 1663 prohibited the di- 
rect shipment from Scotland to the colonies of anything but 
servants, horses, and provisions. 

In consequence of some remonstrances from Scotland,^ 
the Privy Council on August 30, 1661, temporarily suspended 
the Navigation Act in so far as it applied to that kingdom, 
and ordered the officers of the customs to investigate this 
question.^ On October 30, 1661,^ they reported that the 
suspension of the Navigation Act in favor of Scotland would 
greatly injure the English customs by freeing many goods 
from the pa>Tnent of the aliens' duties. Moreover, they said, 
it would give Scotland liberty to trade to the colonies, "which 
are absolutely English which will bring infinite losse to his 
Majestie and as much prejudice to the English Subject." 
For the Scottish merchants, they pointed out, could not be 
effectively bound to bring the colonial products to England 
and Ireland, but would either ship them directly to foreign 
countries or make Scotland "the Magazine" for their 
supply "and leaue this Nation to its home Consumption." 
They concluded with the significantly typical statement 
that "the Plantacons are his Ma=^ Indies w^'^out charge 
to him raised & Supported by the English Subjects who 
imploy aboue 200 Saile of good Ships every yeare, breed 

1 Cal. Dom. 1661-1662, p. 74. 

2P. C. Call, p. 318. 

^ S. P. Dom. Charles II, XLIV, no. 12. That part of the report referring 
to the colonial trade is in P. C. Cal. I, pp. 319, 320. An outline is in C. C. 
1661-1668, no. 178, and in Cal. Dom. 1661-1662, p. 135. 


abundance of Marin'^ and begin to grow into Commodities 
of great Value and esteeme, and though Some of them Con- 
tinue in Tobacco yet upon the Returne hither it Smells 
well, and paies more Custome to his Ma*'^ than the East 
Indies four times ouer." 

This adverse report was referred by the Privy Council to 
a special committee/ and as they fully supported its con- 
clusions,^ on November 22, i66i,an order was issued abrogat- 
ing the temporary suspension of the preceding August and 
again subjecting Scotland and her shipping to the pains 
and penalties of the Navigation Act.^ Scotland's retort to 
England's exclusive policy had been the passage in 1661 
of her own Navigation Act, directly modelled on that of Eng- 
land.^ This law contained a clause exempting English and 
Irish vessels, provided in return Scottish ships should receive 
similarly favorable treatment from England. On England 

1 Cal. Dom. 1661-1662, pp. 135, 136. 

2 On Nov. 18, 1661, Treasurer Southampton and Lord Ashley reported 
to the King: "If the liberty allowed by the Order of Councell were fit to 
be granted to the Scotch nation it could only be done by Act of Parhament 
. . . and those noble lords of the Scotch nation which first petitioned for 
the liberty did onely pray that their suite might by your Majesty be recom- 
ended to the Parliament. Concerning the liberty itselfe petitioned for, we 
find it contrary to the maine end of the Act of Parhament which aimed at 
the increase of English shipping and employment of Enghsh mariners." 
Moreover, they said, such a liberty would decrease the customs revenue, 
for even in the proposition made by the Earls of Lauderdale and Crawford, 
that five or six Scottish ships might have freedom to trade to the colonies 
and return thence to Scotland, "your Majesties Customes might be con- 
cerned thereby near 20,000 /. by the yeare." Cal. Treas. Books, 1660- 
1667, pp. 305, 306. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, pp. 318-320; Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, p. 325. 
* Acts of Parliament of Scotland (1820), VH, p. 257. 


refusing to concede this point, the Scottish law was enforced,^ 
but it was naturally ineffective in securing more Uberal 
treatment, since Scotland's economic resources were not only 
in themselves meagre, but also still largely undeveloped, 
and hence its trade offered but few attractions to the Eng- 
lish merchants in comparison with that to the American 

WTiile Scottish ships were thus excluded from the colonial 
trade, in a few exceptional and sporadic instances the 
Cro\\Ti used its much-questioned authority to dispense 
with the law in their favor. In 1663 and in 1664, one John 
Browne, who held a patent for erecting a sugar refinery in 
Scotland, was granted licenses to trade to the colonies mth 
four Scottish ships, provided they returned directly to 
Scotland or England.^ In 1669, with a view to stimulating 
the development of New York, permission was given to 
two Scottish ships, with such persons as should desire to 
settle there, to trade between that colony and Scotland, pro- 
\dded no colonial products whatsoever were carried to the 
dominions of any foreign prince.^ The Farmers of the Cus- 
toms forthwith complained that this order was ambiguous 
and would allow these vessels to take the enumerated goods 
to any of the King's dominions ; that these ships might in- 
jure the English customs revenue to the extent of £7000 
yearly and that the permission was in direct opposition to 

1 Theodora Keith, Commercial Relations of England and Scotland, 
1603-1707, p. 115. 

2 Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 35,125, f. 74; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 543, 848, 

3 p. C. Cal. I, p. 512 ; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, p. iSo; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 13. 


three Acts of Parliament. They, therefore, prayed for its 
revocation, unless these ships should first touch at an Eng- 
lish port, there pay the customs and enter into a bond not 
to carry any colonial goods elsewhere than to England or 
the other colonies.^ In reply, it was stated that the design 
of the Duke of York in securing this permission was merely 
to transport planters to New York, and that, while the 
desired bond regarding the return voyage would be conceded, 
no Scottish ship could possibly, without ruin to the adven- 
turers, touch at an Enghsh port on her outward voyage, 'by 
reason of demurrage on contrary winds or other accidents.'^ 
Accordingly, the permission was modified, and permission 
was granted to two Scottish vessels to sail to New York 
with not less than four hundred planters, provided they 
took with them only commodities of England, Scotland, or 
Ireland and returned from New York either to some other 
English colony or to England.^ 

While Scotland was debarred to a great extent, and her 
ships entirely, from direct trade with the English colonies,'* 
Scotsmen as subjects of Charles II could legally settle in 
the colonies and trade there on the same terms as English- 

1 N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 180, 181 ; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 16. 

2 N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 181, 182 ; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 16, 17. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, pp. 516, 517. A letter from New York, dated Dec. 31, 
1669, states that these long expected ships had not yet arrived. C. C. 
1669-1674, p. 47. 

* In an age of such poor means of communication, there was naturally- 
some evasion of the law. In 1678, Danby approved of the proposal of the 
Commissioners of the Customs to send a correspondent to Scotland to give 
an account of such ships as might come there directly from the EngUsh 
colonies. Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 1000. 


men. For some time, however, this right was not fully 
conceded. It rested on a well-established principle of the 
English common law. Shortly after the accession of James I 
to the throne of England, the law officers gave it as their opin- 
ion that, by the common law, Scotsmen born after that date 
were Enghshmen in the fullest sense of the term. "They 
were born within the King's allegiance, and they must be 
regarded as his subjects, as far as his dominions extended. " ^ 
This xdew was fully sustained in 1608 by the court in the 
well-knowTi "Cahdn's Case."^ According to this decision, 
Scotsmen serving on an English vessel would not make it 
unfree under the terms of the Navigation Act of 1660, which 
pro\dded that the master and three-quarters of the crew of 
a legally qualified ship had to be English. The EngHsh 
Parliament's answer to the Scottish Na^dgation Act of 1661 
was the insertion of a clause in the Statute of Frauds in the 
Customs of 1662, pro\dding that "any of his Majesty's 
subjects of England, Ireland, and his plantations, are to be 
accounted English, and no others." ^ 

According to the modern doctrine of parliamentary 
sovereignty, this clause unquestionably superseded the 
common law principle applicable to the case, and would 
effectually have barred Scotsmen from ser\'ice on English 
ships, since it would have subjected them to the severe 
penalties imposed on vessels with alien crews. But the 
1/ jurists of the day did not hold that Parliament was om- 

1 S. R. Gardiner, England, 1603-1642, I, p. 326. 

2 Ibid. pp. 355, 356. 

3 13 & 14 Ch. II, c. II, § vi. 


nipotent.^ For some time the point at issue was not defi- 
nitely decided, and occasionally a ship was seized on account 
of its Scottish crew,2 but toward the end of the century it 
was finally estabhshed that the common law principle, and 
not the statute, was the law of the land.^ 

As Ireland, unlike Scotland, was not a sister kingdom 
whose rank, theoretically at least, was coordinate with that 
of England, its treatment under the colonial system was 
radically different.^ The Navigation Act of 1660 placed 

1 C/. C. H. Mcllwain, The High Court of Parliament and its Supremacy. 

2 In 1670, Nicholas Bake wrote to Williamson, complaining that a ship 
had been seized and condemned in Barbados, on pretence that she was not 
manned with the required proportion of EngHshmen, the Scotsmen in her 
crew not being held to be such. He added that these Scotsmen ' take it 
wondrous unkind to be thus debarred the Hberty of subjects. Many wish 
there were not this nice distinction between the nations.' C. O. 1/25, 17; 
C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 59, 60. In 1687, George Muschamp, the South Caro- 
lina Collector, also seized a ship on this ground. C. O. 1/60, 19 ; C O. 324/5, 
ff. 2-4. In 1683, Governor Cranfield of New Hampshire wrote to Blath- 
wayt: "Here are severall Scots men that inhabitt and are great interlopers 
and bring in quantities of goods underhand from Scotland." He requested 
the ruling of the Attorney-General on the legaUty of Scotsmen acting as mer- 
chants or factors in the colonies, stating that they claimed this right on the 
ground that they were born \\'ithin the King's allegiance. Goodrick, Ran- 
dolph VI, pp. 130-133. 

^ In 1698, the Sohcitor-General, Sir John Hawles, held that a Scotsman 
must be accounted an Englishman within the Acts of Navigation despite 
this clause in the Act of 1662. Whatever the intent of Parliament might 
have been, he said, since by law a man bom in Scotland is a subject of Eng- 
land, and since the two kingdoms, while they remain united, are accounted 
but one nation as to matters of privilege, "y® above Clause will not exclude 
a Scotsman from the priviledge of an English Subject." Brit. Mus., Add. 
MSS. 30,218, ff. 249''-25o''. Cf. Chalmers, PoHtical Annals, p. 258. 

* A brief synopsis of this subject is in the MSS. of Marquess of Lothian 
(H.M.C. 1905), pp. 301-304. 



Irish ships on an equal footing with those of England and 
the colonies/ and it was likewise fully conceded that Irish- 
men, being subjects of Charies II, could under the law 
constitute part or the whole of the crew of a legally manned 
English vessel.^ Moreover, it was distinctly provided that 
the enumerated articles, and naturally all other colonial 
products as well, could be shipped directly from the colonies 
to Ireland. Thus, at the outset Ireland enjoyed the same 
privileges in the colonial trade as did England, oFany one 
of the English colonies.^ This hberal treatment was a 
result of an ill-defined tendency to regard Ireland as one of 
England's foreign plantations. Such a view was, however, at 
variance with the actual facts, for Ireland's status was a 
hybrid one. In addition to being an English plantation, 
that country was also a rival, though subject, kingdom wdth 
economic interests distinct from those of England. Hence 
some of the privileges at first freely conceded to Ireland as 
a colony pure and simple were subsequently withdrawn 
from the competing kingdom. 

The Staple Act of 1663 prohibited the direct exportation 
from Ireland to the colonies of anything but servants, horses, 
and provisions.^ As foodstuffs constituted the bulk of 
Ireland's exports, this prohibition was of no especial eco- 

^ 12 Ch. II, c. 18, §§ i, iii, v, vi, viii. See also the legal opinion of Sir 
William Jones, in Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 30,218, f. 36. '^ 

^ 13 & 14 Ch. II, c. II, § vi. 

' Conversely, Ireland was also subjected to the same restrictions as was 
England. An Act of 1660 prohibited the growing of tobacco in both Eng- 
land and Ireland. 12 Ch. II, c. 34. 

* 15 Ch. II, c. 7, § V. 


nomic significance.^ Another clause in this Act, however, 
was of greater importance, because it might be interpreted to 
mean that in future the enumerated goods could not be 
imported directly into Ireland from the colonies.^ But, 
as very frequently happened at the time, this clause was 
obscurely worded and the purpose of the legislature was far 
from clear. All doubts were removed, however, by an Act 
of Parhament passed in 1671,^ which specifically provided 
that in future these enumerated articles could not be shipped 
directly from the colonies to Ireland.^ 

The representatives of Barbados in London had \dgorously 
opposed the passage of this law, which in the form that it 
first passed the House of Commons would have prevented the 

1 In 1683, Ireland's total exports were £570,342, of which £44,862 went 
to the colonies. Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2902, f. 137. 

2 Clause ix provided that any officer of the customs in England, allowing 
these enumerated goods to be carried to any place before they had been 

'landed in England, should forfeit his place. 

^ Sir George Downing was also prominently connected with the passage 
of this law. See especially Com. Journal IX, pp. 213, 214, 224, 226, 237, 
238. On Oct. 31, 1670, Downing wrote to Sir John Shaw : "Please send to 
my house to-morrow the bill for Plantation trade and against planting 
tobacco. To-morrow being hoUday I shall have leisure to look it over." 
See also his letter of Dec. 5, 1670, about this matter. Cal. Treas. Books, 
1669-1672, pp. 679, 698. 

^22 & 23 Ch. II, c. 26, §§ X, xi, stated that the intent of clause ix in the 
Act of 1663 was that the enxmierated goods could no longer be sent directly 
to Ireland, but that as this right under the Act of 1660 had not been ex- 
pressly repealed, these commodities continued to be shipped there to the 
manifest disadvantage of England, in that the colonial trade "would thereby 
in a great measure be diverted from hence, and carried elsewhere, his Maj- 
esty's customs and other revenues much lessened, and this kingdom not 
continue a staple of the said commodities, nor that vent for the future of 
the victual and other native commodities of this kingdom." 


importation of provisions into the West Indies not only from 
Ireland, but from New England as well. Owing to their 
efforts, these far-reaching clauses were omitted by the House 
of Lords.^ The chief trade affected by the Act of 1671 was, 
however, not that of the West Indies, but that with Virginia 
and Maryland, for Ireland consumed a quantity of tobacco 
totally disproportionate to its wealth and population.^ 
The complaints of the Irish merchants were voiced by the 
Lord-Lieutenant, the Earl of Essex, who wrote in 1672 to 
Arlington that the great decay in Ireland's trade was 
primarily due to this law.^ His proposal for its modifica- 
tion was vigorously opposed by the English Commissioners 
of the Customs, who reported that, according to the usual 

1 On Dec. 6, 1671, the Assembly of Barbados wrote to the Committee of 
Gentlemen Planters in London, that they had heard of a recent Act of Par- 
liament which prohibited the direct shipment of their sugars to Ireland ; they 
had given little credit to this report, but if such a law were in agitation, the 
committee should try to prevent its passage. C. O. 31/2, flf. 87-91 ; C. C. 
1669-1674, p. 284. In reply, the Gentlemen Planters wrote on June 12, 
1672, that this matter had been regulated during the last session of Parlia- 
ment, and that, though they were in constant attendance, the bUl had 
passed the House of Commons without their knowledge, "butt before itt 
passed the house of Lords wee putt in many objections to itt, and gott seu- 
erall Clauses of itt left out & altered, which would have wholy excluded a 
Supply of Provisions not onely from Ireland, but New England & other places 
aUsoe, which was as much, as was possible to be Done." C. O. 31/2, 
ff. 100, loi ; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 369. 

^ "The one luxury of all persons was tobacco, and Petty estimated that 
two-sevenths of a man's whole expenditure in food went in purchasing this 
article." A. E. Murray, Commercial Relations between England and 
Ireland, p. 20. 

^ " Before this Act this Kingdome had setled a considerable Trade thither 
of Beef, Butter, and Tallow, and other commodities w*'^ w*^*^ this country 
abounds." Essex Papers (Camden Society, 1S90) I, pp. 35, 36. 


ractice, the trade of the EngHsh colonies was reserved to 
leir mother country, and that to permit even a Hmited 
mount of unrestricted trade between them and Ireland 
ould be' prejudicial to England, "for by such an allowance 
' Kingdome of Ireland will have y^ oportunity of vending 
ot only their owne manufactures, but those also of other 
arts of Europe in y^ Plantacons, when only those of Eng- 
-nd were before sold." ^ This report was approved by the 
Dvernment and Essex's proposal was rejected.^ 
More than such firm adherence to principles on the part 
t the English government was required to secure the en- 
)rcement of this law in Ireland, where public opinion was 
ostile. The English Treasury appointed a representative 
I Ireland to prevent the landing of enumerated goods from 
le colonies,^ and the Irish customs officials were especially 
istructed not to permit such illegal practices.^ But the 
-w was only very imperfectly enforced.^ The enumeration 
i tobacco was extensively evaded by vessels from the 

1 Ihid. I, pp. 54-56. 

^ Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, pp. 72, 73. Essex based his plea for 
;nnission for twenty Irish ships to trade freely to the colonies on Ireland's 
ifferings as a result of the war. In addition to informing him of the adverse 
port of the Commissioners of the Customs, Treasurer Clifford emphasized 
le fact that England was bearing the entire burden of the Dutch war. 

' Ibid. 1669-1672, p. 12S0. In 1678, Danby appointed four men to fer- 
t out infractions of this law. Ibid. 1676-1679, p. 1046. See also Treas. 
3oks, Out-Letters, Customs 5, fif. 14, 42, 63-65. 

■* Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-1672, p. 1197 ; ibid. 1672-1675, p. 367. 

^ In 1673, Treasurer Clifford enumerated nine ships that had sailed from 
le colonies (four from New England, one from Antigua, one from INIont- 
rrat, two from Nevis, and one from Virginia) directly to Ireland with 
ich prohibited goods. Ibid. 1672-1675, p. 35. 


colonies sailing directly to Irish ports under "pretences 
of Ship wrack and other fraudulent Devices." As the Farmers 
of the Irish Revenue connived at these frauds/ the English 
government was helpless imtil it was held that the English 
Admiralty had authority to seize the offending vessels in 
Ireland.- During the years 1678 to 1680, a large number of 
vessels were seized in Ireland on warrants of the Enghsh 
Admiralty for importing tobacco directly from the colonies.^ 

1 The English merchants complained that, although tobacco could not 
be legally imported into Ireland from the colonies, "nevertheless they of 
Ireland and New England and some from Virginia have and do come, by 
consent and without any seizure, for none can make a seizure but the Cus- 
tom House officers, who in Ireland are the farmers' servants and dare not 
seize, it being their masters' interest to have aU they can brought there." 
Cal. Dom. 1676-1677, pp. 586, 587. 

2 The opinion of the Attorney- General, Sir William Jones, may be found 
in Brit. Mus., Add. ]\ISS. 30,218, Q. 40, 41. See also P. C. Register 
Charles II, XV, f. 119; B. T. Trade Papers 11, 189; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 845, 
846; Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 170. In 1686, the Commissioners of 
the Irish Revenue stated ' that while the law was in force during the nine 
years already mentioned, all the plantation goods were imported direct 
into Ireland as freely as when the trade was open by the Navigation Act.' 
This statement is grossly exaggerated, and was made with the direct purpose 
of securing a repeal of the law. C. O. 324/4, S. 183-191 ; C. C. 16S5-1688, 
pp. 152, 153. 

^ These ships were chiefly Irish. Records of the trials of approximately 
25 are extant. Nearly aU of this tobacco came directly from Virginia and 
IMaryland ; only a small quantity was imported from Antigua. Virtually 
no sugar was imported in these vessels. Details may be found in Public 
Record Office, Admiralty High Court, Libels 118, ff. 89, 91, 112-114; 119, 
fif. I, 2, 16, 17, 39, 41, 62, 63, 71, 80, 97-99, 104, 124, 145, 148, 167, 170, 
173, 188; 120, Q. 19, 61, 105. One of the most interesting cases concerned 
the Providence of London, belonging to Colonel John Curtis ( ? Custis) 
of Virginia, which had landed 300 hogsheads of tobacco in Ireland toward 
the end of 1678. Ibid. 119, ff. loi, 176; 120, f. 23; Ormonde MSS. 
• (H.M.C. 1906), New Series IV, pp. 304, 305. 


Immediately thereafter the state of affairs again changed. 
The Act of 167 1 prohibiting the direct shipment of the 
enumerated colonial products to Ireland contained a clause 
limiting its duration to nine years. Its date of expiration 
fell at a time when England was in a whirl of frenzied excite- 
ment in consequence of the "Popish Plot" and the subse- 
quent abortive proposal to exclude James, Duke of York, 
from the succession to the throne. Apparently as a result 
of its absorption in these heated questions, Parliament inad- 
vertently failed to make any provision for the continuation 
of the Act of 167 1. Accordingly, from 1680 on, all colonial 
commodities could again be freely shipped directly to Ire- 
land. A curious and entirely unanticipated state of affairs 
now resulted, for in the meanwhile the Act of 1673 ^^^ 
been passed imposing export duties on the enumerated 
articles, unless the condition of the bond was to ship them 
to England only. On the expiration of the Act of 1671, 
the law regulating the terms of these bonds was that of 
1660, which provided that aU vessels sailing from England 
to the colonies should give security to bring these products 
to England or Ireland. If the Enghsh vessels engaged in 
this trade should give such bonds, according to the terms of 
the law of 1673, the export duties imposed thereby would 
then become due on aU these products laden by them, 
even if they were shipped to England. In order to obviate 
this unforeseen result, which would greatly have hampered 
English trade, early in 1681 an Order in Council was issued, 
allowing these vessels to give bonds omitting the word 
Ireland, in which case the duties would not be payable. 


The order, however, not only did not provide any remedy 
for the Irish colonial trade, but distinctly stated that these 
duties of 1673 were payable on the enumerated products 
when shipped either to Ireland or to the English colonies.^ 

Thus, while the enumerated goods could, after the expira- 
tion of the Act of 167 1, be shipped directly to Ireland, ac- 
cording to the letter of another law, the plantation duties of 
1673 then became due thereon. Although the law on this 
point was plain, yet the result was mainly fortuitous and was 
apparently not the intent of the legislature. Hence it is not 
surprising that there ensued in the colonies, especially in 
Maryland, some difficulties based on a misunderstanding 
of the law and a natural reluctance to pay taxes whose 
validity was plainly open to question on other than purely 
legal grounds. 

In Maryland, the proprietor. Lord Baltimore, was en- 
gaged at this time in a characteristic quarrel with the Eng- 
lish customs officials, one of whom, Nicholas Badcock,^ \\Tote 
on May 26, 1681,^ to the Commissioners of the Customs that 
four ships had arrived from England with certificates of 
having given bonds containing the word Ireland, and that 
accordingly he had demanded the 1673 duties on the tobacco 
laden on them, which he claimed would amount to at least 
£2500. Payment thereof, he further ^\Tote, was refused, 
wdth the support of Lord Baltimore and the ]\Iar>iand 

1 C. 0. 1/46, 97; C. O. 324/4, ff- 130-135; P- C. Cal. II, pp. 15, 16; 
C. C. 1681-1685, p. 9. 

^ He was Surveyor and Comptroller of the Customs, and subordinate 
to the Collector. C. C. 1681-1685, P- 164. 

3 C. O. 1/146, 150; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 58, 59. 


Council, who told him not to meddle in this matter. Balti- 
more was apparently sincere in his attitude, being pardon- 
ably ignorant of the law. His letter of June 7, 1681,^ to 
Lord Anglesey shows a complete failure to grasp the point 
at issue. ^ The EngUsh government carefully investigated 
the charges of Badcock, and decided to reprimand Balti- 
more severely and to order him to pay the £2500, which it 
was claimed the revenue had lost by his interference.^ 
Accordingly, on February 8, 1682, the Secretar>^ of State, 
in the name of Charles II, wrote a vigorous letter, calling 
Baltimore sharply to account for obstructing the revenue 
officers and threatening him with legal proceedings against 
his charter.^ In reply, Baltimore wrote to Sir Leoline 
Jenkins, then Secretary of State, that he was very much 
troubled at the King's letter, and that the difficulty was due 
to his ignorance of the law and to Badcock's wilfully con- 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 67. 

2 On July 10, 1681, Nicholas Badcock again wrote to the Commissioners 
of the Customs, saying that he was about to seize the tobacco in question, 
on which these duties had not been paid, but had been deterred by threats of 
the Governor and Council. C. O. 5/723, fif. 61-65 ; C. C. 1681-1685, p. 85. 

' C. O. 391/3, f. 317; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 151, 157. On behalf 
of the Commissioners of the Customs, Sir George Downing attended the 
Lords of Trade, and informed them that Lord Baltimore was in error 
and that the plantation duty of id. was payable on tobacco shipped from 
Maryland to Ireland. On Dec. 14, 168 1, the Maryland Collector of the 
Customs, Christopher Rousby, with whom Baltimore was engaged in a 
serious quarrel, wrote to a member of the colonial CouncU, that Baltimore's 
behavior toward Badcock in this matter of the id. duty had been very 
much resented by the Lords of the Privy Council. C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 
159, 160. 

^ P. C. Cal. II, pp. 28-31 ; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 195, 196. 



cealing both the mstructions he had received from the 
Commissioners of the Customs and the Order in Council 
of 1 68 1 enjoining the payment of the plantation duties on 
shipments to Ireland.^ 

In this connection the Enghsh government renewed its 
orders for the collection of the 1673 plantation duties in 
such cases.^ The colonial customs service was, however, 
not effectively organized, and as a result the payment of 
these duties was extensively evaded.^ In order to put a 
stop to this, the English government issued orders to seize the 
enumerated goods in Ireland in case the duties thereon had 
not been paid.'* The Commissioners of the Irish Revenue 
thereupon suggested that it would be found more advanta- 
geous if, in heu of the export duties payable in the colonies, 
one-half thereof should be collected in Ireland and remitted 
to the EngHsh Exchequer. This suggestion met mth ap- 
proval, and the colonial governors were then instructed to 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 232, 233. Cf. pp. 241, 242. 

2 The ISIaryland Collector of the Customs, Christopher Rousby, was 
instructed by the Customs and the Treasury to collect these duties when 
the bond mentioned Ireland. C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 159, 160. 

^ July 24, 16S2, the Lords of the Treasury wrote to the Earl of Arran, 
Lord Deputy of Ireland, that the Commissioners of the Customs had in- 
formed them that several ships had sailed from the colonies to Ireland 
mthout pa>dng the 1673 duties and that, as a remedy therefor, they had 
appointed Mr. Charles Home to inspect and look after the plantation trade 
of Ireland. Ormonde MSS. (H.M.C. 191 1), New Series \T, pp. 404, 405. 

* " My Lord Treasurer Sent to the Lord Lieut of Ireland the opinions 
of the four Barons of the Exchequer, Attorney and SoUcitor General!, 
that the Enumerated Goods coming from the Plantations without having 
paid the Plantation Duty might be seized and Recovered in Ireland, and 
Orders were given to all Officers accordingly." C. O. 1/58, 84. 


desist from collecting the 1673 duties on tobacco exported 
to Ireland .j^.' 

This arrangement had been in effect only a very^ short 
time,' when, much to the annoyance of the Irish merchants,^ 
Parhament in 1685 re\dved the Act of 1671 prohibiting the 
direct exportation of these enumerated goods to Ireland."* 
Omng to their complaints, the Irish government worked 
actively to have the law changed. On February 15, 1686,^ 
the Commissioners of the Irish Revenue wrote to the Lord- 
Lieutenant, stating that the half duty collected in Ireland 
on the enumerated colonial products had during the last 
six months of 1685 amounted to £5170, which was more 
than the entire sum that had been collected in all the 
colonies during ten years on account of the plantation duties. 
Consequently, they argued| that this arrangement was far 
more advantageous to England than w^as the total prohibi- 
tion which had just been revived and which had never been 
effectively enforced. Moreover, they claimed that the 
revival of the law of 1671 would deprive Ireland of her entire l 
colonial commerce, on account both of the additional hazard 

1 Ibid.; C. O. 324/4, fif. 183-191 ; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 152, 153. 

^ Cf. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 10, f. 50. 

^ "The merchants in this country (Ireland) are much dejected at the 
revival of the act prohibiting them to trade directly to the Plantations, and 
especially at the prohibition of carrying hides and tallow into England." 
July 14, 1685, Sir John Perceval to Sir Robert Southwell. MSS. of Earl 
of Egmont (H.M.C. 1909) II, p. 157. Cf. p. 155. 

^ Com. Journal IX, p. 682 ; i Jac. II, c. 17. This law was subse- 
quently continued and virtually made perpetual. 4 & 5 W. & M. c. 24 ; 
II & 12 W. Ill, c. 13, § ii; s Geo. I, c. 11, § xix. 

5 C. 0. 324/4, ff. 183-191 ; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 152, 153.' 


and time required by an indirect trade through England, 
and the expense and formahties necessitated in passing 
through the EngHsh customs. The Lord-Lieutenant, the 
Earl of Clarendon, sent this memorial, which he had ordered 
prepared in consequence of the complaints of the Irish mer- 
chants, to the English Lord Treasurer, and in his accompany- 
ing letter heartily supported its recommendations as advan- 
tageous both to England and to Ireland. He wrote that 
he had heard the English debates on this subject, 'which 
were not as ingenuous as I could have wished, or as such 
debates ought to be,' and suggested that the King dispense 
■udth the law for a year or two, as a trial, in order to see if 
the English revenue would suffer at all.^ 

This recommendation laid stress only on the fiscal side of 
the subject and ignored entirely the broader question of 
colonial poUcy. This phase of the subject was strongly 
emphasized by the English Commissioners of the Customs,^ 
to whom the Irish memorial had been submitted for report. 
They brushed aside t±ie question of revenue and pointed 
out that 'the true interest of England, as is also the usage 
of all nations, is to keep the Plantation- trade to herself.' ^ 
After answering in detail the Irish arguments, some of which 
were grossly exaggerated, they concluded their adverse 
report with the general statement, that the position of Ire- 
land and its cheap provisions gave the Irish merchants a 
great advantage, so much so that, if they were allowed to 

1 C. O. 324/4, ff. 178-183; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 160, 161. 

2 Sir Dudley North was at this time a prominent member of the board. 

3 C. O. 324/4, £f. 207-213 ; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 166, 167. 



trade on equal terms with those of England, they would 
in all probability deprive that kingdom in a great measure 
of its flourishing trade wdth its own colonies. 

In reply, the Irish Commissioners prepared another de- 
tailed memorial,^ again lajang most stress on the fiscal side 
of the question and showing conclusively that the English 
revenue would to no extent whatsoever suffer from their 
proposal. They also claimed that there was no conceivable 
likehhood of Ireland dramng the plantation trade away from 
England and that the prohibition to import the enumerated 
articles directly into Ireland was of absolutely no benefit 
to England, but placed an unnecessary and onerous burden 
on the Irish merchants. This memorial was skilfully com- 
posed, but whatever chance of impartial consideration its 
able arguments might otherwise have had was lost by the 
tactless introduction of some direct charges of corruption 
against English customs officials in Bristol and in some 
other out-ports. The Commissioners of the Customs were 
plainly annoyed at these accusations, and in their final report 
of May 12, 1686,^ refused to budge from their former opin- 
ion, stating that the entire body of the plantation laws was 
under their care and control, and that it was their business 
to correspond with the officials in England and in the colonies 
and to maintain a uniform and efficient system. This duty, 
they claimed, they could not perform, 'nor be responsible 
for it, if so great and near a kingdom as Ireland be freely 
let into the trade and suffered to trade directly with the 

1 C. O. 324/4, flf. 191-206; C. C. 16S5-1688, pp. 175-177. 

2 C. O. 324/4, £f. 213-218; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 187, 188. 



Colonies.' The Lords of Trade accepted this report, and 
fresh orders were issued for the enforcement of the Act of 

During this controversy, the Earl of Clarendon had 
suggested that the King should, as an experiment, tem- 
porarily dispense with the Act of 1671, and cited an instance 
as a precedent for the legality of such action. In the 
constitutional disputes under the last two Stuarts this 
right of the Crown to dispense with the execution of Acts 
of Parliament figured prominently, but, in general, it was 
used sparingly in connection with the laws of trade and 
na\dgation.^ Although it was directly contrary to the law, 
the government authorized Spanish vessels to trade to the 
English West Indies for slaves.^ This power was, however, 
used on a comprehensive scale only during the two Dutch 

» C. O. 324/4, f. 225; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 204, 207, 264; p. C. Cal. II, 
p. 92. At this time were reported a number of evasions of the law, C. C. 
1685-1688, p. 171 ; P. C. Cal. II, pp. 86, 87. 

^ In 1663, on reading a petition and some complaints about violations 
of the Navigation Act, the House of Commons resolved that His JMajesty 
be desired to issue a proclamation for the effectual observance of this law 
"without any Dispensation or Contrivance whatsoever," whereby the Act 
may be violated, and to recaU such dispensations if any had been granted. 
Com. Journal VIII, pp. 521, 522. As has already been pointed out, espe- 
cial privileges were on a few occasions granted to Scotsmen. See ante, p. 88. 
In 1661, in connection witli the case of three foreign Jews, who had resided 
in Barbados and were recommended to Charles II by the King of Den- 
mark, the Council for Foreign Plantations reported on the whole question 
of allowing Jews to trade in the colonies. The Council left the larger ques- 
tion open, but advised giving a special license to these three men to reside in 
any English colony. C. C 1661-1668, no. 140. On becoming English sub- 
jects, foreigners were of course allowed to trade in the colonies. 

' See post, Chapter V. 


wars, when the demands of the navy for men ^ made it 
advisable to permit Enghsh merchants to employ foreign 
seamen and ships. On March 6, 1665, an Order in Council 
was issued, dispensing with the Na\agation Act in certain 
branches of the European trade, and allowing the employ- 
ment by English merchants of foreign ships navigated by 
foreigners in the colonial trade. ^ On the conclusion of the 
war, in 1667, this dispensation was revoked;^ but in 1672, 
on the outbreak of fresh hostilities with the Dutch, it was 
again issued ^ and remained in force until the conclusion of 

* During peace the navy employed 3000 to 4000 seamen, but in 1665, 
30,000 were needed. Pepys Diary, Jan. 15, 1665. 

2 The dispensation did not extend to the enumeration clauses or to 
the Staple Act of 1663. P. C. Register Charles II, V, ff. 68, 83 ; C. O. 
324/4, S. 219-224; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 392, 393, 403, 404. Cf. also Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1660-1667, p. 714. For some instances of foreign ships 
being employed in this trade, see C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 1459, 1469, 1544; 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 466-474. On Feb. 28, 1665, the Farmer of the Customs 
had reported that the Act of Navigation ought not to be dispensed with 
in the colonial trade, as it would give the French and other foreigners too 
much insight into it. The French, they said, had already begun to inquire 
busily and had imitated the English by planting tobacco in France, besides 
developing their own plantations in the West Indies. C. C. 1661-1668, 
no. 947. 

3 P. C. Cal. I, p. 434; British Royal Proclamations, 1603-1783 (Am. 
Antiqu. Soc. 1911), pp. 114-116. 

*P. C. Register Charles II, X, £f. 237, 238; C. O. 140/3, ff. 323-325; 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 576, 577 ; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 414. See also S. P. Dom. 
Ch. II, Entry Book 36, ff. 327, 328; P. C. Cal. I, p. 633 ; C. C. 1669-1674, 

P- 553- 

* P. C. Cal. I, p. 599. Cf. pp. 612-614. The proclamation of March 
II, 1674, recalled this dispensation. British Royal Proclamations, 1603- 
1783 (Am. Antiqu. Soc. 1911), pp. 119, 120. 


The various Acts of Parliament, whose provisions, inter- 
pretation, and development have been described, constituted 
the economic framework of the old colonial system, which 
for nearly two centuries regulated the course of trade in 
the British Empire. They were a direct expression of the 
current economic theory of colonization, and their aim was 
to secure to England the fullest possible benefits from the 
possession of over-sea dominions. The primary function 
of the colony was to foster the development of English sea 
power, commerce, and industry. But, apart from its eco- 
nomic aims, it was realized that this system of regulating 
imperial trade possessed other distinct advantages. It 

inevitably led to the limitation of commerce to a few well- 

defined routes, and thus greatly facilitated the task of 

protection. Furthermore, it was perceived that the closer 

the commercial relations between colony and metropolis, '' 

the more firmly knit would become the political ties bind- ' 

ing them together. Thus Charles Davenant pointed out 

that 'the Bent and Design of the Na\igation Act was to 

make those Colonies as much dependant as possible upon 

their Mother-Country,' and that any continued \dolations 

thereof would have dangerous consequences which could not 

easily be cured. For, he said, if the colonies should fall into 

trading independently of England, in course of time, they 

might erect themselves into independent commonwealths, 

which ultimately we should not be able to master ; "by which 

means the Plantations, which now are a main Branch of our 

Wealth, may become a Strength to be turn'd against us." ^ 

^ Davenant, op. cit. II, pp. 85, "€6. 



Such a system of rigid control over the commerce of de- 
pendent communities was the current practice of all colo- 
nizing nations. ItJiecessarily implied the subordination of 
the colony's economic interests to those of the metropolis, 
and as a result in theory at least, if not always fully in 
practice, it is repugnant to modern economic, political, and 
ethical ideas. But these modern ideas are largely the result 
of changed conditions and were totally inappHcable in the 
seventeenth century, when they would have seemed, and 
correctly so, merely the vagaries of an unpractical Utopian 
out of touch with the forces that were making history. In 
general, the economists of the day supported with substantial 
unanimity the principles upon which the system was based, 
and even those \\dth the most Hberal tendencies did not ques- 
tion their appHcation.^ England sanctioned the movement 
of expansion; and, although it was mainly the work of private 
enterprise, she had in so doing to assume many onerous 
burdens, but with the distinct purpose of gaining in return 
specific benefits. It would have been deemed the height of 
folly to leave colonial trade unfettered and to allow foreign 

1 The four writers of the period holding the most Uberal views regarding 
trade were Sir Josiah Child , Charles Davenant, Nicholas Barbon, and Sir 
Dudley ^orth. W. J. Ashley, Sur^'^eys Historic and Economic, pp. 268, 
269. Of these, Child and Davenant were staunch upholders of the colonial 
system. Barbon and North did not directly discuss this question, but 
from their general underlying views, especially those of North, it might be 
inferred that in some respects at least their approval would have been 
withheld. Bauer, "Barbon," in Palgrave's Diet, of Pol. Economy; Pfeiffer, 
"Barbon," in Revue d'Histoire des Doctrines Economiques et Sociales IV, 
pp. 63 et scq.; Dudley North, Discourses upon Trade (London, 1691); 
Roger North, Lives of the Norths (London, 1826) I, pp. 351, 352. 


rivals to reap where England had sown and where she was 
still obHged to expend considerable energy in preventing the 
intrusion of lawless marauders and well-organized enemies. 
The system was by no means one-sided and did not appear 
to be so to the men of the day. As compensation for the 
restrictions on the trade of the colonies, England protected 
them and gave such of their products as were needed and 
wanted a monopoly of the home market. 

The chief positive burden which England assumed was that 
of imperial defence, in return for which it was considered 
justifiable to restrict and mould the economic life of the 
colonies. At various times during the Restoration period 
considerable trouble was experienced "^dth New England, 
whose recalcitrant attitude toward imperial control threat- 
ened to dislocate the colonial system before it was even 
established. In 1675, when matters were nearing a crisis, 
was prepared an able memorial, evidently by Robert Mason, 
the proprietor of New Hampshire, wherein was clearly 
expressed the prevailing view regarding the respective 
rights and duties of metropolis and colony.^ This paper 
urged the government to send to New England commis- 
sioners, who should ' endeavor to show the advantages which 
may arise to them by a better confidence and correspondence 
with England and by their cheerful submission to those 
ordinary duties, customs, and regulations, which are set 
upon trade in all other His Majesty's dominions, colonies, 
and plantations.' These commissioners were further to 

iC. O. 1/34, nos. 68, 69; C. O. 5/903, 5- 9-13; C. C. 1675-1676, 
pp. 222-224. Cf. C. O. 1/18, 46; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 706. 


point out how inconsistent exemption from these rules 
would be mth the fact that the King of England "in all 
Treaties, and by his Fleets at Sea takes New-England into ' 
the Common Protection, and provides for its Safety as 
belonging to this Crowne, and may therefore expect some 
Measure out of the benefitt that arises to them in their 
Trade by their being English and happy subjects of this 
Crowne." ^■ 

This same idea was also clearly expressed by John Gary, 
who asserted that, under a properly regulated system of 
colonial trade, England "standing like the Sun in the midst 
of its Plantations would not only refresh them, but also 
draw Profits from them; and indeed it's a matter of 
exact Justice it should be so, for from hence it is Fleets of 
Ships and Regiments of Soldiers are frequently sent for 
their Defence, at the charge of the Inhabitants of this 
Kingdom, besides the equal Benefit the Inhabitants there 
receive mth us from the Advantages expected by the Issue 
of this War, the Security of Religion, Liberty, and Property, 
towards the Charge whereof they contribute little though a 
way may and ought to be found out to make them pay more, 
by such insensible Methods as are both rational and prac- 
ticable." 1 

^ John Cary, An Essay on the State of England (Bristol, 1695), pp. 70, 
71. Cary repeated these views in a letter dated Jan. 31, 1696, and 
addressed to a correspondent, who had objected to his proposal to treat 
Ireland's trade like that of the colonies. He pointed out that aU nations 
pursued a simUar poUcy toward their colonies, and that England was en- 
titled to some return from the fact that they were defended and secured at 
her expense. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 5540, flf. 59-61. 


As the burden of imperial defence fell upon England, it 
could also be argued conversely that, whenever there was a 
conflict of interest between colony and metropolis, the 
former should necessarily be subordinated to the latter. 
For the heart of the Empire, England, had to be considered 
before all else, since upon its sound condition depended 
the very existence of the colonies. Without the active 
and potential support of England, they would have been 
at the mercy of other European powers, and would un- 
questionably have been converted into dependencies of 
Holland, Spain, or France, with the inevitable loss of their 
characteristic institutions and civihzation. Hence, even 
from the colonial standpoint, there was a \dtal necessity of 
having a prosperous and powerful metropoHs able to hold 
its protecting aegis over them. Shortly after the Restora- 
tion, Sir John Wolstenholme, one of the Farmers of the 
Customs, wrote to Massachusetts, expressing his gratifica- 
tion at their declared readiness to obey the laws of trade and 
navigation, which tend "so much to advance his Majestys 
service and the true Enghsh interest, wherein I conceave 
the English plantations are as much concerned, if wayed 
\\dth judgment and discretion, as ourselves here ; for if we 
doe not maintaine here the honour and reputation of his 
Majesty and the nation which must be by our navigation 
and shipping, which are our walls, the plantations will be 
subject to be devoured by straingers." ^ Similarly, John 
Gary, the Bristol merchant whose opinions have been often 
cited in this work, ^Tote to a correspondent in Antigua : 
^ Hutchinson Papers II, p. loS. 


"The true Interest of England is its Trade; if this receives 
a Baffle, England is neither able to Support its Self, nor 
the Plantations that depend upon it, & then consequently 
they must crumble into So many distinct independ! Gov- 
ernm*^ & thereby becoming weak will be a Prey to any 
Stronger Power w*"^ shall attacque them." ^ 

From the very nature of the Empire's pohtical organiza- 
tion it followed inevitably that the main burden of its 
defence had to be assumed by England. As was said in 
1683, "small divided remote Governments being seldom 
able to defend themselves, the Burthen of the Protecting 
them all, must lye upon the chiefest Kingdom of EnglaJtd. 
... In case of war with forraign Nations, Englmid com- 
monly beareth the whole Burthen and charge, whereby 
many in Englmid are utterly undone."^ Up to 1689, when 
began the Second Hundred Years' War with France, this 
task of protecting the Empire was not an especially arduous 
one. Yet even during these comparatively peaceful years, 
there were several important naval wars — with the United 

1 Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 5540, f. 76. 

^ England's Guide to Industry (London, 1683), pp. 75-77. The author 
of this ingenious booklet maintained that the chief impediment to Eng- 
land's greatness was the existence of distinct governments, divided from one 
another by customs barriers, in England, Scotland, Ireland, the Channel 
Islands, the Isle of Man, and the various colonies. "There is no doubt," 
he said, "that the same people far and wide dispersed must spend more 
upon their Government and Protection than the same living compactly." 
His pohcy of unification would apparently have impUed the abrogation of 
the laws of trade, for in his opinion it was a "dammage" to England's trade 
with Barbados and the other colonies that goods should be enumerated. 
Ibid. pp. 75-78. 


Provinces, Spain, and France. International rivalry was 
acute, and the colonizing maritime powers were watching 
one another most jealously and closely.^ Thus, during both 
peace and war, the burden of defence was far from a neg- 
ligible one. WTiile England did not shirk the task and, 
despite much muddling, performed it without encountering 
any irretrievable disasters, she expected the colonies not 
to remain supine, but to do their share. What exactly this 
share was could naturally not be precisely determined at 
this, or at any future, time; and ultimately, one hundred 
years later, it was upon the rock of imperial defence that 
the loosely constructed, unseaworthy old Empire shattered 
itself.- But prior to the troublous days preceding the 
^American Revolution, there existed a general, though 
necessarily somewhat vague, understanding of the respec- 
tive duties of metropolis and colony in matters of de- 
fence. The understanding that obtained in the eighteenth 
century^ was not based upon theoretical considerations, 
but had evolved empirically in actual practice. Many of 
the precedents upon which it was based date from the 
experiences of the Restoration period. 

It was at that time clearly reaHzed that the safety of the 

1 The French Ambassador in England sent to his government copies of 
the various state papers illustrating EngUsh poUcy and practice, such as 
the Act of Navigation of 1660 and other statutes, the commission and in- 
structions of the Council of Foreign Plantations of 1660 and also those of 
the Council of Trade of the same year, the Carolina charter, various com- 
missions issued to colonial officials, etc. Paris, Archives des Affaires Etran- 
geres, Correspondance Politique Angleterre 74, f. 379; 88, f. 65; 105, ff. 
205, 207, 220-230; no, ff. 297 ct seq. 

' See Beer, British Colonial Pohcy, 1 754-1 765. 


Empire depended upon adequate sea power. 'Those who 
are masters at sea in those parts may upon occasion take 
all these islands,' wrote the author of a contemporary account 
of the Leeward Islands.^ During time of war, the English -^ 
na\y was active in colonial waters, but it was by no means 
large enough to afford complete protection. Under the cir- 
cumstances, such episodes as the French conquest of the 
Leeward Islands and the successful Dutch raid on the mer- 
chantmen in Virginia waters during the war of 1665 to 1667 
are not surprising. The colonies were able to be of very 
little assistance in these naval wars, but it should not be 
forgotten that the reconquest of the Leeward Islands was 
largely due to the energy of Barbados and its public-spirited w- 
governors, the two Lords Willoughby. Moreover, Massa- 
chusetts not only contributed supplies to this Barbadian 
expedition, but at the same time made a valuable present 
of masts to the royal na\y.- The Jamaica buccaneers ^ 
likewise were an important factor in inducing Spain to make 
peace on terms satisfactory to England. During times of 
peace, ships of the na\y were also at various periods sta- 
tioned in America, some in the West Indies and others in 
Chesapeake Bay and at Boston, for the purpose of protect- 
ing the colonies and of suppressing piracy and illegal trade. ^ 

During this period no extensive land operations were 
carried on, and hence there was no need for active colonial 
cooperation. The proposed expedition against Canada, 
planned by the English military authorities in the war of 

^ C. 0. 1/42, 36; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 222, 223. 

^ See post, Chapter XI. 


1665-1667, did not, however, enlist any support from the 
New England colonies, who claimed that the season was 
too far advanced for a successful campaign.^ In general, 
England assumed without hesitation the duty of naval 
protection and also full responsibility for military opera- 
tions during war with a European power. Whatever 
questions arose as to the respective obligations of metrop- 
olis and colonies concerned the protection of the colonies 
during time of peace. England consistently sought to 
limit her obligations to defending the colonies against Euro- 
pean powers and to make the colonies assume full respon- 
sibility for defence against the Indians.- Hence, as far as 
it was possible, the number and size of the permanent gar- 
risons in America was limited. The condition of affairs, 
however, was such that some soldiers had to be maintained 
in the colonies at the expense of the English Exchequer. 

Of the permanent military establishment, the greater 
part was located in the West Indies, which wTre most ex- 
posed to sudden onslaught from England's rivals. For a 
number of years a considerable force was stationed in 
Barbados,^ and until toward the end of the period a garrison 

1 See post, Chapter XI. 

2 In 1 68 1, Lord Culpeper suggested 'the uniting of all the King's sub- 
jects in America to help each other in case of foreign enemies, rebeUions, 
and Indians, in such proportions as the King shall direct ' ; and in particular 
that ' no war or peace with Indians should be made without the knowledge 
and assent of the Governor and Council of Virginia, the only Colony that 
the King can call his own.' C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 127, 128. Later, the first 
part of this statesman-like proposal was adopted by the EngUsh government. 

^ In 1670, Barbados asked that Sir Tobias Bridge's regiment be disbanded, 
as it was of no use in time of peace. C. O. 31/2, f. i ; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 


was maintained in Jamaica at the expense of the Enghsh 
Exchequer.^ In St. Kitts, where France also had a colony, 
a small force was permanently established.^ Similarly, 
on account of the danger of French invasion, a regular 
garrison was stationed in New York, but the English gov- 
ernment paid only part of this expense, contributing £1000 
yearly to the Duke of York for this purpose.^ For several 
years after Bacon's rebellion — the force sent from England 
for its suppression, it was asserted, cost the English tax- 
payer more than £100,000 ^ — a body of regular soldiers 
was also maintained in Virginia.^ In the aggregate, this 
expense, though by no means inconsiderable,^ was not for- 

1 In 1662, the yearly charge of the troops in Jamaica was £3539. P. C. 
Cal. I, p. 328. 

2 The annual charge of these two foot-companies was £2778 and in addi- 
tion £700 was paid to their commander, Colonel WOliam Stapleton, who 
was also the Governor of St. Kitts and the other Leeward Islands. Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1676-1679, pp. 57, 140, 141, 519, 524, 525 ; Blathwayt, 
Journal I, ff. 109, no; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 627-629. 

' Cal. Treas. Books 1669-1672, pp. 466, 475, 640, 657, 662, 708; ibid. 
1672-1675, p. 113; ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 313,425, 652, 1183. See^05/, p. 119. 

* C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 130, 131. 

* For diflferent reasons a small force was also posted in Boston during 
the government of Andros. 


Leeward Islands : two companies £2778 

Jamaica : major-general £ 300 

maintenance of forts £ 600 

two companies £3327 £4227 

New York : allowance for forts and garrisons £1000 

Virginia: major-general £ 300 

maintenance of forts £ 600 

two companies and sundries £3911 £4811 



midable, and in addition it was in part defrayed by revenue 
derived directly from the colonies,^ but it was met grudgingly 
and borne with, exceedingly bad grace by the English govern- 
ment, which was always hovering on the verge of insolvency. 
The pay of the soldiers was chronically in arrear, and 
in general, but more specifically in St. Kitts, the colonial 
garrisons were neglected by the home authorities. The 
treatment of the soldiers in St. Kitts was inexcusably out- 
rageous. In 1675, it was reported that the two companies in 
this colony were in very bad shape, being incomplete as to 
numbers and not ha\dng received any pay for three years, 
"so that they are naked and have onely Subsisted by the 
Charity of the Planters, and the care of their Colonell," 
while the French forces on the island were well paid and 
clothed.^ The Privy Council ordered this rectified, but 
within a few years the same conditions again existed.^ 
In 1 68 1, Colonel William Staple ton complained that the 
pay of his soldiers was three years in arrear, and that, as 
his credit was exhausted, he could no longer support them. 
This gallant soldier added that it would be more pleasing 
to him to disband them, than to see English soldiers starving 
and naked, while those of the French on the other side of the 
frontier were amply fed and well accoutred.^ When, in 1687, 

P. C. Register Charles II, XV, ff. 90, 150; C. O. 1/43, 70; C. O. 324/4, 
S. 63 ei seq. ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 837, 846-848 ; Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 10,119, 
f. 52 ; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 382, 383. 

1 See post, p. 119. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, pp. 627-629. 

3 Cf. C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 244, 245. 

* C. C. 1681-1685, PP- 95, 96. Cf. p. 140. 


the new Governor, Sir Nathaniel Johnson, arrived, he was 
shocked at the condition of the garrison. A number of the 
soldiers were too old for service ; in general, their arms were 
in bad order, their clothes were miserable, and their pay was 
four years in arrear.^ 

It was the policy of the English government to shift the 
expense of these garrisons to the colonies, as soon as their 
finances were in such shape that they could bear it. When 
Virginia had recovered from Bacon's rebellion, most of the 
English troops sent to suppress this disturbance were with- 
drawn, but a small force was retained in the colony. As in 
St. Kitts, the pay of these soldiers was soon in arrear,- and 
in 1 68 1 it was proposed to disband them. The Governor, 
Lord Culpeper, opposed this suggestion, pointing out that 
the West Indies did not need garrisons, as they had little to 
fear while England was master at sea, but that in Virginia 
not only were the Indians a constant source of danger, but 
the unsettled state of the neighboring colonies, Maryland 
and North Carolina, made it necessary to retain the force 

Virginia was at this time facing an economic crisis due 
to the abnormally low price of tobacco resulting from over- 
production.^ In view of the ensuing unrest, which it was 

1 C. C. 1685-1688, p. 414. 

2 Va. Mag. XIV, pp. 3S9-361 ; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 127, 128. 

^ On this occasion, he stated that ' the north part of Carolina has always 
been dangerous to Virginia, being the resort of the scum and refuse of America, 
and as yet almost without the face of Government.' C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 

130, 131- 
. " Ibid. 


feared might culminate in an uprising, it was urged also 
by others, in addition to Lord Culpeper, that the garrison 
should be retained.^ The Lords of Trade were convinced by 
these arguments, but their recommendation for the retention 
of the two foot-companies was overruled by the Privy 
Council, which ordered that their pay cease from Christmas 
of 1 68 1 on, and that they be disbanded unless Virginia 
were \Ailling to assume this charge.^ As the colony decided 
that, 'in its present necessitous state,' this outlay would 
be too heavy, the troops were finally disbanded in the late 
^ spring of 1842.^ /(.f2- 

In 1680, it was also determined to withdraw the garrison 
that had been in Jamaica ever since Cromwell's conquest, 
as it was thought that the colony was fully able to bear 
this burden.'* When the news of this contemplated step 
reached Jamaica, Sir Henry Morgan, then in charge of the 
colony, wrote to Secretary Jenkins that the two companies 
were absolutely essential and were daily used in capturing 
fugitive and rebellious slaves and in reducing pirates.^ The 
government, however, adhered to its decision and the troops 
were disbanded.^ 
L Thus, from 1682 on, the only permanent garrisons in the 

^ C. C. 1681-1685, p. 134. 

2 Ibid. pp. 135, 142. 

^ Ibid. pp. 175, 228, 229, 237, 238, 240, 241, 245. In 1683, when this 
question came up again, the Lords of Trade decided that no garrison should 
be kept in Virginia unless without expense to the King. Ibid. p. 506. 

^ C. C. 1677-1680, p. 624. 

^ C. C. 1681-1685, PP- 102, 103. 

® Ibid. p. 205. 


colonies, apart from the troops sent over vnth Andros in 
order to facilitate the poHtical reorganization of New Eng- 
land, were those in St. Kitts and in New York. These were 
retained on account of the dangerous proximity of the French. 
The former were paid by the English Exchequer, but out of 
funds derived from the four and a half per cent export duties 
in the Caribbee Islands.^ To the cost of the latter £1000 
was contributed by the Enghsh Treasur}^,^ but when the 
northern colonies were consolidated under Andros, it was the 
intention that this charge should be paid out of the revenue 
arising in "the Dominion of New England."^ From this 
time on, England resolutely refused to support garrisons in 
such of the colonies as could themselves stand this expense. 
It was only under exceptional circumstances and under the 
stress of absolute necessity, that any English forces what- 
soever were permanently maintained in America. This 
remained the practice until 1763, when conditions had so 
fundamentally altered that the precedent established under 
the Restoration had to be abandoned. The attempt of the 
Enghsh government at that time to secure from the colonies a 
part of the funds needed to maintain the large force required 
in America precipitated the disruption of the old Empire. 
In addition to supporting these temporary and permanent 
garrisons, the Restoration government, when sufficiently 
urged by the importunities of the colonies, sent them supphes 

» Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 15,896, flF. 62, 66. 

^ Of this annual allowance, £6750 was apparently still unpaid at the 
time of the accession of James II. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 15,896, f. 54. 
' C. O. 5/904, ff. 409, 410. 


of warlike stores ^ — arms, cannon, powder, shot, and what- 
ever else was needed in the fortifications or by the local 
militia.^ In some instances also, especially in Jamaica, 
England spent considerable sums on the colonial forti- 
fications,^ and in general supervised their location and con- 
struction in the royal provinces. In one instance, at least, 
in the location of the fort in Virginia during the second of 
England's Dutch wars, colonial knowledge of the facts was 
with grievous consequences overridden at Whitehall.^ 

In addition to the duty of protecting the colonies against 
organized foes, England was also obliged to police the liigh- 

^ In 1686, the newly appointed Governor of Jamaica, the Duke of Albe- 
marle, said that this charge had always been borne by the King. C. C. 
1685-1688, p. 202. 

^ An Account of all the Ordnance, etc., dehvered to the Colonies since 1660, 
dated Office of the Ordnance, May 22, 1677. 

Bahamas, 1672 £ 95 

Barbados, 1664/8 8695 

Bermudas, 1666/73 255 

Carolina, 1664/71 546 

New England, 1664 2438 

Hudson Bay, 1670 27 

Jamaica, 1660/76 18,923 

Leeward Islands, 1665/72 3463 

Virginia, 1665/76 5626 

New York, 1666/74 2159 

Africa, 1660/1671 2010 

C. O. 1/40, 71. During the following eight years the value of such 
supplies sent to the colonies was £4780. C. O. 324/4, ff. 1 17-120. 

3 On Jamaica, see P. C. Cal. I, pp. 299-303, 307, 324-327, 375- In 
1679, Charles II gave Stapleton £1500 for fortifying the Leeward Islands. 
Blathwayt, Journal I, ff. 109, no. 

* Osgood, American Colonies III, pp. 254-258. 



ways of commerce then infested vnth pirates of diverse 
stripes and nationalities. Of these numerous scourges of 
peaceful traders, the two most important groups were the 
Barbary corsairs and the West Indian buccaneers.^ The 
Caribbean swarmed both with pirates and wdth nearly 
equally lawless privateers, who, on the strength of com- 
missions from the local authorities, — French, Dutch, 
Spanish, and English, — preyed to some extent indiscrimi- 
nately on commerce. But Spain suffered most severely I 
from their activities. Up to 1670, when was concluded 
the war with Spain begun by Cromwell, England used these 
buccaneers freely in attacks upon the Spanish colonies and 
their commerce. But after that date, England consistently 
exerted herself to suppress these privateers, a number of 
whom turned pirates. Considerable difficulty was en- 
countered, for the dragon's teeth so"\\ti by England herself 
in the decade from 1660 to 1670 had yielded their inevitable 
crop of desperate and lawless freebooters. In order to 
subdue them, vessels of the na\y had to be permanently 
estabHshed in the West Indies, and in 1687 a special squad- 
ron under Sir Robert Holmes was sent with this object to 
the Caribbean.^ As a result of the continual acti\dty of 
these frigates, piracy in these waters, if not fully suppressed, 
was at least so discipUned that the trade thence with Europe 
and \^dth the continental colonies could be carried on in 
comparative safety. 

1 See post, Chapter VII. 

'^ C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 421, 467, 488; British Royal Proclamations, 
1603-1783 (Am. Antiqu. Soc, 1911), pp. 140-142. 


The military operations carried on against the other 
pirate group, the Barbary corsairs, were on a much more 
extensive scale,^ and were of equal, if not greater, value to 
the colonies, especially to those on the continent that were 
engaged in active trade to the Mediterranean. After the 
expulsion of the Moors from Spain in 1492, there followed 
over three centuries of desultory naval fighting between the 
forces of the Cross and the Crescent.^ It was one phase 
of the perennial conflict between the irreconcilable East 
and West, during which those who were so unfortunate as 
to be captured by their foes were treated with revolting 
cruelty. The Mohammedan was forced to ply the oars in 
the galleys of the ^Mediterranean nations, the Christian be- 
came a slave in the household or shop of an unsympathetic 
master in Tripoli or Algiers.^ 

The extent and destructive nature of the operations of 
these corsairs of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli rendered na\'i- 
gation in European waters very hazardous. The Medi- 
terranean, on which was their base of operations, was natu- 
rally most affected, but their acti\dty extended even to the 
English Channel. In 1677, a direct voyage from Ireland 
to France was on their account deemed one of considerable 

1 See J. S. Corbett, England in the Mediterranean. 

^ See for the early stages of this conflict E. H. Currey, Sea Wolves of the 

^ The Carohna proprietor, Seth Sothell, who was taken prisoner in 1679, 
complained that he was forced by his captors to "csLvry ^lorter, Brick and 
stone for the Masons with a heavy Chaine of Nine Hnks, each hnke two 
inches and halfe thick upon his legg besides Bolt and Shackle." P. C. 
Cal. II, p. 3. 


hazard.^ A petition of 1679 from the wives and relatives 
of one hundred and sLxty-one English captives in Algiers 
stated that some of them had been "taken in thirteen 
Virginia ships, even at the mouth of the Channel." ^ In 
the same year, Seth Sothell, one of the Carolina proprietors, 
when on his way to assume the government of their northern 
settlement, was taken prisoner by the Algerines.^ In 1680, 
Governor Bradstreet of Massachusetts gave as one of the 
reasons for the colony's delay in sending to England ac- 
credited representatives, that 'the great hazard of the seas 
creates a backwardness in persons most suitable to be 
employed as agents, for we have already lost five or six 
of our vessels by Turkish pirates, and many of our in- 
habitants continue in miserable captivity among them.' ^ 
In this very year, for fear of these pirates, the captains 
of most of the sugar ships in Barbados resolved to sail 

1 June 16, 1677, Sir Robert Southwell wrote to Lady Perceval : "Touch- 
ing your voyage into France, you seem now to point at going directly (from 
Ireland), but truly considering the rovers that are now at sea, and even the 
Algerines that he off the Lands End, who are neither of them very civil, 
though we be in friendship withal, I cannot approve of your going from 
Ireland into France by sea, and therefore you must needs choose this way 
(by England), where the road is plain." MSS. of Earl of Egmont (H.M.C. 
1909) II, p. 67. 

2 House of Lords MSS. 1678-1688 (H.M.C. 1887), p. 137. 

3 C. C. 1677-1680, p. 326; P. C. Cal. I, p. 838. See also Playfair, The 
Scourge of Christendom, p. 131. In 1680, WiUiam Harris, a prominent 
New Englander, was also taken prisoner by the Algerines. C. C. 1677- 
1680, pp. 589, 590. 

* Ibid. p. 549. Among the obstructions to the colony's trade enumer- 
ated by Bradstreet in 1680 was mentioned the activity of these Algerines. 
C. O. 1/44, 61 i. 


for England by the circuitous route north of Ireland and 

These scattered, but significant, facts show plainly how 
great was the danger from these corsairs, even though Eng- 
land was energetically endeavoring to suppress their dep- 
redations and had, in fact, concluded a series of treaties 
promising immunity to English ships.^ In 1662, was con- 
cluded a treaty with Algiers, which provided that English 
ships, either furnished with admiralty passes or the major 
part of whose crew was English, should not be molested. 
The Algerines did not, however, abide by their treaty obH- 
gations, and for the next twenty-five years periodic viola- 
tions thereof were followed by fresh treaties of substantially 
the same tenor, each one secured by armed force. Such 
treaties and subsidiary agreements were secured from Algiers 
in 1664, 1668, 1669, 167 1, 1682, 1683, and 1686. Sub- 
stantially the same were England's relations with the other 
Barbary states.^ 

In addition to the naval force required virtually perma- 
nently in the Mediterranean in order to secure any respect 
whatsoever for these agreements, England during the fre- 
quent intervals of more or less active hostilities had to pro- 
tect her merchant vessels. In 1678, the Admiralty was 
instructed to send a number of men-of-war to ply off the 
mouth of the Channel in order to protect the Virginia 

1 C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 532, 533. 

2 England's relations with Algiers are described in Playfair, op. cit. pp. 

^ Treaties and agreements were concluded with Tunis in 1662, and with 
TripoU in 1662 and 1676. 



tobacco ships from the "Pyrats of Argier who may probably 
lye in waite for them." ^ The following year, on account of 
the "present Warr with the Turks and their Strength," an 
exceptionally strong convoy had to be appointed for the 
Newfoundland fleet sailing with fish to the Mediterranean 
ports. ^ 

The treaties with these states granted immunity to all 
ships belonging to subjects of Charles II and thus included 
colonial vessels. Such English ships were to go free, if 
provided wdth an Admiralty pass or if the majority of their 
seamen were Enghsh subjects.^ Careful regulations were 
prepared for the issue of these passes,^ so that they should 
not fall into the hands of foreigners, who would then benefit 
by England's naval successes. At this time, no rules were as 
yet prepared for the issue of Algerine passes in the colonies,^ 

1 P. C. Cal. I, p. 809. 

2 lUd. pp. 816, 817, 821, 822. 

'See §§ ii, iii, and iv of treaty of 167 1 with Algiers. The Tripoli treaty 
of 1676 contained the same clauses. Public Record Office, State Papers 
Foreign, Treaties, Barbary States 9, 10. 

^ Col. Entry Book 96, ff. 26-29, 54 ; ?• C. Register Charles II, XII, ff. 
157-159; British Royal Proclamations, 1603-1783 (Am. Antiqu. Soc. 1911), 
pp. 129, 130. 

* Cal. Dom. 1676-1677, p. 521. In 1678, on the petition of a London 
merchant owning a New England buUt ship then at Boston, Massachu- 
setts, to the effect that he "dares not stirre without his Majestyes pass, 
to protect her against the Turkes," the Privy Council ordered the Admiralty 
to issue the requested pass, although the case was one not provided for under 
the rules. P. C. Cal. I, p. 796. In 1683, Governor Cranfield of New 
Hampshire wrote to the Lords of Trade for authority to issue Algerine 
passes. C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 368-369. In the same year, Randolph wrote 
to Blathwayt that it was "desired by some Merc*^-^ in Boston that they 
might haue the benefitt of Algeere Passes for such of their ships as carry 


because in general there was no real necessity for such a 
provision, and more specifically in so far as New England 
was concerned, because of the slight control England was 
able to exercise over the colonies there. ^ But under the 
other clauses of the treaties with these powers, colonial 
vessels were exempted from capture and molestation, pro- 
vided the majority of their crews were Enghsh.^ 

The comparative immunity from these corsairs secured 
by England was of great importance to her commerce and 
to that of the colonies. It was only by dint of repeated 
expeditions and hostile demonstrations with bombardments 
of their towns and naval engagements, that the Barbary 
states were forced to treat the English flag with some sem- 
blance of respect. Other European nations did not fare 
so well, for unless absolutely compelled by overwhelming 
force, these North African powers would not make peace 
with all Christendom and thus lose a chief source of their 
revenues.^ Thanks to its pohtical connection with England, 

fish from us to the Streights" and requested that a number of blank passes 
be sent to New England. Goodrick, Randolph VI, p. 147. 

1 C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 15, 16; Cal. Dom. 1676-1677, p. 521. See post, 
Chapter XL 

^ There was, however, a distinct advantage in having a pass, because then 
the vessel was not subjected to examination by the corsairs. ISIoreover, at 
one time the Turks seized aU ships not provided with passes on the strength 
of the English proclamation of 1675, which apparently required aU EngUsh 
vessels to secure these documents. Cal. Dom. 1677-1678, pp. 470-472. 

^ " The Algerines were shy of contracting too many alliances, lest there 
should be no nation to prey upon, and we read of a solemn debate in the 
Divan to decide which nation should be broken with, inasmuch as the slave 
masters were becommg bankrupt from the pacific relations of the State." 
Stanley Lane-Poole, the Story of the Barbary Corsairs, p. 270. 



Massachusetts was able to ship with comparative safety 
the products of its fishery — the colony's basic industr)- — 
to the Mediterranean markets. As a result of these treaties 
also, the crops of the tobacco and sugar planters could be 
brought in relative security to Europe. 

In the eyes of the statesmen and pubHcists of the day, yy^i^ 
England was fully justified in restricting colonial commerce 
in return for the burden assumed in defending and policing 
the Empire. If there existed any doubts on this point, 
they were more than quieted by the preferential treatment 
accorded to colonial products in the EngHsh market. WTiile 
the enumerated articles could not be shipped to any place 
in Europe but England, in return competing commodities 
of foreign nations were \'irtually excluded from this market. 
The reciprocal nature of the old colonial system is manifest 
not only in the scheme of imperial defence, but to an even 
more marked degree in the preferential features of England's "^ 
fiscal system. 



The tariff of 1660 — Its preferential treatment of EngKsh colonial products 
— The prohibition to plant tobacco in England and the efforts required 
to enforce it — The attempt in 1671 to increase the sugar and tobacco 
duties — vThe impost of 1685 and colonial_opp9sition to it — The Crown 's^ 
dues in the colonies — The Restoration settlement in the Caribbee 
Islands — The four and a half per cent revenue and the opposition of 
Barbados to it — The Virginia quit-rents — The estabhshment of a . 
permanent revenue in Virginia under the control and at the disposal of 
the Crown, and the attempt to do so in Jamaica — The appointment 
of Blathwayt as Auditor-General of the- colonial revenues. 

From the very outset of the colonial movement it was 

clearly understood that the proposed settlements in America 

were to be outside the English fiscal barriers, and that 

merchandise exported to the colonies or imported from them 

should pay the English customs duties. If the colonial 

trade had been left completely uncontrolled, the colonies 

would still necessarily have been more or less affected by 

these duties, but the English fiscal regulations would not 

have been integrally connected with the colonial system 

proper. The enumeration clauses and the Staple Act of 

1663, however, perforce subjected a number of_ colonial 

products, and also many articles consumed in the colonies, 

to the English customs. These duties in many ways affected 

the economic development of the colonies, and formed an 

1 28 


important part of the old colonial system. Without some 
knowledge of their nature, scope, and purpose, it is impossible 
fully to understand the economics or the politics of the old 

In 1 660, the most important of the preceding laws imposing 
taxes on imports and exports were consolidated in one 
statute, generally termed the ''Old Subsidy."^ In this 
Act, Parliament granted to Charles II for life a subsidy 
of tonnage and poundage. The former was a specific duty 
of varying amounts on wines imported; the poundage 
was equivalent to 5 per cent on all imports and exports ^ 
according to their fixed value as given in the "Book of 
Rates," which formed an integral part of the statute.^ As 
the goods were at the time rather arbitrarily appraised, 

1 12 Ch. II, c. 4. 

2 According to the statute, these duties were imposed on imports and 
exports both of the realm and its dominions, and hence their collection in 
the colonies wotdd have been legal. Although this fact was not lost sight 
of, no general attempt was made to enforce the law. In one exceptional 
instance, however, these duties were ordered collected. In 1663, Charles II 
granted permission to Spanish ships to trade to the Enghsh West Indies 
'for negroes, provided: i, that whatever goods were imported or exported 
in these ships should pay in the colonies "the same duties of Tonnage and 
Poundage as is now established by Law in this Our Kingdome of England" ; 
2, that on every negro thus exported, except such as had been contracted 
for in England by the Royal African Company, there should be paid a 
duty of ten pieces of eight. P. C. Register Charles II, III, fif. 336-338; 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 345-349. Such export duties on negroes were frequently 
collected, but I have seen no evidence of the collection of the tonnage 
and poundage. 

^ By mistaking these valuations for the actual duties imposed, Professor 
Channing grossly misjudges the effect of the tobacco duties on Virginia. 
Edward Channing, A History of the United States II, p. 12. 



and as, in addition, it was not attempted subsequently to 
make these valuations correspond with the ensuing radical 
market fluctuations, these duties were by no means even 
approximately equivalent to 5 per cent. Thus, while the 
rating of colonial raw sugar was at the time somewhat 
under its duty-paid market value in England, in the next 
decade it was considerably in excess thereof.^ Moreover, 
as far as colonial tobacco was concerned, there was ap- 
parently no attempt whatsoever at a correct appraisal. 
Colonial tobacco was valued at twenty pence a pound, 
when it could be freely bought in Virginia and Mar^-land 
for from one-penny to twopence, and sold in England, after 
paying duties, freight, and other charges, for from four to 
five pence. ^ Thus, while nominally a system of ad valorem 
I rates, actually the tariff was one of specific duties. 

In general, the Old Subsidy imposed this 5 per cent tax 
on all English produce and manufactures exported to the 
colonies as well as elsewhere. These export duties were, 
however, of but slight importance in imperial history. In 
a report on colonial trade prepared in 1678 for the Lords of 
Trade, the Commissioners of the Customs stated that these 
duties amounted to but little, "the Comodities of this 

1 Colonial raw sugar was rated at 305. the cwt., refined at £5. Prior to 
1667, before the great increase in the sugar output of the French colonies 
began to make itself seriously felt, the prices in England were respectively 
405. and £5. In 1670 and the following years, they were roughly 225. to 
235., and 455. to 705. In Barbados, the price of raw sugar was in 1670 
about 12S., and the Enghsh duty of is. 6d. was thus at that time equivalent 
to 12I per cent on the colonial value. C. O. 1/26, 57; C. O. 31/2, fi. 54 
et seq. ; Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, S. 639-641. 

2 Brit. Mus., Harleian MSS. 1238, ff. 20-22. 


Kingdome being but low rated in the Book of Rates." ^ 
Moreover, apart from their sHght extent, the incidence of 
these taxes varied with the specific circumstances of each 
case. At this time England was still predominantly an 
agricultural country and normally exported foodstuffs to 
the colonies. Such commodities had to pay these export 
duties, which naturally to some extent lessened England's j 
ability to compete with the provision colonies in supplying 
the West Indies. Apart from all other circumstances of 
the case, such taxes in themselves were to this extent of v. 
benefit to the northern continental colonies.^ In such in- 
stances these export duties were, in general, almost entirely ^- 
paid by the English farmer.^ Similarly in other cases, in 
which colonial and EngHsh goods came into competition — 

^ C. 0. 1/42, 60. In 1671, the customs officials had estimated these ex- 
port duties at about £30,000. House of Lords MSS., H.M.C. IX, Part II, 
p. 10''. This estimate cannot, however, be reconciled with the extant 
accounts of exports to the colonies. 

^ Exactly opposite in efifect would be the payment of bounties on the 
exportation of corn from England. Prior to 1689, such bormties were in 
force only during the years 1673 to 1678. N. S. B. Gras, The Corn Bounty 
Experiment of Charles II, in Quarterly Journal of Economics XXIV, pp. 

^ Wheat, rye, peas, beans, barley, malt, oats, beef, pork, bacon, butter, 
cheese, and candles could be exported only when under certain prices, and 
then only on payment of the export duties. 1 2 Ch. II, c. 4, § xi. These 
prices were subsequently changed, and ten years later this price restriction 
on exportation was removed. 15 Ch. II, c. 7, § ii ; 22 Ch. II, c. 13, §§ i, iv. 
Immediately after the Revolution of 1688/9, Parhament even gave bounties 
on the exportation of these grains — rye, malt, barley, and wheat, i W. 
& M. sess. I, c. 12. "For nearly a century England was made by the 
Corn Laws a corn-exporting country." R. E. Prothero, in Social England IV, 



such as hats, shoes, and clothing — these export duties 
could not in their entirety be shifted to the colonial con- 
sumer. Whenever there was direct or indirect competition 
between the products of the metropoHs and the colony, 
this feature of the English iiscal system hampered English 
industry and benefited that of the colonies. But in other 
instances, where there was no such competition, these 
export duties imquestionably raised the price at which 
the commodities were sold in the colonies.^ 

Far more important to the colonies than these export 
duties was the treatment accorded to their imports into 
England. In connection with the export duties only some 
slight favors were conceded to the colonies,^ but the import 

1 Of interest and importance to the colonies was the removal of some of 
the previous prohibitions to export certain commodities, such as iron, arms, 
saddles, geldings, oxen, etc. 12 Ch. II, c. 4, § x. These prohibitions dated 
back to mediaeval times and had as a rule been waived in the colonial 
charters of the first half of the seventeenth century. Beer, Origins, pp. 
105, 106. The exportation of some articles, such as tin and tobacco-pipe 
clay, still continued to be forbidden. Cal. Treas. Book, 1660-1667, p. 155; 
Carkesse, The Act of Tonnage and Poundage (London, 1726), pp. 765 et seq. 

^ By the Act of 1660 the export duties on geldings and nags shipped to 
the colonies were only half the regular duties. These duties were, however, 
very high, and in 1663 the House of Commons recommended the Crown to 
give leave to accommodate the colonies with such horses as they might re- 
quire. Accordingly, Charles II issued a proclamation giving "free Liberty 
for transportation of Horses into any of his Majesties Plantations " with- 
out payment of duties, on license being first obtained. Com. Journal VTII, 
PP- 532, 533 ; P. C. Register, Charles II, III, ff. 491, 495 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 
367, 368. For these licenses and the subsequent history of this subject, see 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 346, 437, 451, 489, 531 ; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 32, 41, 44; 
22 Ch. II, c. 13, § viii. An Act of 1663 lowered the duties on such coals as 
shovdd be exported to the colonies. In 1669, on the ground that Barbados 
was in want of wood to boil its sugars and hence needed Newcastle or Welsh 


duties were so adjus ted as to give many colonial products 
marked advantages over those of foreign nations. The 
tariff of 1660 rated English colonial ginger, indigo, cotton, 
sugar, and tobacco much lower than the foreign competing 
products. Ginger of the East Indies was valued at three 
shillings a pound, that of the West Indies at one shilling 
fourpence, and that of the English colonies at only a trifle 
over twopence.^ Foreign indigo was valued at three shillings 
fourpence a pound, as opposed to one shilling for the English 
product. Foreign cotton paid fourpence a pound, while that 
of the English plantations was free. Spanish and other 

coal, it was suggested that the EngUsh export duties on coal be discontinued, 
and also those on all other shipments to Barbados. The law was, however, 
not changed. 15 Ch. II, c. 7 ; 9 Anne, c. 6; Carkesse, op. cit. p. cxiii ; 
Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 12, f. 383; C. C. 1699, pp. 590, 591. 
Arms were occasionally allowed to be shipped to the colonies free of duties. 
Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 5, f. 25; 9, f. 91. For an instance of 
the relaxation of the law in favor of some malt intended for shipment to 
Virginia, see Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, pp. 159, 160, 289. The Hud- 
son's Bay Company was also favored by the government. In 1681, the 
Company was granted permission to export "their Clothes, Provisions, 
Victuals Arms Ammunition Implements & Materials necessary for the 
Maintaining & defence of their forts. Colonies and factorys" customs free, 
as did the African and East India Companies. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, 
Customs 5, flf. 317-318. Cf. f. 21. A number of the colonial governors, 
such as Lord Culpeper, Sir Richard Button, and the Duke of Albermarle, 
when departing for their posts, were allowed to ship their suppUes and 
those of their retinues free of duty. Ibid. 5, ff. 37, 289; 11, ff. 42, 43. 
Tools for the use of the planters in the Carolinas and Bahamas could also 
be exported free of customs. No. Ca. Col. Rcc. I, pp. 27, 108 ; Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1669-1672, p. 1343. 

^ On the duties on ginger, see Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 8, f . 4 ; 
P. C. Cal. II, pp. 191, 192. This exceedingly low duty on English colonial 
ginger was not in the original law, but was added later by the Treasury. 




foreign tobacco was charged with sixpence a pound, as against 
only tw^opence collected from the English colonial commod- 
ity.^ On unrefined English sugar the duty was one shilling 
sixpence a hundredweight, as against four shillings on the 
foreign product. On refined sugar the differential, while 
marked, was considerably less. English refined paid five 
shillings the hundredweight, the foreign product seven shil- 
lings fourpence.^ 

It will be noticed that the commodities to which pref- 
erential treatment was accorded were those on the enumer- 
ated list, which came from the West Indies and the tobacco 
(' colonies on the continent. None of the products of New 
England were either enumerated or given such treatment, 
•because they were not wanted or because they were so bulky 
in nature that they could not stand the cost of carriage 
across the Atlantic. In this latter class were naval stores 
and lumber, in which case far more heroic measures than 
differential duties would have been necessary in order to 
make possible colonial exports to England. Nor could the 
grain and provisions of the northern colonies find a market 

^ Foreign tobacco was valued at 105. a pound, on which 5 per cent amounted 
to bd. Enghsh colonial tobacco was valued at \s. 8d., on which the duty 
was id., but an additional duty of id. was also charged thereon. 

^ The classification of the various grades of sugar in the Act of 1660 was 
not clear or exhaustive, which fact led to some difficulties. In 1667, it 
was agreed between the Farmers of the Customs and the Barbados mer- 
chants, that sugars of and below the grade of the finest Brazilian muscovado 
should be considered unrefined and all others white or refined. Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1667-1668, pp. 146, 147. See also C. O. 1/22, 20; C. C. 
1661-1668, no. 1679; Brit. Mus., Stowe MSS. 324, ff. 4 et scq. ; Egerton 
MSS. 2395, ff. 629 et seq. 


in the mother country, for England was still able to sell 
foodstuffs in competition with her colonies in neutral 
markets.^ But even if such importations into England had 
been feasible, this trade would not have been countenanced. 
England was still largely agricultural, and the dominant 
landed interest had inserted in the tariff of 1660 very 
high import duties on wheat, rye, beans, barley, and malt.^ 
These duties were not aimed at the colonies, such imports 
from them being then virtually impossible. They were 
followed by other measures, likewise not directed against 
the colonies, but at Ireland, prohibiting the importation 
into England of cattle, sheep, swine, beef, pork, and 
bacon. ^ 

The preferential treatment of the enumerated products 
in the tariff of 1660 was of great advantage to the colonies 


I 66 2- I 663 I 668- I 669 

Butter, firkins 239 470 

\ Beer, tuns 234 757 

Beef, barrels 12 

Candles, dozens 206 1810 

Cheese, cwt. 294 226 

Hops, cwt. 17 

Malt, quarters 496 

Wheat meal, quarters 60 94 

Oatmeal, bushels iii 32 

Peas, quarters 14 

Apples, bushels 12 

B. T. Trade Papers 4. 

2 See also 15 Ch. II, c. 7, § iii ; 22 Ch. II, c. 13. For details, see H. Saxby, 
British Customs (London, 1757), pp. 111-114. 

' 15 Ch. II, c. 7 ; 18 Ch. II, c. 2 ; 20 Ch. II, c. 7. For details, see Murray, 
Commercial Relations between England and Ireland, pp. 24 et seq. 



interested, and gave their products a virtual monopoly of 
the English market. In the year 1687-1688, 168,807 pounds 
of indigo were imported into London from the English West 
Indies, as contrasted with 27,038 from elsewhere.^ In the 
same year only 16,000 pounds of Spanish tobacco passed 
through the London custom-house, while nearly 15,000,000 
pounds came from the English colonies.^ Similarly, with the 
exception of a relatively small quantity of highly refined 
Brazilian sugar, the English market was virtually entirely 
supplied by the English West Indies.^ 

This preferential system, with its ensuing monopoly, and 

1 C. C. 1699, pp. 606. 





English Colonial 




26,940 lbs. 

4,797 lbs. 

16,180 lbs. 

14,514,513 lbs. 
14,067,177 lbs. 
14,874,359 lbs. 

Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 1815, f. 35. In 1660, and presumably later as 
well, some Spanish tobacco was also smuggled into England. Com. Journal 
VIII, p. 124; Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, pp. 54, 56. On the importa- 
tion of Spanish tobacco in 1661, see also Portland IMSS. (H.M.C. 1893) II, 

P- 143- 

^ Bodleian, Rawlinson A 478, f. 63 ; House of Lords MSS., H.jNI.C. IX, 
Part II, p. 11^. In the eighteenth century, foreign sugars were extensively 
shipped as English from the continental colonies to England, thus evading 
the higher duties. Beer, British Colonial PoUcy, 1754-1765, p. 247. The 
earUest case of this nature, which I have seen, occurred shortly after the 
Restoration, when an Enghsh ship freighted in Brazil three hundred chests 
of sugar, then took in the rest of her cargo at Barbados, "and so paste in 
England for a shipe which brought all her Loadinge from his ISIa^'f^ planta- 
tions." PubUc Record Office, State Papers Foreign, Portugal 5, flf. 190, 191. 


the enumeration of these products must be considered to- 
gether. The advantages conferred by one were held to coun- 
terbalance the restrictions imposed by the other. They were. 
two clauses in what had originally been an actual bargain 
between metropolis and colony. In 1623, the Virginia Com- 
pany and that of the Bermudas offered to ship all their 
tobacco to England, provided in return they were granted 
a virtual monopoly of the home market.^ This proposition 
had been accepted. As then, so now in 1660, the restriction 
of colonial exports to England was more or less counterbal- 
anced by the exceptional treatment received there. 

Except in so far as these import duties decreased con- 
sumption in England and thus lessened the demand for the 
colonial products, they were shifted to the English con- 
sumer. But only a part of the enumerated goods imported ' 
into England was consumed there. A considerable portion \ 
was reshipped to neutral markets, where they competed " 
with similar products of the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and 
French colonies. The duties on this portion would un- ' 
questionably be borne by the colonial planter. Moreover, • 
under the Staple Act of 1663, foreign European goods could 
be shipped to the colonies only through England, where , 
they paid duties. Thus the effect of the laws of trade and 
navigation in combination with the English fiscal system was 
virtually to impose a direct tax on the colonial producer and 1 
consumer. In these cases, however, a special arrangement} 
greatly lessened the extent of these duties. In general, on 
all goods, whether colonial or foreign, reshipped from Eng- 
^ Beer, Origins, p. 132. 


land within a specified period of reasonable length/ one-half 
f of the duties was refunded. The amount accruing to the 
Exchequer was thus two and a half per cent of the value of 
the commodities as stated in the Book of Rates. In the 
case of colonial tobacco — the most important item — not 
only was half of the subsidy repaid, but also the entire addi- 
tional duty of one-penny; the amount remaining in the 
English Treasury on Virginia tobacco reexported from 
England to foreign markets was thus only a half-penny 
a pound. 

Of the enumerated colonial products the only one which 
could be grown successfully in England was tobacco. Hence 
the preferential duties were not sufficient to give colonial 
tobacco a monopoly of the English market; if this were 
desired, additional measures would be required. In 1620, 
in consideration of the Virginia Company agreeing to pay 
import duties on tobacco, which, while lower than those on 
the Spanish product, were in excess of what it was obliged 
•i to pay by its charter, James I issued a proclamation pro- 
p hibiting the growing of tobacco in England.^ Subsequently, 

a number of other proclamations of like tenor, and extending 
the prohibition to Ireland, were published. This Stuart pro- 
hibition, which could never be fully carried into effect, was 
continued by the Interregnum government and was vigor- 
ously, if not completely, enforced.^ A variety of motives, 

1 By the Act of 1660 a year was allowed, if such goods were reshipped by 
an English merchant ; if by an aUen, nine months. The period was subse- 
quently further extended. 

- Beer, Origins, pp. 112, 113, and Chapter VI. 

* Ibid. pp. 403-408. 


prominent among them the desire to foster the welfare of thef 
colonies, underlay this policy, which was fully adopted by thev 
Restoration government. 

In 1660, Parliament passed an Act prohibiting under 
severe penalties the growing of tobacco in England and 
Ireland, except only in very smaU quantities for scientific 
and medicinal purposes.^ As was customary, the preamble 
of the statute succinctly summarized the actuating causes of 
the measure. It stated that, after considering how important 
the colonies were and how necessary it was that they be 
defended and encouraged, since they employed a quantity 
of shipping, were a good market, and supplied England with 
commodities formerly purchased of foreigners at dearer 
rates; and as tobacco was one of their principal products, 
while that grown in England was not so wholesome and 
besides diminished the customs, therefore Parliament en- 
acted this prohibition.^ Thus the chief grounds upon which , 
the policy was based were economic ; the formerly so preva- 
lent moral opposition to the use of the narcotic had virtually 
entirely disappeared. 

1 12 Ch. II, c. 34; Com. Journal VIII, pp. 194, 197, 212; House of 
Lords MSS., H.M.C. VII, Part I, p. 135. The prohibition naturally in- 
cluded Wales, but also extended to Guernsey and Jersey. 

^ In his speech to the King, at the end of the session, in December of 1660, 
the Speaker of the House of Commons said, in reference to this Act, that 
the cKmate of England was so cold that tobacco never came to maturity, 
that when manufactured it rotted quickly, and that the physicians agreed 
that it was unwholesome. Besides, he said, the planting of tobacco in 
England would lessen the customs, destroy the plantations, discourage 
navigation and shipping, "which are the walls and bulwarks of your maj- 
esty's kingdom." Pari. Hist. IV, pp. 164 ei seq. 


It was found extremely difficult to enforce this law, 
primarily because the industry was most profitable. In a 
number of the counties of southwestern England, the farmers 
were very successful with this crop and were exceedingly 
loath to abandon it. ParHamentary prohibitions, though ac- 
companied by heavy fines, were hopelessly inadequate ; more 
energetic measures were necessary to uproot the industry. 
Early in 1 66 1, on the advice of the Council of Foreign Planta- 
tions,^ a proclamation was issued enjoining the strict execu- 
tion of the parliamentary prohibition against growing to- 
bacco.^ As this was foimd ineffective, on April 30, 1662, the 
Privy Council instructed the High Sheriff of Gloucester- 
shire—the centre of the English tobacco district — to 
pluck up, destroy, and burn the tobacco grown and planted 
there. ^ Similar letters were also sent to the high sheriffs 
and justices of the peace of the adjoining counties, Worcester 
and Hereford.^ The law, however, was not fully enforced. 
On July 13, 1662,^ the Privy Council took the High Sheriff 
of Gloucestershire to task for gross neglect in "that 
there is very much Tobacco growing in that County 
that remain es undestroyed." Recourse had even to be 

1 C. C. 1661-166S, no. 32. 

2 P. C. Register Charles II, II, flf. 146, 171 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 303 ; Brit. 
Mus., Egerton MSS. 2543, f. s:^. 

3 P. C. Register Charles II, II, f. 622 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 330. On :May 10, 
1662, Secretary Nicholas wrote to this sheriff that the King, hearing that 
he had not left town and considering that it was then the season for plant- 
ing tobacco, mshed him at once to repair to his county, so as to put in ex- 
ecution the commands formerly given him. Cal. Dom. 1661-1662, p. 367. 

* P. C. Cal. I, p. 330 n. 


had to the militia in order to gain some respect for the 

Those chiefly aflfected by the incomplete enforcement of 
the prohibition complained to the government. In 1662, 
Sir Wilham Berkeley, the Governor of Virginia, and others 
interested in that colony and in Maryland, prayed that royal 
commands be issued to the sheriffs to put the Act in full 
execution.^ The Farmers of the Customs were also con- 
cerned, for the planting of tobacco in England by so much 
diminished the imports thereof and with it the customs 
revenue. Accordingly, in 1663, more energetic measures! 
were adopted. Parhament increased the penalties imposed 
on those growing tobacco,^ and the Privy Council wrote to 
the sheriffs of the counties of Gloucester, Worcester, Here- 
ford, Monmouth, and Oxford that great quantities of tobacco 
were still planted, and required them to aid the Surveyor 
General of the Farmers of the Customs, and such persons as 
he should see fit to employ, in destroying this crop. By his 
commission this officer was empowered to demand assistance 
from the sheriffs, justices of the peace, mayors, bailiffs, 
constables, "and all other his Majesty's officers both Civil 
and Mihtar}-."^ But, instead of contracting, the area of \ 
production was spreading both to the East and to the West. 

1 On Aug. 6, 1662. a correspondent wrote from Bristol to the Marquis of 
Newcastle that the mUitia was to appear that month to destroy the 
tobacco, in which many there were interested. Portland MSS. (H.M.C. 
1893) II, p. 144. 

2 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 358. 

^ 15 Ch. II, c. 7, § xviii. The Act stated that, despite the law of 1660, 
the EngUsh tobacco crop had increased. 
* P. C. Cal. I, p. 367. 


In order to control the situation, the government now 
found it necessary to employ the army. In the spring of 
1664, the Privy Council wrote to the High Sheriff of Glouces- 
tershire to destroy all the tobacco planted, especially that 
near the to^\^l of Winchcomb, where the enforcement of 
the law had always been most strenuously resisted.^ At the 
same time, the Lord-Lieutenant of the county was instructed 
to assist the sheriff with the necessary horse. ^ As tobacco con- 
tinued to be gro^vn, particularly in the \dcinity of the towns 
of Winchcomb in Gloucestershire and Evesham in Worcester- 
shire, where the sheriff had been opposed and was unable to 
carry the prohibition into effect, the government two months 
later ordered the Duke of Albemarle to send a troop of horse 
of the Earl of Oxford's regiment to assist Thomas Fownes, 
who had been commissioned to destroy this tobacco.^ The 
follomng year, 1665, these instructions to Albemarle were re- 
peated.^ Yet, in 1666, the Privy Council received informa- 
tion, that great preparations were being made and that much 
new ground was in readiness for the planting of tobacco, and 
again ordered the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire to proceed 
against the law-breakers.^ Strenuous opposition was en- 
countered, culminating in riots in Winchcomb and Chelten- 
ham, where the people said "that they would loose their 
Liues rather then obey the Lawes in that case proA^ded." ^ 

1 Beer, Origins, pp. 405-407. 

2 P. C. Register Charles II, IV, ff. 56, 57 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 377. 

3 P. C. Register Charles II, IV, f. 117 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 379, 380. 

* P. C. Register Charles II, V, f. 165. 

5 P. C. Register Charles II, V, f. 377 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 408, 409- 

* P. C. Register Charles II, V, f. 397 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 410, 411, 416. 


Similar difficulties continued throughout 1667 and 1668.-^ 
In 1667, the Farmers of the Customs complained of the 
quantity of tobacco planted and of the laxity of the local 
officials in enforcing the law.^ As some of the justices of the 
peace were unwilling to obey the Privy Council's order for 
the destruction of this tobacco, a troop of 120 horse-guards 
was sent to Gloucestershire in the summer of 1667 to assist 
the sheriff.^ In 1668, the Farmers of the Customs were again 
active in trying to secure the enforcement of the law, and 
obtained the cooperation of the Treasury.^ Yet it would 
appear that not only was the planting of tobacco not 
stopped, but that it was increasing and spreading in Eng- 
land. Thus, in 1668, the Privy Council sent letters ordering 
the destruction of the tobacco plants not only to the 
sheriffs and justices of the peace of the five counties already 
mentioned — Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford, Oxford, and 
Monmouth — but also to those of the adjacent counties of 
Warwick, Salop, and Flint, as well as to those of the more 
remote and widely separated, Essex and York.^ 

But the planting of tobacco stiQ continued. In 1671, in 

1 P. C. Register Charles II, VI, ff. 62, 507, 527, 52S, 530, 532, 539, 547, 
550, 552, 561, 563; P- C. Cal. I, pp. 430, 431. 

^ Cal. Treas. Books, 1667-166S, pp. 42, 59, 225. 

' Fleming MSS. (H.M.C. 1890), p. 52. See also Pepys, Sept. 19, 1667. 

■* Cal. Treas. Books, 1667-1668, pp. 356, 521, 592. 

5 P. C. Register Charles II, \TI, f. 361 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 473. On Sept. 9, 
1668, a list of the violators of the law in Yorkshire was read and referred to 
the Farmers of the Customs. P. C. Register Charles II, \TII, f. 5. Other 
counties subsequently referred to as growing tobacco were Lincoln, Not- 
tingham, and Wilts. P. C. Register Charles II, XII, flf. 80, 81, 363 ; ibid. 
XVI, ff. 32, 312, 525. 


order to make the prohibition more effective, Parhament 
granted greater authority to the local officials, such as con- 
stables, bailiffs, and ti thing-men ; ^ and, in the same year, 
another proclamation had to be issued with renewed orders 
to destroy the prohibited crop.^ In 1672, since great prep- 
arations had been made for growing tobacco in the counties 
of Gloucester, Wilts, Hereford, and Worcester, to the great 
prejudice, as was alleged, of navigation, the customs and the 
colonies, the Pri\y Council again was forced to take steps to 
secure the destruction of the plants.^ Throughout the follow- 
ing decade the course of events was essentially the same. 
Every year commissions had to be issued to enforce the law 
in the recalcitrant counties, and troops of horse had to be 
sent to assist in the work and to force the farmers to sub- 
mit.^ In 1682, or thereabout, Winchcomb was referred to 
as "the now famed town . . . because of their late planting 
tobacco and the soldiers coming hither yearly to destroy it, 
but now here is little or none planted." ^ From about this 
time on much less is heard of violations of the law, and 
hence presumably it was fairly effectively enforced. But 
until 1690 it was necessary to commission special officials to 

1 22 & 23 Ch. II, c. 26, §§ i, ii. 

2 P. C. Register Charles II, VII, f. 361 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 473. 

' P. C. Register Charles II, X, f. 297. See also Cal. Treas. Books, 1669- 
1672, p. 1232. 

^ P. C. Register Charles II, XI, S. 67, 68, 262, 462 ; ibid. XII, flf. 80, 81, 
363; ibid. XVI, S. 32, 312; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 592, 611, 630, 631, 667, 726, 
783; ibid. II, pp. 7, 20, 21, 35; H.M.C. IX, Part II, p. 450''; Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1672-1675, pp. 482, 483; ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 330, 346, 588; Cal. 
Dom. 1677-1678, p. 363. 

5 Portland MSS. (H.M.C. 1893) II, p. 302. 


destroy any tobacco planted/ and that date may be regarded | ^ 
as marking the final extinction of this flourishing industry. ,^* 

The first prohibition against English tobacco was issued 
in 1620, and thus it took seventy years of more or less con- 
stant effort and energetic measures to uproot this industry. 
This in itself is adequate proof of the fitness of England for 
the crop and of the extent of the sacrifice demanded from 
the EngHsh farmers. It was not alone these farmers who 
objected to the prohibition. In 1674, Carew Reynell, a 
contemporary economic writer of considerable knowledge 
and ability, maintained that "that which would bring infin- 
ite wealth to this Nation (if the Law would permit it) is the 
planting of Tobacco. . . . Before the severity of the Laws 
against its planting, it went weU forward, and would still, if 

it were reversed For by relation there were above six 

thousand Plantations of it, in Gloucestershire, Devonshirey 
Sommersetshire, and Oxfordshire: all the objections that are 
against it, cannot vye with the advantages that it produces." 
The entire South of England, he further asserted, was 
adapted to its production; and, in the opim'on of some, the 
tobacco was better than the colonial, though others held it 
to be inferior. Nor did Reynell agree with those who main- 
tained that a repeal of the prohibition would adversely af- 
fect the English customs revenue and mercantile marine. 
To the natural suggestion that such a reversal of policy 

1 P. C. Register Charles II, XVI, f. 525 ; ibid. James II, I, f. 177 ; III, 
f. 158 ; P. C. Cal. II, pp. 36, 135. Giles Dowle, who was especially employed 
in this work, received a salary of £80, which in 1685 was ordered inserted 
in the regular establishment. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 8, ff. iii, 

209; ID, f. 58. 


would injure Virginia, he replied: "WTiat though it should, 
we are bound to look to our selves at home first." More- 
over, he continued, "it were better, if that New-England 
and Virginia both, if possible, were remov'd farther towards 
the South, for then they would consume our owti Commodi- 
ties, and might meet with store of Silver and riches, whereas 
now they have little necessary Trade for us, possessing only 
such things as we have." It would be far better, he further 
argued, if Virginia would desist from gro\Adng tobacco, 
"they Hving but poorly on it," and should plant instead 
mulberry trees, vines, and olives as was already being done 
in Carolina.^ 

Such arguments did not, however, influence the govern- 
ment, and the prohibition was enforced. While a desire 
to promote the prosperity of the colonies was not the sole 
: motive, it was a very prominent one;^ and at all events 
they were the direct and immediate beneficiaries of the 
measure. In forming an estimate of the old colonial system 
this fact should not be undervalued or ignored. No law reg- 

1 Carew Reynell, The True English Interest (London, 1674), pp. 32-35. 

2 Even the Treasuty, which was naturally mainly interested in the 
fact that the planting of tobacco in England diminished the customs revenue, 
emphasized this point. In its instructions for the enforcement of the law, 
sent in 1668, it was said that the English industry' was "to the greate dis- 
couragement of trade, destrucion of his Ma^'*^^ plantations and lessening of 
his Ma*'^® Revenue of ye Customs." Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs I, 
f. 121. In 1674, Treasurer Latimer (the future Danby) stated that the 
violations of this prohibition resulted in "the apparent loss of the King's 
Customs, the discoxiragement of the Plantations in America, and the great 
prejudice of the trade and navigation of the realm." Cal. Treas. Books, 
1672-1675, pp. 482, 483. CJ. also House of Lords MSS., H.M.C. \TII, 
Part I, p. 139^. 


ulating colonial trade demanded from the over-sea dominions 
direct sacrifices in any way commensurate with those that / 
the farmers of southwestern England were forced to bear.^ 

The Old Subsidy of 1660 formed the basis of the Enghsh 
customs revenue. During the period of the protracted and 
costly French wars, following the Revolution of 1688/9, other 
subsidies, either partial or fuU ones, were granted by Parlia- 
ment, until under the first Hanoverians the import duties 
in general amounted to three complete subsidies. Thus, 
apart from the tonnage duties on \^dne and other specific 
taxes, these duties were at that time equivalent to fifteen 
per cent of the rated value of the commodities imported. 
In addition, on various occasions, special imposts were voted 
by Parhament. During the reign of Charles II, abortive 
attempts were made to impose such additional duties on 
colonial products, and finally, on the accession of James II, 
a heavy tax was laid on tobacco and sugar. 

In his colonial, as well as in his foreign policy, Charles II 
was hampered by financial difficulties, which were not of 
his o^vn creation.^ The immoderate demands of his female 
favorites and the extravagance of the luxurious Court were 
by no means the primary causes of the grave fiscal disorders 

1 Naturally it should be remembered that this English industry pros- 
pered under the protection of very high duties, and that presumably Eng- 
lish tobacco could not have competed on equal terms with that of Virginia 
and Maryland. 

^ " Charles was driven into the arms of Louis XIV simply by his financial 
distress — a distress which was brought upon him more by the irony of 
events and by sins of omission of his faithful Commons than by any sins 
of commission of his own." W. A. Shaw, in Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, 
p. xlii. 


of the reign. The estimates of the revenue granted by 
Parliament in 1660 were far in excess of the actual yield, 
and the income was hopelessly inadequate for the legitimate 
expenditures of the government.^ The ultimate result was 
the virtual declaration of insolvency by the government in 
1672, known as the "Stop of the Exchequer."^ 

A year before this, in 1671, an unsuccessful attempt had 
been made in Parliament to lay additional import duties on 
tobacco and sugar, and a bill to this effect was passed by the 
House of Commons. In this bill, the new duties on English 
colonial tobacco were one and a half pence a pound, as op- 
posed to fourpence on the foreign product.^ A petition 
against these additional duties was presented on behalf of 
the merchants, importers, and planters of tobacco,^ stating 
that this important trade would be greatly injured thereby. 
The petitioners asserted that their industry employed 140 
ships and bred many mariners, that it gave England a good 
market for her manufactures, that the customs on tobacco 
amounted yearly to £100,000, and finally that the proposed 
additional duties would divert the trade to the Dutch. In 
addition, the customs officials, while maintaining that the 
proposed taxes would not lessen the consumption of tobacco 
in England, pointed out, not only that such high duties 
would stimulate smuggling, with which they were already 
considerably troubled, but also that even under existing 

^ Ibid. pp. xxvi, xxvii. 

^ Evelyn, March 12, 1672. 

3 House of Lords MSS., H.M.C. IX, Part II, p. 8^ 

* Ibid. p. lo**. 


conditions the tobacco trade was far from prosperous.^ The 
House of Commons, however, remained unmoved by these 
arguments and passed the additional duties.^ That the 
bill ultimately failed of being enacted was due to the op- 
position to the proposed new taxes on sugar. 

The tobacco duties aroused sHght opposition in comparison 
with the sugar schedule, which affected a number of diverse 
and conflicting interests and could not be arranged to the 
satisfaction of all. The ensuing heated discussions furnished 
one of the few occasions, such as in 1 731-1733 and in 1764- 
1766, when colonial matters occupied the centre of the 
parliamentary stage. Apart from the consumer, who is 
usually mute when such questions vitally affecting him are 
discussed, the chief interests concerned in the proposed addi- 
tional duties on sugar, were: (i) the merchants trading to 

1 Ihid. p. 10^. These views were partially confirmed by a memorial 
of this year, wherein it was maintained that the tobacco trade was grossly 
mismanaged. In agreement with the general statement of the customs 
officials, it was asserted that last year many merchants had lost heavily 
on their importations of tobacco. Hence, it was argued, if the duties were 
further increased, the trade would be ruined and many other mischiefs 
would foUow; "most of them have beene made manifest in the Virginia 
Merchants reasons, therefore here omitted." The writer of this memorial 
then gave several instances of gross frauds in the tobacco duties perpe- 
trated with the coUusion of the EngUsh customs officials, and proposed: 
(i) that all tobacco be landed at London, and that none be sent thence in 
an unmanufactured state, unless it were exported ; (2) that the importer be 
allowed time to pay the duties and that they be repaid in full on exporta- 
tion. Under these conditions, he thought that even an additional duty of 
4J. would not be harmful. Brit. Mus., Harleian MSS. 1238, flf. 20-22. 

2 On the strength of these arguments against the proposed duties, the 
Committee in charge, by a vote of 18 to 4, reduced the additional duty from 
i\d. to id., but the House negatived this amendment. 


Portugal and their allies, the English woollen manufacturers; 
(2) the English sugar refiners; (3) the English merchants 
trading to the West Indies; (4) and the colonial sugar plant- 
ers. Each one of these four distinct groups was active in 
furthering its own special interests. 

As a result of the combined effects of Portugal's restrictive 
colonial system ^ and of the preferential treatment accorded 
to English colonial products in the tariff of 1660, the ship- 
ments of Brazilian sugar to England at this time amounted 
to only 2000 chests (costing £40,000), whereas formerly 
16,000 chests had been imported.^ This sugar bought in 
Portugal was very highly refined and sold in the EngHsh 
market for from £3 to £3 105. the hundredweight, whereas 
the price of the English refined sugars, which in general were 
coarser, was only 45 to 50 shillings. Hence it was main- 
tained that, if additional duties were imposed, those on 
Portuguese refined sugars should in equity be at least pro- 
portionately higher.^ But England at this time had a con- 

1 Brazilian sugars had first to be landed in Portugal, and were subjected 
to heavy taxes before reaching the foreign market. 

2 These and the subsequent facts about this Portuguese trade are derived 
from two memorials prepared during the controversy. One is in Bodleian, 
Rawhnson A 478, f. 63 ; House of Lords MSS., H.M.C. IX, Part II, p. 11" ; 
C. C. 1669-1674, p. 215. The other is in House of Lords MSS., H.M.C. 
IX, Part II, p. 12^. 

' The colonial interests asserted that owing to natural conditions — 
low, fertile grounds, cheap horses, cattle, and negroes, abundant water car- 
riage and water power for grinding — sugar could be produced 30 per cent 
more cheaply in Brazil than in the English West Indies. If the additional 
duty were the same on Portuguese as on English refined sugar, they claimed, 
it would ' ' ruine the English Sugar Trade, and the Guiny Trade that depends 
on it, which alone vents more of our manufactures, than doth Portugal." 



siderable export trade to Portugal in woollens and other vy 
commodities, which, it was so alleged, employed 150 ships 
and amounted yearly to £350,000. The merchants engaged 
therein claimed that a further heavy tax on Portuguese sugar 
would cripple their trade and throw it into the hands of the 
French and Dutch. ^ 

The English refiners were also directly interested in the 
proposed new duties. As a consequence of the great ex- 
pansion of sugar planting in the English West Indies, sugar 
refining in England had become an important industry. In 
167 1, it was said, there were thirty refineries as opposed to 
only six, twenty years prior thereto.^ In addition, in Bar- 
bados, but in none of the other colonies, a small quantity of 
sugar was refined and a considerably larger quantity was 
somewhat improved. When imported into England, this 
partially refined sugar paid only the same duties as the raw 
product.^ Under the tariff of 1660, English colonial refijaed 

* The colonial interests showed that England, as it was, imported but httle 
Brazilian sugar, and hence maintained that England's export trade to Por- 
tugal was not dependent on the sugar imports thence. They further con- 
tended that only about one-quarter of the sugar bought by EngUsh mer- 
chants in Portugal was shipped to England, the bulk being carried in English 
vessels to other markets. 

2 The colonial interests asserted that there were only twelve refiners 
in England in 167 1. These and the subsequent facts are derived from 
various memorials prepared during the controversy : C. O. 31/2, flf. 50 e/ seq. ; 
ibid. S. 54 et seq. ; Bodleian, Rawlinson A 478, f. 63 ; House of Lords MSS., 
H.M.C. IX, Part II, p. 12^ ; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 215, 216. Professor E. R. 
A. Seligman has in his remarkable library a contemporary broadsheet giv- 
ing the case of the English refiners and the planters' answer. 

* The various grades of sugar made in Barbados were : (i) Muscovados, 
which was simply the juice of the cane boiled to a consistency and put into 


sugar paid duties of five shillings the hundredweight, as op- 
posed to one shilling and sixpence on the raw and partially 
refined commodity. The ratio was thus three and one- 
third to one. The object of the English refiners was to have 
this ratio maintained and even enlarged, so that refined 
sugar could not be profitably imported from the colonies; 
and they also wanted partially refined sugars imported from 
the colonies to pay higher duties than the raw product. 
With this object in view, various calculations were prepared 
by them to demonstrate that it took at least four pounds of 
raw sugar to make one of refined. This was exaggerated, 
and so also was the opposing contention of the colonial in- 
terests to the effect that only two pounds of brow^n were re- 
quired to make one of white.^ It was further maintained on 

pots, the molasses or syrup being then drawn off ; (2) Sun-dried was made in 
the same way, but was subsequently dried in the sun for from six to eight 
hours ; (3) Clayed was muscovado with the molasses washed from the grain. 
When taken from the pot, the clayed sugar was divided into two kinds, of 
which a small portion was white and the balance brown. All these grades, ex- 
cept the small quantity of white sugar, paid duties in England of only is. 6d. 
the cwt. Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, ff. 640, 641. The English refiners 
stated that, in i66g, 8338 tons of brown and only 118 tons of white sugar 
were imported. House of Lords MSS., H.M.C. DC, Part II, p. 12^. In one 
of the colonial memorials, it was asserted that two-thirds of the planters in 
Barbados improved their sugars and that the rest could not make both ends 
meet. This was a gross exaggeration, unless the term " improved " was 
meant to include the most rudimentary processes of partial refining. Twenty 
years later it vs^s stated that one-quarter of the imports from Barbados 
consisted of clayed or purged sugars. Brit. Mus., Stowe MSS. 324, f. 8. 

1 In 1670-167 1, the price of refined sugar in England varied according to 
the quality from 455. to 705., while that of the raw article was about 23.^. 
C. O. 31/2, ff. 54 et seq. ; Bodleian, Rawhnson A 478, f. 63 ; House of Lords 
MSS., H.M.C. IX, Part II, p. I3^ 


behalf of the colonies that, if the proposed additional duties 
were based on a ratio of four to one, the English refiners 
would not only have so overwhelming an advantage over 
those in the colonies that they would be able to engross the 
entire white sugar trade, but, as the only buyers of brown 
sugar, they would also be able to set the price for it ' to the 
utter undoing of the sugar colonies.' In addition to wanting 
this liberal differential, the English sugar manufacturers de- 
sired a large drawback paid on the exportation of their prod- 
uct, as under existing conditions they could not compete in 
neutral markets with the continental refiners, who were able 
to secure English raw sugar more cheaply than they could. 
The English refiners paid the full duty on this raw sugar and 
received no drawback on the refined product exported by 
them, while one-half of the duties on raw sugar was refunded 
when it was reexported from England to foreign markets.^ 
The English merchants engaged in the West Indian trade 
at this time actively supported the English refiners, mainly 
because the refining of sugar in the colonies would have 
lessened the amount of freight available for their ships.^ 
On their part, the colonies opposed any additional tax on 

^ In 1680, it was pointed out that, as a result of this drawback system, 
the Dutch were able to secure English sugars and dyeing stuffs more cheaply 
than could the manufacturers in England, and hence had been enabled "to 
set up and beat us out of the Forreign Trade of baked sugars, of which they 
bake and vend above 20 times the quantity the English do ; so do they now 
use the greatest part of our Dying Siiiffs, gaining near as much, if not more, 
by these manufactures than the raw materials yield the English." Britan- 
nia Languens (London, 1680), p. 174. 

^ They also prepared a number of memorials: C. O. 1/26, 58; C. O. 
31/2, ff. 54 et seq. ; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 216. 


their produce, wanted prohibitory duties on all foreign 
sugars, and sought to secure only a small differential between 
the refined and the raw product so that they could compete 
with the English refiners.^ 

As is seemingly inevitable in such controversies, these 
various groups, with their conflicting interests, issued mis- 
leading and inaccurate memorials and statements, omitting 
damaging facts and over-emphasizing favorable ones. The 
interests of the West Indies were ably represented in Eng- 
land by the Committee of Gentlemen Planters of Barbados, 
among whom were such influential men as Sir Peter CoUeton, 
who was also connected with the Carolinas, and Ferdinando 
Gorges, the proprietor of Maine. When, in the fall of 1670, 
the scheme for an additional tax on sugar was broached, this 
committee presented a carefuUy prepared memorial to the 
Council for Plantations, and also submitted the same facts 
to Parliament. They maintained ^ that, prior to 1666, the 
English West Indies (Jamaica excluded) had employed 
annually 400 English ships with over 10,000 seamen and had 
produced a native commodity worth over £800,000 yearly 
to the nation. This sugar, they stated, had contributed 
largely to the English customs revenue, and one-half of it 

^ On Dec. 14, 1670, the representatives of Barbados in England wrote to 
the colony that ' Parliament is now laying a very heavy imposition on sugars, 
which is like to put the ratio in favour of Portugal and the refiners of 
England, which the writers are labouring to withstand.' C. C. 1669-1674, 
p. 141. 

2 C. O. 389/5, ff. 12-14; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 129, 130, 214, 215; c. o. 
1/26, 57; House of Lords MSS., H.M.C. IX, Part II, pp. ii*-ii^; Brit. 
Mus., Egerton MSS., 2395, fif. 638 et seq.; Bodleian, RawUnson A 478, 
f. 63. 


had been again reshipped from England to foreign mar- 
kets. The planter's gain, they contended, had been small, 
while the advantages to England had been important, 
though "till of late the Plantations never cost his Ma^'^ or 
his Predecessors anything for their maintenance or preser- 
vation." Up to 1666, they continued, the French had made 
very little sugar in the West Indies, but in that and the 
following year they captured the English part of St. Kitts 
and also Antigua and Montserrat, and seized in these islands 
over 15,000 negroes and materials for 150 sugar works, 
amounting in value to £400,000, which they carried to their 
own colonies. As a result, the memorialists said, the French 
sugar output had greatly increased and their islands had 
become strong and populous. Moreover, being desirous of 
becoming great at sea and of gaining supremacy in the sugar 
trade, France was encouraging her colonies, and among other 
measures had imposed \drtually prohibitive duties on English 
sugars. In consequence, the French West Indies were pros- 
pering and had "become terrible to the English Inhabitants 
in that part of the World," while the English sugar islands 
were declining. Their sugar had fallen greatly in value, and 
their planters were emigrating to foreign colonies. From 
these premises the irresistible conclusion was drawn that the 
English plantations were in no way able to bear a further 
imposition on their sugars, since it "alwaies faUs vpon the 
Planters," but that rather, after the example of France, a 
higher duty should be laid on the foreign product.^ 

1 In 1664 and 1665, Colbert imposed very high duties on foreign refined 
sugars, which led to the rapid development of the French refining industry. 


The gist of this doleful memorial, which grossly exag- 
gerated the relative economic condition of the French and 
English West Indies, as well as other vital facts, was that 
no further tax should be imposed on English sugars, while 
the small quantity of Portuguese refined sugar imported 
should be totally excluded by a prohibitive duty.^ In their 
efforts in the House of Commons, these representatives of 
Barbados came into conflict with the English refiners who 
wanted the schedule so arranged that sugars could not be 

In 1665 also, French raw sugars were given preferential treatment over those 
of foreign countries, but by this arret no distinction was made between the 
various grades of French colonial sugars, and all, whether refined or unre- 
fined, had to pay a uniform duty of 4 livres per cwt. Under this arrange- 
ment it was far more advantageous to refine sugar in the colonies than in 
France, and a considerable industry was estabUshed in them. The French 
refiners complained of the handicap imposed upon them, and accordingly 
in 1682 the duty on colonial refined sugar was raised to 8 Uvres, and two years 
later the establishment of new refineries in the islands was prohibited. 
S. L. Mims, Colbert's West India Policy, pp. 263-279. The ratio adopted 
was thus two to one, but it took from two and a half to three pounds of raw 
sugar to make one of refined. Thus these duties still gave an advantage to 
the colonial refiners, in addition to the initial one that they enjoyed from the 
fact that they had to pay the freight to France on only the refined product, 
while their French competitors had to pay these charges on the bulky raw 
product. Apart from the differences in cost of labor and capital, which 
naturally were fundamental, it would appear that the ratio adopted by the 
English government in 1660 would in other respects have placed the colo- 
nial and European refiner on a parity. 

1 On April 20, 1671, the Barbados Assembly wrote to the Gentlemen 
Planters in London, thanking them for their great pains and endeavors to 
prevent the new impost on sugar, and instructing them to keep up the oppo- 
sition, but that, if the new tax could not be prevented, they should then 
labor as much as was possible to have it doubled on foreign sugars, so that 
only those from the Enghsh colonies could be imported. C. O. 31/2, f. 29; 
C. C. 1669-1674, p. 199. 


profitably refined in the colonies.^ The additional schedule 
at first suggested was one farthing a pound on raw and one 
penny on white sugars from the English colonies, as opposed 
to twopence on those of foreign production. In view of 
the discrimination against Portuguese sugars, the Barbados 
Committee was not much dissatisfied and was willing to 
accept the proposed schedule. But the merchants trading 
to Portugal objected and, on showing how advantageous 
was their trade, secured a reduction of the duty on foreign 
refined sugars to one-penny. The English refiners, supported 
by the English m.erchants trading to Barbados, then sug- 
gested that a duty of one half-penny a pound be imposed 
on a new class of "clayed" sugars. This would have been 
levied on the partially refined sugars made in Barbados, 
which hitherto had paid the same duties as raw sugar. ^ 
To this the Committee of Planters objected, and urged that, 
if a new duty had to be placed on sugar, the English colo- 
nial product should receive preferential treatment. They 
also insisted that refining in the colonies should not be dis- 
couraged by high duties. "In this," they wrote to the 
Barbados Assembly "we were vehemently opposed by the 
Refine""^ and our merchants who aUeadged, that white Sugar 
was the Interest of not aboue five Planters & that to Dis- 
courage the making of itt in the Plantacons was the Interest 

^ On May i, 167 1, this Committee sent a detailed account of the proceed- 
ings in Parliament to the Barbados Assembly. Barbados Assembly Journal, 
1670-1683: C. O. 31/2, S. 45-76; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 212-214. 

''The English refiners stated that 4^ lbs. of brown equalled in value i lb. 
of white sugar, and that 3 lbs. of brown equalled i lb. of clayed sugar. House 
of Lords MSS., H.M.C. IX, Part II, p. 12". CJ. ibid. p. 13*. 


of England & the Generallity of ye planters." As the 
House of Commons found the Barbados Committee thus 
flatly contradicted by the West India merchants, of whom 
some had lived in that colony, it accepted the schedule 
before it and passed the bill.^ 

The Barbados Committee, knowing, so they wrote, 
*'the Lords to bee men unconcerned & of more discerning 
Judgem* than the Generallity of the Commons," continued 
the fight when the measure reached the upper house. They 
handed in a memorial, and so did the other interested parties 
— the Lisbon traders, the English refiners, and the merchants 
trading to Barbados. The Governor of Barbados, William, 
Lord Willoughby of Parham, vigorously supported the 
planters, and the House of Lords was induced to reduce the 
duty on English white sugars from one-penny to two and a 
half farthings ^ and to omit the new class of partially refined 
sugars.^ So amended, the bill was returned to the House of 
Commons, which "flew into a heate and voted the Lords 
had noe righte to abate of any ayd Graunted to the King & 
sent them that message." Various conferences followed, in 
which each house adhered to its position, and on the King 
proroguing Parliament, the bill fell.^ This was the famous 

1 The fuU schedule is in House of Lords MSS., H.IM.C. IX, Part II, p. 8*. 
In order to encourage sugar refining in England, large drawbacks were also 
granted on the exportation of white sugars. 

^ The Lords adopted the ratio between refined and raw sugar of 2^ to i, 
the Commons that of 4 to i . 

^ These amendments are in House of Lords MSS., H.^M.C. IX, Part II, 
p. lo'^. 

^ See also Com. Journal IX, pp. 238-240 ; F. R. Harris, Edward, Earl 
of Sandwich. 


precedent so often cited during the constitutional contro- 
versies about the British budget of 1909. / 

Owing to this dispute between the tw^o Houses, the attempt ^ 
to impose additional duties on tobacco and sugar failed in 
1671. But the question w^as not definitely tabled. \Mien ^ 
sending the details of what had happened to the colony, the 
Barbados Committee wrote that it w^as necessary to get 
the English merchants trading to the West Indies interested 
in their 'improved sugars,' in order to separate them from 
the refiners, because, if united, these two groups might be 
too powerful, should ParHament again take up this measure. 
Moreover, they added that the King was not pleased wdth 
the loss of the bill, which was occasioned w^holly by the dis- 
pute about sugar. On hearing of the failure of the bill, 
the Barbados Assembly wTote to Lord WiUoughby, thanking 
him for his work in the House of Lords, and asserting that 
the colony would be ruined if a further tax w^ere imposed 
on their sugar, unless that on the foreign product were at 
the same time doubled.^ They likewise wrote to the 
Gentlemen Planters in London to continue their efforts at 
the next parhamentary session, and enclosed a petition to 
the King which asserted that Barbados was already in a 
declining state. ^ 

During the following fourteen years the project was kept 
alive, and a number of memorials opposed and advocated 
various schemes for additional duties on tobacco and sugar.^ 

1 C. O. 31/2, g. 41-45, 86, 87; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 231, 283. 

2 C. O. 31/2, ff. 87-91 ; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 283, 284. 
' "The Virginia Trade Stated," evidently of 1677, opposed the imposition 

of further duties on tobacco, using the old arguments and especially empha- 



Nothing, however, was done until the accession of James II, 
in 1685, when ParHament granted for eight years heavy 
additional duties on tobacco and sugar. ^ The bill was 
devised by one of the ablest men of the day, the economist 
Sir Dudley North, then one of the Commissioners of the 
Customs, and was vigorously supported by him in the 
House of Commons. It aroused great opposition there,^ 
and also outside of Parliament, from the merchants, retailers 
and consumers, "as if the utter ruin of all the plantations 
w^as to follow ; and all trading from thence, and all dealing 
whatever in those commodities, were all to be confounded 
at one single stroke." ^ The additional duty imposed on 
English colonial tobacco was threepence a pound, as opposed 
to sixpence additional laid on the foreign product. Thus, 

sizing the prevailing depression in the tobacco trade. C. 0. 1/41,142. In 
1673, an anonymous writer discussed the question of the sugar duties. 
C. O. 1/30, 10; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 469, 470. See also the two memorials 
in Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, S. 636; ff. 640, 641. 

1 I Jac. II, c. 4; Com. Journal IX, pp. 724, 733, 737, 738 ; Egmont MSS. 
(H.M.C. 1909) II, p. 155. 

2 It "made a greater stir, and had more opposition in parhament, than 
any later revenue or supply bill ever had ; and, upon voting the supply, 
and charging it so to be levied, it was cried out upon as if it had been a sur- 
render of liberty and property." Roger North, Lives of the Norths (Lon- 
don, 1826) II, p. 122. Sir John Reresby states that the proposed taxes 
were " much opposed " by many members of the House of Commons, who 
had direct or indirect interests in the colonies. They argued that these 
taxes would handicap the EngHsh colonies in competing with the French. 
Reresby replied that, if the rates were so high as to discourage consumption 
in England, this might happen ; but, if the colonies sold as much as formerly, 
these additional duties " could neither prejudice our plantations or naviga- 
tion." The Memoirs of Sir John Reresby (ed. Cartwright), pp. 330, 331, 

3 Roger North, op. cit. Ill, pp. 161-164. 


under the Acts of 1660 and 1685, the total duty on colonial 
tobacco was fivepence and that on foreign tobacco one 
shilling the pound.^ The sugar schedule was more com- 
plicated, but likewise contained the same preferential 
treatment of English colonial products. Muscovado or 
raw sugar paid additional duties of one farthing a pound, if 
EngHsh; of two farthings, if foreign. White or refined sugar 
from the English colonies w^as subjected to an additional 
duty of three farthings, as opposed to five farthings imposed 
on that of foreign production.^ 

In order to prevent any diminution of the sale of tobacco 
and sugar in the international markets, on the reexportation 
of these commodities from England, the additional duties 
were refunded in their entirety.^ It was the design of Par- 

1 This additional duty on tobacco was opposed on the grounds : (i) that 
the trade was depressed, the existing charges being already "more than 
often times the Commodity yielded"; (2) that these high duties would 
encourage smugghng and would lessen EngUsh consumption, experience 
showing that, the higher the tax, the less the revenue ; (3) that these duties 
would stimulate the production of tobacco in Germany, France, and Hol- 
land and would tempt the traders to violate the enumeration of tobacco ; 
(4) that necessity would force the colonies to use their lands for raising 
provisions and would obhge them to make manufactures hitherto obtained 
from England. Brit. Mus., Harleian MSS. 1238, f. 2. 

2 Moreover, foreign loaf sugar had to pay an additional duty of three- 
pence a pound. The additional duty of three farthings was imposed on Eng- 
lish sugar "fitt for Common use or Spending." As some muscovado sugars 
were, fit for consumption, the question arose if they were in consequence 
liable to this higher duty. The Attorney-General, Sir Thomas Powys, 
decided in 1687 that it was clearly the intention of Parliament that the extra 
duty on aU EngUsh muscovado sugars should be only one farthing. Brit. 
Mus., Add. MSS. 30,218, f. 134. 

^ The importer got possession of the goods on giving security for the 
duty, and, if the goods had not been sold or exported within eighteen months, 



liament in imposing these taxes that they should be wholly 
borne by the consumer in England, the " consumptioner " 
as the statute called him, and not at all by the planter or 
importer. With this idea in view, a curiously naive scheme 
was devised. The additional duties were not made payable 
^ by the importer — he merely gave security for their ulti- 
mate payment — but by the first buyer on receipt of the 
goods.^ On June 26, 1685, a circular letter was sent in 
the King's name to the various colonial Governors, inform- 
ing them of the new duties and stating that, as they were 
"not laid on the Planter or Merchant, but only upon the 
Retailer, Consumptioner, or Shopkeeper, wee are well assured 
(they) w^U not be inconvenient or burthensome to our 
Subjects under Yo^ Government." ^ 

The impost of 1685 aroused considerable hostile feeling 
in some of the colonies,^ especially in Barbados, which 
was in the forefront of every movement of opposition to 
England's economic measures. The Virginia Assembly 
sent an address, in which the Council and Governor, how- 
he had to pay the duty, i Jac. II, c. 4, § x. The period during which the 
tobacco could be reexported was subsequently extended to three years. 
7 Geo. I, Stat, i, c. 21, § x. Large allowances were made for cash payment of 
the duties and for damage and shrinkage while the goods were in the im- 
porters' hands, i Jac. II, c. 4, §§ viii, ix; C. C. 1685-16S8, pp. 71, 98, 99; 
C. 0. i/s6, 67. 

1 For the administrative features, see Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 
10, 11. 36, 38, 40-42, 45, 50, 56, 112, 126. Tliis cumbersome system was aban- 
doned in 1696. 7 & 8 W. Ill, c. 10, § iii. 

2 C. O. 31/3, ff. 135-137, 141-143; C. C. 1681-1685, P- 50- 

' Randolph wrote that he feared it was injuring New England, whose trade 
to the colonies directly affected had decayed very much since its imposi- 
tion. Goodrick, Randolph VI, p. 235. 


ever, refused to join, praying the King to dispense with the 
new duty on account of the low price of tobacco, and assert- 
ing that the tax, ' though designed to fall on the retailer and 
consumer, would surely fall on the planter.' ^ At the same 
time, the Governor, Lord Howard of Effingham, wrote that 
"the late Additional Imposition on Tobacco has so dis- 
turbed the Planters here, either by the not right apprehend- 
ing the Act, or by their fears that their Diana and Sole 
Commodity will DowTie and Come to nothing that it is 
difficult to persuade them otherwise." ^ 

On August 29, 1685,'^ before the exact terms of the law 
were known in Jamaica, Lieutenant-Governor Hender 
Molesworth wrote to William Blathwayt that the additional 
duties would greatly discourage planting and would throw 
land out of cultivation. Not knowing that these duties 
were to be refunded on reexportation of the commodities 
from England, he claimed that the result would be that Eng- 
lish sugars would be unable to compete in foreign markets 
with those of the Portuguese, Dutch, and French posses- 
sions.^ A month later, however, after the provisions of the 
law were fully known, Molesworth wrote that his former 
criticisms were based on a misapprehension and that, in 
his opinion, the additional duties would in the main be 

1 C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 116, 117. 

2 Nov. 14, 1685, Howard to Blathwayt. Blathwayt, Journal I, f. 

3 C. C. 1685-1688, p. 84. 

* 'The short of it is,' he wrote, 'that Virginia receives a mortal stab, 
Barbados and the Islands fall into a hectic fever, and Jamaica into a con- 


shifted to the consumer and would not fall upon the 

The opposition from Barbados was more persistent and 
better organized. On September 14, ^665,^ the Assembly, 
Council, and Deputy-Governor of the colony wrote to the 
Lords of Trade, stating that the island was heavily in debt 
and that the sugar industry was not profitable. Conse- 
quently, they could not stand the additional duty, which 
they claimed to know by woeful experience would faU upon 
the producer and not upon the consumer, as was intended.' 
They also enclosed a detailed memorial showing the great 
cost of producing sugar and its relatively low market value, 
as a result of w^hich they claimed that Barbados was in a 
deplorable state. ^ Letters were also sent by the Assembly to 

^ ' I find that the additional duty on sugar is much otherwise than we 
apprehended. We beUeved that it was to be paid on all imported sugar 
without exception; but, considering that it is only to be paid on what is 
expended in England, and that our exported sugars are free from it, I incline 
to the opinion that it will fall chiefly on the expender.' C. C. 1685-1688, 
p. 96. 

2 C. C. 168S-168S, pp. 93, 94. 

3 They stated that since the beginning of the year sugar had declined in 
price from 135. 6d. and 145. to 8s. the cwt. 

* They asserted that the annual cost of a plantation of 100 acres, figuring 
interest at 5 per cent on the capital invested in the land, buildings, and 
machinery, making allowance for wear and tear, and including the cost of 
labor and running expenses, as well as the parochial taxes, amoimted to 
£745 105. Such a plantation would yield yearly only £400 of raw sugar 
(figuring the price at 105. a cwt.) and £140 of rum and molasses. Thus 
there was a deficit of about £200, which they asserted had hitherto been 
avoided by "claying" their sugars. This clayed sugar, they claimed, was 
not worth twice as much as muscovado or raw sugar, but the new duties 
thereon were three times as high and consequently they would no longer be 


William Blathwayt, the influential Secretary of the Lords 
of Trade, to the Governor of Barbados, Sir Richard Button 
— then in England answering charges against him — and 
to Sir Peter Colleton of the Committee of Gentlemen 
Planters, asking their support for this address.^ About a 
month later, the Deputy-Governor of Barbados, Ed\^-}ai 
Stede, wrote to the Lords of Trade, acknowledging receipt 
of the King's letter to the effect that it was the intent that 
these duties should be paid by the consumer, but stoutly 
maintaining that it was found 'by experience of sales, both 
here and in England, that the duty falls on the planter, 
and will continue to do so unless, by your great wisdom, 
some means be found to moderate it.' ^ 

These complaints from Virginia and Barbados were 
referred to the Cormnissioners of the Customs, who reported 
that they contained nothing that they had not already 
frequently heard from the London merchants ; that it w^as 
' the abundance of sugar and tobacco, not the duty, that 
brings them evil;' and, accordingly, they recommended that 
no change should be made in the duty for at least a year.^ 
To this the Lords of Trade agreed.^ 

able to "clay" their sugar. They then claimed that the result would be 
equally disastrous if they shipped their raw sugar to England for sale there, 
and that the new duties would still further reduce the price of sugar in Bar- 
bados from 105. to -js. a cwt. C. O. 31/3, ff. 120 ct seq. 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 95. 

2 He added that the people were mostly in debt and under great affliction, 
in consequence of a very poor crop and the great mortality among their 
negroes and servants due to smallpox. Ibid. p. 109. 

' C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 125, 127, 141, 147. 
* Ibid. p. 202. 


There was no necessity for the cumbersome method of 
pacing these duties in order that they should be shifted to 
the consumer. As Hender Molesworth said, 'it ought to 
fall out so by natural course of trade,' ^ since these new 
duties w^ere not imposed on that portion of the crops sold 
in foreign markets. It was the price in this international 
market that regulated the amount received by the planter 
for his entire product. The only way in which these duties 
could adversely affect the colonies was by lessening consump- 
tion in England. To some degree this must have been the 
result, but its extent was apparently not important. In 
the case of tobacco, upon which the new duties were rela- 
tively much higher than were those on sugar, they also led 
to the adulteration of the article in England ^ and likewdse 
probably stimulated smuggling, both of which reacted im- 
favorably on the planter. The disadvantages to the colo- 
nies were, however, shght in comparison -^^dth the renewal 
of the preferential treatment of their produce. 

These new taxes produced a comparatively large revenue ; 
from 1688 to 1692 it averaged about £122,000 yearly, of 
which £90,000 was derived from the tobacco impost.^ 
These duties were thus most satisfactory from the financial 

1 C. C. 1685-1688, p. 96. 

2 The stalks or stems, which weighed about 20 per cent of the tobacco, 
were soaked, pressed flat, and then cut and mixed with the leaf tobacco. 
Brit. jSIus., Harleian MSS. 1238, f. 29. 

^ Brit. Mus., Stowe MSS. 324, f. 64 ; ibid. 316, ff. 3, 4. The importations 
of tobacco into England at this time were from fourteen to nineteen million 
pounds annually, the impost being paid on about one-half only, as the bal- 
ance was reexported to foreign markets. Brit. Mus., Harleian MSS. 1238, 
f. 31 ; Sloane MSS. 1815, f. 35 ; C. O. 5/1305- 54-56. 


Standpoint, and furthermore they were easy to collect. 
It could not reasonably be expected that so large a revenue 
would be abandoned, unless it were clear that these duties 
hampered the development of the colonies, especially as 
their produce was granted a monopoly of the Enghsh mar- 
ket. This, of course, could not be demonstrated. Ever 
since that time tobacco has been a most fruitful source of 
income to the British Exchequer.^ The tobacco trade 
quickly adjusted itself to the new conditions, and Virginia ■ 
and Maryland soon forgot about these new duties. But 
Barbados, always energetically active, continued the agita- 
tion and as those who represented its interests in England 
had considerable influence, the sugar duties were not con- 
tinued on their expiration in 1693, while those on tobacco ' 
were prolonged and ultimately made perpetual.- 

Thus the Enghsh tariffs were so constructed that the 
most important of the colonial products had a monopoly 
of the Enghsh market. During the course of their enforced 
trans-shipment through England, these enumerated articles 
also paid some duties to the English Exchequer. On raw 
sugar they amounted to ninepence the hundredweight, 
which was not onerous,^ but on tobacco the duty was one 

^ "No other product that enters into commerce is taxed so heavily as 
tobacco. England levies a tax of 77 cents per pound when it contains 10 
per cent of moisture; 85 cents per pound, when there is less than this 
amount. This is from twelve to fifteen hundred per cent on the prices which 
the farmers receive." Shelfer, Tobacco, in Am. Econ. Assoc. 3d series, V, i, 
p. 142. This statement refers to American tobacco, and was written before 
1904 ; since then the duties have been increased. 

2 2 W. & M. sess. 2, c. 5 ; 4 & 5 W. & M. c. 15 ; 9 Anne, c. 21. 

' The value of sugar in Barbados in 1670 was about 12s. a cwt. 


half-penny the pound, which was considerable in propor- 
tion to the value of tobacco in the colonies.^ Furthermore, 
some duties were retained on European goods shipped from 
England to the plantations. In effect, these were equivalent 
L- to direct taxes on the colonies; and, while not of great im- 
portance, they were not negligible from a revenue stand- 
point. The half-penny on tobacco was the chief source of 
revenue, and amounted on an average to about £15,000 
yearly just prior to the Revolution of 1688/9.^ In 1676, 
this half subsidy on sugar was estimated at £5000 a year 
and amounted to about the same sum a decade later. ^ In 
j addition to this indirect method of taxing the colonies, Par- 
/ liament in 1673 had also imposed duties on the intercolonial 
trade. At the time, some objection was made to this law on 
the ground that it violated the principle of no taxation with- 
out representation ; its purpose, however, was not to raise 
a revenue, but to regulate imperial trade. Incidentally 
thereto it did produce a gross income of about £1000, of 
which the bulk, however, was used in its collection.^ ^ 

In addition to this instance of direct taxation by the Act 
of 1673, whose actual fiscal importance was shght in com- 
parison with its potential legal significance, some revenue was 

1 The price of tobacco in Virginia averaged about i|J. the pound. 

2 The available statistical material is scanty and unreliable. This state- 
ment is based upon a comparative study of a number of docvmients, of which 
the chief are Brit. Mus., Harleian MSS. 1238, ff. 2, 31 ; Sloans MSS. 1815, 
f. 35 ; CO. s/1305, nos. 54-56. 

^ Cal. Dom. 1676-1677, p. 464; The Irregular and Disorderly State of 
the Plantation-Trade, in Am. Hist. Assoc. Report (1892), p. 38. 
* See ante, p. 83, and post, Chapter IV. 


derived on other grounds from colonial sources. The early- 
colonial charters, as a rule, provided that one-fifth of 
whatever gold and silver might be obtained should be re- 
served to the Cro^vn. In addition, the colonial proprietors 
were bound by their letters patent to make some annual 
acknowledgment of English suzerainty. Thus Lord Balti- 
more was obliged by his charter to deliver every year at 
Windsor Castle "two Indian arrows of those parts." No 
gold or silver was, however, found in the colonies; and the 
picturesque feudal acknowledgments were intended to be 
only symbolically significant and, besides, they were generally 
ignored.^ In addition, the Crown as such was also entitled 
to certain rights and royalties. Fines, forfeitures, and es- 
cheats in the royal provinces, goods seized from pirates ^ and 
a portion of what was recovered from wrecks belonged to it. 
At one time the question of the Crown's share of wrecks 
became very prominent. In 1686, a small company was 
formed in England to recover treasure from wrecks, and 
WiUiam Phipps was sent by it to try his luck with a 
sunken Spanish ship off Hispaniola. The following year, the 
expedition returned to England mth about £250,000, of 
which the Crown received £20,872 in settlement of its one- 
tenth share. '^ The news of this vast treasure- trove spread 

1 Blathwayt, Journal II, S. 44-53. Among the receipts of the Exchequer, 
however, are £66 for 1682-16S3, £40 for 1683-1684, and £93 for 1685-1686, 
as rent of Carolina. W. R. Scott, Joint-Stock Companies III, pp. 532, 533. 

- C. O. 1/61, 42; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 10, II, 15, 29, 36, 47, 122, 255, 

^ W. R. Scott, Joint-Stock Companies II, pp. 485, 486 ; III, pp. 536- 


quickly in America, and from nearly all the colonies vessels 
flocked to the scene of action. A considerable amount of 
treasure was recovered, £50,000 being brought to the Ber- 
mudas alone. Acting upon the precedent established in 
England, the various colonial governors demanded one- 
tenth of this treasure as the Crown's share. WTiile they 
were engaged in a largely unsuccessful attempt to collect 
these dues, orders were received from England that pay- 
ment of one-half of what was secured by the wreckers should 
be made to the Cro\Mi. This aroused a storm of protest; 
and, as it was impossible to enforce this claim, in 1688 the 
government receded from its untenable position and in- 
structed the Governors to demand only one-tenth as the 
Crown's share. ^ Searching for wrecked treasure was, how- 
ever, in the long run a very precarious and speculative occu- 
pation, and naturally but little income w^as derived by the 
Crown from this source. 

As in the case of wrecks, a certain proportion of prizes of war 
taken at sea was legally due to the King, and another share 
also to the Lord High Admiral. These were the Crown's 
fifteenths and the Admiralty's tenths,^ but even in Jamaica, 
which was the centre of privateering, these dues were 'but 
a small matter.' ^ In addition, one- third or one-half — de- 
pending upon the nature of the case — of all forfeitures for 

1 Blathwayt, Journal I, S. 244-248; C. O. 1/60, 88; Goodrick, Ran- 
dolph \T, pp. 229, 240, 249; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 391-393, 421, 455, 
480, 489-494, 505, 506, 508, 509, 518, 519, 524, 529, 530, 538, 543> 
551, 560. 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1138; ibid. 1669-1674, pp. 145-147. 

^ C. C. 1669-1674, p. 95. 


violations of the Acts of Trade and Navigation was appor- 
tioned to the Crown, and under the charter of the Royal 
African Company the King was also entitled to one-half 
of all condemnations for violation of this Company's trade 
monopoly.^ In general, this miscellaneous revenue was of 
but slight importance and besides it was, as a rule, devoted 
to colonial purposes.^ Only in Barbados was this "casual 
revenue," as it was there called, of any fiscal importance. 
Here a special officer, who was also the Collector of the Cus- 
toms, was entrusted with its collection; and, in 1687, £2500 
was remitted to England, representing the proceeds of this 
revenue for the preceding four years. ^ 

In addition to these rights and royalties, as successor to 
some of the colonial proprietors, the Crown was entitled 
to the revenue that would have accrued to them as lords 
of their domains. In Virginia and in the Caribbee Islands, 
especially, these rights were very important. In 1627, a 
few years after some small English settlements had been 
founded in Barbados and in St. Kitts, the most important 
of the West Indian islands, not colonized by Spain, were 
granted by charter to James Hay, first Earl of Carlisle. 
Their economic development was at the outset comparatively 

^ Blathwayt, Journal I, ff. 67, 79, 295. The same applied to forfeitures 
for violations of the monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

* The casual revenue in Jamaica arising from fines, forfeitures, escheats, 
etc., and also that from the quit-rents, was applied to the uses of the col- 
ony. Blathwayt, Journal I, ff. 378-381. 

'In 1682, Edwyn Stede was appointed receiver of the rents, revenues, 
prizes, fines, escheats, forfeitures, etc., arising to the Crown in Barbados. 
Ibid. I, ff. 108, 109, 258, 378-381. 


slow, as the chief product was tobacco, in which they were 
at a considerable disadvantage in competing with Virginia.^ 
The introduction of the sugar-cane during the period of the 
Civil War, however, led to an era of phenomenal growth 
and prosperity, especially in Barbados, which in a few years 
became by far the richest of the English colonies.^ "The 
like Improvemf," a contemporary said, "was neuer made 
by any people \Tider the Sonne." ^ 

During the Civil War in England, the proprietary rights 
of the royalist Earl of Carlisle, son of the original patentee, 
were sequestrated, but in 1645, on his submission to Parha- 
ment, they were restored. In the same year, these islands 
were decreed in chancery to the creditors of the spendthrift 
first Earl in payment of debts amounting to £37,000. Two 
years later, in 1647, the proprietor leased his rights, subject 
to these claims of his father's creditors, for twenty-one 
years to Francis, Lord Willoughby of Parham.^ On the 
execution of Charles I in 1649, Barbados abandoned its at- 
tempt to preserve a neutral attitude toward the struggle in 

1 "At the beginning all the foreign Inhabitants of the Caribbies apply'd 
themselves wholly to the culture of Tobacco, whereby they made a shift 
to get a competent Uvelihood ; but afterwards the abundance that was 
made bringing down the price of it, they have in several places employ "d 
themselves in the planting of Sugar-canes, Ginger, and Indico." The 
History of Barbados, S* Christophers, etc., trans, by J. Davdes (London, 
1666), p. 187. Cf. Beer, Origins, pp. 264, 265. 

- The sugar-cane was said to have been originally introduced into Bar- 
bados from Brazil by one Peeter Brower of North Holland, but came to no 
perfection until 1645. Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2662, ff. 54^, 70. 

' Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2543, f. 123, 

* Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, p. 12. 


England and openly proclaimed the rights of his son, the 
future Charles II, But in 1652, after a stout resistance, the 
island was obliged to surrender to a strong parliamentary 
force. The proprietary system of Lord Willoughby was 
thereupon extinguished and a parliamentary Governor was 
appointed. The same course of events followed in the 
other West Indian colonies. 

On the restoration of the monarchy in England, the ques- 
tion naturally arose what should be done with these islands. 
In England, the lands confiscated during the Interregnum 
were restored to their original owners. Should the same 
policy be adopted towards the proprietary rights in the 
West Indies? In favor of restitution were the Earl of 
Carlisle, as proprietor, and Lord Willoughby, the lease- 
holder, and naturally also the creditors of the original pat- 
entee. Opposed to them were the planters and colonists, 
and also the merchants engaged in trading to the sugar 

In the early summer of 1660, Charles II recognized the 
rights of Lord Willoughby under the Carlisle patent of 1627, 
and directed the inhabitants of the West Indies to }deld 
obedience to his government.^ This was merely a pro- 
visional disposition of the matter, and in the meanwhile 
the government continued to investigate the case and to 
give hearings to the interested parties.^ The Committee of 

^ C. C. 1574-1660, p. 4S2. 

^ Ibid. p. 483 ; Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 267. 
3 C. O. 1/14, 20; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 296, 297; C. C. 1574-1660, pp. 483, 
484, 486, 488. 


the Privy Council reported, however, on August 20, 1660, 
that Lord Willoughby should be restored to the rights of 
which he had been dispossessed by the 'illegal power of 
Cromwell.' ^ This report was approved, and WiUoughby 
proceeded successfully to reestablish the proprietary au- 
thority in Barbados and in the Leeward Islands.^ 

But those opposed to this settlement continued to agi- 
tate and succeeded in having the question reopened. They 
were aided by the fact that it was already recognized 
that these semi-feudal proprietary colonies were difficult 
to manage, and that from the imperial standpoint it would 
be ad\'isable to convert them into crown colonies under the 
immediate control of the Enghsh government.^ Early in 
1 66 1, the Privy Council ordered all who pretended to any 
interest in or title to the Caribbee Islands to deliver to the 
Attorney-General "their severall and respective Proprie- 
tyes" and to attend the board with their counsel.^ As a 
result of this reexamination of the case, the decision of 
the preceding year was reversed; and on March 28, 1661, 

^ C. C. 1574-1660, p. 489. 

2 Ibid. pp. 490, 494, 496; Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, flf. 305, 329. 

3 In his overtures advising the creation of a council for foreign plan- 
tations, Thomas Povey urged that "such CoUonies, as are the Proprietie 
of perticular Persons, or of Corporations may bee reduced as neare as 
can bee to the Same Method and Proportion with the rest ; with as httle 
Dissatisfaction or Iniurie to the Persons concerned, as may be." Brit. 
Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 273. In a memorial of the same time, such 
grants as those of Charles I to Carhsle were opposed. It was stated 
therein that Charles II had been surprised into reinstating WiUoughby, and 
he was urged to appoint a Governor himself. Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 
2543, f. 123. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, pp. 304, 305 ; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 36. 


Sir William Morice, "his Majesties Principall Secretary 
of State," was ordered to notify Barbados "that the pro- 
prietors-ship of the said Island is invested in his INIajes- 
tie." ^ Shortly thereafter, Lord Willoughby was appointed 
Governor of the colony by the Crown. ^ 

The revocation of the CarHsle charter abolished only the 
powers of government granted therein, but left intact the 
patentee's property rights and the revenue to which he 
was entitled as grantor of the lands. There were diverse 
claims on this revenue, and only in 1663, after prolonged 
negotiations, was this matter definitely settled. It was 
then provided ^ that the annual profits arising to the 
Crown from the Caribbee Islands should be divided into 
two equal parts, of which one should go to Lord Wil- 
loughby during the six remaining years of his lease, but 
thereafter should "be entirely reserved in his Majesties 
dispose towards the support of the Government of the 
said Islands, and to such other purposes as his Majes- 
tic shall please to assigne the same." The second half 
was charged with the payment of two annuities ; a tem- 
porary one of £500 to the Earl of Marlborough, whose 
grandfather had had a grant covering Barbados prior to 
that of Carlisle,* and a perpetual one of £1000 to the Earl 
of Kinnoul, who had succeeded to the Earl of Carlisle's 

1 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 305, 306. 

2 C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 80, 83. 

^ Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, pp. 12-14; P- C. Cal. I, pp. 362-365; 
C. C. 1661-1668, no. 482; Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2441, flf. 7, 8. CJ. also 
C. C. 1699, p. 588. 

* The annuity was transferred in 1665. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1432. 


rights.^ After the payment of these two annuities, the bal- 
ance of this second half of the revenue was to go to the credi- 
tors of the first Earl of Carlisle, who had not received "the 
least part of their Debts or Interest since his death." They, 
in return, agreed to cancel one-third of the amount due them, 
which reduced their claims to about £25,000. After the 
payment of this indebtedness, the "Second Moyety " of this 
revenue was also to revert to the Crown. Thus, ultimately 
the entire revenue, subject only to the Kinnoul annuity 
of £1000, would be at the disposal of the King. 

Having thus apportioned the prospective income arising 
from the Caribbee Islands, it now remained to establish a per- 
manent revenue in the place of the proprietary dues. With 
this object in view, the royal Governor, Lord Willoughby, 
who was departing for the West Indies, received careful 
instructions from the government. He was ordered to 
make these colonies " sensible that some Returne of Profitt, 
as well as Duty ought to be made Vs for our continuall and 
unwearied care of them," and he was authorized, if neces- 
sary, to employ part of the anticipated revenue in fortify- 
ing the colonies.^ 

Barbados was kept informed of the course of these pro- 
tracted negotiations in England, and, while more than satis- 
fied with the definite abolition of the proprietary charter, 
was naturally anxious to make the best terms possible as 
regards the revenue that should be paid to the Crown. 

1 Kinnoul was to receive £500 yearly up to 1670 and thereafter £1000 
in perpetuity. Cf. Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, Nov. 13, 1676. 

2 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 357, 358. 


During the agitation for the revocation of the charter, the 
colony stated its wilHngness to pay to the King as much as 
had formerly been paid to the Earl of Carlisle, and at this 
time some in the island proposed an export duty of four 
per cent.^ But in the summer of 1661, the President of the 
Council and the Council proposed to the Assembly to peti- 
tion the King against this four per cent proposition and 
"to beseech his Majesty that hee will not put vs into a worse 
condition then formerly wee were in (wee growing poorer 
and our ground every day decaying) but that we may hold 
our lands as heretofore we did" on free and common socage 
tenure, paying the impost of two and four per cent, as was 
agreed between the Assembly and the proprietor. The 
Assembly, while approving, would not concur, as it did 
not consider a time, when the King's commands were daily 
expected, appropriate for such a petition.^ Accordingly, 
on July 10, 1 66 1, the President and Council wrote in their 

1 C. O. i/is, 52; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 83. 

2 C. O. i/is, 69; C. O. 31/1, 53; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 127. The As- 
sembly was dissolved, and in a declaration to the people giving the reasons 
for this dissolution, the President and Council stated that a letter had re- 
cently been received from Sir James Drax to the effect that efforts were being 
made to induce the King to lay a tax on Barbados, "itt being not only the 
maintenance of the Government and all other pubhque charge but the pay- 
ing of four out of Every Hundred of all Comodityes made and transported 
to his Ma*^*"," which it was claimed would produce £25,000 yearly. The 
declaration stated that it was proposed to establish this tax by Act of 
Parhament, and urged quick action, for, if it were thus enacted, "it would bee 
hard getting of it repealed." Nothing was said about the illegality of such 
a parliamentary tax. Journal of Barbados Council, 1660-1686: C. 0. 
31/1, ff. 56, 57. The following year the colony, however, petitioned " that 
noe tax bee layd without the consent of the freeholders." Ibid. ff. 76, 77. 


own names only to the Secretary of State, saying that they 
feared that the wealth of the colony had been grossly exag- 
gerated and that proposals had been made to raise taxes 
greater than the people could bear. They therefore prayed 
the King not to impose the proposed four per cent tax and 
begged that they might not be obliged to pay any more 
than they had formerly done to the proprietor.^ 

The tactical weakness of Barbados in the approaching 
contest lay in the uncertainty of the land titles of many of 
the planters. In numerous cases they were defective and 
of doubtful legality. Above all things the colony desired 
that this be rectified, and that the existing grants should be 
confirmed. In 1662, they had petitioned the King that 
Parliament should pass a law removing aU uncertainty 
from their land titles.^ With this powerful and convincing 
argument at his disposal,^ Willoughby arrived in Barbados in 
the midsummer of 1663 with the object of creating the de- 
sired revenue and of establishing crown government in the 
colony. The colonial executive had hitherto been appointed 
by him as leaseholder under the charter, and the Assembly 

1 C. O. i/iS, 70; Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, ff. 305 ct scq.; 
C. C. 1661-166S, no. 129. 

"^ They wanted "Tenure in Soccage to bee held of the King &c paying 
Such an acknowledgem* as the Governor Counsell and Assembly shall 
agree vnto." C. O. 31/1, 76, 77. 

' Article xi of Willoughby's instructions reads : " Since it seemes requisite, 
that the Occupiers and Possessors of Land need further Confirmation from 
Vs, We giue you full Power as from Vs, further to graunt and confirmc the 
same for such Consideration, and under such Covenants, Conditions and 
Reservations, as betweene you and the respectiue Parties shall be agreed 
on." P. C. Cal. I, p. 359. 


had been convened on the same authority. Summomng 
this proprietary Assembly, Willoughby laid before it his 
instructions, in order, as he wrote, ' to avoid the delay of 
calling together a new one, which might be done if the pres- 
ent Assembly should not answer his Majesty's expectations.' ^ 
Thanks to his popularity in the island and by dint of great 
exertions, Willoughby ^ induced this Assembly in September I 
of 1663 to pass the famous four and a half per cent export 
duty Act, which played a most prominent part in the future i 
relations of the colony and England.^ In the spring of 

1 C. 0. 1/17, 78; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 561. 

2 On Aug. 25, 1663, Governor Willoughby addressed the Council and 
Assembly and said that Charles II "had been at very great charge in pur- 
chasing to himself e" the Earl of CarUsle's patent, and that "although hee had 
been offered in England from some Gentlemen very large Simies of money 
for his Revenue" here, yet he had refused it and to show his good will to 
the colony had left it to them to do what was requisite. C. O. 31/1, ff. 80, 81. 

^ There are two accounts available of what happened in Barbados. 
One stated that, when WiUoughby arrived in Barbados, he pubUshed his 
royal commission as Governor and proclaimed that all powers derived 
from Carlisle's patent were null and void. Despite this, he summoned the 
old Assembly that had been elected under this patent. This body at first 
refused to act as an assembly, but being threatened and told that what 
they did woidd have no vaUdity, but would merely be used as an argument 
with the legal Assembly to be convened subsequently, they were prevailed 
upon to pass the 4^ percent Act. Brit. Mus., Stowe MSS. 324, ff. 4 et seq.; 
C. O. 1/22, 20; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1679. At the time of the passage 
of the law, William Povey wrote to his influential brother, Thomas, in 
England, that WiUoughby's "former just affable & noble Governm- amongst 
these people" had won their affections and that no other person would 
have pleased them. He was able to secure the 4^ per cent Act, which may 
be thought a small matter in England, but is very considerable for this 
poor island that is still deeply in debt. "Indeed his Lord''" hath taken a 
very greate deale of paines in driueing this bargain for he hath been up 
early & downe late in advizeing & considering how to make out his Ma*'^ 


the following year, the four Leeward Islands — St. Kitts, 
Nevis, Montserrat, and Antigua — followed suit and passed 
similar laws. In 1665,^ these five measures were confirmed 
by an Order in Council, and thus could not be repealed either 
by the colonial legislatures or by the Crown separately. 

The wording of the Barbados law ^ was somewhat ambigu- 
ous, and its conflicting interpretations led to prolonged fric- 
tion between the colony and England. The Act first recited 
that Charles I had granted the island to Carlisle, but that 
the reigning King had acquired these proprietary rights 
and had appointed Willoughby as Governor with full power 
to assure to the people all their lands. It then stated that 
many planters had lost the proprietary deeds, grants, and 
warrants for their land, and that many were in quiet pos- 
session without being able to prove their titles. For the 
"quieting" these possessions, and as a remedy for the oner- 
ous dues formerly paid to the proprietor,^ it was accordingly 
enacted that all those owning land according to the laws 

intrest against y^ Allegations of y*' Planter, he hath spent three weekes 
in debate with y® Assembly, vntiU himselfe & they were aUmost tired, y^ 
result at Last is y' all Comodities of y° growth of this Island shall" pay 4^ 
per cent. Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 383. 

1 C. O. 29/1, ff. 122, 147 ; C. O. 324/1, ff. 285-287 ; C. C. 1661-166S, no. 
981 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 396. 

2 C. O. 29/1, fif. 47-50; C. O. 30/1 (Acts of Barbados, 1643-1672), pp. 


^ The law stated that " the acknowledgment of forty pounds of Cotton 
per head, and other taxes and compositions formerly raised to the Earl of 
Carlisle was held very heavy." In 1684, it was stated that the freeholders 
formerly held their lands of Carhsle under the acknowledgment of 40 
lbs. of cotton per poU, and since then from the Crown on a free and 
common socage tenure. Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2441, flf. 11, 12. 


and customs of Barbados should have their titles confirmed 
and made valid, and that all arrears of the proprietary dues 
and all such taxes in the future should be void, and that 
the lands should be held in free and common socage. The 
law then stated that nothing conduced more to the peace 
and prosperity of any place than the fact that the public 
revenue was in some proportion to "the public charges and 
expences; and also well weighing the great charges that 
there must be of necessity, in the maintaining the honour 
and dignity of His Majesty's Authority here; the pubhc 
meetings of the Council ; the reparation of the Forts ; the 
building a Session's house and a Prison ; and all other pub- 
lic charges incumbent on the Government," granted to the 
Crown an export duty of four and a half per cent on all 
dead produce of the island. 

The exact intention of the lawmakers is not explicitly 
stated, nor is it clearly imphed. The colony held that the 
entire revenue derived from these duties should be solely 
appropriated to the public services of the island enumer- 
ated in the Act, and that, only in case of a deficiency, should 
they be obHged to impose additional taxes. This view was 
consistently held by Barbados until, after one hundred and 
seventy-five years of incessant wrangling, the law was ulti- 
mately repealed.^ The English government claimed that 
the revenue was granted in return for the confirmation of 

* In the edition of the Barbados laws used, the editor says that this revenue 
was never applied to the purposes for which it had been granted, except in 
so far as the Governor's "Enghsh salary" of £2000 was paid out of it. 
C. O. 30/1, p. 58. 


the existing land titles and the abolition of all proprietary- 
dues ; ^ that it belonged to the Crown, as successor to the 
proprietor, subject of course to the settlement made in 
1663, but that otherwise it could be disposed of as it saw 
lit. The EngUsh government held that the ordinary public 
expenses of the colony, except the salary of the royal Gov- 
ernor, should be met by other taxes raised by the colony, 
and that this revenue should be used only to help the colony 
in special emergencies. Already in 1663, Willoughby had 
been instructed, if necessary, to apply part of this revenue 
towards fortifying the island. The contention of the 
English government derives some indirect support from, 
the fact that the four x^cts passed in 1664 in the Leeward 
Islands explicitly stated that the revenue was granted by 
them in return for the confirmation of their estates and the 
abolition of the proprietary dues.^ On the other hand, 
from ^•irtually the very outset, Barbados repudiated this 
interpretation and insisted upon its own construction of the 
law. Its very ambiguity was probably a direct result of 
the conflicting and not clearly expressed aims of Governor 
Willoughby and the Assembly which passed it. Apparently, 
neither Willoughby nor the legislature was perfectly in- 
genuous, and at the time each accepted the bill, just because 
it was susceptible of these divergent interpretations in har- 
mony with their respective distinct purposes. 

1 In one of Williamson's note-books is a memorandum to the effect that 
Wihoughby had secured this revenue ' on condition that all the planters, 
&c., should hold thenceforth all their lands in free soccage.' C. C. 1675- 
1676, p. 155. 

2 C. O. 324/1, ff. 295, 302, 310, 318. 


Willoughby soon found himself in grave difficulties over 
this revenue. On the one side, he was importuned by the 
long-suffering creditors of Carlisle who clamored for their 
share ; ^ on the other, he was beset by the colony, which 
claimed that the revenue should be entirely devoted to its 
public services. The Governor's troubles were greatly in- 
tensified in 1665 by the war with the Dutch. The English 
West Indies, especially the Leeward Islands, which still were 
joined with Barbados in one government, were inadequately 
fortified and also poorly protected by the English na\y, 
and hence suffered severely from the French, who as allies 
of the Dutch had been drawn into the war. While recog- 
nizing the urgent necessity of strengthening the island's 
own fortifications, the Barbados Assembly refused to pass 
a satisfactory measure for raising the needed funds,^ claim- 
ing that this should be provided for out of the four and a 
hah per cent revenue.^ 

1 These creditors claimed that Willoughby had converted their share of 
the revenue to his own uses. This the Governor vigorously denied and 
asked that his accounts be audited in England. C. C. 1661-166S, no. 
992. In 1665, the EngUsh government appointed a special official to re- 
ceive the share allotted to the creditors. P. C. Cal. I, pp. 394-396, 414. 

2 In his letter of July 5, 1665, Willoughby begged the King to allow him 
to use the 4I per cent revenue for building forts and maintaining men to 
defend them, as he had no other means of meeting these expenses. C. 0. 
1/19, 77; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1017. 

2 Finally, in 1666, the Assembly passed a bill for raising a large amount 
of sugar ' to be disposed of by three of their own members . . . excluding 
the Governor and Council from all knowledge of the uses of this great levy.' 
This bill Willoughby refused to pass. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1185. See 
also Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2662, ff. 57 ct seq. of the reversed side of the 
volume, and C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 1017, 1018, 1121, 1167. In 1667, how- 


In this emergency, Willoughby, like most men of strong 
character and marked abihty, would not allow himseh to be 
fettered by his instructions, but used the entire four and a 
half per cent revenue for aggressive and defensive measures 
against the allied enemy. Unfortunately in 1666, while en- 
gaged in an expedition for the recovery of St. ELitts, Wil- 
loughby's vessel was wrecked by a hurricane, and he himself 
was drowned.^ 

His brother William succeeded to the barony and to the 
government of the Caribbee Islands, At this time the f our 
and a half per cent revenue amounted to about £6000 
yearly,^ and as William, Lord Willoughb}^, WTote to the Privy 
Council in 1667, it had been pledged by his predecessor for 
materials for this war for some years to come, despite the 
fact that it had been found insufficient to meet 'the exces- 
sive charge' of supplying the fleet and maintaining the 
regiment sent from England. 'So that,' he continued, 'un- 
less his Majesty issue satisfaction from his own exchequer,' 
he knew not where the necessary funds could be obtained, 
as the colony had already contributed very liberally.^ Soon 
thereafter, however, the Treaty of Breda of 1667 restored 
peace and did away with the necessity of most of this heavy 
expenditure. But the English regiment, that of Sir Tobias 
Bridge, was continued in the West Indies, and as during the 
war it was again ordered that it be paid out of the four and 

ever, Barbados made a large grant to fit out an expedition for the relief of 
the Leeward Islands. C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 1565, 1576. 

^ Ibid. nos. 1330-1333. 

^ Ibid. no. 1633. 

^ Ibid. no. 1648. 


a haK per cent revenue.^ Even for this purpose the revenue 
was hopelessly inadequate." The accounts at this time were 
in the greatest confusion,^ and the revenue was heavily in 
debt ; * the creditors of the Earl of Carlisle had so far re- 
ceived nothing,^ and the annuities granted to the successors 
of the original proprietors of the islands had not been paid.^ 
Thus the arrangement made in 1663 had not been carried 
out in any particular.^ On the other hand, in practice at 
least, the English government had been forced to grant the 
colony's demand, for virtually the entire revenue was de- 
voted to its defence. Barbados was, however, far from sat- 
isfied and continued its complaints.^ 

^ It was to be paid out of that part of the revenue "which is designed to 
be employed for the support of the Government of that Island." P. C. Cal* 
I, pp. 470, 477, 480-482. On this subject, see also C. C. 1685-1688, p. 634. 

2 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1854; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 57, 58. 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1803 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 492, 493 ; Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1669-1672, pp. 153, 154. 

* C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1836; Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, pp. 12-14; 
Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-167 2, pp. 443, 1059, 1060, 1077. 

^ In 1665, Willoughby stated that part of this revenue had been paid 
to the creditors, but they denied this. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 992 ; P. C. Cal. 
I, pp. 394-396. In 1668, the creditors complained that they had not re- 
ceived any part of the sum due them and that their representative had 
not been admitted as Comptroller of the Customs, as had been ordered. 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 394-396, 450, 451 ; Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, pp. 

5 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 539, 540; Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, pp. 12-14. 

^ In 1668, Willoughby wrote to the King that he would be able to see 
by the accounts sent home that this revenue ' is not sufficient to do all things, 
and that as yet the Governor has had nothing towards his support.' C. C. 
1661-1668, no. 1801. 

* In 1668, the representatives of Barbados set forth the heavy burden 
of this tax, 'imposed by an assembly illegally convened,' and prayed that 


In 1670, the four and a half per cent revenue in Barbados 
was farmed for seven years at a yearly rental of £7000, and 
that in the Leeward Islands for the same term for £700 
yearly.^ Barbados was greatly dissatisfied with this arrange- 
ment, as it was feared that it meant a permanent diversion of 
the revenue to England.^ Like his brother Francis, William, 
Lord Willoughby, always vigorously upheld the economic in- 
terests of the colony, and was outspoken in his opposition.^ 
In an able memorial on the subject,^ he fully adopted the 
colonial contention and, after reciting the terms of the Act 
of 1663, said that Barbados would be displeased at seeing 
what they had raised for themselves shipped to England. 
Furthermore, he pointed out, that during the recent war 
''the 4^ p Cent being applyed all to the pubhque use and 
the Creditt it had were principall means at that time of 

it might be commuted for a cash sum or converted into some reasonable 
rate on sugar in England. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1816. In 1669, Nicholas 
Blake said that this tax was pernicious and very vexatious and also sug- 
gested that in its place an additional customs duty be levied in England. 
C. C. 1699, p. 592. In this year, Barbados addressed the King complaining 
of the use of this revenue for other purposes than those for which it had 
been intended, and asserting their inabUity to maintain their government, 
forts, and other charges, "w*^** ought to be defrayed out of that said Impo- 
sition." Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 465. 

^ Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 2, £f. 211, 212; Blathwayt, Jour- 
nal I, flF. 81-84; P- C. Cal. I, pp. 537-539; Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, 
f. 417; Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2441, f. 15^; Brit. Mus., Add. INISS. 
10,119, f. 42; H.M.C. XV, 2, p. 14; C. C. 1675-1676, p. 349. In 1664, it 
had already been proposed to farm this revenue. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 


^ C. O. 31/2, f . I ; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 116, 117, 155, 224. 
3 C. C. 1669-1674, p. 81. 
* C. O. 29/1, fif. 122-124. 


preserving this Island and the rest." With this revenue 
farmed, he claimed, Barbados would in the future be with- 
out money or credit to meet sudden emergencies.^ 

The English government ordered that the rent derived 
from the farms should be first devoted to the support of 
the forces stationed in these colonies and to the payment of 
their arrears, and then to the satisfaction of such persons 
to whom money was due for public services during the 
recent war there.^ The cumbersome settlement of 1663 
was virtually repudiated, and the admittedly legitimate 
claims of the CarHsle creditors were calmly ignored. Ap- 
parently they never received a farthing of their dues. More- 
over, the farmers found their contract an unprofitable one, 
and made a number of claims for large allowances on ac- 
count of war, plague, hurricane, and other unavoidable fac- 
tors.^ Many of these had to be conceded, and thus the 

1 "As for Antigua, Montserrat, and the rest of the Leeward Islands 
Except Nevis," he further wrote, "if they should at present be Farmed, 
in aU probability it would totally ruine those Islands and so discourage the 
Planters, as to driue them to quitt the Island, and consequently instead of 
inuiting many of his Ma= Subjects from the French and Dutch (whom 
these Warrs haue driuen thither) force them off, and besides the King 
would Lett that which he knows not the value of, for if they prosper (as 
being encouraged they are like to do) the 4^ p Cent may in a short time 
exceede Barbados." 

2 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 538, 539; Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-1672, p. 707. Cf. 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 547, 552. In 1670, Sir Tobias Bridge's regiment was recalled 
and disbanded, which greatly reduced the charges on this revenue. C. C. 
1669-1674, p. 224; Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, p. 13. 

^ In order to encourage the development of the English colony in St. 
Kitts, the Crown had also remitted the payment of the 4I per cent there 
during the first three years of Stapleton's government, from 1672 to 1675. 
C. C. 1677-1680, p. 573. 


English government by no means obtained the full rental 
agreed upon. Of the £53,900 due for the seven years, the 
farmers in 1684 had paid only about £21,000.^ In 1677, 
when these farms expired, they were renewed for another 
seven years, but at the reduced rental of £5300 ; on account 
of this contract, only £22,000 had been paid in 1684.- In 
this year was prepared a lengthy report, showing in detail 
that this revenue had in no way answered the expectations of 
those interested in it, that it was greatly in arrear, and that 
the system of farming it was far from satisfactory.^ IMore- 
over, the tax and its method of collection ^ were extremely 

1 Of the balance, the government in 1684 clauned only £10,481, whereof 
the farmers craved that £4800 be allowed them. 

^ On these farms, see Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, p. 14; Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1676-1679, pp. 6, II, 12, 16, 60, 61, 421, 423, 424, 477, 774, 775, 
836, 961, 1280, 1300; Public Record Office, Declared Accounts of Pipe 
Office, Customs Rolls 1254-1256; Blathwayt, Journal I, ff. 81, 82; Brit. 
Mus., Sloane MSS. 2441, f. 15; Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 28,089, f- 4i- 

^ Cal. Treas. Papers, 1557-1696, pp. 13-15. This report was made as 
a result of the demands of the CarUsle creditors and other claimants for 

* Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 28,089, ff- 43~45- In 1675, Barbados complained 
about the method of collecting this tax and found an able advocate in the 
Governor, Sir Jonathan Atkins, who was even more fearlessly outspoken 
in upholding the ecomomic interests of the colony than had been his pred- 
ecessors, the WiUoughbys. This complaint arose from the fact that, 
while hitherto a certain fixed sum had been paid for each cask of sugar, 
the farmers of the duties had ordered the casks weighed, claiming that the 
planters had gradually enlarged their size and were thus paying much less 
than was in reality due. The planters denied that there had been any 
fraud and said that hitherto "there was never any Duty more cheerfully 
paid" than this, but that weighing the casks was most inconvenient and 
expensive. The English government, as was usual, carefully investigated 
the matter. At a hearing held in 1676, the farmers of the 45 per cent 


unpopular in Barbados, and had led to incessant complaints 
during the fourteen years of the farm. Although the revenue 
was entirely devoted to the pubhc concerns of these islands/ 

revenue stated that in Barbados the casks of sugar had been raised in 
size from 1200 to 1600 pounds. This was denied by the Gentlemen Planters, 
and the matter was then referred to the Treasury, which was just negotiat- 
ing a renewal of the farm. The Commissioners of the Customs thereupon 
reported that, unless there had been great abuses, the farmers would not 
have gone to the trouble of weighing the casks. C. O. 31/2, ff. 177-181 ; 
C. O. 391/1, L 240; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 210, 303, 474, 475, 478, 482 ; C. 
C. 1677-1680, pp. 6, 7. In 1673, instructions had been sent to Willoughby 
in Barbados and to Stapleton in the Leeward Islands to cause all sugars 
exported to be weighed as insisted upon by the farmers. Cal. Treas. Books, 
1672-1675, p. 100. When, in 1684, the English government imdertook the 
management of this revenue, the commissioners entrusted with its collection 
were similarly instructed. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 9, ff. 43- 
48, § vi. 

1 In 1682, the Lords of Trade reported that they had examined the pe- 
tition of the Carlisle creditors and the case of many others who had claims 
against the 4^ per cent revenue, and that they found that this duty was 
already charged ^\-ith the arrears and pay of the two foot-companies in these 
islands and of the royal ofificials there, so that for years to come there would 
be nothing to spare beyond the yearly cost and necessary support of the 
government, "for w^? this Revenue was granted unto your M^.^' " C. O. 
29/3, ff. 130, 131 ; C. C. 1681-1685, p. 268. In 1672, the Nevis Assembly 
refused to grant a salary to Sir Charles Wheler, the first Governor-in-Chief 
of the Leeward Islands, on the ground that the 4^ per cent revenue was 
in heu of all dues whatsoever payable to the Crown. They finally offered 
him a salary, 'but to none after him.' Wheler refused to agree to a law 
'with an exclusive bar to the rights of succeeding Governors.' C. C. 1669- 
1674, pp. 337-339. In 1680, the King ordered £1500 out of the 4I per 
cent revenue to be paid to Governor Stapleton for erecting forts in the 
Leeward Islands. C. C. 1677-1680, p. 475; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 870, 871. 
According to the estabHshment settled by the English government in 1679, 
the Governor of Barbados received a salary of £Soo, the Governor of the 
Leeward Islands one of £700, and the cost of the two foot-companies located 
in these islands was £2778 yearly. P. C. Register Charles II, XV, f. 150; 


there was a chronic fear, especially in Bardados, that it 

would be otherwise employed.^ 

Accordingly in 1684, when the farm expired, the collection 

of this duty was turned over to the Lords of the Treasury 

and was by them entrusted to their subordinate board, the 

Commissioners of the Customs.^ But at the same time, 

in deference to the oft-expressed wishes of Barbados, it 

was determined to allow the colonies to commute it into 

another tax more agreeable to them, but also payable 

to the CrowTi.^ Instead of availing itself of this offer, 

P. C. Cal. I, pp. 846, 847 ; C. O. 324/4, fi. 63 et seq. Cf. Brit. Mus., Add. 
MSS. 10,119, f- 52- In the three years, 1681 to 1683, £9971 was paid for 
the garrison in the Leeward Islands. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 15,896, f. 54. 

^ In 1 67 1, the Barbados Assembly wrote to the Gentlemen Planters in 
London complaining that, while hitherto this revenue had been 'employed 
for the most part to the ends mentioned ' in the Act granting it, the collec- 
tors appointed by the farmers refused to disburse anything for these pur- 
poses ; and that, as a result, the forts would speedily decay, thg prison was 
useless, and many pubUc concerns were neglected. The Committee of 
Gentlemen Planters did not, however, press this complaint, as they 
thought it inopportune to do so when the Enghsh Treasury was all but 
bankrupt. C. O. 31/2, ff. 26-29, 87-94, 100, loi ; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 
199-201, 283, 284, 369. At this time, the Provost Marshal General of the 
colony, Edwyn Stede, reported that the prison was so dilapidated that no 
prisoners could be secured therein, and that the Assembly had refused to 
repair it, stating that this expense should be charged to the 4^ per cent 
revenue. P. C. Cal. I, p. 572. In 1673, Sir Peter Colleton, then acting 
Governor of Barbados, said that, unless the Crown would assist the colony 
out of the 4I per cent revenue, he could not see how the pubhc charges 
could be met. C. O. 1/31, 43; C. C. 1669-1674, 2. 49S, 499. See also 
C. O. 31/2, ff. 165, 172; C. C. 1675-1676, p. 193. 

2 Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2441, f. 15^. 

^ In order to obviate the inconvenient method of collecting these duties, 
Barbados in 1679 had offered to undertake their farm. In 16S0, the Assembly 
instructed the Gentlemen Planters to endeavor to secure the commutation 


Barbados proposed to farm the tax for a period of years at 
an annual rent of £6000.1 The Governor of the colony, 
Sir Richard Button, who was apparently justly accused of 
havmg been bribed by the Assembly to lend his valuable 
support to this project, wrote strongly in its favor. ^ But 
at the same time the newly appointed collectors of this 
revenue in Barbados informed their superior officials in 
England, the Commissioners of the Customs, that they 
hoped m their first year to make the duties worth from 
£8000 to 10,000.3 Accordingly, this board reported ad- 
versely on the Barbados offer, and it was rejected.^ 

Under this new management the four and a half per cent 
revenue showed from the outset somewhat better results,^ and 

of this tax into an import duty in England, and, if this could not be ar- 
ranged, to contract for the farm on the best possible terms. Accordingly, 
in 1 68 1, the King offered the colonies the opportunity of commuting this 
tax into one more to their hking. Montserrat, alone of the Leeward Isl- 
ands, stated its wiUingness to pay an equivalent sum; the three other 
islands answered that they desired no alteration. The Barbados Assem- 
bly at first was wiUing to grant the Crown a revenue of £5000, arising 
from duties on imported wines and liquors, which they stated was £1000 
more than the King had received from Barbados' share of the 4^ per cent. 
A bill to this effect, however, failed to pass, as it was insinuated that the 
Kmg would grant this revenue to his rapacious mistress, Louise de Keroualle, 
Duchess of Portsmouth. C. O. 31/2, ff. 339-341; C. 0. 29/3, ff. 72-75 j 
C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 352, 517, 518; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 15, 16, 30, 69, 
73-75, 90. 

1 C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 8, 17. 

^IbU. pp. 21, 37, 38, 109. 

* Ibid. pp. 9, 26. 

< Ibid. pp. 56, 59, 64. 

* The Exchequer received on this account £8260 in 1686-16S7, £5000 
in 1687-1688. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 10,119, f- 215. 


later, after the Revolution of 1688/9, when the method of col- 
lection was better organized, it produced a considerable in- 
come, which the English government disposed of at its 
pleasure. But up to that time it had by no means sufficed 
for the payment of the salaries of the governors of Barbados 
and the Leeward Islands and for the support of the St. 
Kitts garrison.^ As a result, the other legitimate claims on 
this revenue remained unsatisfied. The annuity, which had 
been granted to the Earl of Kinnoul in consideration for the 
surrender of his unquestionably vaUd proprietary rights, 
was not paid from this source, but had to be defrayed by 
the Exchequer.^ Barbados was, however, far from satisfied. 
Apart from aught else, the bulk of the revenue was collected 
there, but was devoted to the pay of the forces in St. Kitts. 
The duty was regarded in the island as a distinct grievance, 
to which it was hoped that the new government of William 
and Mary would give redress. 

As in the West Indies, so in Virginia, the Crown had suc- 
ceeded to the rights of the proprietor ; in this case, it was 
the London Company, whose charter had been revoked in 
1624. In its fruitless efforts to obtain some return on the 
capital invested in the undertaking, this colonizing body 
had granted land to settlers in Virginia, subject to the pay- 
ment of an annual rent of two shillings for every hundred ! 
acres. This system was continued when the Crown assumed , 

^ The actual income from 1670 to 1684 was approximately £3000 yearly, 
while these charges amounted to about £4300. 

2 It was, however, not paid in full. Cal. Treas. Papers, 1 557-1696, pp. 
I3~i5) Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-1672, pp. 707, 1216, 1304; ibid. 1676- 
1679, Nov. 13 and 28, 1676; Letters of Sir Joseph Williamson (Camden 
Society, 1874) I, p. 40, 


the administration of the colony, but the few desultory 
attempts made by the first Stuarts to collect these quit- 
rents met with virtually no success.^ In 1662, however, 
the Restoration government instructed Governor Berkeley 
to see that the quit-rents were justly and fairly levied.^ 
At this time, these dues should have been paid on about 
one million acres, which would have meant an annual in- 
come of £1000.^ But as an Act of the local legislature 
allowed the payment of the quit-rents in tobacco at the 
excessive rate of twopence a pound,^ this revenue, granted 
that it could have been collected, would have been con- 
siderably less than this sum.^ Not only did the planters 
resist the payment of these moderate dues, but in addition 
whatever revenue was collected was claimed by Henry 
Norwood, who in 1650 had been appointed Treasurer of 
Virginia by Charles 11.^ The situation was further com- 

^ Bruce, Economic History of Virginia I, pp. 556 et seq.; Beer, Origins, 
pp. 321, 322. 

2 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 368; Va. Mag. Ill, pp. 15-20. 
^ Va. Mag. Ill, pp. 42-47. 

* Act xxxvi of 1661, Hening II, p. 31. Cf. p. 99. 

^ In 1662, Governor Berkeley said that the current price of tobacco 
was one-penny the pound. Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 356. 

* Force Tracts III, no. 10, pp. 49, 50; Va. Mag. XIV, p. 268. In 1671, 
Berkeley said that this was the only revenue that the King had in Vir- 
ginia, but that he had given it away to a "deserving servant Coll. Henry 
Norwood." C. O. 1/26, 77 i. Norwood claimed that his predecessor as 
Treasurer, Claiborne, had received the quit-rents without account by vir- 
tue of his office, and that he likewise was not accountable for this revenue. 
The English Treasury, however, decided against this ill-founded conten- 
tion. Blathwayt, Journal I, pp. 93-95. In this connection it may be 
pointed out that, in September of 1649, Charles II granted to Sir John 


plicated, when in 1669 the Earl of St. Albans, Lord Berkeley, 
and others secured the grant of the large tract of land in- 
cluded within the rivers Potomac and Rappahannock and 
Chesapeake Bay. In this extensive region, known as the 
Northern Neck, these proprietors were made lords of the soil 
and were authorized to grant land and to collect quit-rents 
from it.^ Four years later, in 1673, Charles II granted for 
thirty-one years to the Earl of Arlington and Lord Culpeper 
all of Virginia, together with the rents reserved in any prior 
grants, and empowered them to convey any part of these 
lands to settlers, reserving the customary quit-rents for 

Hitherto Virginia had paid but slight attention to the 
quit-rent system. The rents had been virtually ignored, 
and the Crown had derived no revenue from this source.^ 
It was realized, however, that private individuals would be 
more energetic in enforcing their legal rights, and for this 
reason, as well as for more vital ones, Virginia protested 
most emphatically against these grants. In consequence 

Berkeley and Sir William Davenant the office of Treasurer of Mrginia, and 
that shortly thereafter Davenant was appointed to this office, "in the ab- 
sence of" Berkeley, Claiborne being "affected to the Parliam* " Pepys MSS. 
(H.M.C. 191 1), pp- 284, 302. Davenant, however, did not exercise the 
functions of this office. 

1 Patent Rolls, 21 Ch. II, Part 4. 

2 Hening II, pp. 427, 428, 519, 568-578 ; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 334 ; Blath- 
wayt. Journal II, f. 403. 

^ When opposing the St. .Albans and Culpeper grants, the \'irginia agents 
stated in 1675 that, "though there is a Quit rent reserved to the Crown of 
one shilling for every 50 Acres Yet that hath not nor can be paid in money 
for want of Coyne, and is in itselfe soe inconsiderable that it hath never been 
paid into the Exchequ^ " C. 0. 1/34, loi, 102. 


thereof, the colony succeeded in securing a promise from 
Charles II, that he would take the quit-rent revenue into his 
own hands and apply it to the public services of the colony,^ 
The political disturbances in Virginia and the time con- 
sumed in its settlement after Bacon's rebellion occasioned 
some delay in carrying into effect this promise, and then 
followed prolonged negotiations with Lord Culpeper, to 
whom Lord Arlington had conveyed his interest in the 
patent of 1673.^ Although Culpeper had never been able 
to enforce his valuable rights under this grant, he refused to 
surrender them without adequate compensation.^ Finally 
in 1684, in return for a pension of £600 a year, payable 
during the stiU unexpired twenty years of his lease, Culpeper 
resigned his patent of 1673, as well as some other claims on 

^ P. C. Cal. I, p. 810. See also C. C. 1681-16S5, p. 100; P. C. Cal. 11, 
pp. 21, 22. 

2 Hening II, pp. 521, 578-583. 

^ In 1679, Virginia petitioned Charles II for a remission of the arrears 
of these rents, and for their future appropriation to the defence of the 
colony. In reply, Lord Culpeper, then Governor of Virginia, was instructed 
to state that the King had been carefully considering this matter, and would 
shortly give "such orders as shall consist with our service, and the ease 
of our people there." Va. Mag. XIV, pp. 359-361. In 1680, Culpeper 
wrote to the Lords of Trade that he had issued a proclamation for the col- 
lection of the quit-rents, but that as yet he had not received any particular 
account of them and feared that the low price of tobacco and the cost of 
collection would make them inconsiderable. C. C. 1681-1685, p. 154. 
In 1683, Culpeper stated that 'the non-payment of quit-rents has done 
great mischief. The only remedy is to cause the quit-rents reserved to be 
paid by large holders in specie, and by others in produce, that they may 
throw up the land that they cannot turn to account and leave it open for 
others.' In other words, he proposed to use these rents as a tax on unde- 
veloped land. Ibid. p. 497 ; Va. Mag. Ill, pp. 225-238. 


the CrowTi.^ This annuity was a charge on the English 
Exchequer, and thus upon the EngUsh taxpayer was ulti- 
mately shifted the burden of Charles's ill-advised liberality 
towards his favorites. 

In the same year in which this agreement was concluded, 
an Order in Council definitely ordered the application of this 
quit-rent revenue to the uses of Virginia.^ At the same 
time, Charles II wrote to Lord Howard of Eflfingham, the 
Governor of Virginia, informing him of this agreement and 
instructing him to collect these rents in coin and not in to- 
bacco, as had been optional under the Virginia law of 1661.^ 
Hitherto that had been the customary method of paying 
such of these rents as could be collected,'^ but the established 
rate of twopence a pound was greatly in excess of the value 
of the inferior tobacco usually tendered for these dues. The 
colony's gratification at the successful outcome of its strug- 

1 B lath way t, Journal I, ff. 11, 124, 125, 128, 129; C. C. 1681-1685, 
pp. 347, 348, 547, 660; Va. Hist. Register HI, p. 183; C. O. 1/52, 56; 
Va. ]\Iag. XIX, pp. 2, 3. In 1683, the Virginia Council had begged the King 
to give Culpeper 'just compensation' for his patent and to apply the quit- 
rents to the use of the colony, 'which wiU be a great rehef and a help towards 
a fund for meeting emergencies.' C. C. 1681-1685, p. 425 ; Hening II, 
pp. 561-563. Cf. C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 623, 637, 639, 640, 747. 

- Blathwayt, Journal I, fif. 378-381. 

5 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 670; Hening II, pp. 521, 522 ; Va. Hist. Register 
HI, p. 183. 

■* Among the requests of York Coimty in 1677 was one, to the effect 
that the quit-rents should be paid in tobacco at 2d. a poimd, as had been 
customary for many years. To this the Commissioners, who had been sent 
to pacify Virginia, replied: "It was neuer paid otherwis, but this left to 
the Right Honourable the Lord Treasurer being part of his ^Majesties reve- 
nues but neuer yet accompted for into the chequre." C O. 1/39; 92. 93- 


gle was somewhat marred by this order for the payment of 
the rents in coin, and also by the fact that the quit-rents 
of the Northern Neck of Virginia were not included in this 

In 1685, the colony thanked the King for appropriating 
the quit-rents to the uses of the colony, but entreated him 
to allow those Hving in the Northern Neck to share in this 
bounty.^ At the same time, the Assembly requested the 
Governor to accept tobacco in payment of these rents, since 
coin could not readily be obtained.^ In reply, the Governor 
expressed surprise at such a request, in view of the fact that 
this revenue was to be applied to the public services of the 
colony, but agreed to give orders for the acceptance of 
tobacco in cases where money was scarce.^ The English 
government was, however, firm on this point, and insisted 
that payment be made in money.^ Nor was anything done 
towards buying out the firmly established interest of the 
patentees of 1669 in the Northern Neck. 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 734. Cf. Va. Mag. \HI, pp. 177-179. Regarding 
these rents in the Northern Neck, Culpeper stated in 1683 that "the Thing 
hath been soe fully Setled, & Quietly Enjoyed that the Assembly Sent 
Agents to purchase the Same, and diverse of the Planters Inhabitants & 
others have Since bought Severall Quitt=Rents and other Parts thereof, to 
them and Their Heirs for ever." C. O. 1/52, 56. Culpeper had acquired 
the rights of the patentees of 1669, and in 1688 letters patent were issued 
confirming this grant. From Culpeper it descended to the Fairfax family. 
Va. Mag. XV, pp. 392-399 ; Va. Hist. Register III, p. 183. 

2 C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 5, 32. CJ. pp. 179, 180. 
' Ihid. p. 119. 

* Ibid. The Assembly then repeated its request and received the same 
answer. Ibid. p. 121. 
'/6ji. pp. 185, 271, 279. 



Under this new arrangement, the quit-rents were more 
systematically collected, and began to yield a regular income, 
which in the course of time became of not inconsiderable size. 
During the reign of James II, however, it averaged only 
about £850 yearly.^ This small revenue was allowed to ac- 
cumulate as a fund for such special emergencies as might arise 
in the colony. Thus,in 1685, the Enghsh Treasury authorized 
Governor Howard to apply £519 from it to the discharge of 
the debt of Virginia's regular revenue, which had been insuf- 
ficient to meet the expenses of the colony's administration.^ 

Like the four and a half per cent revenue in the West 
Indies, the receipts from these quit-rents were regarded as 
something entirely distinct and apart from the ordinary 
revenue of the colony. They were looked upon in England as 
property that had devolved upon the Crown as successor 
to the proprietor. If the King appropriated them to the 
uses of the colony, this act was regarded as one of royal 
bounty. As in the case of the West Indian export duties. 


1684 . 

. £ 574 

1685 . 

. £1029 

1686 . 

. £ 899 

1687 . 

. £ 836 

1688 . 

. £ 679 

1689 . 

. £ 68s 

1690 . 

• £ 747 

Blathwayt, Journal II, f. 244. 

The sheriffs collected the rents and de- 

ducted 10 per cent for their services. 

The Auditor then received them 

from the sheriffs and was allowed 7I 

per cent for his work. Va. Hist. 

Register III, p. 185. 

^ Blathwayt, Journal I, ff. 172, 



the colony had no control over the funds derived from 
this source. Nor could the royal governors draw upon 
them. All payments from this revenue had to be specifically 
authorized by warrants drawn in England.-^ Such a fund, 
under the sole control of the EngHsh government, could be 
developed into an effective instnmient of political restraint, 
and could be advantageously used for some invaluable ob- 
jects, whose merits were apt to escape the restricted vision 
of the provincial legislatures. 

In addition to acquiring the rights of the patentees of 
the Caribbee Islands and of Virginia, the Crown was also 
the legal successor of the proprietors of the Bermudas and 
of New York. In neither of these cases, however, was there 
created at this time a substantial independent income 
accruing to the Crown. The Bermuda Company had tried 
to enforce a monopoly of the commerce of the islands belong- 
ing to it, and had also imposed on the colony's crop of 
tobacco a tax of one-penny a pound, which they claimed was 
employed for their public services and for those of the colony.^ 
The settlers in the Bermudas complained bitterly and in-' 
cessantly about this restrictive policy of the Company, and 
after years of agitation and denunciation, in 1684, its charter 
was finally revoked.^ As a result, the Crown fell heir to 

1 In 1688, James II declared that this quit-rent revenue should be ap- 
pHed "to the Benefit and better Support of the Government of that colony- 
according to such warrants as should from time to time be issued by His 
Maj'ty." Va. Hist. Register III, p. 183. 

2 Lefroy, Bermudas II, pp. 429-433 ; C. C. 167 7-1680, pp. 393, 

3 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 676, 738. 


the rights of the defunct Company. The Enghsh govern- 
ment, with almost incomprehensible stupidity, then decided 
to continue its predecessor's obnoxious trade regulations, 
regardless of the fact that they had been the fundamental 
cause of the colony's discontent and of the ensuing successful 
agitation against the Company's charter. During the pre- 
ceding regime, the colony's crop of tobacco could be exported 
only in the "magazine ship," belonging to the Company. 
An attempt was made to continue this regulation, but, as it 
proved burdensome and could not be enforced, it had to be 
definitely abandoned in i688.-^ Similarly, the government 
tried to continue the Company's duty of one-penny a pound 
on tobacco. In 1684, it was estimated that this duty, if it 
were fully collected, would yield yearly from £1600 to £1800.^ 
The people in the colony, however, resolutely refused to 
pay this tax, and consequently this claim also had to be 
abandoned by the government.^ In addition to these two 
sources of profit, the Bermuda Company had derived an 
income from the land, of which it had retained possession, 
and from the whale fishery. It was figured that, under 
good administration, these public lands would yield £600 
yearly, and the royalties on the whale fishery £100.^ The 
Bermudas were, however, extremely independent, even to 
the verge of lawlessness, and likewise frustrated all attempts 

1 C. 0. 1/58, 75 ; C. 0. 1/60, 88 vii; C. O. 1/62, 36; C. C. 16S5-16S8, 
pp. 174, 175, 179, 185, 213, 222, 258, 259, 359, 392-395, 519, 529, 551, 568, 

2 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 663, 664. 

^ Ibid. 1685-1688, pp. 49, loi, 157, 394. 

^ Ibid. 1681-1685, pp. 663, 664; ibid. 16S5-1688, pp. 25S, 259. 


to collect an adequate income from these sources.^ In 
1686, Sir Robert Robinson was appointed Governor of 
the colony with a salary of £400, of which £240 was 
to be paid by the English Exchequer, and £100 was to 
come from the royalties on whales and £60 from the 
Crown lands.^ But from these last two sources, Robin- 
son wrote in 1687, that he would be able to secure re- 
spectively only £15 and £25.^ Thus the Crown was un-| 
able to establish an independent revenue in the Bermudas, 
as it had done in the Caribbee Islands, and the salary of 
the Governor had to be defrayed in large part by the 
English Treasury. 

When, in 1685, James II succeeded to the Crown, New 
York by this fact became a royal province. As proprietor, 
James had derived no income from the colony, since its 
revenue as a rule fell short of the expenses of administra- 
tion. The great bulk of this revenue was derived from 
import and export duties. In addition, some of the land 
had been granted on condition of the payment of incon- 
siderable quit-rents, which were, however, inefficiently 
collected.^ As royal Governor, Dongan induced many to 
pay these rents, and in some instances he also succeeded in 
increasing the amount payable under the original grant. ^ 
The start thus made was, however, only a false one, for it 

1 C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 48-51, 295. 

2 C. O. 1/58, 75; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 258, 259. 

3 C. O. 1/60, 88. 

* N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 260-262; C. O. 155/1, ff. 18-33; C. C. 1677- 
1680, pp. 237, 238. 

^ N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, p. 401 ; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 330, 331. 


was only seventy years later that the New York quit-rents 
yielded a revenue of any importance.^ 

From the foregoing it is apparent that, prior to 1689, the 
English Treasury derived virtually no direct income from 
the colonies, and that the revenue which accrued to the 
Crown in its various capacities was practically in its entirety 
devoted to colonial purposes. But, if the colonies were 
but a most insignificant source of direct profit to the Ex- 
chequer and to the Crown, they were at the same time, 
apart from the cost of imperial defence, but a slight and 
constantly diminishing fiscal burden. It was the steadfast 
policy of the English government that each colony should 
ultimately raise the funds for its own local expenses. By 
the end of the Restoration period this had been practically 

From the imperial standpoint the English colonies were 
divided into two distinct groups, the so-called "proprieties" 
and the royal provinces. The former, whether of the cor- 
poration or proprietary type, inevitably had to develop their 
own fiscal systems, since they were subordinate jurisdic- 
tions with nearly complete powers of local self-government. 
However significant their various fiscal regulations may be 
for the student of the economic development of the United 
States, they have in themselves but slight imperial impor- 
tance. Very little control was, or could be, exercised by 
England over the manner in which these semi-independent 
communities raised the funds for their local needs. In the 
crown colonies it was naturally far otherwise. Until the 

1 C. O. 5/216. f. 8. 


end of the reign of Charles II, the only colony of this type , 
on the continent was Virginia, while in the Caribbean Sea 
were Jamaica, Barbados, and the Leeward Islands. In all 
of these colonies were a number of officials appointed by 
the Cro\^Ti, and inevitably the question arose : Who was to 
pay the salaries of these governors, secretaries, and judges ? 
It was, however, realized that these officials, especially the 
governors, would become dependent upon the colonial 
assemblies granting their salaries, unless there were estab- 
lished permanent revenues, which the Crown was free to use 
for such purposes. Hence it became the aim of the English 1 
government to induce the royal provinces to grant to the 
Crown perpetual revenues, which could be disposed of in its 
discretion for the pubHc services of the colony. In Barba- ' 
dos and in the Leeward Islands, this result had been attained 
by the four and a haK per cent duty. But this revenue had 
been granted under especial circumstances, such as did not 
obtain in the other colonies. Moreover, it was remitted to 
England and paid out by warrants drawn there on the Eng- 
lish Exchequer ; and, in addition, the English government 
did not feel bound to devote these funds to the immediate 
services of the colonies whence they were derived. Unless 
in return for exceptional considerations, such as the English 
government was able to ofifer only in the case of the Car- 
ibbee Islands, no colonial legislature would be willing to 
grant a revenue of this nature. Hence, the revenues granted 
to the Crown in Virginia and Jamaica were kept in the 
colonies, and could be used solely for their public services. 
Unlike the four and a half per cent, they were not included 



in the receipts of the Enghsh Exchequer, but were treated 
purely as the revenues of the respective colonies. Perma- 
nent revenues of even this nature were, however, not readily 
granted by the colonies, and the English government 
was only partially successful in its efforts towards this 

During the reign of Charles I, the Governor of Virginia 
had received a salary from the English Exchequer, but under 
the Commonwealth the colony itself had made this provi- 
sion.^ After the Restoration, the English government made 
some temporary arrangement for remunerating Sir William 
Berkeley's services as Governor;^ but already in 1662 the 
Council for Foreign Plantations discussed this question, and 
decided that Virginia 'should bear its own charge and no 
longer be burthensome to the Crown.' ^ Accordingly, Gov- 
ernor Berkeley was instructed to take his salary of £1000 
out of the Virginia export duty of two shillings on every 
hogshead of tobacco.^ These duties were collected by offi- 
cials appointed by the Assembly and accountable to it,^ and 
yielded an adequate revenue. As instructed, Berkeley took 

1 Beer, Origins, pp. 320, 321, 367. 

2 In 1 66 1, a warrant was issued for the payment of £2000 to Berkeley 
* out of duties and customs arising from the next ship from Virginia in rec- 
ompense for his services as Governor.' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 171; Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1660-1667, p. 296. 

3 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 345. 
* Ibid. no. 368. 

^ Hening II, pp. 130-132. In case the tobacco was exported to any place 
but the English dominions in Europe, the duty was 105. Ibid. pp. 133, 
134. In 1662, a number of English traders complained about this export 
duty and the tonnage dues. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 352. 


his salary from this source, and from it also were paid the 
members of the Council.^ 

Although there was no friction — as Governor Berkeley 
completely dominated the legislature, there could be none 
— this financial system was not wholly satisfactory to the 
English government, because the revenue was neither a 
permanent one, nor at its disposal and under its immediate 
control. In 1679, was made a comprehensive and careful 
investigation of the budgets and financial systems of the 
crown colonies,^ and as a result it was determined to estab- 
lish in Virginia and in Jamaica perpetual revenues. In 
1680, Lord Culpeper, the Governor of Virginia, brought to 
the colony a law to this effect drafted by the Lords of Trade,^ 
with instructions to secure its enactment by the local legis- 
lature.^ After encountering considerable difficulty, he finally 
succeeded in so doing. At the first reading, the Assembly 
unanimously rejected this English-made bill, but ultimately 
passed it with equal unanimity, but only after having added 

^ The Virginia Assembly made Berkeley a regular additional allowance of 
£200 out of this revenue. In the seventies, it amounted to about £2500 
yearly, of which the Governor received from £1200 to £1400 and the Council 
from £200 to £250. C. 0. 1/26, yyi; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 508 ; CO. 1/34, 
103; Hening II, pp. 314, 315. The salary of Berkeley's successors, Lords 
Culpeper and Howard of Effingham was £2000. C. C. 1681-1685, 
p. 479. 

2 P. C. Register Charles II, XV, ff. 90, 150 ; C. O. 1/43, 70 ; C. O. 324/4, 
ff. 63 d seq.; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 837, 846-848. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, p. 818. In Virginia, as in Jamaica, but on a much less 
extensive scale than there, an attempt was made at this time to introduce 
the Poynings' system of legislation in force in Ireland. Ibid. pp. 809 
et seq. 

* Va. Mag. XIV, pp. 360-366. 


two clauses, which produced considerable trouble.^ This 
Act ^ granted in perpetuity to the Crown, to be disposed of 
and to be received by it, the revenue arising from export 
duties of two shillings on every hogshead of tobacco,^ from 
tonnage dues of one shilling threepence a ton, and from a 
poll-tax of sixpence on every immigrant. The clauses, 
which the Assembly had insisted upon adding to the Eng- 
lish draft, exempted Virginia o\vned or built shipping from 
the payment of these taxes. 

In the Virginia statute book could be found a number of 
similar laws discriminating against Enghsh shipping.^ Hith- 
erto, these had passed unnoticed in England, but such was 
not likely to be their good fortune now, since only shortly 
before this attention had been directed to this subject by 

1 Va. Mag. XrV, pp. 366, 367 ; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 555, 568 ; ibid. 
1681-1685, p. 153. 

2 Hening II, pp. 466-469. 

^ In case the tobacco were exported in bulk, each 500 pounds had to 
pay 2s. An Act of 1677 had already contained this provision. Hening 
II, p. 413. 

* An Act of 1662 exempted vessels wholly owned by Virginians from the 
payment of the 25. and 105. export duties, and an Act of 1669 granted them 
similar exemption from the castle dues. Hening II, pp. 135, 136, 272. By 
the Act of 1677, however, this exemption was to apply only to ships wholly 
built in Virginia and entirely belonging to its inhabitants. Ibid. p. 387. 
The perpetual revenue Act of 1680 did not mention the Act of 1677, but pro- 
vided that the privileges granted by the Acts of 1662 and 1669 should remain 
in full force. Culpeper -nTote in 168 1 that the exemption granted to Vir- 
ginia-o-mied vessels was inserted through a mistake, but that the exemption 
granted to Mrginia-built vessels, 'notwithstanding your Lordships' opinion 
to the contrary, I still think most fitting (at least for a time), and it wiU, I 
am confident, be insisted on by the next, and by every subsequent Assem- 
bly in Virginia,' C. C. 16S1-1685, p. 153. 


the insertion of a similarly objectionable proviso in the 
Jamaica revenue law. The Lords of Trade 'very much 
disliked' the clauses granting exceptional privileges to 
Virginia ships, and accordingly recommended that these 
should be disallowed by the King, while in other respects 
the revenue law should be confirmed.^ On the strength of 
their report, an Order in Council to this effect was issued on 
October 14, 1680; ^ and on the same day, the Lords of Trade 
WTote to Culpeper that they esteemed 'it not only irregular 
but inequitable, that ships o\\Tied in Virginia should receive 
more encouragement than those of others of the King's 

The course of action adopted by the government was of 
more than questionable legahty. A Virginia law could be 
disallowed by the Cro\^Tl, but could not be partially con- 
firmed and partially vetoed. Having secured a permanent 
revenue in the colony, the English government wisely would 
not run the risk of disallowing the entire Act, for it was 
extremely doubtful if such a measure could be secured 
from any other Assembly. On the other hand, the colony 
would naturally not pass a special bill repealing the privi- 
leges granted to vessels owTied or built in Virginia, as these 
had been the indispensable conditions upon which the Act 
had originally been agreed to.^ Thus, in return for a per- 
manent revenue, which in general was ample for its specific 

^ C. C. 1677-1680, p. 612. 

2P. C. Cal. II, p. II. 

' C. C. 1677-1680, p. 614. 

« Va. Mag. XIV, pp. 367, 368 ; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 555. 


purposes/ the English government was obHged to acqui- 
esce in Virginia's discrimination against English shipping.^ 
Although this preferential treatment did not lead to a rapid 
growth of the colony's mercantile marine, and hence its 
adverse effects on EngUsh shipping were only sHght, the 
situation was one that could not but be galling to the imperial 
government, whose general policy was so largely based on 
the development of England's sea power. 

The favorite colonial project of the Restoration . states- 
men was the development of Jamaica, the chief fruit of 
Cromwell's imperialistic policy. To this colony great 
attention was devoted and upon it money was spent by the 
government with an unwontedly lavish hand. In addition 
to appropriating comparatively large sums for the settlement 
and defence of Jamaica,^ the English Exchequer assumed in 
1663 the annual charge of £2500 for the island's ordinary 
establishment, of which the Governor's salary absorbed 
£1000.^ Some steps were, however, also taken to create 
an independent revenue in the colony. The Governors 

^ At this time, the revenue amounted to about £3000 yearly. Blathwayt, 
Journal I, p. 46. In the year 1688-1689 the receipts were £3631. For 
details of this revenue and its disposition that year, see Va. Hist. Register 
III, p. 187. 

2 The \'irginia Act of 1684, imposing duties on imported wines and Uquors, 
exempted from their payment such of these commodities as were owTied by 
Mrginians and imported in vessels, either built in or belonging to Virginia. 
Hening III, pp. 23, 38. 

^ Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, pp. 259, 267, 303, 362, 534, 617. 

^ Ibid. pp. 589, 667, 685, 720; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 616, 656, 664; 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 484, 485. In 1672, Sir Thomas Lynch induced the Assembly 
to raise his salary to £1500. C. C. 1669-1674, p. 335. 


were instructed in 1662 and in 1664 to reserve for the 
Crown suitable rents in the land grants.^ Other sources 
of income were also tapped. In 1670, the revenue arising 
from duties on wines and liquors, tonnage dues on shipping, 
licenses to sell ale, quit-rents, fines, and forfeitures amounted 
to £1900, while the necessary disbursements for the sup- 
port of the government were almost double this amount.^ 

At this time the conclusion was reached in England, that 
the colony was able to defray its own expenses and that the 
yearly allowance of £2500 from the English Exchequer 
should be stopped.^ This decision was, however, premature 
and could not be carried into effect. In 1673, Lieutenant- 
Governor Lynch wrote to the Council for Plantations,* 
that the revenue of Jamaica amounted to but £1800, while 
the charges of government were about twice this sum, and 
that, while he had hopes of its improvement, it would not 
for some time answer the needs of the colony. 'Young 
colonies,' he added, 'like tender plants, should be cherished 
and dealt easily with, it being better to put soU to their 
roots than to pluck too early fruit.' 

Four years later, however, the English government, 
pressed by its own money difficulties, had definitely arrived 

1 C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 259, 664. The quit-rents established in Jamaica 
were not uniform as in Virginia. C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 342-344. 

- C. C. 1669-1674, p. 95. This revenue was collected by royal officials. 
Ibid.; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 667, 668. 

^ C. O. 138/ 1, f. 113 ; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 306. This amount was divided 
as follows : £1000 to the Governor, £600 to the Deputy-Governor, £300 to 
the Major-General, and £600 for the maintenance of the forts. Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1672-1675, p. 575. 

^ C. 0. 1/30, 19; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 477. CJ. C. C. 1669-1674, p. 504. 


at the conclusion that Jamaica was prosperous enough to 
be fully self-supporting, and that its finances should be 
placed on a firm basis. At the same time was attempted 
I an interesting constitutional experiment, whose success 
-would have profoundly affected the Empire's futm^e. In 
Jamaica had been established virtually the same govern- 
mental system as in Barbados and Virginia. The Governor, 
Lord Vaughan, had been empowered to summon an Assembly 
of the freeholders, who, with the advice and consent of the 
Governor and Council, had authority to make laws for the 
colony.^ After some deliberation, it was decided in 1677 
to change this system, and to introduce that prevailing in 
Ireland under Pojuings' law of 1494." Under this Act, 
the Irish Parliament had authority to pass only such bills 
as were submitted to it by the Crown and the English 
Privy Council. The report of the Lords of Trade in favor of 
this constitutional change in Jamaica was approved,^ and 

1 These laws were to be in force for two years, unless disallowed by the 
Crown, and no longer, unless confirmed by it. P. C. Cal. I, pp. 744-747. 

2 H. A. L. Fisher, England, 1485-1547, p. 60. In 1679, the Lords of Trade 
said that this change in Jamaica was made on accoimt of *'the irregular, 
xdolent, and unwarrantable Proceedings of the Assembly." P. C. Cal. 
I, p. 827. 

^ They recommended that "for the future no Legislative Assembly be 
called without your INIajestys speciaU Directions; but that upon Emer- 
gencys, the Governor do acquaint your Majesty by Letters with the Neces- 
sity of calling such an Assembly, and pray your Majestys consent and Di- 
rections for their meeting. And at the same time do present unto your 
Majesty a scheme of such Acts as he shall thinke fit and necessary, that your 
Majesty may take the same into consideration, and returne them in the 
forme wherein your Majesty shall thinke fit, that they be enacted." P. C. 
Cal. I, p. 745. See also C. O. 391/2, f. 27 ; C. C. 1677-16S0, pp. 67, 68. 


Lord Carlisle, who was appointed Governor in succession to 
Lord Vaughan/ was instructed to introduce this new system. 
Among the laws prepared in England for submission to the 
Jamaica legislature was one granting a perpetual revenue 
to the Crown. This proposed revenue bill was carefully 

The Lords of Trade had been instructed to prepare such 
a bill on the general model of the revenue law transmitted 
from Jamaica two years before this.^ They carefully dis- 
cussed the matter and, as was usual, sought the expert 
advice of the Commissioners of the Customs/ who suggested 
some alterations in the draft submitted to them. This board 
objected to the high duties on beer, spirits, and cider, as 
these commodities were imported mainly from England, and 
they protested against the special privileges granted to 
Jamaica vessels, since "Ships built in any of his Ma*'^^ Plan- 
tacons are as free in England as ships built att London."^ 
The bill was finally put into satisfactory shape, and, with 
other laws, was taken to Jamaica in 1678 by the Earl of 
Carlisle for enactment by the colonial legislature.^ 

iBrit. Mus., Add. MSS. 25,120, Q. no, in, 115. 

2 P. C. Cal. I, p. 744; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 178. 

^ C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 179, 180. The Lords of Trade considered Sir 
Thomas Lynch's Act of 1672 and that passed under Lord Vaughan. In the 
latter they found several 'dangerous innovations,' such as the appointment 
of a collector by it, in the place of the receiver appointed by the Crown. 
They decided that the revenue should be received by the crown officer. 

* C. O. 1/41, 126 ; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 193. 

* Out of this revenue, CarUsle was instructed to take a salary of £2000, 
and he was also allowed one-third of the fines, forfeitures, and escheats. 
C. C. 1677-1680, p. 230. See also P. C. Cal. I, pp. 761-763. 


It was extremely unlikely that Jamaica would submit, 
at least without a severe struggle, to such an abridgment 
of its Hberties as was implied in the contemplated new con- 
stitutional system. As in all the colonies, the people here 
were very sensitive to anything that seemed to be, or was, 
in violation of an Englishman's traditional rights. It is not 
surprising that Lord Carlisle was completely unable to ac- 
compHsh his well-nigh impossible task. The Assembly ob- 
jected to the Formings' system as impracticable, on account 
of Jamaica's remoteness from England, and because it ren- 
dered the Governor absolute. The revenue bill was re- 
jected, because it was perpetual, and for fear that the funds 
arising from it might be diverted to other than its intended 

The English government was, however, not disposed to 
yield without further effort. Lord Carlisle was instructed 
to call another Assembly and, in case this body also rejected 
the laws transmitted from England, it was decided that he 
should be given such ample powers to govern the colony, as 
Governor Doyley had had, before a legislature had been 

1 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 826-833 ; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 367-369. In 1679, 
Carlisle wrote to the Lords of Trade that the Assembly feared that this rev- 
enue ' would be in danger of being diverted like the four-and-a-half per cent 
in Barbadoes.' C. C. 1677-16S0, p. 379. In this connection, the Lords of 
Trade reported that it could not be diverted, "since Provision is thereby 
expressly made that the same shall be for the better Support of that Govern- 
ment. Besides that it is not suitable to the Duty and ^Modesty of Subjects 
to suspect Your Majestys Justice or Care for the Government of that Colony 
whose Settlement and Preservation has been most particularly carried on 
by your Majesty's tender regard and by the great Expence of your own Treas- 
ure." P. C. Cal. I, p. S29. 


erected in Jamaica.^ This new Assembly met, but, as 
Lord Carlisle had prophesied, it was not of a more amenable 
disposition than its predecessor, and likewise refused to pass 
the English-made laws submitted to it.- The Jamaica 
situation was naturally carefully studied in England,^ and 
finally, in the fall of 1680, the government wisely receded 
from its untenable position and decided that, as theretofore, 
Jamaica should enjoy in matters of legislation the same 
privileges as did Barbados.^ Lord Carlisle was instructed ^ 
to summon the Assembly, and, after announcing this deci- 
sion, to endeavor to procure the passage of a perpetual 
revenue law according to the draft sent from England, from 

1 P. C. Cal. I, p. 833. 

2 C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 441-445. Before this news reached England, Sir 
Thomas Lynch, who had been very successful as Lieutenant-Governor of 
Jamaica, was consulted by the Lords of Trade and made a spirited and able 
defence of the colony, strongly condemning the attempt to change its consti- 
tution. He said: "It's probable the Assembly will reject the Laws thus 
ofEer'd them. Its certain there's an absolute necessity of a Revenue, for the 
pubhck charge is great and the debts many. It's possible the Council may 
joyn with my Lord to Order y** Laws for y® Governm'" to bee continued ; 
but I verily beUeve they will not continue y*^ Revenue-Bill, for that they 
think belongs peculiar to y® Assembly. And if they did doe it, it would 
not bee without process ; and I doubt the Judges &c. would quit, and Jurys 
constantly give against y® Officers. It would be y*^ Same or worse if any 
order went hence to that purpose, and give strange ombrage to the rest of 
the Colonies." C. O. 1/43, 172; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 456-458. 

' On Jan. 18, 1680, Secretary Coventry wrote to CarUsle : "The Truth 
is we are so very much imployed in our Transactions here at home 
that we cannot ^vith that leisure debate the Affaires of the Plantations as 
we could when you were here, but yet a good deal of time hath been allotted 
to Jamaica." Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 25,120, f. 151. 

^ C. C. 1677-1680, p. 622. 

* C. O. 138/3, ff. 447 eiseq.; C. C. 1677-16S0, pp. 624, 625. 


which no material deviations were to be permitted. Am.ple 
assurance was given that not only this revenue, but also 
that from the quit-rents, would be exclusively and entirely 
devoted to the public services of Jamaica.^ Thus, in return 
for a satisfactory law, the CrowTi was wdlling to abandon its 
rights to the quit-rents, which were based on the fact that 
the King was the original lord of the soil.^ Furthermore, 
Carlisle was forbidden to give his assent to any law exempt- 
ing Jamaica vessels from dues payable by other EngHsh 
ships.^ In his private instructions, accompanying these 
public ones, the Governor was authorized to consent to a 
revenue bill of not less than seven years' duration, provided 
a perpetual one were not obtainable. 

1 C. 0. 13S/3, ff. 448, 449- 

2 When, in 1677, the Lords of Trade first took up this question of the 
Jamaica revenue, they ordered that a search should be made in the instruc- 
tions to Governor ISIodyford and elsewhere, in order to find out what evidence 
there was to justify the disposal of the quit-rents to the uses of the colony. 
C. O. 391/2, f. 27; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 67, 68. In Jamaica, as opposed 
to Virginia, New York, and the Carolinas, the quit-rents formed part of the 
purely colonial revenue. 

^ C. O. 138/3, f. 452. During this prolonged controversy, Jamaica was 
forced in 1679 to pass a temporary revenue law, one clause of which aroused 
the ire of the English government, because it discriminated against EngUsh 
shipping. On Jan. 16, 1680, the Lords of Trade wTote to CarUsle, that 
they were much svu-prised at the clause exempting Jamaica ships from the 
taxes, as it had been expressly omitted in the draft sent by them, on the ad\-ice 
of the Commissioners of the Customs to the effect "that there might bee noe 
difference made between the Shipping of the built of any other His ^Ma^*-^ 
Plantations, or the Shipping of the built or propriety of this Kingdome 
trading to and from Jamaica and the Shipping of that Island." C. O. 
138/3, ff- 344-358; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 470. In reply, CarHsle wTote 
that the Assembly had insisted on this clause. C. C. 1677-16S0, p. 


The main object in \aew was to make Jamaica self-support- 
ing, and thus to lessen the burden on England's far from over- 
flowing Treasury.^ In anticipation of the proposed revenue, 
an order was issued that the garrison in Jamaica be dis- 
banded and taken off the estabhshment, that the yearly- 
allowance of £600 by the Exchequer for maintaining the 
forts in the colony be discontinued, and that the salaries 
paid from the same source to the Governor and his deputy 
be retrenched.- 

Although completely \dctorious in the main constitu- 
tional struggle, and as a result in the enjoyment of the same 
full representative institutions as the other royal provinces, 
Jamaica was by no means ready to comply with the English 
government's wishes regarding a revenue bill. As Carlisle 
had returned to England, the management of this matter 
devolved upon the Deputy-Governor, Sir Henry Morgan, 
then commonly called "Panama Morgan," on account of 
his successful buccaneering exploits on the Spanish Main. 
In the summer of 1681, Morgan wrote to the Lords of Trade 


Governor . . . 



£ 600 


£ 300 

Allowance for forts 

£ 600 

Garrison . . . 



p. C. Cal. I, pp. 837, 846-848. 

^ C. O. 138/3, ff. 441, 442. Carlisle's interest in the escheats, fines, and 
forfeitures of the colony was also stopped. In i6Si, the offices of Lieu- 
tenant-Governor and Major-General were discontinued and the two com- 
panies of soldiers were disbanded. C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 97, 98, 102, 103, 
113, 205. 


that the Assembly would meet soon again, but that he feared 
it would not grant a perpetual revenue.^ His doubts were 
fully justified. After considerable delay, the Assembly 
passed a revenue bill of only two years' duration, but Morgan 
induced them to rescind this and to pass another for seven 
years. This Act obliged the Governors to give a yearly 
accoimt of the disposal of the revenue to the Assembly. 
This provision would have made the annual meeting of the 
legislature automatic, \vithout the necessity of the Crown or 
the Governor summoning it, and naturally was considered 
highly prejudicial to the royal prerogative.- Furthermore, 
the Assembly tacked to the revenue bill a number of other 
measures, thus gi\"ing the English government no option but 
to confirm or to disallow one and all.^ The Assembly too 
shrewdly argued that England, in her anxiety to secure a 
revenue, would confirm the tacked bills also.^ In this, how- 
ever, they overshot the mark. 

While these events were happening in Jamaica, the English 
government in its difficulty turned to Sir Thomas Lynch 
and appointed him Governor of Jamaica.^ This was a 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 72. 

2 Ibid. p. 282. 

' Ibid. pp. 121, 122, 137, 183, 184, 204. 

* The instructions for the passage of a revenue law were issued in Novem- 
ber of 1680, but the Assembly passed this bill only a year later. In order 
to force it to take action, the English government declared, in October 
of 1 68 1, that aU other laws passed by this Assembly should be null and void, 
xmless a revenue bill were passed before the arrival of Lynch, who in the 
meanwhile had been appointed to succeed Carlisle as Governor. Ibid. 
p. 128; P. C. Cal. II, pp. 25, 26. 

* C. C. 1681-1685, p. 87. 


step well calculated to bring matters to an equitable settle- 
ment. Lynch had already displayed conspicuous ability in 
governing the colony; later, he had fearlessly opposed the 
attempt under Governor Carhsle to deprive the colonial 
Assembly of its customary powers. As a result, he enjoyed 
to the full the confidence of the colony. His instructions/ 
issued in September of 1681, were practically the same as 
those given to Carhsle the preceding year — to secure a 
revenue granted to the Crown in perpetuity or for at least 
seven years, and to assure the people that not only these 
funds, but the quit-rents as well, would be wholly devoted 
to the colony's public services. Until such a measure was 
passed, he was further instructed to refuse his assent to all 
other Acts of the legislature. 

L^TLch arrived in Jamaica in the early summer of 1682, 
but delayed taking any steps in this matter, until he should 
hear from the English government about the revenue bill 
passed the preceding year by Morgan's Assembly.^ 'The 
people,' he wrote to the Lords of Trade, are weU enough 
disposed, but by letters from England and evil designs here 
have been spirited into extraordinary distrusts and jeal- 
ousies. So I conclude that they will do nothing till they 
hear from you, and but little after.' ^ When the Assembly 
met in the fall of 1682, although still without direct instruc- 
tions from England on this point, L}Tich tactfully pointed 
out the valid objections to their proceedings during the past 
year, and told them plainly that ' they must not expect the 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, PP- 113-115- ^ Ibid. p. 253. Cf. p. 282. 

3 Ibid. p. 282. 


King to pass the laws while tacked to the Revenue Bill, 
nor to allow Assembhes to be convened by their own acts.' ^ 
He succeeded in inducing the legislature to pass a satisfac- 
tory revenue bill which, while free from the objectionable 
features of the preceding measure, was likewise but of the 
limited duration of seven years.^ On receipt of this news, 

1 Shortly after Jamaica had passed the revenue bill of 1682, the Lords 
of Trade took under their consideration the Act of the preceding year. 
They objected to the provisions of the Act, and to the fact that the other laws 
had been tacked to it. They decided that it should be disallowed, and that 
if Jamaica ' refuse to pass a Revenue Act the Assembly is to be warned that 
the laws of England empower the King to lay tonnage and poundage.' 
C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 315, 316,321, 322. This threat involved an interesting 
legal point. The EngUsh subsidy of 1660 (12 Ch. II, c. 4) imposed import 
and export duties in the realm mid its dominions. The addition of the 
words in itahcs was probably due to carelessness ; at all events, no attempt 
was made to collect these duties in the colonies. In 1680, however, it was 
suggested that the Jamaica difficulty cotdd be solved by collecting these 
duties there, but the expediency of this course was very doubtful, and nothing 
was done. C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 497, 498, 520, 521. 

2 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 296-298, 300-303, 307-310. For an interesting 
contemporary accoimt of the passage of this act, with valuable documents, 
see A Narrative of Affairs. . . . Jamaica (London, 1683). Lynch did not 
think a perpetual revenue essential. On Aug. 29, 1682, he wrote to the 
Lords of Trade: 'You judged rightly for the King's honour that no short 
Bill of Revenue should be accepted, but, with your leave, I think a perpetual 
one against his interest. For, without their Act, I doubt not to find enough, 
after some considerable time, to pay the Governor, Chief Justice, and Au- 
ditor-General. As to the fortifications and other contingencies, they are 
the Island's concern and must be neglected at its peril.' C. C. 1681-1685, 
p. 282. After the passage of the revenue bill, on Oct. 8, 1682, Lynch wrote 
to the Lords of Trade : ' The revenue is for seven years, though I told the 
Assembly that they might pass it for six if they would. A perpetual bill 
I would not suggest, as I could not put them into the train of rejecting my 
proposals ; moreover, I thought that you will certainly send back their laws 
(those tacked to the revenue bill of 1681), and that on receiving them they 


the English government expressed great satisfaction, and 
confirmed nearly all the other Jamaica laws^^ but at the same 
time they instructed Lynch to do his best ' to render the Act 
of Revenue perpetual, representing that the King may thus 
be ready to confirm their laws for more than seven years.' ^ 

When the Jamaica Assembly met again in the fall of 
1683, Lynch congratulated it on the success of its 'discreet 
behaviour, ' and in reply the Speaker said that, ' after the 
King's gracious favour we shall have little more to do but 
every man to sit down under his own vine, studying to do 
our own happiness, and pray for His Majesty's long and 
happy reign.' ^ Despite this good feeling, Lynch encoun-'j 
tered some difficulty,^ but ultimately succeeded in having 
the revenue bill extended to a period of twenty-one years 
in all.^ 

This revenue arose from licenses for taverns and from 
an impost on spirituous liquors, and in addition the Crown 
definitely abandoned to the colony the quit-rents, which else- 
where were regarded as in the nature of a royal perquisite.^ 

will themselves offer it. It can never be done otherwise ; pressing it is the 
certain way not to have it.' Ibid. p. 310. 

1 Ibid. pp. 369, 397-398, 400 ; P. C. Cal. II, pp. 46-48. 

2 C. C. 1681-1685, P- 386. 
^ Ibid.^p. 486, 487. 

* The main opposition came from what Lynch called ' that little, drunken, 
silly party of Sir Henry Morgan's.' Ibid. p. 532. 

^ Ibid. pp. 487, 5C1, 506, 518, 522, 532. In return, the laws passed by 
this Assembly were, with one exception, confirmed by Order in Council for 
21 years. Ibid. p. 487. 

^ In 1682, Lynch wrote to the Lords of Trade : 'I think that you should 
first see the rental of the quit-rents and consider whether the King should not 
be often thanked for so great a bounty.' Ibid. p. 310. 


The moneys were received by a royal official, the Re- 
ceiver-General, who was supervised by a Deputy- Auditor, 
also appointed from England, and the accounts were sub- 
mitted to the Governor in Council.^ Out of the revenue 
was paid the salary of the Governor,^ the cost of keeping 
the forts in fit condition and other items. 

At first the revenue was poorly managed,^ but in the 
subsequent period, after the Revolution of 1688/9, it 
yielded an income adequate for these purposes. Hence- 
forward Jamaica was no longer a burden on the English 
Exchequer, Thus in this colony, as in the other West 
Indies and in Virginia, the English government had ulti- 
mately succeeded in laying the basis of a permanently 
established revenue, out of which it could pay the salaries 
of its representatives in Jamaica, and thus prevent them 
from becoming dependent upon the colonial legislature. 

In connection with the movement to reorganize the 
financial systems of the crown colonies and to place them 
on a permanent basis, there was created in 1680 a new im- 
perial office, whose function was to audit their revenues and 
expenditures.^ In that year WiUiam Blathwayt, an able 
official with considerable experience in colonial matters, 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 283, 473, 501. 

2 In 1684 this salary was £2000. C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 407, 408. 
^ Ihid. 1681-1685, pp. 657, 683. 

* In 1663 had been created the office of Receiver- General of the Revenues 
of the Foreign Plantations, but there is no evidence of any activity on the 
part of the patentees, Ross and Chiffinch. C. O. 1/15, 60; C. C. 1661- 
1668, nos. 99, 100, 376, 435, 487, 488, 1527; Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 
2395, ff- 370, 380. 


was appointed Surveyor and Auditor General of all His 
Majesty's revenues in America.^ His salary of £500 was 
charged to the royal provinces, Virginia paying £100 and 
the West Indies the balance.^ From Blathwayt's juris- 
diction was naturally excepted the plantation duties of 1673, 
because the Act of Parliament imposing them had spe- 
cifically entrusted this matter to the Commissioners of the 
Customs. Thus this new official as such had no direct con- 
nection with the work of enforcing the laws of trade and 

Except in Virginia, where there was already an auditor 
appointed by the Crown,* B lath way t was authorized and 

1 Blathwayt, Journal I, £f. 1-9 ; Va. Mag. IV, pp. 43-49 ; Mass. Col. Rec. 
V, pp. 521-526. 

2 Barbados and Jamaica each contributed £150 and the Leeward Islands 
£100. Later, when the number of royal provinces had increased, the 
Auditor's income was enlarged, as he was in several instances allowed a 
percentage on their revenues. In 1688, Randolph wrote from Boston to 
Blathwayt that he had proposed the allowance of a fee of 5 per cent, but 
that this was as yet not settled. He added, that Graham of the New 
York Council told him, that there they had settled £100 on Blathwayt. 
Goodrick, Randolph VI, p. 251. In 1682, Cranfield wrote to Blathwayt 
that an order had been passed in New Hampshire allowing him 2^ per cent 
of the revenue there. This revenue did not, however, exceed £100. Ibid. 
pp. 120, 122. 

^ He was solely interested in this matter, because the revenue that ac- 
crued to the Crown from forfeitures for violations of these laws was under 
his jurisdiction. Thus Blathwayt's deputy in Massachusetts, Randolph, 
was empowered "to inspect, examine, and state all accounts of all such 
rents, revenues, prizes, fi6nes, escheats, seizures, fforf eitures " etc. Mass. 
Col. Rec. V, pp. 526-529. 

■• In 1675, Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., had been appointed Auditor of the Vir- 
ginia accounts in succession to Edward Digges. Bacon's rights were safe- 
guarded in Blathwayt's patent, but it was provided therein that, on the 


instructed to appoint deputies in the crown colonies. Those 
appointed by him as a rule occupied in addition some other 
colonial post. The Jamaica deputy, Reginald Wilson, 
was also the colony's Naval Officer, and the deputy in New 
England was the well-known Collector of the Customs, 
Edward Randolph.^ These deputies audited the colonial 
accounts, which were then passed upon by the Governor 
and Council, and ultimately sent to Blathwayt,^ who in his 
journals kept a careful record of these fiscal details. To a 
great extent, however, Blathwayt's work was perfunctory; 

expiration of Bacon's grant, the Virginia office should be annexed to that 
of the Auditor-General. Despite this, in 1687, William Byrd was appointed 
by the EngUsh Treasury to succeed Bacon. The rights of these two Vir- 
ginia Auditors were, however, attacked by Robert Ayleway, who in 1678 
had obtained letters patent for this place. Owing to the opposition of 
Governor Culpeper, Ayleway was unable to enforce his patent against Bacon, 
but, on the appointment of Byrd in 1687, he revived his claim. Although the 
legal authorities could find no flaw in it, difficulties were put in his way. and 
he made terms with Byrd, to whom he assigned his grant. When Bacon 
was appointed Auditor, he was allowed 5 per cent for his work. At that time 
the revenue was received by a Treasurer, but the Governor and Council, 
beheving this office to be superfluous, consohdated it with that of the Auditor 
and raised Bacon's fee to 7I per cent, as compensation for the extra work. 
Thus the Auditor acted as well as the Receiver- General of the pro\'incial 
revenue, receiving it from the collectors and paying it out on warrants from 
the Governor and Council. Blathwayt, Journal I, f. 279; II, ff. 37-40; 
Va. jNIag. XIV, pp. 270, 271, 36S ; Va. Hist. Register III, pp. 182, 183 ; P. C. 
Cal. I, p. 864; II, p. 136; C. C. 1689-1692, pp. 69, 70, 72, 77, 83; Cal. 
Treas. Papers, 1676-1679, pp. 806, 807 ; Chalmers, Opinions of Eminent 
Lawyers (BurUngton, 1858), pp. 160, 161. 

^ Blathwayt, Journal I, fif. 74, 75, 88, 109, 238-240; Mass. Col. Rec. V, 
pp. 526-529. 

2 For the exact procedure in Jamaica, see C. C. 1681-16S5, pp. 28^, 473, 
501, 502. 


and necessarily so, since but slight control over the income 
and expenditure of the crown colonies could be exercised 
from so distant a centre as England. Everything depended 
upon the honesty and vigilance of the governors, deputy- 
auditors, and local treasurers. Hence Blathwayt's post of 
Auditor-General tended to, and ultimately did, become one 
of those sinecures of no public utility, which were the bane 
of the old administrative regime, and which, while not 
numerous in the colonial service, tended in a mild way to 
breed discontent in the colonies. 



Parliament and Crown — The Privy Council and its Committees — The 
Secretaries of State — The CouncQ for Foreign Plantations of 1660 — 
The Council for Trade of 1660 — Its revival in 1668 and that of the Co- 
lonial Council in 1670 — The Council for Trade and Plantations of 1672 

— The Lords of Trade — The Admiralty and the Colonies — The 
Treasury and the Commissioners of the Customs — The Royal Governor 

— The naval officers — The collectors of the customs — The Surveyor- 
General of the Customs — Quarrel between Giles Bland and Governor 
Berkeley of Virginia — The colonial admiralty courts — The use of the 
navy to suppress illegal trading. 

The central fact in the histoty of the Enghsh Empire 
during the Restoration era was the creation of a compre- 
hensive and symmetrical system regulating colonial trade. 
This commercial code was the work of Parliament, and 
marked the definite establishment of its claim to legislative 
power in imperial matters. The first Stuarts had succeeded 
in denying Parliament's competence in such questions/ 
but the collapse of the monarchy in the Ciial War inevdtably 
implied, at least for the time being, parliamentary juris- 
dictions over the American dominions. This result of the 
confusion and flux of the Interregnum decades was accepted 
without contest by the Restoration government, for Charles 
II tacitly waived his ancestors' claims to exclusive authority 
over the colonies. As a consequence, the Crown was de- 
prived of some powers, but in reality its imperial duties and 

^ Beer, Origins, pp. 301, 302. 


functions increased greatly during the Restoration era. 
For the work of Parhament was necessarily purely legis- 
lative, and the burden of enforcing the new commercial 
system, embodied in the half dozen fundamental statutes 
of the reign, fell upon the Crown. In addition, these laws 
of trade and navigation obliged the English executive to 
appoint royal officials within the confines of the proprietary 
and charter colonies, whose inhabitants had hitherto not 
been normally in direct relations with the organs of the 
home government. It was the colonial system enacted by 
Parliament, that forced the Crown to break*m upon the 
feudal barricades created by the early colonial charters. 

Another factor also considerably expanded the sphere of 
the Crown's activities in colonial administration. This 
was the great increase in the mmiber of royal provinces. 
The fundamental trend in the constitutional development 
of the old Empire was the gradual substitution of cro\^^l 
colonies for those of the proprietary and charter type. 
Under the first Stuarts, Virginia was the only royal colony ; 
in the "Old Dominion" alone did crowTi- appointed ofiicials 
direct the course of local self-government. The proprietors 
of the other colonies, whether corporations or individuals, 
enjoyed under certain broad restrictions, defined in their 
charters, virtually complete powers of government. Al- 
ready under the first Stuarts, apart from the forfeiture 
of the Virginia Company's patent in 1624, distinct inroads 
had been made into this anomalous and unworkable system 
of semi-feudal independent jurisdictions.^ Further steps 

1 Beer, Origins, pp. s^^SSS- 


in this direction were taken during the Commonwealth, when 
a number of the colonies in the West Indies were forcibly 
seized from their proprietor in consequence of their overt 
espousal of the royalist cause. 

This movement advanced at a greatly accelerated pace, 
when the English monarchy was restored in 1660. Barba- 
dos and the Leeward Islands were definitively organized 
as royal provinces on the Virginia model, and conquered 
Jamaica, hitherto governed on a military basis, likewdse 
received the same political organization. In all of these 
colonies were firmly estabhshed balanced constitutions ; the 
people were represented in the local assembhes, whose 
actions were controlled by royal governors, assisted by 
other officials likewise appointed from England. In addi- 
tion, towards the end of the Stuart period, the number of 
Crown colonies was greatly enlarged. The Bermuda Com- 
pany was deprived of the islands, which it had settled. AH 
the New England colonies lost their charters and were 
joined in an artificial union with New York, which on the 
accession of James II had already by this very fact become 
a royal province.^ 

Thus the enactment of the laws of trade and navigation 
and the extension of the system of royal provinces added 
greatly to the work of the English executive. But apart 
from these general causes increasing the normal volume of 
colonial business after the Restoration, there naturally were 
at that very time an exceptionally large number of impor- 
tant colonial questions that pressed for immediate decision. 

1 The Jerseys were also included in this abortive arrangement. 



After the widespread dislocation produced by the Inter- 
regnum, there had to be a settlement in the Empire, as well 
as in England, Ireland, and Scotland. A host of difficult 
questions crowded the government. In the first place, should 
Jamaica be restored to Spain, Charles's friend in misfortune, 
and, if retained, how should it be governed ? Then, should 
Nova Scotia, which Cromwell had seized from France, be 
kept; and, if so, should the Temple charter of 1656 covering 
this territory be recognized as vaHd ? ^ WTiat attitude should 
be taken towards the Puritan colonies of New England, 
which all but in name were independent political entities, 
and looked askance at the restoration of the monarchy in 
England? What, if any, recognition should be given to 
the claims of the Kirkes to Newfoundland imder the patent 
of 1637, which Cromwell had superseded when he appointed 
Commissioners to take charge of these fishing settlements?^ 
Finally, what should be done with the Caribbee Islands, 
which the Commonwealth government had taken from 
the Earl of Carhsle, who had been their proprietor in virtue 
of the charter of 1627 ? 

The ultimate decision in all these matters rested with 
the Crown, which still retained a large measure of its pre- 
rogative and was the source of all executive authority. Its 
work was performed primarily through the Privy Council, 
which was the centre of the administrative system. This 

1 C. C. 1574-1660, pp. 444, 447, 484, 496, 497 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 305, 316, 

^ C. C. 1574-1660, p. 481. In addition, Lord Baltimore asserted his 
claims to Avalon in Newfoundland on the strength of the charter of 1623. 
Ibid. pp. 481, 482 ; C. C. 1675-1676, p. 157, ' 


was a consultative and executive body, composed of the 
great state officials and of a varying number of men of ex- 
ceptional prominence and standing, who fully enjoyed the 
royal confidence. Around the King and the Privy Council 
were grouped the great administrative departments, but as 
yet no special colonial office had been created. Hence this 
mass of colonial business naturally came before the Privy- 
Council; and, in order to cope with it, recourse was had to 
the committee system that had already been developed under 
the first Stuarts. In 1660, a number of merchants and others 
interested in the West Indies and opposed to the Carlisle 
patent petitioned the King, that Colonel James Russell be 
continued in the government of Nevis. This petition was 
referred to the Privy Council and was read before it on 
July 4, 1660, a week after its receipt.^ On the same day, in 
coimection with this petition, which raised the entire question 
of the future disposal of the West Indies, an Order in Coun- 
cil was issued appointing a Committee of the Pri\y Council 
to deHberate thereon and further to meet every Monday and 
Thursday "to receive, heare, examine & deliberate upon peti- 
cons, proposicons, Memorialls, or other Addresses w*^.^ shal 
be presented or brought in by any person or persons con- 
cerning the plantacons," and then to report to the Pri\'y 
Council.^ The members of this committee were in the main 
great officers of state, such as the Earl of IManchester, then 

1 C. C. 1574-1660, p. 482. A similar petition in favor of the retention 
of Governor Ward in St. Kitts was also received. Ibid. 

2 P. C. Register Charles II, I, f. 63 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 295 ; N. Y. Col. 
Doc. Ill, p. 30. 




Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Southampton, then Lord 
Treasurer, the two Secretaries of State, Nicholas and Mor- 
ice.^ Among other matters, this body carefully investigated 
the question of reviving the Carlisle patent of 1627 covering 
the Caribbee Islands,^ and also the Temple claim to Nova 
Scotia based on the charter of 1656.'^ In addition to this 
general committee, special committees of the Privy Council 
were also appointed for specific purposes. In September of 
1660, the colonial committee was instructed to inform itself 
of the state of Jamaica and to report to the King ; but, 
somewhat over a month later, a special committee was 
formed and the Jamaica business was entrusted to it.^ In 

^ In 1661, Sir George Carteret, the Vice-Chamberlain, was added to this 
committee and to that for the affairs of New England. P. C. Cal. I, p. 309. 
In 1662, the Lord Chancellor Clarendon, the Earl of Portland, and the Earl 
of Sandwich were also appointed to serve on this body. P. C. Register, 
Charles II, III, f. 127 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 336. C/. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 847. 

^ On July 16, 1660. several Lords of the Council, sitting 'as a Committee 
touching the Plantations, ' heard Lord Willoughby on his claims to the Caribbee 
Islands and Surinam, and also the merchants and planters opposing him. 
"It was ordered by his" Ma*-, afterwards cominge & sitting in Councill." 
that Willoughby and the planters should "attend the Comittee for Plan- 
tacons" on July 26, and that the committee should report to the King. 
After this hearing, the committee stated that they could not make "any 
cleare or satisfactory Report to his Majestie or Councill, " until they had fur- 
ther investigated the matter. On Aug. 2, the question was again considered, 
and on Aug. 20, 1660, the committee reported in favor of restoring Wil- 
loughby to his rights as leaseholder under the proprietor. C. O. 1/14, 20; 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 296, 297 ; C. C. 1 574-1660, pp. 483, 484, 486, 488, 489. 

' C. C. 1 574-1 660, pp. 484-486, 48S. 

* P. C. Cal. I, pp. 298, 299. The original members of this body were the 
Duke of Albemarle, Arthur Annesley, and the Secretaries of State, Morice 
and Nicholas, of whom only the first was not a member of the larger com- 
mittee. Subsequently, the Duke of York, the Earl of Sandwich, Sir George 


1 66 1, was constituted also a similar special committee for 
the affairs of New England,^ and in the same year another 
committee was appointed to consider the French demand 
for the restitution of Nova Scotia.^ 

The work of the Pri\y Council and its various com- 
mittees was mainly deliberative; its decisions were car- 
ried into actual effect by one of the Secretaries _Qf 
State — at the outset, in 1661 and 1662, by Sir Edward 
Nicholas, to whose department the colonies were assigned. 
But Nicholas was by no means minister for the colonies 
in the modern sense. The Secretaries of State had as yet 
no clearly defined independent position, and were still 
attached and subordinate to the Pri\y Council. They were 
in the nature of its executive officers, and also served as 
intermediaries between it and the King. Nicholas brought 
petitions addressed to the King before the Pri\*y Council, 
prepared the material for its consideration, kept rough 
minutes of its proceedings for his own use, and saw that its 
orders and those of the Crown, were executed.^ 

Obviously, the Privy Council and its committees could by 
no means do full justice to the many and intricate colonial 
questions that demanded more or less immediate settlement. 
Its active members, upon whom this duty devolved, were 

Carteret, and Denzill Holies were added to it. Ihid. See also C. C. 1574- 
1660, pp. 491, 492 ; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 839, 847 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 320, 

1 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 308, 309, 344; C. C. 1661-166S, nos. ^S>, 91. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, p. 316. See also ibid. p. 305 and C. C. 1661-1668, no. 112. 

^ C. C. 1574-1660, pp. 489, 490; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 12, 19, 26, 37, 
58, 76, 78, 83, 87, 91, 95, 133, 216, 222, 309. 


at the same time the great officers of state, and had to super- 
intend the extensive readjustment in EngHsh affairs that 
followed inevitably in the wake of the restoration of the 
monarchy. Immersed in this important work, which directly 
affected so many vital national and private interests, they 
naturally could not give adequate attention to colonial 
matters. Moreover, no matter how much these statesmen 
might be impressed with the importance of imperial prob- 
lems, they unfortunately brought no detailed expert knowl- 
edge to their solution. Hence the demand immediately 
arose that there be created an advisory body, composed 
in part, at least, of experts, which should devote its entire 
attention to colonial questions. Some tentative steps in 
this direction had already been taken by the first Stuarts 
and by the Cromwellian government.^ The cumbersome 
administrative machinery devised for this purpose during 
the Interregnum was, however, far from satisfactory, and 
the creation of "a select Councill solely dedicated to the 
inspection, care and charge of America" was at that time 
strongly advocated by a group of EngHshmen interested 
especially in the West Indies. These men, of whom the 
chief were Thomas Povey and Martin NoeU, renewed 
their proposals very shortly after Charles's entry into 

In view of the congestion of business, it is not surprising 
that they met with a favorable response and, on December i, 
1660, was issued the formal commission creating a special 

1 Beer, Origins, pp. 307-316, 418-423. 

2 Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, ff. 272-275. Cf. fif. 270, 271. 


[/Council for Foreign Plantations.^ In this body were rep- 
resented various distinct groups and interests. Among 
the statesmen were the Lord Chancellor Clarendon, the 
Lord Treasurer Southampton, the Lord Chamberlain Man- 
chester,^ the two Secretaries of State, and Sir Anthony- 
Ashley Cooper, better known to fame as the first of the three 
celebrated Earls of Shaftesbury. All of these men were 
prominent members of the Privy Council ; mth the excep- 
tion of Clarendon, who was the chief of Charles's ministers, 
they were all members of its general Committee for Plan- 
tations. A second group comprised colonial administrators 
and men already, or about to become, actively engaged in 
colonial enterprises, such as: Lord Willoughby, the founder 
of English Surinam and the leaseholder of the Caribbee 
Islands ; Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, who were 
to be among the future proprietors of the Carolinas and to 
whom the Duke of York in 1664 granted the Jerseys;^ 
Berkeley's brother. Sir William, the experienced royalist 
Governor of Virginia; John Colleton, about to be knighted, 
one of the most prominent planters in Barbados * and 
shortly to become a leading figure in the settlement of 
Carolina.^ Finally, there were included in the Council a 

1 C. O. 1/14, 59, ff. I, 2; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 32-34; C. C. 1574- 
1660, pp. 490, 492, 494. The Council was given power to appoint clerks, 
messengers, etc., whose salaries were not to exceed £300 yearly. Phihp 
Froude was appointed as its secretary. 

- jManchester was also the Governor of the Bermuda Company. 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, nos.- 1095, 1169. 

* Ibid. nos. 39, 60. 

^ Ibid. nos. 457, 558, 912. 


number of experts in colonial matters, who in the main 
had acquired their knowledge from personal experience as 
traders or planters. Among these were Thomas Povey and 
Martin Noell, — to whose efforts was largely due the forma- 
tion of the Council, — Sir James Drax, Thomas Kendall, 
and Edward Digges. With the exception of Digges, whose 
associations were with Virginia, \drtually all these men were 
predominantly interested in the West Indies. This was a 
natural result of the high value attached to the sugar and 
tobacco trades and of the slight actual commercial' impor- 
tance of New England. 

The commission of the Council stated that Charles II 
deemed its appointment necessary, in order that so many 
remote colonies, which had gro^^m so greatly in wealth and 
population, should be brought under a uniform inspection 
and conduct for their future regulation, security, and im- 
provement.^ Annexed to the commission were detailed in- 
structions defining the scope of the Council's work.^ They 
were fully to inform themselves of the condition of each col- 

^ "They being now become a greate and numerous people whose plentifull 
trade and comerce verie much imployes and increaseth the navigacon and 
expends the manufactures of our dominions and exchanges them for com- 
odities of necessary use, and bring a good accesse of treasure to our Ex- 
chequ*" for customs and other duties." 

2 C. O. 1/14, 59, ff- 3, 4 ; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 34-36 ; C. C. 1574-1660, 
pp. 492, 493 ; Alpheus H. Snow, The Administration of Dependencies, 
pp. 79-82. These instructions were based directly upon Povey's "Over- 
tures touching a Councell to bee erected by his Ma*'® for the better regu- 
lating and improving of forreigne Plantations," which in turn rested upon 
a similar set of proposals, signed by Povey and Martin Noell. Brit. Mus., 
Egerton MSS. 2395, fif. 270-275. 


ony in order to be able to give the King an exact account, so 
that all could be regulated upon equal ground and principle. 
Further, they were to apply themselves "to all prudentiall 
meanes for the rendering these dominions usefull to England, 
and England helpfull to them," and to introduce in the colo- 
nies a more uniform system of government.^ In addition, 
they were instructed to take especial care that the recent Act 
of Navigation should be strictly executed. In order to carry 
out these instructions the Council was authorized ' to advise^ 
order; settle, and dispose of all matters relating to the good 
government and improvement of the plantations,' and, if 
further powers were needed, application was to be made to 
the Privy Council. 

Colonization and commerce were closely related and 
overlapping spheres of activity, with no distinct lines of 
demarcation. From the standpoint of the supervising 
government, the colonies were in the main commercial 
enterprises designed to further English trade and shipping. 
Hence, simultaneously with the foundation of the Council 
for Foreign Plantations, a similar body was created to take 
charge of commercial matters.^ In this case, also, the intent 

1 This section was copied directly from one in Povey's "Overtures," 
which reads: "This Councell is to apply itself to all prudentiall meanes for 
the rendering these Dominions vsefull to England, and England helpfull 
to them ; and that the severall Peices, and CoUonies bee dra\\-n, and dis- 
posed into a more certaine civill, and vniforme waie of Government ; and 
distribution of publick Justice ; in which they are at present most Scan- 
dalously defective." Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 273. 

^ The patent of the Council for Trade was issued Nov. 7, 1660, a 
month prior to that of the Council for Foreign Plantations, which was 
delayed by some belated additions to its membership. Andrews, British 
Committees, Commissions, and Councils of Trade and Plantations, pp. 66, 67. 


was to bring to the aid of the government the expert knowl- 
edge and experience of men actually engaged in these pur- 
suits.^ This Council of Trade drew its membership from t^ 
the same classes as did that for the colonies,^ twenty-eight 
names being common to both.^ Among its members were 
all of those just enumerated as belonging to the Council for 
Foreign Plantations, and also Sir John Wolstenholme and Sir 
George Dpsiiing, both of whom were skilled in financial and 
economic matters. In the main, this body was to devote its j 
attention to English concerns, but in addition it was entrusted'^ 
with some matters vitally affecting the colonies. The Coun- 
cil was instructed to consider the general state and trade 
of the colonies, and how far their future prosperity might bci 
advanced by modifications of the existing English tariff in! 
their favor. But in all matters, which concerned the colo-1 
nies, they were directed to take advice from the Council , 
appointed for their more particular inspection, regulation,!/ 
and care.^ 

1 The intention to constitute this body was expressed in a letter of the 
Privy Covincil to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, stating that 
the Turkey Merchants, the IMerchant Adventurers, the East India, Green- 
land, and Eastland Companies, and also the incorporated (sic, for unincor- 
porated) traders for Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, and the West Indian 
colonies were each to present four names, of which the King would choose 
two, and then join to them experienced men and members of the Pri-vy Coun- 
cil, who together should constitute "a Standinge-Comittee, to inquire into, 
and certify aU thinges tending to the Advancement of Trade and Com- 
merce." P. C. Register Charles II, I, ff. 131, 132 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 297, 298. 

2 The commission is in N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 30-32. 
' Andrews, op. cit. pp. 67, 68. 

* Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 269. These instructions are also 
printed in Cunningham, op. cit. p. 915; Andrews, op. cit. p. 74. Early in 


The first meeting of the Council for Plantations was held 
on December 10, 1660, and a month later, after the holi- 
days, it organized for business, ordering its secretary, 
Philip Froude, to engage the necessary employees and 
appointing committees to investigate conditions in the va- 
rious colonies and to write to them.^ Letters, mth general 
and detailed instructions for the separate colonies, were 
carefully prepared under the immediate supervision of 
Thomas Povey, to whom in especial, as "Clerk of the Coun- 
cil," this important work was entrusted.^ Before being 
actually despatched, they had, however, to be submitted to 
the King for approval.^ All the important colonial ques- 
tions of the period came under the Council's consideration. 
Especial attention was devoted to the best means for 
furthering Jamaica's development, to the crisis in the Vir- 
ginia and Maryland tobacco trade resulting from over- 

166 1, the Council for Foreign Plantations wrote to the government of Bar- 
bados, announcing its appointment and calling attention to the King's 
interest in the colonies as evidenced, not only by the creation of this Council 
for their inspection and management, but also "by the erecting a Generall 
Councell of Trade, wherein their Concernments in point of Manufactures, 
Navigation and Commerce are mingled and are otherwise provided for 
with the rest of his Ma*'f® Dominions." Brit. jMus., Egerton MSS. 2395, 
ff. ^;i$ et seq. Cf. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 24. The colonial Council had been 
especially instructed to inform the colonies of the creation of this other body. 
C. C. 1574-1660, p. 492. 

1 The minutes of the CouncU are in C. O. 1/14, 59, ff. 1-57. They are 
somewhat incompletely abstracted in the pages of C. C. 1661-1668. 

- C. O. 1/14, 59, f . 8 ; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 3. Povey's papers, in Brit. 
Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, contain a mass of invaluable dociunents on the 
inception and activity of this body. 

^ Cf. Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, ff. ;is^, 335 ; C. C. 1661-166S, nos. 
24, 25. 


production, and to the difficult problem arising from Puri- 
tan New England's independent spirit and disinclination toj 
comply with the aims of English imperialism.^ The charges 
of illegal trade between the tobacco colonies and the Dutch 
in New Netherlands in violation of the enumeration clauses 
in the Act of Navigation, likewise came before the Council, 
which recommended measures calculated to remedy this 
evil.^ In addition, some minor details of administration 
were attended to, and some specific suggestions for foster- 
\ ing the economic development of the colonies were offered. 
The most far-reaching and pregnant political recommenda- 
tion made by the Council was that Charles II should come 
to an agreement 'with all who have propriety in any of the 
Plantations, prevent same for the future, and take them all 
into his own hands.' ^ 

The work of the Council was in the main done by its 
more or less expert members, such as Povey, Noell, Kendall,^ 
Drax, Digges, and Colleton. Their deliberations were as 
a rule presided over by one of their more conspicuously 
prominent associates, such as Lord Berkeley, Lord Ashley 
(better known as the Earl of Shaftesbury), or the Earl of 
Anglesey.^ At the outset, in 1661, frequent meetings 

^ C. O. 1/15, 42, 47 ; Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 299. 

2 C. O. 1/14, 59, ff. 53-56. 

' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 3. 

* At the meeting of July 6, 1663, Lord Berkeley presided, and there were 
present Colleton, NoeU, Kendall, and Digges. At the subsequent session, 
Dec. 7, 1663, Lord Ashley presided, and those attending were Lord Berke- 
ley, Colleton, Noell, Digges, O'Neill, Crispe, Boyle, Waller, Shawe, and 
Jefferies. On Dec. 16, 1663, Ashley again presided, and those present were 
Lord Berkeley, Noell, Crispe, Boyle, Coventry, Povey, Middleton, and Howe. 


were held and were well attended by the working members.^ 
In the following years, the intervals between the sessions 
became longer and longer, and less activity was manifested. 
/ This was due primarily to the fact that the Council's work 
was predominantly advisory, and had to be passed upon 
by the King acting through the Privy Council and its com- 
mittees.^ llts chief function was to make preliminary ex- 
aminations and to sift evidence, so that only matters of real 
importance would be brought before the Privy Council, 
where they could then be disposed of expeditiously. 

This lack of responsibility and authority naturally les- 
sened the interest of the members in their work, and tended 
to make its performance perfunctory. Then, as the years 
passed, some of the Council's important members, like 
Povey, were drawn into other lines of activity, which ab- 
sorbed their time and energy. Finally, the acute stage 
which the economic quarrel with the Dutch reached in 
1664, and the ensuing war which greatly increased the work 

On Jan. 19, 1664, the Earl of Anglesey presided, and those attending 
were Lord Ashley, Colleton, Noell, Kendall, Digges, Crispe, Boyle, Waller, 
Povey, and Vernon. C. O. 1/14, 59- £f. 53-55. 

^ The great officers of state, whose membership was more or less of an 
ex-officio character, rarely attended the sessions. On one occasion, early 
in 1 66 1, in connection with proposals for registering emigrants to the col- 
onies, the Council requested such of its members as were Lords of the Privy 
Council to be present. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 32. 

^ May 20, 1661, Secretary Froude reported to the Council, that he had 
attended 'the Principal Secretary of State with the letter and report for 
New England, who gave answer that the letter for New England being a 
matter of State, the Lords of the Privy Council would take it into considera- 
tion, and to that purpose a committee of their Lordships was appointed for 
the management thereof.' Ibid. no. 91. 


of all public officials, definitely put an end to the moribund 
Council's sessions. Its activities ceased virtually entirely 
towards the beginning of 1665.^ 

The course of the Council of Trade's active life ran paral-l 
lei to that of the colonial body ; for similar reasons it also 
expired toward the end of 1664. During its brief career, 
the Council investigated, and in a number of instances re- 
ported on, many important questions affecting Enghsh eco- 
nomic interests, such as the Swedish monopoly of pitch and 
tar, the East India trade, the erection of banks in England, 
the use of convoys to protect the merchant fleets, and the 
English sugar-refining industry.^ Notwithstanding its in- 
structions, apparently no purely colonial questions were ' 
handled, although some of the subjects just mentioned in- 
directly concerned the colonies. Like the colonial Council, ; 
this body did not fulfil the hopes anticipated from its appoint^ 
ment. According to Clarendon, the dominant political figure 
of these years, it "produced Uttle other effect than the oppor- 
tunity of men's speaking together, which possibly disposed 
them to think more, and to consult more effectually in pri- 
vate, than they could in such a crowd of commissioners.^ '' 

These two Councils, during their four years of activity,.- 

^ The last recorded meeting in the minutes is that of Aug. 24, 1664, 
but there are indications of Ufe as late as Feb. 24, 1665. C. 0. 1/14, 59, 
f. 57 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 384; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 798, 833. 

^ Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 25,115, flf. 3-103, 305 et passim; Cvmningham, 
op. cit. appendix D, pp. 915-921; Cal. Treas. Books, 1660-1667, pp. 124, 
245. George Duke was the secretary of this Coimcil. Ibid. pp. 244, 513, 


^ Clarendon's Autobiography (Oxford, 1827) II, p. 231. 


\ had in the main acted in an advisory capacity to the Priw 
Council, which was also assisted in its final decisions by its 
own committees. When the Council for Plantations ceased 
to function, the colonial committee was obHged to under- 

I take all the rough preliminary work of investigation and 

I sifting. Its personnel, like that of the Privy Council, 
naturally changed with the \acissitudes of English political 
life, but, as in 1660, it continued to be composed of the chief 
ministers and leading statesmen of the day.^ After the 
fall of Clarendon, in the late summer of 1667, the members 
of the "Cabal" took charge of affairs; and, early in 1668, 

' the work of the Privy Council was reorganized and four 
standing committees were constituted — for foreign affairs, 
for military matters, for petitions and grievances, and for 

/, trade and plantations. This last committee consisted of Lord 
Robartes, the Duke of Buckingham, the Earls of Ossory, 
Bridgewater, and Lauderdale, Lords Arhngton, Holies, and 
Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir Thomas Clifford, Sir Will- 
iam Morice and Sir William Coventry. They were or- 
dered to meet every Thursday, or more often if necessar}', 

1 In 1666, the Committee for Foreign Plantations was composed of the 
Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord Chamberlain, Lord Privy Seal, 
Earl of Anglesey, Lord Holies, Lord Ashley, Lord Arhngton, the Vice- 
Chamberlain, and Secretary IMorice. In 1667, Sir WUham Coventry 
and Sir John Buncombe were added ; in 166S, the Earls of Bath and Carlisle. 
P. C. Register Charles II, \T, ff. 235, 554 ; VII, f. iii ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 421, 
433) 434- Ii^ addition, the New England committee was also in existence. 
On Oct. 2, 1667, His Majesty in Council ordered that the Lords of the 
Council, "formerly appoynted a Cornmittee for the Affayres of New Eng- 
land, " should meet as often as necessary to make a "Re-view" of what had 
been done about those colonies. Ibid. p. 442. 


and it was provided that nothing was to be decided by the 
Privy Council, until the matter had been first examined by 
some committee.^ In'addition, later in the year, this com- 
mittee "calling vnto them his Majestys Attorney Generall or 
else his Majestys Advocate, " was instructed to hear all causes 
that came by "way of appeale" from Jersey and Guernsey.^ 
In this way originated the judicial committee, which in time 
came to be the ultimate court of appeal for the Empire. 

The members of this general colonial committee were 
obliged to handle a number of detailed questions, such as 
those arising out of the territorial readjustments in America 
arranged in the Treaty of Breda of 1667.^ At the same time, 
they were the leading pohticians of the day in charge of do- 
mestic and foreign affairs, and could ill afford to spare the 
time demanded by such minor colonial questions. Hence 
again there arose a demand for an auxiliary council.^ At 
this time, the chief promoters of this idea seem to have been 

1 Andrews, op. cit. pp. 88-90. In 1668, "to guarantee a more business- 
like administration, the Privy Council was reorganized in a nmnber of com- 
mittees, the most important being that for foreign affairs, an eminently prac- 
tical system that had been disliked and long hindered by Clarendon." 
Cambridge Modern History V, p. 201. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, pp. 456, 457. In 1668 and 1669, some additions were 
made to this committee. Ihid. p. 457 ; P. C. Register Charles II, VIII, 
f- 317- 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 1712, 1769, 1770, 1824, 1883. 

* Already on Sept. 23, 1667, the predecessor of this committee was 
instructed to take into its consideration the question of reviving the Covm- 
cil of Trade and uniting it with that for the colonies. The respective secre- 
taries of these bodies were ordered to attend the committee with the coun- 
cil's commissions, instructions, etc. P. C. Register Charles II, VI, f. 594 ; 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 434, 435. 


Henry Bennet, Lord Arlington, and Lord Ashley, the future 
Earl of Shaftesbury — the two "A"s in the "Cabal" min- 
istry. As Secretary of State, Arlington had been for some 
time closely associated with colonial affairs; the bulk of 
the correspondence from America was addressed to him, 
and at some stage virtually every colonial question passed 
through his hands or those of his efficient secretary, Joseph 
Williamson. Shaftesbury's connection with general colo- 
nial affairs was not quite so close. As Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, he was not officially concerned with their ad- 
ministration. But he had been a prominently active mem- 
ber of the Council for Plantations of 1660, and was the 
leading spirit in the colonization of Carolina. Moreover, 
( he was a conspicuously strenuous exponent of the current 
nationalism in economic policy. Among his papers is 
preserved an anonymous memorial, entitled "Some Con- 
siderations about the Comission for Trade," ^ whose 
views agree perfectly with those expressed by Shaftesbury 
on other occasions. Therein it was contended that "that 
which makes y^ Consideration of Trade of farre greater 
import now then ever is That y^ Interest of Commerce 
though formerly neglected is of late yeares Become an 
Express Affayre of State as well with the French as w'!" 
ye Hollander and Swede. And y* Because it is understood 
by latter experience to be more Conducing toward an uni- 
versal! Monarchy (eyther for y^ gayning or preventing of 
it) then eyther an Army or Territory though never so great, 
of w'^^ Instances out of severaU Kingdomes might easily 
^ Shaftesbury Papers, Section X, no. 8, first paper. 


be Produced, In regard It is Trade & Comerce alone that 
draweth store of wealth along with it and y* Potency at 
sea By shypping w*"^ is not otherwise to be had." Trade 
being thus well understood by our neighbors, the memo- 
rial continued, we must either lead in "this great &generall 
Affayre of State," or must be humbled under the power of 
them that are able to govern it. From these premises it 
naturally followed that the government should earnestly de- 
vote its best energies to the development of national trade. 
In accordance wdth these views, there was appointed in 
October of 1668 a new Council of Trade, \\dth instructions) 
to take under its consideration colonial affairs, as well as' 
England's foreign and domestic trades.^ It included in its 
membership Lord Arlington, Lord Ashley, Lord Berkeley, 
Sir Thomas Clifford, Sir George Downing, Benjamin Wors- 
ley, and a number of London merchants.^ This body ex- 
ercised considerable influence on colonial administration. 
Among other matters,^ it prepared a report in consequence 
whereof the privilege, which had been temporarily granted 
to Dutch ships to trade to New York, was rescinded.^ It 
inv* ^igated the entire question of the execution of the 
laws of trade and navigation in the colonies, and upon its 
recommendations was based the order of January 20, 1669, 
providing measures for their better enforcement.^ 

1 N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 175, 176; F. R. Harris, Earl of Sandwich II, 
PP- 305. 306. 

2 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1884. 

3 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 499, 517. 

* Ibid. pp. 491, 492 ; N. Y. Col. Doc. HI, pp. 176-178. 
^ C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1884; ibid. 1669-1674, p. 3 ; P. C. CaJ. I, pp. 


l/" In 1622^ ^^^ special colonial Council was also revived. 
In July of that year a commission^ was issued to the Earl 
of 'Sandwich, Lord Gorges, Lord Allington, Thomas Grey,, 
Henry Brouncker, Sir Humphrey Winch, Sir John Finch, 
Edmund Waller, Henry Slingesby, and Silas Titus, constitut- 
ing them a "Speciall and Select Counsill" to take charge 
of the colonies, to inform themselves of their present state 
— their trade, system of defence and government — and 
to report to the King, so that such orders should be given 
as might best conduce to the "Safety and Flourishing of 
those our Dominions." Of this body. Sandwich was ap- 
pointed president and Henry Slingesby secretary. Ill addi- 
tion to its ten official members, the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer, Ashley, the Lord Treasurer or Commissioners of the 
Treasury, and the Secretaries of State had not only access 
to its sessions, but also the right of speaking and voting. 
Two important facts differentiate this Council from its prede- 
cessor of 1660. Its size was much smaller, which was more 
in accord with Thomas Povey's original proposals, and the 
official members received salaries which gave somewhat 
greater authority to its work.^ me 

^ Shaftesbury Papers, Section X, no. 10, ff. 1-6 ; Bodleian, Rawlinson 
MSS., A 255, f- 140; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 190-193. 

^ The president received £700 yearly and the others £500. Shaftesbury 
Papers, Section X, no. 10, flf. 20-24. In addition, £1000 yearly was granted 
for incidental expenses, and £300 yearly was also allowed to Dr. Benja- 
min Worsley, who was a member of the Council for Trade, in consideration 
of past and future assistance from him in colonial affairs. Thus the total 
annual cost of the Council was £6500. Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-167 2, pp. 
769, 772, 847, 1177, 1360; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 135; W. R. Scott, Joint- 
Stock Companies III, p. 531. 


Annexed to the commission were carefully prepared in- 
yStructions/ based upon those issued to the Council of 1660. 
/ but modified naturally by the experience of the intervening 
/ decade. In general, the Council was to apply itself "by all 
prudentiall wayes and Meanes so to Order, Governe, and 
Regulate the Trade of our whole plantations, that they may 
be most serviceable one unto another, and as the whole unto I 
these our kingdomes so these our kingdomes unto them." 
With this object in \'iew, they were to make a study of the 
economic and industrial conditions in the colonies and to' 
suggest improvements. Naturally they were specifically in- 
structed to see that the laws of trade were obeyed.^ 

One special line of investigation was enjoined upon the 
Council, which admirably illustrates the stress placed upon 
colonies as sources of supply that should free England 
from dependence on her rivals in the race for commercial 
supremacy. At the outset of the movement of colonization, 
it had been confidently anticipated that New England would I 
take the place of the Baltic countries as a source of naval 
stores. These expectations had, however, come to nought,^ /7W? 
but the idea was now revived. The commissioners were 

1 Shaftesbury Papers, Section X, no. 10, ff. 9-15; Bodleian, Rawlinson 
■ MSS., A 255, f. 145 ; CO. 389/4, 5- 

^ This board of commissioners did not wholly supersede the colonial 
work of the Council of Trade. They were instructed to write to the colonial 
governors of the King's signal care towards the colonies "and of our erect- 
ing not only a generall Councill for Trade, that might take cognizance of 
such things as may be their concerne But of our appointing this Councell 
in particular which is employed only for the better care and conduct of 

3 Beer, Origins, pp. 56, 65, 75, 76, 279, 280. 



ordered to consider especially if masts, ship-timber, flax, 

ihemp, pitch, and tar could not be obtained from America, 
and "also where Mills might be most conveniently placed 
and encreased for the sawing of Timber, and planke, and 
how best we may ease the charge and promote the building 
there of great Shipping." ^ This view of the economic 
value of colonies was also illustrated in the additional in- 
structions issued to the Council in August of 1670.^ Herein 
the commissioners were ordered to recommend to the colo- 
nies the production of saltpetre, so that England should' 
not be obliged to import it from the East Indies, and fur- 
ther, as it seemed probable that the colonies could produce 
more drugs, gums, and dyeing materials than they did, and 
even spices and other products of the East Indies, Turkey, 
and the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, they were also 
to investigate this subject, and to encourage the colonial 
planters in such undertakings. 

It was the purpose of the government to make this a 
very influential body. With the object of adding greater 
weight to it, in 1 67 1, a number of the most prominent noble- 

1 " And in regard whatsoever Conduceth to the Increase of Shipping must 
equally Conduce to y" safety and Strength of these Nations, and that not 
only Masts, butt all other Materialls, as well for y® building as fitting out 
of ships of great Burthen may, as wee are informed, be plentifully furnished 
from some of our Plantations, if care here unto were more especially used. 
You are therefore more particularly to advise about this matter with the sev- 
erall Governours and Colonies of New England, and to propound to them or 
receive their Opinion what Methods and Course might bee most fitt for y® 
produceing Flax, Hemp, Pitch, and Tarre, in those Countr>'es in most plenty." 

^ Shaftesbury Papers, Section X, no. 10, ff. 17-19; Bodleian, Rawlinson 
MSS., A 25s, f. ISO. 


men and statesmen — the Duke of York, Prince Rupert, 
the Duke of Buckingham, the Duke of Ormonde, the Earl of 
Lauderdale, Lord Culpeper, and Sir George Carteret — were 
appointed non-official members.-^ At the same time, the 
^diarist Evelyn was made a salaried official commissioner, 
"a considerable honour," so runs his account of the inci- 
dent, "the others in the Council being chiefly noblemen 
and officers of state." ^ Some indication of the Council's 
status is also given by the fact, noted by Evelyn, that 
proper arrangements were made "that his Majesty might 
come and sit amongst us, and hear our debates." ^ 

Li the following year, it was decided to transfer the 
Council of Trade's work to this far more active commis- 
sion in charge of purely colonial affairs. In all proba- 
bility this step was primarily due to the appreciation of 
the fact that these two subjects were closely related and 
could be advantageously handled together, as was already 
done by the Pri\y Council's committee. Accordingly, 
in September of 1672^ a commission to this effect was 
issued, creating a Council for Trade and Plantations.* 

^ Shaftesbury Papers, Section X, no. 10, fif. 25-27 ; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, 
pp. 190-193; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 178. 

2 Evelyn, Feb. 28, 29, and March 10, 167 1. 

^ Ibid. June 26, 1671. Evelyn states that, on May 26, 1671, the oaths 
were administered to him and to Buckingham, Lauderdale, Culpeper, and 
Carteret by the Earl of Sandwich, as president, and that "it was to advise 
and counsel his Majesty, to the best of our abihties, for the well-governing 
©f his Foreign Plantations, &c., the form very httle differing from that 
given to the Pri\y Council." 

* Shaftesbury Papers, Section X, nos. 8 and 10. Under Sept. i, 1672, 
Evelyn writes: "Now, our Council met at Lord Shaftesbury's (Chancellor 


Some important changes in its membership were made. 
That "incomparable person," as Evelyn devotedly calls 
him, the Earl of Sandwich, one of the old CromweUian 
guard, who had been recently killed in a naval engage- 
ment with the Dutch, ^ was succeeded in the presidency 
by Ashley, now Earl of Shaftesbur}^ Lord Culpeper 
was made vice-president, and as secretary was appointed 
Dr. Benjamin Worsley, who had been prominent in the 
Council of Trade, and, as an expert on the economic possi- 
bilities of the colonies, had in 1670 been attached to the 
Council of Plantations as "assistant" with a salary of £300.^ 
Among the clerks was Shaftesbury's friend and adviser, 
the philosopher John Locke, who in 1673 succeeded Worsley 
as secretary.^ The salaried official members included Eve- 
lyn, Slingesby, and Brouncker ; and, in addition, the most 
important members of the Pri\'y Council, such as the Lord 
Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, the Secretaries of State, 

of the Exchequer) to read and reform the draught of our new Patent, 
joining the Council of Trade to our poUtical capacities." See also Evelyn, 
Oct. 13, 1672, and C. C. 1669-1674, p. 407. 

^ Evelyn, May 31, 1672. 

2 Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-1672, p. 769; ibid. 1672-1675, p. 173; C. C. 
1661-1668, nos. 1299, 1822 ; ibid. 1669-1674, p. 135 ; Evelyn, May 31, 1672. 

^ Evelyn, Oct. 24, 1672, Sept. 16, 1673, Oct. 15, 1673. Under the 
last date, he notes: "To Council, and swore in Mr. Locke, secretary." 
Worsley's salary of £500 as secretary ceased on June 24, 1673, and 
Locke's began on that day. In addition, the president received yearly 
£800, the vice-president £600, each of the salaried members £500, and 
about £1000 was allowed for contingent expenses. Cal. Treas. Books, 
1672-1675, pp. 14, 126, 172, 173, 419, 426, 460, 476, 579, 60Z, 710- Locke's 
accounts as secretary and treasurer are in the Public Record Office De- 
clared Accounts, Pipe Office, Roll 2967. 


were authorized to attend the Council's sessions and to 
join in its proceedings by voice and vote.^ 

The Council for Plantations and its enlarged successor 
had together a joint life of somewhat over four years, dur- 
ing which short period they greatly improved the entire 
system of imperial control. They held formal meetings on 
an average of at least t^^'ice a week,- and in addition con- 
siderable work was done by its members on committees or 
as individuals. On one occasion, when complaints of "many 
indiscreet managements" were brought against Sir Charles 
WTieler, the Governor of the Leeward Islands, Evel>Ti wrote 
that "this business staid me in London almost a week, 
being in Council, or Committee, every morning." ^ The 
Council examined carefully the mass of petitions, complaints, 
and memorials emanating from colonial sources, and also 
demanded detailed information from the colonial authori- 
ties on local conditions to aid it in its work. Former officials, 
colonial planters, and others conversant mth conditions inj 
the colonies were freely called upon for information. Upon 
the exceptionally full knowledge of the facts thus acquired" 
were based its reports to the Privy Council. In addition, 
the Council prepared the preliminary drafts of the com- 

1 The instructions were virtually the same as those issued to the two 
separate Councils, which it superseded. Shaftesbury Papers, Section X, no. 9. 

2 Professor Andrews has carefully compiled a list of these meetings 
from various sources, but mainly from the colonial calendar and from 
Evelyn's Diary. Andrews, op. cit. pp. loi et seq. In addition to the state 
papers abstracted in the calendar, there is available for a study of this 
Council an entiy book of letters written by it, containing also reports and 
other important documents. This is C. O. 389/10. 

^ Evelyn, Nov. 14, 167 1. 


missions and instructions to the various colonial governors, 
which were then submitted to the Pri\y Council for ap- 
proval.-^ Furthermore, this board carefully scrutinized the 
legislation in the different colonies to see if it were not det- 
rimental to English or imperial interests.^ 

In addition to systematizing this routine work of colo- 
nial administration, the Council investigated and reported 
on every special colonial question of these years. Among 
other matters, considerable attention was devoted to the 
awkward situation created by New England's recalcitrant 
attitude ; this was handled with the necessary delicacy and 
tact.^ They also formulated the rule that during the Dutch 
war ships homeward bound from the colonies should sail 
only in fleets or under convoy.^ Spain's protest against 
the Jamaica logwood trade in Campeachy likewise came 
before the Council,^ and also the question of making a 
separate government of the Leeward Islands, hitherto an- 
nexed to Barbados.® 

Despite this Council's zealous and conscientious activity, 
and its marked efficiency when contrasted \M'th any similar 
preceding board or committee, it did not whoUy escape 

1 C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 300, 301, 539, 540, 545, 567-571, 575, 619, 625, 

^ Ihid. pp. 360, 361. Evelyn "was of the Committee ■wdth Sir Hum- 
phrey Winch, the chairman, to examine the laws of his INIajesty's several 
plantations and colonies in the West Indies, &c." Evelyn, Nov. 8, 

^ Ibid. May 26, June 6, July 4, Aug. 3, 1671, and Feb. 12, 1672. 

■* Ihid. Feb. 12, 1672. 

^ Ibid. April 19, 1672. 

^ Ibid. March i, 1672. 


criticism. Like the later Board of Trade, ^ it was charged 
with neglecting to communicate sufficiently with the co- 
lonial governors. At this time, the Lieutenant-Governor 
of Jamaica, Sir Thomas Lynch, was an exceptionally effi- 
cient public official, and like some of his successors in similar 
posts elsewhere, such as the Earl of Bellomont and WiUiam 
Shirley, he was a most frequent and indefatigably volu- 
minous correspondent. Apart from occasional letters ad- 
dressed to the Lord Keeper, the Master of the Ordnance, 
the Lords of the Treasury, Sir John Trevor, one of the Secre- 
taries of State, ^ Lynch wrote regularly to Arlington and his 
secretary, Williamson, as well as to the Council for Planta- 
tions and its secretary Slingesby.^ Lynch was especially 
anxious to receive from the government explicit instructions 
about the Jamaica logwood trade to Campeachy. But as 
this question threatened to involve England in war wdth 
Spain, the subject had to be carefully considered, and there 
was naturally considerable delay in answering Lynch's fre- 
quent and urgent appeals. On January 27, 1672, Lynch 
wrote to Williamson : "I would beg you once more for God's 
sake to move my Lord (Arlington) in this (the logwood 
trade question) and what else may be of moment, and be 
pleased more frequently to give me his Lordship's orders 
when he is not pleased to write them himself, or let me 
know whether I must not apply myself to, or follow the 

^ Cf. 0. M. Dickerson, American Colonial Government, 1696-1765, pp. 

2 C. C. 1669-1674, p. 387. 

^ See ihid. in the index a list of Lynch's letters. 


orders of my Lord President Sandwich, or Mr. Secretary 
Slingesby." ^ Six months later, Lynch wrote to the Coun- 
cil, complaining that his many letters had not been 
acknowledged and adding that ' one of his great dis- 
couragements is that he must act according to the 
reason of things here, which at court may be understood 
according as one has success or friends there.' ^ At the 
same time, he wrote to Williamson that the Council had 
'at least loo sheets of paper of his before them, but not 
even from the meanest of their clerks has he had a syllable ; 
at which he wonders.'^ When finally, in October, the gov- 
ernment had completed its examination of the logAvood trade 
question, the Council's secretary sent the desired instruc- 
tions to Jamaica, stating at the same time that he had 
been directed to acquaint Lynch that, 'through the war, 
but chiefly by reason of the unhappy death of the late 
President, the Earl of Sandwich, their Lordships have not 
written so frequently as he might possibly expect, yet . . . 
such care will be taken in future for supplying him w4th 
advice as that he shall not need to fear any discouragement 
for want of it.' ^ 

1 C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 322, 323. Lynch also wrote to Sir Charles Lyttel- 
ton, who ten years before had been the executive head of Jamaica, to use 
his influence in this matter. Ibid. p. 324. 

- Ibid. pp. 385, 386. 

^ Ibid. p. 387. On Nov. 5, 1672, Lynch wrote to Secretary Slingesby 
that his letter of July 23 had arrived, and that this was the first one he had 
received since his assumption of the government the preceding year. He 
added, that he hoped that, in the future. Slingesby would have leisure more 
frequently to give the Council's commands. Ibid. pp. 425-428. 

^ Ibid. p. 417. 


In view of the gravity of the case, this delay in the gov- 
ernment's decision was inevitable/ and although Lynch's 
impatience is comprehensible, the Council cannot be charged 
with neglecting the colonies. This episode, however, em-> ^,,^ 
phasizes one defect that was inherent in the council/ 
system. Lynch was at loss where to turn for instructions,' 
whether to the Council for Plantations or to the Secre- 
tary of State, Lord Arlington, who carried into effect the 
decisions of the King and Pri\'y Council. The Council 
for Plantations' authority and effectiveness were neces- 
sarily impaired by the fact that it was a purely advisory 
body _ without executive authority. Among the papers 
preserved by Thomas Povey is an anonymous memorial 
written at the time, which plainly laid bare this defect 
and suggested a remedy.^ This clear-sighted critic pointed 
out that "whatsoever Council is not enabled as well 
to execute as ad\'ise must needs produce very imperfect 
and weake effects. It being by its subordition and im- 
potency obliged to have a continual recourse to Superiour 
Ministers, and Councils filled with other busnes, w*"*" often- 
times giues great and prejudicial delays, and usualy 
begets new or slower deliberations, and results, then y^ 
matter in hand may stand in need of." Hence, he con- 
cluded, such a council necessarily becomes weak and in- 

1 The main delay was caused by Sir William Godolphin, the English 
Ambassador in Spain. Arlington wrote to him about this matter in October 
of 167 1, but his reply was received only eight months later. ArHngton's 
Letters (London, 1701) II, pp. 336, 373. 

2 Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 276. 


In all probability, this was the underlying cause that led 
to the revocation of the Council's commission on Decem- 
ber 21, 1674.^ But, in addition, there were certain more 
specific and personal reasons, connected with the changed 
political situation in England. In 1673, Shaftesbury was 
dismissed from office, and shortly thereafter Arlington 
also resigned his post of Secretary of State; the two 
chief patrons of the Council could thus no longer pro- 
tect it. The rising power in the political world was 
Sir Thomas Osborne, who in 1673 secured Clifford's 
place of Lord Treasurer, and in 1674, as Earl of Danby, 
became Charles's chief minister. Evelyn relates that, when 
Danby succeeded Clifford, the Council for Trade and Plan- 
tations ''went in a body to congratulate the new Lord 
Treasurer, no friend to it, because promoted by my Lord 
Arlington, whom he hated." ^ Danby 's hostility to the 
Council was probably due also to less personal motives. 
It was an expensive body, costing about £7000 yearly, and 
the Exchequer was chronically depleted. Though open to 
criticism on other counts, Danby fully realized the necessity 
for strict economy; he "was the first man of his time to 
apply himself systematically to the problems of finance 
that underlie all administration." ^ 

Whatever may have been the exact reasons for the dis- 
solution of the Council, in consequence thereof 'all matters 
under their cognizance were left loose and at large.' The 

^ N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 229, 230; C. O. 391/1 (preceding f. i). 

^ Evelyn, June 23, 1673. 

^ Pollock, in Cambridge Modern History V, pp. 214, 215. 


Privy Council's Committee for Trade and Plantations, upon 
whom devolved all this work/ could not cope with it, unless 
it were completely reorganized. The anonymous critic^ 
of the council system, quoted above, had suggested that, 
since English practice did not admit of plenar>^ authority 
being vested in any but the highest Council, "it remains 
only as y^ best expedient. That Com" be appointed out of 
y* Privy Council, under y^ Great Seal," who should hold 
regular meetings every week to consider colonial affairs 
and should be empowered to act and order with as ample 
an authority as the Commissioners of the Admiralty did. 
Furthermore, it was urged that these Commissioners should 
have a permanent secretary who should devote all his time 
to colonial matters. He should correspond with the gov- 
ernors and other colonial officials, should collect and preserve 
all documents relating to these affairs, and in general should 
keep himself informed of everything that concerned both 
the English and the foreign colonies.^ A device very similar 
to this was adopted by the government. 

^ The petition of Mason and Gorges against Massachusetts was referred 
to this committee on Jan. 13, 1675, with orders for it to meet the follow- 
ing day. Similar action was taken with the Newfoundland question on 
Feb. 12, 1675. P. C. Cal. I, pp. 616, 617, 6ig. The Journal of the Lords 
of Trade begins with a session on Feb. 9, 1675, and further meetings were 
held on Feb. 11, 12, 23, 25, and 27. C. O. 391/1, ff. 1-6. 

2 Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 276. 

^ "The want of such a necessary and settled Officer, among many other 
inconveniencys, having bin y® occasion that scarce any Record, Testi- 
monial, Letters or papers of Consequence haue bin to be found in any 
place, w^*^ may informe and assist his Ma*? Coimcels, And may shew and 
justify y^ original Right and progres of the Settlements of many of our 
most considerable Colonies, and of those under other States." 


On March 12, 1675/ Charles II formally committed those 
matters, that had been under the "Inspection and Manage- 
ment" of the dissolved Council, to the Pri\y Council's Com- 
mittee for Trade and Foreign Plantations, and designated 
as members of it over a score of the state officials and great ^ 
noblemen, of whom -oine, especially named, were entrusted 
with "the immediate Care and Intendency of those Affaires 
in regard they had been formerly conversant and acquainted 
there\^dth;'' ^ This Committee was instructed to meet at 
least once a week,^ and Sir Robert Southwell, one of the 
Clerks of the Privy Council, was ordered constantly to 
attend it.^ 

This Committee, generally known as the Lord s of Trade , 
differs in important respects from its predecessors. It was 
a permanent standing body mth its own clerks, who sys- 
tematized its business and its archives. A formal journal of" 
the proceedings was carefully kept, and a satisfactory sys- 
tem was devised for classifying and filing the gro^\^ng mass 
of colonial documents. This work was instituted by Sir 

1 C. O. 389/11, f. I ; iMd. 324/4, f. 7 ; ibid. 391/1, flf. 8, 9 ; P. C. Regis- 
ter Charles II, XI, f. 395 ; P. C. CaL I, p. 619 ; No. Ca. Col. Rec. I, p. 
222; C. C. 1675-1676, p. 182. 

2 These nine were the Lord Privy Seal, the Earis of Bridgewater, Carhsle, 
and Craven, Viscounts Fauconberg and Halifax, Lord Berkeley, the Vice- 
Chamberlain, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In June of 1675, the 
Earl of St. Albans was added to the committee. P. C. Register Charles 
II, XI, f. 450. 

^ Originally five members were to constitute a quorum, but in ]May of 
1675 this number was reduced to three. P. C. Cal. I, p. 620. 

^ The Committee decided to meet regularly on Thursdays in the fore- 
noon, and oftener as occasion should require. C. O. 391/1, f. 8. 


Robert Southwell/ one of the Clerks of the Privy Council, 
a position of far greater dignity than the name seemingly 
indicates. He was efficiently assisted in this work by Will- 
iam Blathwayt, who had entered this servicp on Septem- 
ber 29, 1675.^ In May of 1676^ as Southwell, on the score 
of ill health, had asked to be relieved from constant attend- 
ance on the Committee, it was ordered that such of the 

u Clerks of the Privy Council as so might desire — there were 

four in all ^ — should in rotation assume these duties for 

six months at a time ; and that Blathwayt, whose ability 

had quickly gained recognition, should be continued as "an 

nAssistant" to these Clerks -uath a salary of £150 a year.^ 

I It was in this humble capacity that Blathwayt began his 

/ long and intimate official connection with the colonies. 

/ After some years of assiduous attention to this work, his 

I ^'Imquestionably great business abihty and his unrivalled 

^ WTien in 1676 Southwell asked to be relieved from this work, the Lords 
of Trade were ordered to decide upon a suitable reward for his services 
"in putting the many Papers depending before their Lordships into very 
good method, which were in some disorder when delivered up by the late 
Councill of Plantations." P. C. Cal. I, p. 658. 

^ Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 249. 

' In 1679, they were Sir John Nicholas, Sir Robert Southwell, Sir Phillip 
Lloyd, and Sir Thomas Doleman. Ibid. p. 1231. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, pp. 658, 664, 665. In 1677, on the strength of a report 
from the Committee that his "Diligence is very great," Blathwayt's salary 
was raised to £250. Ibid. p. 743. The Clerks of the Privy Council were 
paid for this work at the rate of £400 yearly. In addition, two clerks 
were employed, and there were various incidental expenses, among which 
may be mentioned the cost of books, maps, and treaties purchased for the 
Committee's use. The total disbursements were about £1300 yearly, 
while the superseded Council had cost £7000. Cal. Treas. Books, 1676- 
1679, pp. 249, 282, 299, 642, 740, 802, 898, 969, 1075. 

' / 


knowledge of these matters brought him the position of 
Secretary to the Lords of Trade and made him the most 
influential person in the colonial administrative system^ 
/ For somewhat over twenty years the Lords of Trade 
I governed the colonies. The Committee's personnel changed 
/ \A'ith the passing years/ but its active members were alvv'ays 
the chief state officials.^ Hence its decisions were virtually 
invariably accepted. As a result, colonial affairs wxre ad- 
ministered with a directness and lack of delay hitherto 
unknowTi, and not again encountered imtil a hundred years 
later, when a special Secretary of State for the Colonies was 
created. The Lords of Trade corresponded with the colo- 
nial governors and prepared their instructions ; they de- 
manded and received detailed reports from the colonies 
and carefully watched the course of their development — 
economic, fiscal, and political. Every colonial question 
came before them, and the policy adopted Vv^as in nearly 
every instance an expression of their \dew5. 

These various boards and committees, together with the 
Privy Council and the Secretary of State entrusted with 

^ For the membership in 1679, see P. C. Cal. I, pp. 819, 820; C. C. 
1677-1680, p. 355. In 1686, this Committee consisted of 40 members, and 
in 1688 James II ordered all the Lords of the Pri\^ Council to be a stand- 
ing Committee for Trade and Plantations. Ibid. 1685-1688, pp. 219, 4S9; 
C. O. 391/6, fif. 123-125. 

- For instance, the meeting of May 3, 1677, was attended by the Lord 
Treasurer, tlie Lord Privy Seal, the Duke of Albemarle, the Earls of Craven, 
Bath, and Bridgewater, the Lord Chamberlain, the Speaker, and by the 
Secretaries of State, WUhamson and Coventry. On Nov. 8, 1677, 
were present the Lord Pri\^ Seal, the Earl of Craven, Secretary Williamson, 
and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Ibid. 391/2, ff. 31, 145. 


I colonial affairs, were the principal organs of the central ad- 
ministrative system, by means of which the colonies were 
governed. One of their main duties, if not the chief one, 
was to see that the laws of trade and navigation were 
effectively executed, for these laws embodied the essence of 
English colonial policy.-^ In addition, two other adminis- 
trative departments participated actively in this specific 
i work, the Admiralty and the Treasury.^ Both of these 

^ The government used all its resources to this end, even the diplomatic 
service. England's representatives, especially those in Holland, were con- 
tinually on the lookout for illegal trade between the colonies and the coim- 
tries to which they were accredited, and the Dutch government was even 
asked to assist in its suppression. In 1662, Sir George Downing advised 
the government that several ships had arrived in Holland directly from 
Barbados. P. C. Register Charles II, III, f. loi ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 334, 
335. In 1668, Sir WUliam Temple, the EngUsh Ambassador at the Hague, 
was instructed as follows : "You must make it your business to be inform'd 
very particularly of Three INIerchant Ships, fitting now at Amsterdam, for 
the Barhadoes, with several manufactures for their lading ; and if you have 
an opportimity then, to advertise the Governour thereof, that he may 
seize them, because it is a great breach of the Act of Navigation, and yet 
so acceptable to the People, upon that Island, that it may contribute much 
to the debauching of them, at least from their dependance upon England." 
This inquiry was to be made as fuUy and as privately as was possible. 
Arlington's Letters (London, 1701) I, pp. 360, 361. In 1685, the English 
Envoy, BevU Skelton, presented to the States- General a memorial, to the 
effect that many EngUsh vessels came directly from the EngHsh colonies 
to the Netherlands and requesting them to pass an act, whereby their 
Admiralty would be enjoined to assist the EngUsh consuls in preventing 
this. B. T. Commercial Series I, 6, A 31. In this year, the Lord High 
Treasurer, Rochester, authorized the Commissioners of the Customs to 
pay Mr. Nodges's bill for expenses in viewing several ships from the English 
colonies in the River Maas and at Rotterdam. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, 
Customs 10, f. 27. 

^ A description of the administrative side of the system of imperial 
defence is not germane to the purpose of this work. 


departments and their subordinate boards, respectively the 
Navy and the Customs, were prominently concerned in 
carrying into effect the laws of trade and na\'igation. 
/ The English admiralty jurisdiction had already at an early 

/ date been extended to America, but until the Common- 
wealth no extensive use had been made thereof. It was 
then not only employed to condemn vessels seized as prizes 
in the Dutch and Spanish wars, but also foreign ships caught 
trading to the West Indian colonies in violation of the 
Navigation Acts of 1650 and 1651.^ After the Restoration, 
James, Duke of York, was appointed Lord High Admiral 
of England, and, by a supplementary commission issued in 
1662, he was granted the same extensive powers over the 
V colonies.^ Not only was the Admiralty entitled to specific 
dues, such as those arising from condemned prizes, but in 

, addition vessels seized for violating certain clauses of the 
commercial code were* triable in the admiralty courts. In 
order to carr}' these powers into effect, the Lord High 
Admiral appointed deputies in the cro^^^l colonies, and ad- 
miralty courts were erected in them. Furthermore, towards 
the end of the period, the ships of the navy were especially 
instructed to seize all illegal traders and some were stationed 
in the colonies for this specific purpose. 

The Enghsh Treasury's jurisdiction over the colonies was 
more extensive and intimate. In addition to its interest 

\ in securing the Crown's share of condemnations in the col- 

I onies for violation of the Acts of Trade, the Treasury was 

1 Beer, Origins, pp. 334-337, 39i- 

2 C. C. 1661-166S, no. 245. 


directly concerned in the strict enforcement of these laws, 
in so far as their provisions tended to increase the EngHsh 
/customs revenue. Moreover, the enforcement of the enu- 
j ' meration clauses was to a large extent under the direct 
Vcontrol of the English customs officials. They issued the 
bonds to vessels sailing from England, and it was in such 
ships that most of the enumerated goods were exported 
from the colonies.^ These English officials were responsi- 
ble that no ship departed from England wdthout having 
given such bonds, and, in case any eluded their vigilance, 
they ordered their seizure upon arrival in the colonies.^ 
In such instances, the cooperation of the authorities in 
the colonies was required, but where the bond had been 
actually given in England, its enforcement depended 
solely upon the home government. Besides, by the Act 
of Navigation of 1660, the colonial governors were re- 
quired to send twee a year copies of the bonds taken 
by them to the Custom-House in London.^ Naturally 

1 Naturally such bonds would be issued only to ships qualified to trade 
to the colonies, and hence these officials also kept unfree ships out of this 

- In 1672, the Lords of the Treasury wrote to the Governors of Barbados, 
Virginia, and Jamaica that they had reason to believe that six ships, specifi- 
cally designated, had sailed for the American colonies without having 
given bonds, and ordered them to seize any or all of these ships upon arrival. 
Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-1672, p. 1232. 

3 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § xix. On Sept. 6, 1663, Governor Charles Cal- 
vert wTote to Lord Baltimore that he had received two letters from the 
London Custom-House about the Act of Navigation, which he would 
answer by these ships and that he would "send Copys of This yeares bonds 
to y^ Lopp & not to them." Calvert Papers I, p. 245. This custom was 
kept up by Calvert, and the papers were dehvered by Lord Baltimore to 


the enforcement of such bonds, which, however, covered 
only a small portion of the total quantity of enumerated 
goods exported, devolved mainly upon the colonial au- 
thorities. Even though the copies of these bonds were 
not regularly sent to London, the English government 
had other sources of information,^ and, while not argus- 
eyed, kept a close watch on the course of colonial trade. 

I Wherever fraud was suspected, the colonial governors were 
instructed by the Treasury to prosecute the offenders.^ 
i Thus the enforcement of the policy of enumeration was 
./from the outset largely in the hands of the Treasury and its 
iA, subordinate officials. Their duties were greatly expanded 
when, in j^673, Parliament imposed the plantation duties and 
/entrusted their management to the Commissioners of the 
\Customs. This board's work in enforcing that law and the 
J enumeration clauses quickly spread to the other provisions 
of the system, until ultimately the whole commercial code 

the Treasury and by them to the Customs. Ibid. pp. 263, 264, 279, 295 ; 
Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-1672, p. iioi. 

1 By Order in Council of Aug. 15, 1662, the Lord High Treasurer and 
the customs officials were ordered to take care that the enumeration clauses 
were observed, as Sir George Downing had sent advice " that divers Eng- 
lish Shipps laden in Barbadoes are lately arrived in Holland without touch- 
ing in England." P. C. Register Charles II, III, f. loi ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 

334, 335- 

"^ On Jan. 14, 1673, Treasurer Clifford wrote to the Governors of 
]\Iassachusetts, Virginia, Antigua, Montserrat, and Nevis, mentioning 
specific ships — nine in all — that had laden within their respective 
jurisdictions enumerated goods, which were then exported directly to Ire- 
land. He stated, that he assumed that bonds had been taken from these 
vessels, and ordered the Governors to prosecute them. Cal. Treas. Books, 
1672-1675, p. 35. 


was under its direct supervision. In 1686, the Com- 
missioners of the Customs stated that the entire body of 
these laws was under their care and control and that it 
was their business to maintain a uniform and efficient 
system.^ At this time, the board was looked upon as the 
special guardian of the system's integrity. The detailed in- 
structions issued for the guidance of the local officials were 
prepared by them,^ and at times orders were even sent by 
them or by the Treasury directly to the colonial governors.^ 
On all questions requiring detailed fiscal or economic knowl- 
edge, the government sought the advice of these Commis- 
sioners. They sedulously watched the working of the 
system and recommended measures calculated to secure 
its greater efficiency. Thus, in 1683, they advised that the 
Irish customs officials be instructed to send returns of the 
ships clearing for the colonies in that kingdom and entering 
from them.^ Shortly thereafter, they proposed that Eng- 
land's representatives in France, Spain, the Netherlands, 
Denmark, Sweden, and the Hanse towns be instructed to 
use all diligence to discover ships arriving there directly 
from the colonies with the enumerated products.^ In 1685, 

1 C. O. 324/4, £f. 213-218; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 187, 188. 

2 C. O. 324/4, ff. 151-166; ibid, s/904, ff. 329-332; ibid. 1/58, 73, 73!; 
C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 77, 258, 270. 

' In 1684, the Privy Council ordered that a letter be written and sent 
by the Commissioners of the Customs to the colonial governors, requiring 
them to examine into the performance of the conditions of the enumerated 
bonds given there and to prosecute in all cases of non-fulfiknent. P. C. 
Cal. I, p. 71. 

* C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 477, 478. 

5 Ibid. p. 563. 


they recommended that the ships of the navy be again in- 
structed to seize all foreign vessels trading to the colonies.^ 
These are but a few instances of this board's multifarious 
activities in colonial administration. 

Each of these three departments of the central adminis- 
trative system — the PriyyL.jCoimcil with its committees 
and the boards of trade and plantations more or less directly 
responsible to it, the Admiralty, and the Treasury — had its 
own distinct representatives in the royal provinces. In these 
colonies, the chief local agent charged with the execution 
of the laws of trade was the governor, who was appointed 
by the Cro^vn and was immediately accountable to it and to 
the Privy Council. His duties in this regard were statutory. 
/ By the Acts themselves the governor was obhged to take 
t, an oath to obey the law, and any neglect thereof made him 
liable to dismissal and to the payment of a heavy fine of 
£1000. In addition, he was also charged with the clerical 
/ duties involved in carrying them into effect.^ The Acts 
/, made no distiaction between the royal provinces and the pro- 
y, prietary and charter colonies, and hence these duties were 
by law also imposed upon the governors of the latter colonies. 
But the executive heads of these jurisdictions were in no 
sense of the word agents of the central administrative sys- 
tem. They were not responsible to, nor could they be con- 
trolled by, any department of the English government, but 
were appointed by the proprietors or chosen by the people 

1 C. O. 324/4, ff. 142, 143 ; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 26, 27. 
- 12 Ch. II, c. 18, §§ ii, xix; 15 Ch. II, c. 7, § viii; 22 & 23 Ch. II, c. 26, 
§ xii. 


of these semi-independent jurisdictions. Notwithstanding 
this fact, since the Acts so provided, the EngHsh govern-/^ 
ment naturally instructed both the royal governors^ and the 
authorities in the other colonies carefully to enforce the/ 
law. In 1663,^ letters were written to the royal governors 
and also to the authorities in Maryland and New England, 
reciting the pro\dsions of the Navigation Act and their 
serious obHgations under them, and stating that informa- 
tion had been received that the law was violated, ''through 
the dayly practises and designes sett on foote, by trading 
into forrain parts from Virginia Mariland, and other his 
]\Iajesties Plantations, both by Land and Sea as well unto 
the Monados, and other Plantations of the Hollanders, as 
unto Spaine, Venice, and Holland." This state of affairs 
was attributed to the neglect of the governors, both m not 
seeing that the vessels arriving had certificates that they 
were qualified to trade in the colonies, and also in not taking 
bonds before the ships with enumerated commodities on 
board were allowed to depart. The governors were ac- 
cordingly instructed to repair their neglect, and to send 
copies of these bonds twdce a year to the Custom-House in 
London, together wath accounts of all vessels taking in cargoes 
in the colonies. 

As no method was devised for obliging the proprietary^ 
and charter governors to take the statutory oaths to obey] 

1 For the instructions to Barbados and Virginia in 1661 to 1663, see 
Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, flf. 333 et seq.; P. C. Cal. I, p. 359; \'a. 
Mag. Ill, pp. 15-20; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 24, 368. 

2 P. C. Register Charles II, III, flf. 450, 451 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 365-367 ; 
N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 44-46. 


\ the laws of trade, it depended mainly upon their own voli- 
I tion ; and, in general, but the scantest attention was paid 
py these colonies to this section of the law. Moreover, 
for some time no regular system was adopted for securing 
these oaths from the royal governors. In 1668, the Council 
of Trade reported that several of the governors had been 
remiss in this respect,^ and four years later, the House of 
Commons requested the King to see that these oaths were 
taken. ^ During the following few years, the attention of 
jj the English government was forcibly directed to this subject 
!' by Massachusetts' recalcitrant attitude, which threatened 
to disrupt the entire colonial system. In 1675, the Com- 
/ missioners of the Customs reported in detail on illegal 
\ trade in the colonies, and urged the necessity of all the 
governors taking these oaths. ^ On the Lords of Trade 
requesting full information as to the exact situation concern- 
ing these oaths, the Commissioners, however, replied that 
they could not furnish it, since this matter was not within 
their cognizance.^ This information was then sought from 
the Secretary of State's office.^ This lack of essential 
knowledge indicated an unsatisfactory state of affairs, both 
in England and in the colonies, and demanded action. 

1 C. C. 1661-166S, no. 1884. 

2 Com. Journals IX, p. 244. 

3 C. O. 1/34, 74, 75; C. C. 1675-1676, p. 231. 

* C. O. 324/4, f- 22; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 235, 287, 296. 

^ On Jan. 10, 1676, by command of the Lords of Trade, Sir Robert 
Southwell wrote to WiUiam Bridgeman to inquire which of the governors 
"have taken or not taken the oaths they ought, that accordingly they may 
be written to for the better execution of the said Acts." Cal. Dom. 1675- 
1676, p. 505; C. C. 1675-1676, p. 309. 


Accordingly, in 1676, a circular letter enjoining strict obedi- 
ence to the laws of trade was sent to the colonial governors ; ^ 
and, at the same time, the Attorney- General was instructed 
to prepare a commission for administering to them the stat- 
utory oaths. ^ To him was also entrusted the preparation u 
of the form of the oath to be taken ; and, after his work [ 
had been approved by the government, the oath was for- 1 
mally administered to the royal governors in 1677 and 1678.^ 
The multifarious duties of these governors, apart from 
the high dignity of their position, would not permit them to 
attend in person to all the minor details involved in enforc- 1 
ing the laws of trade. ^ Hence this work was entrusted by 
them to a subordinate clerk, who in time became known as 
the clerk of the naval office, or simply as the naval officer.^ ' 
Though not directly mentioned in any of the laws of trade 
and navigation prior to the administrative statute of 1696, ^ 
the naval officer early became a prominent feature of the 
local administrative system.^ During the course of the 

1 C. O. 324/4, ff. 37-39; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 369-371, 381. 

2 C. O. 324/4, ff- 49 et seq.; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 374, 378, 379. 

3 C. O. 324/4, f. 53 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 633, 664, 740, 741 ; No. Ca. 
Col. Rec. I. pp. 227, 228; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 385, 389, 390; ibid. 1677- 
1680, pp. 174, 204, 266, 354 ; Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, pp. 170, 227. 

* In 1663, Governor Calvert of Maryland wrote to Lord Baltimore that he 
had received the Staple Act of that year and would observe it diligently, but 
he wanted to know if every cargo had to be searched in detail for foreign 
goods, as this would be "an Endlesse trouble both to the Officers and Mast*^ 
& Owners of such goods." Calvert Papers I, p. 242. 

^ See the report of the Commissioners of the Customs to the Treasury on 
thisofi&cer, dated Feb. 16, 1694. Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 22,617,2. 141 etseq. 

^ In 1665, Sir Thomas Modyford wrote that he had "settled y^ Nauall 
Office" in Jamaica. C. O. 1/19, 27. 


Restoration period, such officers were appointed in a number 
of the croAvn colonies.^ He was the personal representative, 
of the Governor and was entrusted by him with the detailed 
work of enforcing the commercial code : the giving of 
bonds, the examination of ships' papers and cargoes, and 
the entrance and clearance of vessels. The EngHsh govern- 
ment had frequently insisted that full accounts of all such 
details should be regularly forwarded to England,- but the 
governors had only most intermittently comphed wdth 
these instructions. Shortly before 1680, however, the naval 
officers in the West Indies began to send ^dth fair regularity 
to England detailed accounts, known as naval office Ksts, 
giving more or less full particulars of all vessels arriving and 
departing as well as of their cargoes.^ Later, this custom 
w^as introduced in the continental colonies. 

^ In 1682, Massachusetts established naval offices at Boston and Salem, and 
in the same year Rhode Island also created such an office. C. O. 1/48, 34 ; 
Mass. Col. Rec. V, p. 337 ; R. I. Col. Rec. Ill, pp. 108-110, 119. Such offi- 
cers do not, however, belong to the same category as do those appointed 
by the royal governors. After the revocation of the New England charter^ 
and the establishment of royal government, Andros appointed a naval officer 
in this jurisdiction. Goodrick, Randolph YL, p. 253. 

- In 1672, for instance, the King wrote to the Governors of Barbados, 
Montserrat, Antigua, Ne\as, St. Kitts, and Jamaica: "We require you to 
send to Lord Treasurer CUfEord in England a list of all bonds that you shall 
so cause to be taken, with an account of all ships, their burthen, masters' 
names, and to what place belonging that shall lade in your government 
yearly." Cal. Treas. Books, 167 2-167 5, PP- i5; 16. See also the instructions 
issued to the Earl of Carlisle in 167S. Ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 928, 929. 

^ C. 0. 33/14 contains such naval officers' statements from Barbados for 
the years 1679 to 1709. Ibid. 33/13 are parallel accounts from the collec- 
tors of the customs of the same colony. Ibid. 142/13 contains similar 
statements from Jamaica, covering the years 1685 to 1705. Some earlier 


As any neglect of these naval officers to perform their, 
duties made the governor liable to severe penalties, it was 
only fitting that they should be appointed by him. Yet, at 
a comparatively early date, these officials in the West Indies 
began to be appointed in England, and gradually this cus- 
tom spread to the continent until, towards the middle of the 
eighteenth centur}^, all these places in the crowTi colonies 
were in the gift of the Secretary of State. This practice 
originated first in Barbados, and in a manner which throws 
considerable light on the administrative methods of the day. 

In 1676, one of the minor positions in Barbados, which 

accounts must have been sent from Jamaica, for in 1676 the Governor, Lord 
Vaughan, wrote to the Lords of Trade that he had instructed the Naval 
Officer to send them everj' six months, and in 1682 Governor Lynch wrote 
that he also had given the same orders. C. C. 1675-1676, p. 412 ; ibid. 1681- 
1685, p. 283. In 1681, Governor Stapleton of the Leeward Islands was 
notified that t,he ofiicers in the colonies had been remiss in forwarding exact 
accounts of their trade, and he was instructed to direct the naval officer to 
keep particular accounts of aU exports and imports, with fuU details, and to 
send them to the Lords of Trade. 'If fit officers for the duty be wanting,' he 
was ordered to appoint them. Ibid. i68i-i685,p.i4i. There are available 
a number of such accounts of the trade of these islands from 1680 on. One 
statement, giving an account of the vessels arriving at St. Kitts from June 
of 1677 on, refers to a previous account sent to England. C. 0. 1/46, ^8; 
ibid. 1/47, 32; ibid. 1/49, Part I, 18; ibid. 1/53, 87; ibid. 1/54, Part I, 9; 
ibid. 1/64, 134. The existence of many gaps in this set of documents, 
is due in the main to the fact that the original statements were, as a rule, 
sent directly to the Custom-House in London and, with its other archives, 
they were subsequently destroyed by fire. The Lords of Trade wanted 
these accounts used in the preparation of a detailed annual schedule of im- 
perial trade, but the Commissioners of the Customs reported in 1679 that 
it was "a. Worke of Create Difficulty & Charge if not wholly impracti- 
cable to extract all goods imported & exported." Treas. Books, Out-Letters, 
Customs 5, f. no. See also ibid. 8, ff. 4, 66-71. 



prior thereto had been at the disposal of the Governor, was 
filled by a crown appointee. The Governor, Sir Jonathan 
Atkins, was of a fearless and independent character and 
strenuously objected to this diminution of his prerogative. 
In reply to his protest, the Secretary of State, Sir Henry 
Coventry, wrote that in future, before any such appoint- 
ments were made in England, he would investigate whether or 
no the place were patentable, and, further, that he would try 
to persuade the King to establish a settled rule about all the 
offices in the colonies.^ While this correspondence was pro- 
ceeding, one Abraham Langford was appointed by the Crown 
as Naval Officer of Barbados, with permission to act by 
deputy.^ Atkins naturally again objected, and unwisely even 
refused to admit Langford to the office.^ On November 28, 
1676,^ Secretary Coventry addressed a sharp letter of re- 
buke to Atkins, and orc^red him to recognize Langford's 
patent of appointment. He added, that he had been 'just 
to his word' about this general subject of appointments, 
and "had not only Spoken to his Majesty, and as I thought 
very well prepared him towards it," but the late address of 

^ Coventry wrote : "On the one side should all Governours and Generalls 
bestow all places, there would be but little left for the King to obUge, or 
indeed to create or make Dependants, so on the other side what you say is 
very true, it is hard when a Governor hath according to former Presidents 
placed a Man of Honour in an Imployment, that he should be by an Ex- 
traordinary Command put out." Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 25,120, ff. 90, 
91, 112, 120; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 332, 449, 450. 

^ Ibid. p. 379. On June 14, 1676, Coventry wrote to Atkins that he 
should admit Langford into this office. Ihid. p. 403. 

^ Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 22,617, ff. 141, 142. 

* Ibid. 25,120, fif. 96-99. 


Barbados against the enumeration of sugar and the affront 
offered to Langford's patent "make the Conjuncture at 
present improper." Atkins perforce had to submit, and 
Langford enjoyed his patent for this office until his death 
several years thereafter.^ His case was used as a precedent, 
and his successors in the office at Barbados continued to be 
appointed by the Crown. ^ At about the same time, in 
Jamaica also, the naval officer began to be nominated in 
England.^ Although so appointed, these officials were, 

^ In 1677, Coventry wrote to Atkins about this general subject, and the 
latter's expressed opinion "that it is prejudicial! to Government to have 
Ofl&cers nominated here," stating that "his Majesty and Councill are of 
another Opinion, and that it concemeth his Majesty to be a little better 
acquainted with those that bear Ofl&ces in his Plantations then of late he 
hath been, for till some late Orders of the CounciU, his Majesty hardly 
knew the Lawe or the men by which his Plantations were governed. The 
Governor was the only person known to him, but his Majesty was resolved 
to be better acquainted with them and let them know, they are not to govern 
themselves, but be governed by him." He further added that "some late 
Stubborn Carriage in the Plantations" would occasion a stricter inquiry 
into "their Comportments," than hitherto had been made. Brit. Mus., 
Add. MSS. 25,120, f. 120. 

2 In 1682, shortly before his death, Abraham Langford petitioned that his 
son, who had acted as his deputy, might be his successor. Sir Richard 
Dutton, the Governor, also sought the place for his brother. C. C. 1681- 
1685, pp. 279, 293, 340, 382, 474. Neither received the appointment. 
The actual nominee was apparently one Thomas Gleave, who, under James 
II, was succeeded by Archibald Carmichael. Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2441 
f. 22''; Add. MSS. 22,617, ff- 141, 142; C. O. 33/13 passim. 

3 In 1 68 1, one Reginald Wilson applied for a patent as Naval Officer of 
Jamaica. Sir Thomas Lynch, who had governed the colony ten years before, 
supported this petition, stating that at that time he had established this 
office 'to inspect all bills of lading and cocquets that I might not be surprised, 
but that the several Acts of Trade and Navigation might be exactly com- 
plied with according to my oath and duty.' He had appointed this Wilson, 


however, not paid by the English Exchequer, but were sup- 
ported by fees levied on the vessels trading in the colonies. 
At a very early date, it was seen that the royal governors 
and their subordinate officials were not able to secure a strict 
enforcement of the laws of trade. At the same time, it was 
also fully realized that, as there were no imperial officials 
of any description in the proprietary and charter colonies, the \ 
laws were apt to be ignored by the local authorities in these / 
semi-independent jurisdictions, whenever their local interests ( 
were to any extent adversely affected. Hence arose thej 
demand that special officials be appointed by the English! 
government to secure the execution of the laws of trade in the' 
colonies. In 1662 and 1663, the chief violation complained of 
was the illegal shipment of tobacco directly to New NetherT,!— 
land and Europe.^ The Council for Foreign Plantations 
devoted considerable attention to this matter, but could 
devise no more effective remedy than the despatch of special 
instructions to the colonial governors.- Further action wasi 
demanded by the Farmers of the Customs, who were directly 
interested, in so much as this illegal trade diminished the 

who had performed his duties very exactly, but had subsequently been dis- 
missed by the Earl of Carlisle to make room for a man of his own selection. 
As Lynch's recommendation was so unqualified, Wilson received the ap- 
pointment. C. O. 1/47, S3'y C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 107, 147, 148; P. C. 
Cal. II, p. 26. On Wilson, see also C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 267, 305, 306; 
Bodleian, Rawlinson MSS., A 171, f. 199 ; Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2724 
(Earl of Carlisle's answer to charges of Sam. Long). 

1 P. C. Register Charter II, III, ff. 101.450, 451 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 334, 
335, 365-367; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 44-46; Va. Mag. Ill, pp. 18, 19. 

2 C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 345, 357 ; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 44-46 ; C. O. 
1/14, 59, f. 53. 


i^^n'glish customs revenue. They complained ^ that the 
colonial and English traders did, "both by land & water 
carry & convey greate quantities of Tobacco to the Dutch 
whose Plantations are contiguous, the Custom whereof 
would amount to tenne thousand pounds p. ann. or upwards, 
thereby eluding the late Act of Navigation and defrauding 
his Ma*'^" As a remedy, the Farmers proposed to send at 
their own expense officials to the various colonies to prevent 
such illegal practices. The Council for Foreign Plantations 
approved of this suggestion, and, after deciding upon the pow- 
ers of these proposed officials, early in 1664, recommended 
its adoption.^ The government ratified this recommendation, 
and by an Order in Council of April 22, 1664, the Farmers 
of the Customs were empowered at their own charge to send 
officers to the colonies to see to the execution of the Naviga- 
tion Act.^ In the meanwhile, however, the international 
situation had reached a critical phase. The determination 
of the EngHsh government to attack the Dutch colony of 
New Netherland and the successful outcome of this expedi- 
tion rendered it largely unnecessary to send these customs 
officials to America, since this centre of the illegal trade 
was now an English possession. 

Illegal trade, however, by no means disappeared. To 

^ some extent it was even facilitated by the Dutch war, for 

) the temporary dispensation of certain clauses of the Naviga- 

1 C. O. 1/14, 59, ff. 53, 54; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, p. 47; C. C. 1661-1668, 
no. 597. 

2 C. O. 1/14, 59, ff- 54-56; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 4S-50; C. C. 1661- 
1668, nos. 605, 644, 649. 

3 P. C. Register Charles II,.IV, f. 79; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 377, 378. 


tion Acts was used to cover violations of the provisions that 
still remained in force. ^ In some more or less sporadic in- 
stances, the enumerated products were sent directly to Eu- 
rope and European supplies were imported directly into the 
colonies from places other than England.^ On December 
4, 1668, the Council of Trade reported to Charles II that 
keveral of the colonial governors had been remiss in the 
following respects : in not taking the oaths to enforce the 
laws of trade as enjoined by statute ; in allowing unquali- 
fied ships to trade; in not obtaining bonds before the 
enumerated goods were shipped. As the chief remedy, they 
proposed that the Farmers of the Customs should main- 
tain an officer in each colony to administer the oaths to the 

1 In the Leeward Islands, the distress caused by the war induced the local 
authorities to suspend these laws temporarily. In 1667, the Governor, 
Council, and Assembly of Nevis, considering the great scarcity, ordered that 
a Uberty of trade be granted to two ships of Hamburg, on condition that 
this should not be used as a precedent. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1631. See 
also no. 1669. In 1668, was registered a complaint to the effect that the 
Governor of Antigua had allowed the French and Dutch to trade there. 
Cal. Treas. Books, 1 667-1 668, pp. 439, 440. 

' On Oct. 29, 1667, the Treasury wrote to Sir John Finch, the English 
resident at Florence, in reply to his letters concerning an English ship that 
had arrived at Leghorn with part of her cargo from Barbados, instructing 
him in future to arrest any such vessel. Cal. Treas. Books, 1667-1668, p. 
198. A few weeks later, the Treasury wrote to the colonial governors, 
stating that several ships had gone directly from the colonies to Tangier, 
to the Mediterranean ports, and to other places, and enjoining upon them 
greater care in the enforcement of the laws. Ihid. pp. 201, 202; Treas. 
Books, Out-Letters, Customs I, ff. 49-51. Although an English possession, 
Tangier was not placed within the barriers of the colonial system, and the 
enumerated goods were not allowed to be shipped there directly. On this 
illegal trade from the colonies to Tangier and the attempt to legalize it, see 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 486, 499 ; Cal. Treas. Books, 1667-166S, p. 449. 


governors, that only vessels whose papers this ojficer had 
seen should be allowed to trade, and that no bond or secur- 
ity be accepted without his approval.^ This report was 
favorably endorsed by the Privy Council, and early in 1669 
,the Farmers of the Customs were ordered to send to the 
Icolonies or to select in them, and to maintain at their own 
[charge, one or more persons in each plantation, "whom his 
\Majesty shall Approve and Authorise," to administer the 
'oaths to the governors and to see that the law w^as obeyed. 
i At the same time, letters were despatched to the Governors 
of Virginia, Maryland, New York, and the island colonies, 
ordering them to take the statutory oaths and to assist these 

It is not quite clear to what extent the Farmers of the 
Customs used this authority. In Virginia, they named 
Edward Digges, a prominent citizen of the colony, as their 
representative,^ and probably in some of the other colonies 
also officers were appointed."^ But, in general, no extensive 
i change in the local administrative machinery was, or could 
Ibe, made in the short space of time during which the system 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1884. On Oct. 5, 1668, in connection with a 
complaint from the Farmers of the Customs about ships trading directly 
from Barbados to Tangier, the Treasury had passed a resolution that the 
Farmers should have liberty to have an officer in each colony to see that all 
ships traded according to the law. Cal. Treas. Books, 1667-1668, p. 449. 

2 P. C. Register Charles II, VIII, f. 179 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 499-501. 

' See warrant of Aug. 25, 1669, approving the appointment of Edward 
Digges by the Farmers of the Customs. C. C. 1669-1674, p. 40; Va. IMag. 
XIX, pp. 35O' 351- 

* In 1670, Secretary Ludwell of Virginia referred to a letter from "INIr. 
DelaveU the farmers Comiss'r at New Yorke." Va. Mag. XIX, p. 354. 


of farming the revenue was continued in England. In 
167 1, this method was abandoned, and the Commonwealth 
precedent was followed in appointing Commissioners of 
the Customs, at whose head was placed Sir George 

Like the Farmers whom they had superseded, this board 
was mainly intent upon securing as large a customs revenue 
as was possible; and, as the only branch of illegal trade in 
I the colonies that might seriously interfere -with this purpose 
was an extensive evasion of the enumeration of tobacco, 
they concentrated their attention on Virginia and Marjdand. 
On October 31, 1671, a warrant was issued, appointing 
Edward Digges "Agent at Virginia," with extensive powers 
of control over the colony's trade. His salary of £250 was 
made payable by the Receiver- General of the Customs in 
England." No provision was made for a similar oflEicer in 
Maryland, because its Governor, Charles Calvert, was 

^ Cal. Treas. Books, 1669-1672, p. 935; Atton and Holland, The Kings 
Customs, p. 103. 

^ Digges was instructed to see that the enumeration bonds were taken and 
to send copies of them, together with detailed accounts of aU ships arriving 
and departing, to the Commissioners of the Customs. Simultaneously with 
his appointment, a letter was sent to Governor Berkeley, informing him of 
the new method of collecting the English customs revenue, "whereof the 
duty on the tobaccos of Virginia are a considerable branch, " and stating that 
information had been received of many evasions of the enumeration of to- 
bacco. Berkeley was ordered to prevent these frauds and strictly to enforce 
aU the laws of trade, and he was further instructed that the security of aU 
enumeration bonds taken by him had to be approved by Edward Digges, 
"whom we have appointed to take care of same and to transmit copies of 
said bonds to the Customs Commissioners in London." Cal. Treas. Books, 
1669-1672, p. 1 1 26. CJ. p. 948. 


already very methodical in enforcing the laws and regularly 
sent to England copies of the bonds taken by him, as well 
as accounts of the colony's exports. In view of the salary 
paid to Digges in Virginia, Lord Baltimore, however, thought 
that his son, the Governor, was also entitled to some remuner- 
ation for his zeal, and secured for him a salary of £200 from 
the English Treasur)^^ This system of employing surv'eyors 
— this was the technical designation used by the Treasury — 
in Virginia and Maryland remained in effect only a short 
time, for in 1673 Parliament imposed the plantation duties 
and specifically entrusted their management and collection 
to the Commissioners of the Customs. It thus became the 
statutory duty of this board to appoint customs officials in 
all the colonies. 

Shortly thereafter, in the fall of 1673, the Cjommissioners 
of the Customs proceeded to act upon their new powers and 
appointed collectors of the customs in all the colonies except 
New England, North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey.^ 
In 1674, appointments were also made in these last three 

^ The warrant for this salary was issued only in November of 1672, but it 
was paid from Christmas of 1671 on. This salary was to be paid to Calvert 
until he should "appoint some one to receive same: same to be for the 
encouragement of said Calvert so long as he shall continue to perform the 
said service." On June 2, 1673, Calvert wrote to Baltimore, thanking him 
for procuring this salary and stating that, as instructed, he would appoint 
a person to receive it. The salary was, however, always paid to him. Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1669-1672, pp. iioi, 1137, 1345; Calvert Papers I, pp. 263, 
264, 279, 295, 300. 

^ Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, pp. 424, 427. No provision naturally was 
made for the rudimentary settlements in the Bahamas, nor for Newfoundland, 
which was not considered a colony. 


colonies,^ and finally, in 1678, a collector for New England was 
chosen in the person of Edward Randolph.^ Apart from 
Randolph, there were several men among these original ap- 
pointees of 1673, ^^d those shortly thereafter succeeding 
them, who played a prominent part in colonial poHtics.^ 
Digges and Calvert were naturally not continued in their 
former positions, and their exceptionally large salaries were 
stopped,^ but they were appointed collectors in their respec- 
tive colonies. Digges was Auditor of Virginia and a mem- 
ber of the Council, and, possibly on account of the pressure 
of other work or because of ill-health — he died shortly af ter- 
w^ards — but more probably in consequence of the withdrawal 
of his salary, he declined the position.^ In his stead, early 
in 1675, was appointed Giles Bland,^ who was destined to a 
short, but turbulent and tragic, career in Virginia politics. 
In Mar^dand, Governor Calvert accepted the office and con- 
tinued in it until the death of his father. Lord Baltimore, 
when he succeeded to the proprietorship. In his place shortly 
thereafter, in 1676, was appointed Christopher Rousby,^ who, 
like Bland in Virginia, was to meet an untimely and violent 

' Cal. Treas. Books, 167 2-1675, PP- 498) 5oi» 521, 522. 

'^ Ibid. 1676-1679, p. 1023. In 1678, on the recommendation of Governor 
Andros of New York, a Collector and a Comptroller were also appointed at 
Pemaquid. Ibid. p. 1018. 

^ For these appointments up to 1679, see ibid. 1672-1675, pp. 613, 667, 
866; ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 288, 312, 641, 1018, 1093, 1211. 

* Ibid. 1672-1675, pp. 437, 452, 456. 

5 Ibid. p. 667 ; Va. Mag. XIV, p. 270. 

* February i, 1675, warrant from Treasurer Danby to the Customs board 
to appoint Giles Bland. Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, p. 667. 

^ Ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 229, 230, 373. 


death. In addition to Calvert, there was on the original list 
one other proprietary Governor, Sir John Heydon of the 
Bermudas, and also Joseph West, the former Governor of 
South Carolina.^ Among the subsequent noteworthy ap- 
pointments were Edwyn Stede in Barbados,^ who later was 
Deputy Governor of that island, and Thomas Miller,^ whose 
activities caused a miniature poUtical upheaval in North 

As a rule, one collector was appointed for each colony, 
with authority, however, to designate such deputies as might 
be required.^ But in Virginia, where there were no regular 
ports of entry, the agents of the colony induced the govern- 
ment in 1676 to appoint seven collectors — among whom 
were such prominent colonials as Nicholas Spencer, John 
Washington, and Ralph Wormley — to act in the four 
principal rivers of the colony and on "the Eastern Shore. "^ 

^ In 1674, Philip Carteret, the Governor of East New Jersey, was also ap- 
pointed to be the Collector there, with authority to appoint a deputy. 
Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, pp. 521, 522. 

2 Ordered appointed Sept. 14, 1674, in place of Robert Bevis, Bevin, or 
Beven. Ihid. p. 580. This was evidently Robert Bevin who, jointly with 
Stede, acted as agent of the Royal African Company in Barbados. C. C. 
1669-1674, pp. 363, 364, 544; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 572-574- 

' Ordered appointed Nov. 16, 1676. Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 373. 

^ In the Leeward Islands, a joint-collector was appointed for Nevis and 
St. Kitts, but Antigua and Montserrat each had its own collector. Ibid. 
1672-1675, pp. 427, 451, 452. 

* Ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 346, 347. At the same time, Captain Philip 
Lightfoot was appointed Comptroller and Surveyor General of the colony. 
Ibid. Nicholas Spencer and John Washington held the joint-col lectorship 
on the Potomac, but in 1679, after the death of the latter, Spencer was ap- 
pointed sole collector. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 5, f. 8. This 


Similarly, nine years later, Maryland was divided into two 
districts with separate collectors.^ 

In addition to these collectors, the Commissioners of the 
(Customs appointed in nearly every one of the colonies 
*an official called the Comptroller and Surveyor General, 
fwho, while subordinate to the Collector, acted as a check 
'upon him and countersigned the accounts that he sent 
to England.^ None of these officials, except Nicholas Bad- 

warrant from the Treasury to the Customs, ordering Spencer's appointment, 
is printed in Atton and Holland, The King's Customs, p. 462. 

1 In the beginning of 1685, Nehemiah Blackiston, the Comptroller and 
Surveyor in Maryland, was appointed Collector, in succession to Christopher 
Rousby, who had been murdered. But on Sept. 24, 1685, John Rousby 
was appointed Collector at Patuxent River, and Blackiston's duties were 
restricted to the Wicomico and Pocomoke rivers. He was obliged, 
however, to officiate only at the Wicomico, and George Layfield, the colony's 
Comptroller and Surveyor, was authorized to act as his deputy on the 
Pocomoke, with power to appoint deputies to perform his own duties as 
Comptroller on the Patuxent and Wicomico rivers. Treas. Books. Out- 
Letters, Customs 10, ff. 9, 51. See also C. O. 5/739, f- 78; C. C. 1685- 
1688, pp. 6, 286. In 1687, John Payne was appointed to succeed John 
Rousby in the Patuxent River district. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 
II, f. 36. 

2 On April 30, 1673, Treasurer CHfford wrote, apparently to the Customs, 
that he approved of their proposals for executing 25 Ch. II, c. 7, and of the 
appointment of collectors in each of the plantations, but added : '' That there 
may be a check over the action of the Collectors I think fit a Surveyor should 
also be appointed at each Plantation to be allowed a sixth part of the salary 
proposed for the Head Collectors,'' the remaining five-sixths to go to the 
collectors for their pains and " the charge of under officers." Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1672-1675, p. 126. For the surveyors appointed, set ibid. pp. 427, 
596, 866, 708; ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 288,312, 641, 755, 1019, 1119. For the 
system of control over the collectors, see ibid. 1676-1679, pp. 728, 729. In 
the Bermudas and in Montserrat, on account of their small trade, no comp- 
trollers were appointed, and the collectors were granted the entire allowances 



cock and Nehemiah Blackiston in Maryland ^ and Timothy 
Biggs in North Carolina,^ were at all prominent in the 
controversies, in which the collectors became so frequently 

As this corps of customs officials was of considerable size, 
experience showed that it would be advisable to appoint a 
superior official to inspect and control their work. In 1683, 
William Dyre, who had been Collector of the New York 
provincial revenue,^ was appointed Surveyor General of the 
Customs in the American colonies.^ In the spring of 1683, 
Dyre was in Barbados on official business and unearthed some 
abuses there,^ Towards the end of the year, he appeared in 

established for the imperial customs officials in these colonies. Ibid. 1672- 
1675, pp. 427, 499. 

^ The warrant for Blackiston's appointment was dated Jan. 16, 1683. 
Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 8, f. 182. The appointment of Badcock 
was authorized on June 23, 1680. Ibid. 5, f. 230. 

^ The warrant for Biggs's appointment was dated Sept. 28, 1678. Cal. 
Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 11 19. 

^ In 1674, Dyre had been appointed Collector of the New York revenue, 
and in 1 68 1 he was tried in the colony ' as a false traitor ' for collecting customs 
duties that had not been, as was claimed, duly authorized. On Dyre 
denying the competence of the New York court, he was sent for trial to 
England, where the charges against him were held to be groundless. C. C. 
1681-1685, pp. 81, 259, 304, 555; Conn. Col. Rec. Ill, p. 344 n. See also 
Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer, History of the City of New York II, 
pp. 232-242. On Dec. 2, 1682, Dyre was ordered appointed Collector 
of the Customs in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and a month later he 
secured the post of Surveyor General. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 
8,f. 172. 

* For Dyre's commission and instructions of Jan. 4, 1683, see C. O. 
140/4, f. 32 ; Mass. Col. Rec. V, p. 530; Conn. Col. Rec. Ill, p. 344. 

^ Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 8, f. 239; C. C. 1685-1688, p. 58; 
Toppan, Randolph IV, p 5. 


Jamaica, where, after some hesitation on the part of the local 
authorities, he was permitted to exercise the powers of his 
commission.^ In 1684, he was in New England, where his 
family had been residing for several years.^ Dyre's career 
in New York had already made him unpopular in Massachu- 
setts,^ and his commission as Surveyor General was regarded 
with considerable distrust.^ WTiile there, he participated in, 
and claimed the credit for, the seizure of a notable pirate.^ 
In 1685, Dyre investigated conditions in Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey, and complained of the illegal trade carried on 
there. ^ In New Jersey, he seized a ship for trading mthout 
entering, and although, so he alleged, the case was absolutely 
clear, yet the jury found against him and charged him with a 
long biU of costs, for refusing to pay which he was arrested. 
It was on the strength of this complaint that the Privy Council 
ordered the Attorney-General to institute proceedings against 

1 C. O. 140/4, f. 32; C. C. 1681-1685, p. 572. 

2 Toppan, Randolph IV, p. 5. 

^ The verses, written on Randolph's return to New England as Collector 
in 1679, contained the following Unes : — 

"He that keep a Plantacon Custom-house, 
One year, may bee a man, the next a Mouse. 
V Brother Dyer hath the Devill played, 
Made the New-Yorkers at the first affraide, 
Hee vapoured, swagger'd, hector'd (whoe but hee ?) 
But soon destroyed himself by Villanie." 
Ihid. HI, pp. 61-64. 

"^ Ihid. I, pp. 15s, 235; HI, pp. 339, 340. In 1686, Governor Dongan 
of New York stated that, according to report, Dyre was "the worst of men." 
Goodrick, Randolph VI, p. 166 n. 
5 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 684-686. 
^ House of Lords MSS. II (1695-1697), p. 465. 


the Jersey charter.^ In 1686, we find Dyre using his author- 
ity to appoint customs officials in the Bermudas and in 
Connecticut, and complaining of the illegal importation of 
European goods in the latter colony.^ In November of 

1685, Patrick Mein was appointed to succeed Dyre as Sur- 
veyor General and assumed his duties in 1686.^ Towards the 
middle of the year, he was in New York and New Jersey 
investigating conditions there. A few months later, he ap- 
peared in Maryland, where the customs service was in an un- 
satisfactory state, and reported upon the conditions in that 
colony. He likewise visited Virginia, where at this time also 
there was considerable trouble about the administration of 
the laws. While in the " Old Dominion," he issued detailed 
instructions to the customs officials established there.'* After 
having completed his survey of the continental colonies to 
the satisfaction of the Commissioners of the Customs, Mein 
was ordered to proceed to the West Indies, with instructions 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 61, 106; House of Lords MSS. II (1695-1697), 
p. 465 ; P. C. Cal. II, p. 89. 

2 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 295 ; Conn. Col. Rec. Ill, p. 344. 

' On Jan. 15, 1685, the Customs Board was authorized to appoint 
WilUam Carler to succeed Dyre, but apparently no action was taken, and on 
Nov. 17, 1685, Mein's appointment in succession to Dyre was authorized 
by the Treasury. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 9, f . 90 ; 10, f. 73. 

* C. C. 1485-1688, pp. 209, 253, 277, 280, 305 ; House of Lords MSS. II 
(1695-1697), p. 465; C. O. s/739, fit. 72-75; ibid. 1/62, 2oxi; Goodrick, 
Randolph VI, p. 199. The instructions issued by ]Mein on Dec. 24, 

1686, to the Virginia collectors carefuUy described their duties under the five 
fundamental statutes of the Restoration Parhament, and ordered them to 
correspond with the Commissioners of the Customs in England and to obey 
their instructions. He further enjoined upon them not to engage in trade, 
either directly or indirectly. C. O. 1/59, 34. 



to inspect the management of the 1673 plantation duties and 
the four and a half per cent revenue, and also the execution 
of the laws of trade and navigation, and especially to pre- 
vent ships from leaving these islands unless they had given 
satisfactory enumerated bonds.^ 

Thus there was estabhshed in the colonies a comprehensive 
\ system of customs officials, who not only were absolutely 
(independent of the authorities in the charter and proprietary 
/colonies, but also were in a great measure free from control 
by the royal governors, since they were directly responsible 
to the higher authority of the Commissioners of the Customs. 
Moreover, apart from the fees occasionally allowed them for 
entering and clearing vessels, these officials were absolutely 
independent of the colonial governments, because their sala- 
ries were derived from the Exchequer or from funds under 
the exclusive control of the English Treasury. When these 
collectors and comptrollers were first appointed in 1673, 
it was arranged that they should receive as compensa- 
tion a fixed portion, varying in the different colonies, of 
the 1673 duties collected by them.^ As this revenue was 
very small and the shares thereof allotted to the collec- 
tors were at the outset not large, they had in most in- 
stances to be increased, so that ultimately considerably 
over one-half of the income from this source went to those 

1 Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 11, f. 177. 

2 At the beginning, it was determined to allow one-eighth in Virginia and 
Maryland, one-fifth in Barbados, one-third in Jamaica, Ne\ds, and St. 
Kitts, and one-half in Montserrat, Antigua, and the Bermudas. Of these 
amounts, the collector was to receive two-thirds and the comptroller and sur- 
veyor one-third. Brit. Mus., Add. INISS. 28,089, ff. 30-32. 


collecting it.^ Thus, already in 1675, the Virginia and 
Maryland collectors were authorized to retain one-half 
and the comptrollers one-quarter of the gross amount 
of these duties collected there.- This arrangement could 
not, however, be applied to New England, because only 
insignificant quantities of the enumerated goods were ex- 
ported thence to the other colonies, and, besides, it was 
doubtful if the law could be adequately enforced there. 
Accordingly, when in 1678 Randolph was appointed Collector 
of New England, Treasurer Danby ordered his salary of 
£100 to be inserted in the English customs establishment 
until further orders, which, he wrote: "I intend to give 
when a revenue shall arise in that country out of which it 
may be paid."^ Needless to say, such orders were never 
issued. In addition, the Sur\^eyor General was paid by the 

1 Already on Dec. 12, 1673, it was ordered that the former allowance 
of one-eighth in Virginia and Maryland should be increased to one-half, of 
which the collectors were entitled to two-thirds and the surveyors to one- 
third. The same arrangement was made in 1674 for New York and North 
Carolina. Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, pp. 437,456, 498, 522. In 1677, 
the proportion allowed in Jamaica was raised to one-half and, in 1679, that 
in Barbados to one-fourth.. Ibid. 1676-1679, p. 641 ; Treas. Books, Out- 
Letters, Customs 5, ff. 12-18. 

- This order was issued by Danby on the strength of a report of the Com- 
missioners of the Customs to the effect that, in view of the fact that Digges 
formerly had received £250 yearly and Calvert £200, this work was now 
inadequately compensated and, as the object of these duties was " to turn the 
course of a trade rather than to raise any considerable revenue to His Majesty," 
the proportions allowed to the customs officials in these colonies should be 
increased to one-half and one-quarter of the amount collected. Cal. Treas. 
Books, 1672-1675, pp. 705. 

' Ibid. 1676-1679, p. 1 142. 


Exchequer, Dyre and Mein each receiving twenty shillings 
a day for their services.^ 

When, in 1684, the system of farming the four and a half per 
cent export duties in Barbados and the Leeward Islands was 
discarded, the Treasury was obliged to create an elaborate 
staff of officials to take charge of this revenue. The allow- 
ances formerly granted to the collectors and comptrollers 
were discontinued, and the collection of the 1673 duties, as 
well as the enforcement of laws of trade and navigation, was 
entrusted to these new officials. In Barbados, Edwyn Stede 
(the former Collector of the Customs) and Stephen Gascoigne 
were appointed Chief Commissioners of this four and a half 
per cent revenue with salaries of £200 apiece. Under them 
were a score of minor officials — several collectors, a comp- 
troller, as well as clerks, searchers, waiters, watermen — each 
with a fixed salary. The aggregate cost of this entire staff, 
including the two chiefs, was £1455, which was paid out of 
the four and a half per cent duties.^ In the Leeward Islands, 

1 Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 8, f. 239 ; 9, f. 90; 10, f. 73. 

"^ This amount was reckoned equivalent to 2328 hundredweight of mus- 
covado sugar, figured at 125. dd. Separate accounts were ordered kept of 
this revenue and that arising from the plantation duties of 1673. The 
accovmts of the \\ per cent revenue were ordered to be sent regularly to the 
Commissioners of the Customs and to William Blathwayt, the Auditor- 
General. Such goods as were received in payment of these duties were to be 
shipped to England, except rum, lime-juice and molasses, which would "sell 
to the least advantage in England." Hence, all the salaries of tliese officials 
were ordered to be paid "out of the Receipt of these Commodities, either by 
converting them into Muscovado Sugar, money or otherwise, as is most 
convenient," and, in case these receipts were not sufficient for the entire 
salary list, the deficiency was to be made good "out of other Vents of Goods." 
These elaborate instructions w^ere issued on Sept. 2, 1684. Treas. Books, 


where the revenue was comparatively insignificant, a much 
less elaborate staff was required. As head commissioners 
or collectors were appointed Henry Carpenter and Richard 
Nagle, with salaries of £100 apiece. Their station was Nevis, 
and for each of the other islands — St. Kitts, Antigua, and 
Montserrat — separate collectors were appointed. Subordi- 
nate to them were a number of searchers and waiters, and the 
total charge of the entire service was roughly £650 yearly.^ 
The establishment of this colonial customs service was 
not effected without considerable friction. The charter and ; 
proprietary colonies naturally looked askance at these offi- 
cials, who were the sole direct representatives of the impe- 
rial authority within their jurisdictions. Moreover, in the 
crown colonies also, difficulties arose from the extensive au- 
thority conferred on the collectors of the customs. By the 
statutes, the governor was the colonial official primarily 
responsible for the execution of the laws of trade and 

Out-Letters, Customs 9, ff. 43-48. On Oct. 4, 1684, a more careful 
method of auditing the accounts was prescribed and Blathwayt's deputy 
in the colony was authorized to inspect all the books and accounts of these 
officials. Ihid. f. 55. During the subsequent five years, various changes 
were made in this staff. Ibid.Q. S7,72; 10, ff. 21,28; 11,5.56,85,95,152. 
The only noteworthy change was that, in 1687, Edward Cranfield, who had 
unsuccessfully tried to govern New Hampshire, was upon his own petition 
appointed one of the Commissioners, in succession to Gascoigne, "supposed 
to be cast away in his passage hither." He was also at the same time ap- 
pointed Collector of the Customs. Ibid. 11, f. 6. 

1 Ibid. 9, f. 54. During the following five years, several changes were 
made in this staff. Ibid. f. 63 ; 10, ff. 27, 132, 143 ; 11, f. 95. In 1685, the 
salaries of Carpenter and Nagle were raised to £150, and, in 1686, Thomas 
Belchamber was appointed to succeed Nagle, lately deceased. Ibid. 10, ff. 
33, 143. 


navigation, and, according to a strictly literal interpreta- 
tion of the law, the work of the collectors should have 
been confined solely to matters connected with the 1673 
duties. But, in addition to this, the collectors were from 
the very outset instructed also to see in general to the 
enforcement of the entire commercial system. They were 
ordered not only to collect the plantation duties, but to 
secure the execution of all the other trade laws — to see 
that ships arriving from England had given bonds there and 
that in other cases proper bonds were given in the colonies, 
to seize all vessels violating the Staple Act of 1663, and not to 
allow any "to unlade before handing in a report and mani- 
fest." ^ It was but natural that, in trying to exercise these 
broad powers, the collectors should meet with some opposi- 
tion from the colonial governors and their subordinate offi- 
cials, to whom hitherto this work had been wholly entrusted. 
In Virginia, this opposition culminated in a serious quarrel 
between Governor Berkeley and Giles Bland, who was ap- 
pointed Collector of the Customs in 1675.^ He was the son 
of a London merchant of extensive and varied acti\'ities, 
John Bland, who is mainly remembered on account of an 
incisive criticism of the purely economic features of the 
newly created colonial system. Towards the end of the 
sixties, Giles Bland was in Tangier, of which his active father 
was the Mayor,^ and, a few years thereafter, he came to 

1 Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, pp. 451, 452; Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 
28,089, ff- 30-34- 

2 Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, p. 667. 

^ E. M. G. Routh, Tangier, pp. 120-123, 


Virginia to take charge of his father's extensive landed 
estates there. ^ In 1674, as a result of a personal quarrel 
with the colony's Secretary, Thomas Ludwell, during which 
he was held to have affronted the "Grand Assembly" and in- 
sulted the Council, Bland was fined £500 by the Virginia au- 
thorities. Thus, already before his appointment as Collector 
of the Customs, he was in bad odor with the oligarchy govern- 
ing the colony, and soon thereafter he became involved in 
an acrimonious dispute with the autocratic Governor, Sir 
WilUam Berkeley, about the enforcement of the laws of trade.- 
In the main, the trouble arose from the fact that Berkeley and 
the local ofi&cials \^dshed to restrict Bland's authority to the 
collection of the plantation duties of 1673, and hampered him 
when he tried to carry out his broad instructions to supervise 
the execution of the entire body of the laws of trade. In the 
course of a long letter ^ on the obstructions encountered by 
him, Bland pointed out to Governor Berkeley how impossi- 
ble it was for him to enforce the laws, as the trading vessels 
refused to enter and clear with him, but continued as here- 
tofore to do so solely with the collectors of the pro\'incial 
revenue. In ignoring him, Bland continued, these vessels 
"slight his Ma^^ Authority & Comands," and are encouraged 
to do so by the local officials. As a result, he further claimed, 
considerable illegal trade was carried on, which he had no 
means of checking. In consequence of these so-called scan- 

1 Va. Mag. XX, p. 238. 

2 Brit. Mus.,Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 496; Va. Mag. XX, pp. 238, 239; 
C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 609, 624; ibid. 1675-1676, pp. 231, 232, 379. 

* September 16, 1675. Brit. Mus., Egerton ]\ISS. 2395, fif. 511 et seq. 


dalous charges, the Virginia authorities suspended Bland from 
his post until the King's pleasure should be made knowTi.^ 
Shortly thereafter began the disturbances culminating in 
Bacon's rebellion, in which Bland took a prominent part, 
naturally on the side of the insurgents. It was presumably 
for this reason, rather than on the merits of his special con- 
troversy with Berkeley, that the Commissioners of the Cus- 
toms were ordered on August 21, 1676, to present a fit person 
to succeed Bland, "whom his Majesty has commanded to 
be removed from that employment." ^ A few months later, 
Bland fell \dctim to Governor Berkeley's \dndictive spirit 
and was hanged for his participation in the rebellion. 

It is obvious that the collectors of the customs could not 
secure the enforcement of the laws of trade unless vessels 
were obliged to enter and clear with them. Bland was fully 
justified in making this contention.^ But it is equally plain 

1 Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 515; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 298, 299; 
Va. Mag. XX. p. 242. 

2 Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 308. Bland's letter of April 28, 1676, 
to Williamson, embodying his own specific grievances and those of the 
party opposed to Berkeley, was endorsed as having been received in June. 
C. O. 1/36, 54; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 385, 386. On July 28, 1676, the 
Virginia agents were called to account, because Bland had been dismissed 
without first making application to the Treasury. In reply, they asserted 
that he had been restored to his ofl5ce. On this occasion, these agents 
claimed that Bland's powers extended only to collecting the 1673 duties 
and 'that the Governor is under a penalty of 1000 1. for entering and clear- 
ing of all ships that come for England or go elsewhere.' Cal. Treas. Books, 
1676-1679, p. 67. 

^ Bland wrote to Berkeley: "As touching ships coming from England 
vf^]' yo": Hon^ will not Admitt y* I should take any cognizance of," how 
can I find out if they reaUy came from England if they do not enter with 
me. Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 513. 


that, unless this work were Hkewise performed by the sub- 
ordinate officers of the governor, he could not perform his 
statutory duties of enforcing the colonial system.^ Conse- 
quently it gradually became the established custom for both 
the collectors and the naval officers to examine the ships' 
papers at arrival and departure. Formal instructions to this 
general effect were in 1683 sent from England to the royal 
governors.^ The work of these two sets of officials was 
thus largely the same,^ and one acted as a check on the other. 
This dual system,^ which was largely unique, was found to 
be fairly effective, and hence was retained by the continental 
colonies when they secured their independence from Great 
Britain, and is still a characteristic feature of the customs 
administration of the United States. 

The Crown and the Privy Council with its attendant 
committees and boards were represented in the colonies by 
the governors and the naval officers; the Treasury agents 

1 In most of the colonies, the local revenue was in part raised by customs 
duties, and hence ships had also to enter and clear with the purely provin- 
cial revenue officials. Thus three sets of officials were directly concerned 
in the same work. In practice, however, the system was not so cumbersome, 
as in some of the colonies the same man held two offices. 

2 C. O. s/904, ff- 330-332; ibid. 1/52, 60; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 477, 
478, 549, 564, 565. See also C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 289, 291. 

^ The collectors also saw to the payment of the 1673 plantation duties, 
in which the naval officers had no concern. Similarly, it was the special 
duty of the naval officers to take bonds from such vessels shipping the 
enumerated commodities as had not already given security in England. 

* The Commissioners of the Customs wanted the collectors appointed 
by them to be also the naval officers, but, as they reported in 1694/5, 
although they had on many occasions recommended this step, they had 
"very rarely prevailed therein." Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 22,617, ff. 141, 142. 


were the surveyors general and the collectors of the customs. 
Similarly, the third of the English administrative depart- 
ments directly concerned in the execution of the laws of 
trade, the Admiralty, likewise had its personal representa- 
tives in America. These agents of the Admiralty were of 
two distinct classes : the Vice- Admirals and the ojB&cials of 
the admiralty courts, which had cognizance of specific \ao- 
lations of the commercial system; the captains and other 
\ officers of the royal navy, who were authorized under the 
\ Navigation Act to seize vessels violating certain of its pro- 

The Navigation Act of 1660 not only authorized, but 
''strictly required," all officers of the Royal Navy to seize 
as prizes any foreign ships trading to the colonies and to 
deliver 'them to the Court of Admiralty for trial. ^ In case 
of condemnation, one-half of the proceeds of such seizures 
was to be allotted to the officers of the Navy concerned 
therein, and the balance to the Crown. But if the offending 
vessel were seized in the colony by ci\dl officials, then the 
trial was to be held "in any court of record," while, on 
condemnation, the proceeds were to be equally divided 
between the Crown, the Governor, and the informer or 

^ The statute is not quite clear, and might have been interpreted to 
mean that the trial should take place in the English High Court of Ad- 
miralty. This doubt was voiced by the Council of Barbados, which in 1661 
wrote that they would 'prosecute the late Act of Navigation, but begged 
that the King's ships might not carry off ships lying in their ports to the 
Admiralty Court in England, but should have them tried before the courts 
of record here.' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 84. Whatever the intent of the 
legislature was, the English government interpreted this clause to mean the 
colonial admiralty courts. 


seizer.^ Similarly, the penalties for violations of the enumera- 
tion clauses were made recoverable in the courts of record.^ 
It was a matter of continuous discussion, which apparently 
could never be absolutely settled, whether the admiralty and 
vice-admiralty courts were courts of record. The weight of 
legal opinion and also that of current practice were, however, 
against this contention, and in general it was assumed that 
by this term was meant solely the common law courts.^ Less 
ambiguous than the Act of 1660 was the Staple Act of 1663, 
which provided that seizures for violations thereof could be 
condemned in any of the colonial courts or in any court of 
record in England.^ Thus these two fundamental statutes 
igave an exclusive jurisdiction over certain seizures to the 
\ admiralty courts, while in other cases such power was con- 
ferred on the courts of record, and again in a third class 

these two kinds of courts were given concurrent authority. 

1 12 Ch. II, c. 18, § i. 

^ Ibid. § xviii. 

' Towards the end of 1688, a Dutch ship suspected of illegal trading 
was seized by the civil authorities in Jamaica. Evidence was offered that 
the vessel belonged to Dutch owaiers, that nearly all the seamen were 
Dutch, "and that they had both bought and sold here contrary to the 
Acts of Navigation." Before proceeding with the case, " ]Mr. INIagragh, 
the King's Counsell moved the Board (the Jamaica Council) for directions 
how to proceed against the Dutch Shipp lately Seized for breach of the 
Acts of Navigation," stating that he beUeved there was "Evidence suiE- 
cient to prove Shee has Traded contrary to Law but that they cannot try 
her in the Admiralty by reason the Statute of the 12*^ of King Charles, 
the Second directs the Tryall to be in a Court of Record." He prayed for 
a special commission for the speedy trial of this seizure, which was granted, 
and shortly afterwards it was condemned. C. O. 140/4, ff. 256-257 ; C. C. 
1685-1688, p. 621. 

^15 Ch. II, c. 7. See also 22 & 23 Ch. II, c. 26, §§ x, xi. 


During the Interregnum, admiralty courts had been erected 
in some of the West Indian colonies and had been used for 
condemning both prizes of war and also foreign ships 
I found trading to the English colonies. The prolongation of 
Ithe Spanish War after 1660 and the provisions of the Naviga- 
jtion Act of that year made it necessary to continue this 
jurisdiction in America. In 1661, Edward Doyley, the 
Governor of Jamaica, was instructed to settle 'Judicatories 
for civil affairs and admiralty,'^ and in 1662 the Duke of 
York's powers as Lord High Admiral were extended to 
England's foreign possessions in Africa and America.^ Ac- 
cordingly, when in this year Lord Windsor was appointed 
Governor of Jamaica, he was instructed by the Crown to 
cause to be held courts of admiralty by such judges as 
should be commissioned for that purpose by the Duke of 
York.^ But in the following year, when Lord WiUoughby 
was appointed Governor of the Caribbee Islands, the Cro^\^l 
gave him authority 'as High Admiral to constitute courts 
for marine causes,' together with 'powers of Vice- Admiral 
to execute martial law and expel by force all intruders.' * 
This commission unquestionably infringed upon the author- 
ity previously granted to the Duke of York as Lord High 
Admiral of the colonies, and led to some difficulties. 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, no. 22. 

* Ibid. no. 245. 

^ Ibid. no. 259; C. 0. 1/16, nos. 35, 36. 

* C. C. 1661-1668, no. 478. In the preceding year, 1662, when Lord 
Willoughby received a grant of the Caribbee Islands, 'the office of High 
Admiral of said islands, with the jurisdictions, liberties, and profits thereto 
belonging," had been specifically excepted. Ibid. no. 387. 


Shortly after his arrival in Barbados, Willoughby wrote to 
the Secretary of State, Sir Henry Bennet, that he had heard 
that the Duke of York had appointed Colonel Barwdcke 
his Vice-Admiral, which he could only conceive to be some 
mistake, as his o\vn commission from the King created him 
Vice-Admiral in those seas with power to hold courts of 
admiralty. He then added that he would desist from acting 
under his commission until receipt of further orders, and 
that he had written to the Duke of York, praying for a com- 
mission from him and craving pardon for his neglect in not 
having made this request before.^ At the same time, Lord 
Willoughby also wrote to Clarendon, entreating his favor 
with the Duke of York on account of the gross mistake that 
he had made in not taking a commission as Vice-Admiral 
from him as well as from the King, and exculpating himself 
on the ground that he did not know of the enlargement of 
the Duke of York's powers imtil he had arrived in Barbados.^ 
Accordingly, in future, the authority of the Duke of York 
was specifically recognized in the commissions issued by the 
Crown to the royal governors. Therein they were appointed 
Vice-Admirals with power to establish admiralty courts, but 
this authority was to be exercised according to such com- 
missions, directions, and instructions as they should receive 
from the Duke of York.^ He issued separate commissions 
appointing the colonial governors his Vice-Admirals.^ 

1 Ihid. no. 617. 2 Bodleian, Clarendon MSS. 81, flf. 5, 6. 

' See the instructions and commissions of Sir Thomas Modyford in 
1664 and of Sir Thomas Lynch in 1671. C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 656, 664; 
C. O. 1/18, 20; C. O. 138/1, ff. 88-95. 

* See, e.g., the Duke of York's commission of Jan. 26, 1667, constituting 


Except naturally in the case of New York/ which was the 
Lord High Admiral's proprietary dominion, this authority 
was granted only to the royal governors, and not to the 
officials of the proprietary and charter colonies. Nor was any 
attempt made at this time to extend the Enghsh admiralty 
jurisdiction over these semi-independent communities and to 
give its agents authority within them.^ Whenever courts 
of this nature were erected within these colonies, the power 
to do so was based upon the vague provisions of the original 
colonial charters, which in some cases might be construed 
as conferring upon the patentees jurisdiction in admiralty 
matters. In Maryland, his "Lo^^^ Admirall" exercised 
such authority as was vested in Lord Baltimore by virtue 
of the charter of 1632.^ In Massachusetts, the General 
Court ordered in 1674 that aU admiralty cases should be 
determined by the Court of Assistants without a jury, 
unless the court should see cause to the contrary.* The 

William, Lord Willoughby, Vice-Admiral of the Caribbee Islands. C. C. 
1661-1668, no. 1389. 

^ When Governor of New York, Andros had a commission as Vice- 
Admiral, but the Duke of York reserved the right to appoint the judge, 
registrar, and marshal of the admiralty court. In 1678, Andros was given 
authority to appoint these three officials. In the same year, Andros stated 
that the admiralty jurisdiction had been exercised by special commission or by 
"the Court of Major and Aldermen at New-Yorke." C. O. 155/1, ft. 18-33, 
§ii; N. Y. Col. Doc. Ill, pp. 260-262, 268; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 237, 238. 

^ In 1680, Randolph urged the necessity of issuing an admiralty com- 
misson covering Massachusetts, on account of the number of prizes brought 
there. C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 487-490; Toppan, Randolph III, pp. 56-61. 

^ Calvert Papers I, pp. 268, 269, 279, 287. 

* Mass. Col. Rec. IV, Part II, p. 575. In 1680, Governor Bradstreet 
stated that this court had jurisdiction in admiralty cases "without a Jury 
according to the Sea Laws." C. O. 1/44, 60 i. 


exercise of this jurisdiction, Randolph claimed, was one of 
the many instances in which Massachusetts had exceeded 
the authority granted by the charter.^ In addition, some 
of the other colonies of this group also occasionally used 
the admiralty jurisdiction.^ 

Thus the Enghsh Admiralty confined its authority to the 
crown colonies. Admiralty courts were at this time erected 
in all of these governments, except Virginia. In answer to 
the query of the English authorities about the existence of 
such a court there. Governor Berkeley stated in 1671 : "In 
Twenty Eight yeares There has been neuer one prize 
brought into theis Country. Soe that there is noe neede of 

^ Toppan, Randolph III, pp. 229, 230, 232-235; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 

440, 441, 445, 446. 

2 In reply to the English government's query on this point, Governor 
Peleg Sanford of Rhode Island stated in 1680: "Wee have made provision 
to act accordinge to the Lawes of England as neare as the constitution of 
our place will bear, havinge but little occasion thereofe." C. 0. 1/44, 58 i ; 
C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 523, 524. On the same occasion, Governor Leete of 
Connecticut stated that they had little traffic abroad and hence had "small 
occasion" for an admiralty court and so had none, but that such cases 
were left to the Court of Assistants. Conn. Col. Rec. Ill, pp. 294, 300, 
301; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 576-578. At this time also. Governor Winslow 
of New Plymouth wrote: "Wee doe not find Admiralty jurisdiction 
granted us," nor have we presumed to erect a court of admiralty, though 
we have sometimes occasion for it on account of the prizes brought into 
our harbors. In these cases, he said, they took bonds to bring the cause 
to a speedy trial in some court of admiralty established by the King in 
England or elsewhere. CO. 1/44, 55!; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 522, 523. 
In the Bermudas, under the Company's rule, there was no court of 
admiralty, but the Governor and Council determined maritime causes 
when the occasion presented itself. Lefroy II, pp. 332, 429, 433; C. C. 
1677-1680, pp. 393, 394. An Admiralty Court was also erected in South 
Carolina. C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 451, 452. 


a pticular Court for that conceme." ^ Prior to 1688, there 
was no special admiralty court in this colony, and cases 
involving breaches of the laws of trade were tried by the 
General Court and also by the county courts.^ Until 
toward the end of the Restoration period, up to the time 
when the charters of the New England colonies were revoked, 
the EngHsh admiralty jurisdiction was practically exclu- 
sively exercised in the West Indian colonies. It was upon 
the experience and precedents of the past twenty years in 
those colonies that admiralty courts were then erected in 
New England.^ When the government of New Hampshire 
was taken over by the Crown, its Governor, Edward Cran- 
field, was appointed Vice-Admiral and an Admiralty Court 
was established.'* The same authority was vested in the 
representatives of the Crown in Massachusetts and, on 
July 5, 1686, was held the first session of the royal Admi- 
ralty Court there. ^ 

Shortly after the Restoration, admiralty courts were es- 

^ C. O. 1/26, 77 i. 

^ Although the Governor of Virginia, Lord Howard of Effingham, had a 
commission as Vice-Admiral, the seizures for illegal trading made in 1686 
by the officers of the navy were tried with juries by the General Court 
or by the county courts. C. O. 1/62, 20 ii, vi, viii. See also P. A. Bruce, 
Institutional History of Virginia I, pp. 697-700. 

^ On the New York Admiralty Court at this time, see C. C. 1685-168S, 
pp. 228, 261, 306, 461, 467; Toppan, Randolph IV, pp. 96-98, 125, 126. 

^ C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 200, 307, 368, 369, 698. 

^ Letter-Book of Samuel Sewall in Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 6th Series I, 
p. 34. After the revocation of the Bermuda charter, such a court was also 
established there. In 1687, Governor Robinson wrote to Blathwayt that 
he had appointed as its Judge one Green, "a pretended Lawer y® best I 
could provide." C. O. 1/60, 88; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 392, 393. 


tablished in Jamaica ^ and in Barbados ^ by their respective 
^Governors, in virtue of the authority vested in them by the 
Duke of York. When the Leeward Islands were separated 
from Barbados, their Governor was appointed \^ice- Admiral, 
and a similar court was established in that jurisdiction.^ As 
a general rule,^ the governors appointed the officials of these 

^ In 1662, the Governor of Jamaica, Lord Windsor, established a Court 
of Admiralty, of which William ]\Iichell, one of the Council, was appointed 
Judge. C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 355, 379, 810. The early records of this 
Court are preserved in the Public Record Office, Admiralty Court, INIis- 
cellanea 959. See also C. O. 1/19, 271; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 942. 

- In addition to the Court of Admiralty, there was in existence in Bar- 
bados a Court of Exchequer for the trial of revenue cases. In 1669, a 
vessel was tried in this Court for illegal trading. C. O. 1/24, 42 ; C. C. 
1669-1674, p. 15. In 1681, although not so instructed, the Governor, 
Sir Richard Dutton, revived this Court of Exchequer. The Lords of 
Trade approved of this step, C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 179-181, 216. 

^ Sir Charles Wheler, the Governor, so reported in 1671. C. O. 1/27, 
52; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 288, 291. But his successor, WiUiam Stapleton, 
wrote in 1672 that there was no court of this nature because, although he 
had been constituted Vice- Admiral, he had not received "any orders or 
instructions from his Royal highnesse high admirall of England." C. O. 
1/29, i4i; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 392. In 1676, Stapieton made the same 
report. C. O. 1/38, 65 ; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 497-502. In 1677, the desired 
commission from the Duke of York was sent, and shortly thereafter ad- 
miralty courts were erected, when required, in the separate islands under 
his government. C. C. 1677-16S0, pp. 152, 244, 245; C. O. 155/1, ff. 4, 5. 

* There were a few isolated exceptions in which the appointment was 
made in England. Such was Barwicke's in Barbados under Lord Wil- 
loughby, which has already been mentioned. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 617; 
Bodleian, Clarendon MSS. 81, S. 5, 6. In 1665, Sir Thomas Modyford, 
the Governor of Jamaica, appointed George Reid Advocate-General in the 
Admiralty, 'in pursuance of an order bearing date at Whitehall 20th day of 
February 1665.' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1662. Cf. no. 1092. In 1680, Gov- 
ernor Atkins of Barbados complained that the Registrar of the Admiralty 
had been appointed by patent in England. C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 532-536. 


courts — the judges, registrars, marshals, and advocates ; ^ 

/ and, in some instances, they even sat as judges themselves.^ 

During the period under consideration, there was no 

^regular appeal to England from the decisions of these courts. 

This led to occasional injustice, as the colonial tribunals were 

decidedly lacking in legal knowledge and experience.^ The 

only method of seeking redress was to petition the King 

'^and to trust to the Privy Council ordering a reversal of the 

colonial sentence. Thus, in 1671, the ship of one Rabba 

Couty, a Jewish resident of New York, although provided 

^ The Governor of the Leeward Islands, Sir William Stapleton, appointed 
the Deputy-Governors of the separate islands to be Judges of the Admiralty. 
C. O. i/s7, 51 ; CO. 1/58, 83 i. Governor Modyford of Jamaica appointed 
his brother, Sir James, Chief Judge of the local Admiralty Court. C. C. 
1661-1668, no. 1689. 

- In 1666, Governor Willoughby of Barbados wrote that he had erected 
a Court of Admiralty and 'himself sat as judge.' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 
1246. In 1682, Sir Richard Dutton, the Governor, also sat as Judge in 
this Court. C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 334, 417-419, 552. 

3 Already at this time these courts and those of the common law engaged 
in disputes as to the extent of their respective jurisdictions. Such alter- 
cations had been common in England and were later, after England had 
extended the admiralty jurisdiction over all the colonies, of frequent .occur- 
rence in the continental colonies. W. T. Root, The Relations of Penn- 
sylvania with the British Government, pp. 96 et scq. In 1679, the Barbados 
Assembly wrote to their agents in London that the admiralty jurisdiction 
should be regulated, as this Court assumed "power to determine of things 
done upon land, & even to proceed upon penall Statutes to the Great Dis- 
couragement & terror of people tradeing to this place." C. O. 31/2, flf. 
339-341 ; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 352. In 1680, the Governor of Jamaica, 
Lord Carlisle, was instructed to see that in future no parish shoiild extend 
into the sea beyond the high-water mark, because by former laws the parishes 
were so bounded as to encroach on the admiralty. C. O. 138/3, ff. 447 
et seq.; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 624, 625. 


with a pass from Governor Lovelace of that colony, was 

condemned by the Jamaica Admiralty Court on the ground 

that Couty was not a denizen. Couty's complaint to the 

English authorities was in due course referred to the 

Council for Trade and Plantations, which reported strongly 

against the legality of the sentence, and accordingly the 

King ordered that the confiscated property be restored.^ 

The question of allowing such appeals arose on several 

I other occasions, but was opposed by the colonies as 

I subversive of their government;^ and, on their side, the 

' English authorities as a rule cautiously refrained from 

interfering with decisions of the colonial courts.^ Toward 

/the end of this period, however, a system of appeals was 

being informally established. In 1686, one Thomas Cook 

of Ireland petitioned the King, stating that his ship, 

the O^Brien, had been seized by Captain St. Lo of H.M.S. 

1 C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 434-436, 453. 

"^ In 1673, on the Governor of Jamaica putting the question whether 
there should be allowed an appeal from the Admiralty Court to the King 
or the Court of Delegates in England, the Jamaica Council unanimously 
decided 'that it would prove of ill consequence and tend to the subversion 
of th& Government if once admitted, and that there never had been any 
such precedent of an appeal allowed, either in this island or any of his 
Majesty's dominions beyond the seas.' C. C. 1669-1674, p. 527. 

' In 1675/6, the EngUsh Court of Admiralty in part reversed the sentence 
of the Jamaica Admiralty Court, but on an appeal being taken, the Com- 
missioners of Appeals in Cases of Reprisals ruled against this decision, stat- 
ing that they conceived they had nothing before them but "to take Care 
that what had been Judicially done in Jamaica might not be overthrowne 
by the Proceedings here," and that they had left "all the proceedings of 
that Island in their full force and VaHdity; And the rather because no 
Regular Appeale had been brought or entred against those Proceedings." 
P. C. Cal. I, pp. 64S-650. 



Dartmouth, and on trial had been unjustly condemned in 
the Nevis Admiralty Court. -^ This petition was referred to 
the Lords of Trade, who in turn sought the opinion of Sir 
Thomas Exton, the EngUsh Admiralty Judge. He reported ^ 
that in his opinion the seizure was not warranted by law,^ 
and "altho there may not in Strictness of Law Ly any 
appeale, yet ex speciali gratia of his majesty, he may admitt 
y^ complaynants to except ag* this Judgment : and with sub- 

1 C. C. 1685-1688, p. 257. 

2 CO. 1/58, 83 viii. 

^ At the trial held in the Nevis Admiralty Court, Captain St. Lo de- 
manded the condemnation of the vessel on the ground that it was not free 
and quaUned to trade to the colonies. The evidence was imdeniable that 
the ship was foreign-built, that her destination was Jamaica, that part of 
the cargo consisted of 60 chests of candles which could not legally be im- 
ported directly from Ireland, and that the owner had ordered the sale of 
the vessel and cargo in Jamaica. C. O. 1/57, 51 ; ibid. 1/58, 831. Exton 
based his opinion that the condemnation was illegal on the fact that the 
seizure had been made nearly 1000 miles from Jamaica and out of sight 
of any of the colonies and that, as no goods had been imported, consequently 
no law had been transgressed. Ibid. 1/58, 83 vi, viii. Other English 
authorities agreed with Exton as to the Ulegality of the condemnation. 
Ibid. 1/58, 83 ii-vii. At the same time, this Nevis court also tried another 
seizure of St. Lo's, the Ester of DubHn. St. Lo first charged that the 
vessel was unfree, but it was established to the satisfaction of the Court 
that it had been built in Ireland and that no ahen owned any part of it. 
This complaint was dismissed, and then St. Lo claimed that the vessel 
had imported candles directly from Dublin in violation of the Staple Act 
of 1663. In ans er, the captain of the seized ship stated that the vessel 
had been seized on the high seas, and that, as no importation had been 
made, the law had not been violated. The Court sustained the captain 
and freed the ship. Ibid. 1/57, 51 ; ibid. 1/58, 83!. It should be remem- 
bered that, while in this case there might have been some doubts as to the 
intent to trade to the English colonies, in the former case not only was there 
none, but in addition the vessel was unfree. 


mission to your Honors for y^ security of navigation and 
trade it may seem necessary, for when those Admiraltyes 
find there is a superior power to inspect their sentences 
& so to confirme or reuerse, they wilbe more carefull to 
follow the rules of Law and so administer justice impartially." 
Exton further added that he had seen judgments of the 
other colonial admiralty courts which seemed to him very 
unjust, but which he could not redress, "there lying no 
appeale hither." In such cases, he had ad\dsed the injured 
parties to petition the King, and he now advised that appeals 
from the colonial admiralty courts be received, calling atten- 
tion to the fact that even from the English High Court of 
Admiralty could an appeal be taken. On the strength of 
this report, it was decided that the appeal in this case should 
be heard by the King in Council.^ Ultimately in the follow- 
ing year, after both sides had been heard, the appeal was 
dismissed and the judgment of the Nevis court was con- 
firmed.^ In other cases also at this time, if it appeared on 
investigation that the facts warranted it, an appeal was 
allowed from the colonial courts.^ 

^ Ibid. 153/3, ff- 232, 233; C. C. 1685-1688, p. 268. According to the 
usual procedure in appeals from colonial courts to the Privy Council, which 
stUl is maintained, the petitioner had to deposit security, in this case £1000. 

2 C. O. 153/3, f- 233; C. C. 1685-1688, p. 390. 

' In 1687, Captain Talbot, R.N., was by Order in Council allowed to 
appeal from the decision of the Jamaica Admiralty Court in the case of the 
Swallow, which had been seized by him, but then acquitted "as a Ship 
free to trade to all parts within the Tropicks." C. O. 1/60, 40, 40 i ; C. C. 
1685-1688, p. 365. In 1687, the ship Good Intention, which had been seized 
by Captain St. Lo and subsequently condemned in the Antigua Admiralty 
Court; was on arrival in England arrested by its former owner John Kir- 


These West Indian admiralty courts were largely used for 
condemning prizes seized from the enemy. Jamaica was 
the centre of a large number of lawless privateers — the 
buccaneers of romantic glamour — who, often under the 
protection of legal commissions issued for this purpose, 
preyed upon Spanish commerce. In many instances they 
brought their booty for condemnation to the Jamaica 
Admiralty Court.^ Later, during the Dutch and French 
wars, these courts were used for the trial of more legitimate 
prizes.^ But, in addition, a not inconsiderable number of 
seizures for illegal trade were tried in these courts.^ There 
was considerable uncertainty and a number of disputes 
about the scope of their jurisdiction in this respect, and the 
practice varied in the different courts. Unfree ships — 
that is, vessels not conforming as to crew, build, and 
ownership to the provisions of the Navigation Acts — 

wan. The case was tried in the English Admiralty Court, which decided 
in favor of Kirwan, but, as it was not a court of appeal, this decree was in- 
eflfective. Kirwan then petitioned the King for permission to appeal, 
which was granted. After a careful investigation of the facts by the Lords 
of Trade and a hearing of the arguments of counsel, the Privy Council 
confirmed the sentence in favor of St. Lo. C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 378, 381, 
382, 384, 398; C. O. 153/3, £f. 27s, 276. 

^ Of these condemnations the Crown was entitled to one-fifteenth and 
the Lord High Admiral to one-tenth. C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 446, 1062. 

2 Cf. Cal. Dom. 1675-1676, p. 8. 

^ Some of these have already been referred to. Such a case evidently 
also came before the Jamaica Admiralty Court, when Sir Charles Lyttelton 
was Judge, on Jan. 25, 1664. PubHc Record Office, Admiralty Court, 
Miscellanea 959. See also the instructions issued to Governor Lord Wind- 
sor in 1662 in C. C. 1661-1668, no. 259, and the cases referred to in C. C. 
1685-1688, pp. 99, 204. 


when seized by officers of the navy, were by the statute 
made triable in the admiralty courts. But the question 
arose, whether or no such courts had jurisdiction, if the 
seizure had been made by the navy within a port and not 
on the high seas. 

The governors not infrequently preferred that in such 
instances the trial should be in the common law courts, 
in which case on condemnation they would be en- 
titled to one-third of the proceeds, whereas nothing would 
accrue to them if the verdict were rendered by the admiralty 
courts. On the other hand, apart from any other reasons, 
the officers of the navy preferred the admiralty courts as, 
in case of condemnation there, they received one-half of the 
proceeds, instead of the third to which the informer or seizer 
was entitled from the common law courts.^ Furthermore, 

^ In 1686, after trial of the case, John White, Judge of the Jamaica Ad- 
miralty Court, ordered the dismissal of the Swallow, an unfree vessel seized 
in port by Captain Talbot, R.N., partly on the grovmd that the Admiralty 
had jurisdiction only over seizures made at sea. Lieutenant-Governor 
Moleswortii wrote to William Blathwayt that Talbot had lost the case 
because he had libelled the ship in the Admiralty, "as if she had been taken 
at Sea," whereas she was taken in port, and also because he had not posi- 
tively asserted the time of seizure. 'On this nicety' judgment was given 
against Talbot, Molesworth said, and then added that the case should have 
been tried in a common law court with a jury. A few months later, Moles- 
worth again wrote to Blathwayt on this subject, stating that Talbot would 
not have lost the case had he proceeded correctly, but ' whether it was that 
he scorned to bring himself forward as an informer, or coveted a larger 
share than belonged to him, I cannot say, but certain it is that though the 
ship was taken in harbour, he libelled her as if taken at sea, thereby pre- 
tending unto half forfeit for himself and half for the King. Judgment was 
given against him, whereas had he brought his action at Common Law 
with a tanquam for the King and Governor as well as for himself, he would 


in some instances, seizures made by the civil authorities were 
also tried in these courts.^ 

In general, the prosecuting officials greatly preferred 
to try seizures in the admiralty courts, as they were much 
more likely to find for the Crown. In cases of this nature,^ 
they acted ^dthout juries, which in the common law courts 
were prone to be over-lenient toward illegal traders. Some 
of the jurymen might be engaged in the same devious pur- 
suits. Moreover, the social conscience of the colonies was 
apt to omit smugghng from the list of the crimes. As a 
result, there was slowly developing the opinion that, in order 
to secure the effective enforcement of the colonial system, it 
would be necessary to establish admiralty courts in aU the 
colonies and to give them jurisdiction over aU breaches of 
the laws of trade and navigation. In 1680, Sir Henry 
Morgan^ sent the English government the details of the 
trial by the Jamaica Admiralty Court of a vessel condemned 
for evading the local revenue laws. This verdict was com- 

have had no difficulty.' ibid. 1/58, 64, 641; ibid. 138/5, flf. 326-333; 
C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 303, 356, 357. For another interesting case at Nevis, 
in 1671, see C. C. 1669-1674, p. 233. 

1 Cf. C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 434, 435 ; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 334, 417-419, 
552 ; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 525, 530. 

2 In 1680, in connection Tvdth a trial in the Nevis Admiralty Court for 
riot and murder at sea, the Governor, Sir William Stapleton, as Vice- 
Admiral, appointed the Judges, the indictment was made by a grand jury, 
and the prisoner was acquitted by a petty jury. C. O. 155/1, flf. 1-23; 
C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 570, 571. 

^ He was Judge of the Jamaica Admiralty Court, but when, at this 
time, as Deputy-Governor, he assumed charge of the government, he ap- 
pointed John White to preside in his place. C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 342-344; 
C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 5, 6. 


plained of bitterly, and strenuous efforts were being made to 
have it reversed in England.^ Morgan insisted that the 
trial had been conducted fairly, and added that without the 
Admiralty Court ' the Acts of Navigation cannot be enforced, 
for it is hard to find unbiassed juries in the Plantations for 
such cases.' As an example, he cited the case of a vessel 
that had come directly from Ireland to Jamaica with several 
casks of Irish soap, on account whereof it was seized. The 
case was tried in the common law court, and the jury 
brought in a verdict for the defendant on the evidence of 
one witness, who testified under oath that soap was a food- 
stuff upon which a man could live for a month and that, 
as it could be considered under the category of provisions, 
it could legally be imported directly from Ireland under the 
Staple Act of 1663.^ When such fantastic fictions and 
tortuous evasions ^ could impress a jury, it is not surprising 
that the imperial officials placed greater reliance on the 
admiralty courts. It was the futihty of attempting to 
secure a verdict from a jury in even the clearest of cases 
that ultimately led to the extension of the admiralty courts 
throughout all the colonies. 
The royal governors, in their position as vice-admiralsl 

1 On this case, see C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 343, 344, 487, 552, 567, 568, 581, 
627, 631,639; P. C. Cal. I, p. 864; Brit. Mus., Stowe MSS. 2724, fif. 198, 
200; C. O. 138/3, f. 292. 

2 C. C. 1677-1680, p. 487. 

' In the case of the Ester, which was tried in 1686 in the Nevis Ad- 
miralty Court for importing candles directly from Ireland, the defence 
claimed that there was "an adjudged Case in Jameco that Candles Should 
bee taken as provision and the Ship Bringing them acquitted from her 
Seizure." C. O. 1/57, 51; ihid. 1/58, 831. 


and the courts established in virtue of the authority thus 
vested in them were the direct agents of the EngHsh Admi- 
ralty in enforcing the laws of trade. In addition, as has been 
seen, the Admiralty was represented in the colonies by the 
officers of the men-of-war stationed there. Under the 
^ Navigation Act of 1660, it was their duty to seize unfree 
ships trading to the colonies.^ Occasionally in the West 
Indies such seizures were made by them,- but no especial 
activity was displayed until the eighties, when the inde- 
"^ pendent course of the New England traders threatened 
to make ineffective the carefuUy de\dsed commercial code. 
The grave difficulties experienced at this time wdth Massa- 
chusetts gave an exaggerated significance to any reports of 
illegal trade in the other colonies. In 1682, the Commis- 
sioners of the Customs recommended that the ships of the 
navy, especially those sent to the colonies, should have 
instructions to seize vessels violating the Navigation Act ; ^ 
and, in 1685, on the strength of a letter from Captain Jones 
of H.M.S. Diamond at Barbados, wherein was mentioned 
"an instance that contrary to Law foreign Vessels are per- 

1 In 1668, the Council of Trade suggested, among other means for sup- 
pressing illegal trade, that directions be given to the ships of the navy and 
to merchant vessels to arrest any ship trading to the colonies contrary to 
law. After looking into the matter, the Privy Council (the King being 
present) declared, early in 1669, that "his Majestys Shipps Of Course" 
have such commissions and that, if any merchant ships should desire them, 
"upon glueing Security (with other usuall formaHtyes)," the Duke of York 
was authorized to grant them. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1884; ibid. 1669- 
1674, p. 6 ; P. C. Cal. I, p. 501. 

2 See, e.g., C. C. 1669-1674, p. 233. 
' Ihid. 1681-1685, p. 529. 


mitted to trade there," they urged that such instructions 
be again sent.^ Accordingly, Samuel Pepys, the Secretary 
of the Admiralty, was directed by an Order in Council to 
instruct the commanders of the ships of the na\y on all 
the colonial stations to seize foreign vessels found trading 
there. ^ Immediately thereafter, the authority of these offi- 
cers was considerably amplified, for they were also specifi- 
cally instructed to seize as well such vessels as were found 
violating the other provisions of the trade laws.^ 
' These renewed and extended orders led to considerable 
activity. In the West Indies, Captain St. Lo of H.M.S. 

^ C. O. 1/55, 75; ibid. 324/4, f. 141. The abstract in C. C. 1685- 
1688, pp. 26, 27 greatly exaggerates the statement of Jones. In con- 
sequence of information sent by Governor Stapleton of the Leeward 
Islands, Danby intended already in 1678 to speak to Secretary Pepys about 
procuring instructions for the men-of-war in the Leeward Islands and other 
colonies to assist the governors in seizing ships that kept out of their reach 
and loaded without making entry. Cal. Treas. Books, 1676-1679, p. 976. 

2 C. O. 324/4, f. 142 ; C. C. 1685-1688, p. 27 ; P. C. Cal. II, p. 81. 

3 P. C. Cal. II, pp. 85-88. In 1685, Henry Guy, on behalf of the Treas- 
ury, also wTote to William Blathwayt, requesting that copies of the detailed 
trade instructions issued to the governors might be forwarded to the Ad- 
miralty for distribution to the captains of ships serving in the colonies. 
C. C. 1685-16S8, p. 77. In 16S6, Captain St. Lo complained that the 
people in Boston, Massachusetts, would not "suffer any of the Kings Com- 
manders to make Seizure of Shipps or goods for false, or irregular importacon 
or Exportacon unless they can assigne it as a Breach of the Act of ye 12*'* 
of his late Ma*^ or have warrants from hence for making such Seizures." 
The Commissioners of the Customs reported that deputations from them, 
in pursuance of warrants from the Treasury, to such officers of the navy were 
"sufficient authority to seize by vertue of all the Plantacon Laws." Treas- 
urer Rochester accordingly instructed them to issue such deputations to the 
ships of the navy in the colonies. Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 10, 
f. 186. 


Dartmouth was particularly conspicuous in such work. On 
one occasion, in 1686, three vessels seized by him were tried 
in the Nevis Admiralty Court. ^ At the same time, Captain 
Talbot of H.M.S. Falcon was similarly occupied on the 
Jamaica station.^ But this use of the navy was by no 
means confined to the island colonies. In 1683, Lord 
Howard of Efiingham, who had just been appointed 
Governor of Virginia in succession to Lord Culpeper, 
urged the necessity of sending a frigate to protect the 
colony and to suppress pirates and illegal traders. In 
this connection, the Commissioners of the Customs re- 
ported to the Lords of Trade ^ that they had already 
in 1682 advised the use of ships of the navy for this pur- 
pose, and that they favored the appointment of a ketch 
to be permanently stationed in Virginia.'^ The Lords of 
Trade accordingly accepted Effingham's recommendation; 
and, in 1684, the ketch Quaker under Captain Allen was sent 
to Virginia on this service. On her arrival, the Secretary 
of Virginia wrote that he hoped she would protect the colony 

1 C. O. i/S7, 51 ; ihid. 1/58, 831. Of these, one was proven to be free 
and was condemned for violating the Staple Act of 1663. The question of 
St. Lo's authority to seize such an offender was not raised ; it rested purely 
on his instructions, not upon the statutes. 

2 Ihid. 138/5, ff. 199-219 ; C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 356, 357. 

3 C. C. 1685-16S8, p. 529. 

* Said vessel, they said, should receive instructions from them, and should 
be under the orders of their customs officials in Virginia and Maryland, 
subject naturally to the superior authority of the governors of these colonies. 
In addition, they advised that a ketch be Ukewise sent to the West Indies, 
and that the men-of-war at Jamaica should assist their officials in that 


and would prevent the frauds too often practised there by 
the New England traders.^ Captain Allen was, however, not 
only zealous, but somewhat over-punctilious in the execu- 
tion of his duties, and soon found himself unpopular in a 
society not accustomed to a meticulously strict interpreta- 
tion of the law. On December 29, 1685,^ he wrote to the 
English authorities that the Virginians were very angry at 
his staying there and claimed that he had spoiled their trade, 
because he would not let them cheat the King. They called 
him, he added, 'old rogue and old dog,' and when they saw 
his ship, they said: "Here comes the devil's ketch," 

In 1686, H.M.S. Deptford under Captain Crofts was sent 
to assist Captain Allen in preventing illegal trading to 
Virginia and Maryland.^ His over-zealousness in seizing 
vessels on purely technical charges, when no fraud had been 
intended, together with apparently justified charges against 
him of attempts to levy blackmail on innocent traders,* 
quickly brought him into conflict with the local authorities. 
In 1687, Governor Howard registered with the English 
government formal charges, of which Pepys wrote, "I doubt 
many of them too justly brought ; " and Crofts was ordered 
home to answer them.^ The Governor was sustained,^ and, 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. S3I, 557, 572, 658, 659. 

2 C. O. 1/60, 60 i ; C. C. 1685-1688, p. 465. 

3 C. C. 1685-1688, p. 240. 

^ Regarding one of these charges of extortion, the Surveyor General, 
Patrick Mein, wrote in 1686 to Lord Howard, that he believed Crofts was 
guUty. C. O. 1/62, 20 xi. 

^ Ibid. 1/61, 6oi; ibid. 1/62, 20, 2oi-5Cv; C. C. 16S5-1688, pp. 240, 

372-374, 387, 388, 417, 444, 465-467, 495- 
6 C. C. 1685-1688, p. 555. 


in 1688, Thomas Perry replaced Crofts as commander of 
H.M.S. Deptford. On December 31, 1688, Efi&ngham issued 
to him detailed instructions about enforcing the laws of 
trade and navigation.^ Perry was to inform himself of the 
statutes in question and was to procure for his own use a 
copy of the book of rates containing them ; he was strictly 
to examine and search all ships that he might meet "in 
Cruseing or Saileing from Port to Port within his Ma*^^ 
Dominion of Virginia or Province of Maryland" ; and, while 
in port, he was to allow no ship to depart or enter without a 
permit from the Collector of the Customs. 

In one of its phases, this quarrel between Crofts and Lord 
Howard illustrates a serious defect in the established admin- 
istrative system. The fact that three of the great English 
executive departments were represented in the crown 
colonies by distinct and separate agents implied a di\'ision 
of authority, which inevitably led to disputes impairing 
the smooth running of the machinery. Legally, the royal 
governor was the supreme executive authority in the colony, 
but occasionally it was only after considerable difficulty and 
delay that he could make his ^vill effective. The Treasury 
and Admiralty officials in the colonies at times thwarted 
his wishes and acted independently, trusting to secure the 
support of their immediate superiors in England, to whom 
they were directly responsible and whose influence would 
naturally outweigh that of the governor. In so far as the 
\ customs officials were concerned, such incidents were rare 
in the royal colonies. These officials were usually over- 

1 C. O. 1/63, 92. 



awed by the superior status and dignity of the Gov- 
ernor, and hesitated to disobey him. But the ofi&cers of 
the navy were, in general, of much higher social rank 
than the customs officials and occupied posts of greater 
importance. Consequently they were much more inde- 
pendent, and friction between them and the governors 
was not an infrequent occurrence. Ships of the navy on 
colonial stations were placed under the orders of the 
royal governors,^ but the captains at times refused to re- 
spect them, while the governors on their part occasionally 
arrogated to themselves greater authority than was war- 
ranted by their commissions.^ 

Captains Allen and Crofts, while on the Virginia 
and Maryland station, were subject to the commands 
of Governor Howard of Virginia. During the course of 
their bitter disputes, some of Crofts's officers complained 
to the Governor of ill usage on the part of their cap- 
tain. Whereupon Lord Howard summoned Crofts to ap- 
pear before him to decide these differences, and, on Crofts 
refusing to heed the summons, threatened to send him 
home in irons. ^ Crofts was supported in his refusal by 
his superior officer. Captain Allen, who claimed that Lord 
Howard had no authority to summon a naval officer before 
the Council at Jamestown. 'Such differences,' he claimed, 
' should be submitted to the King, or tried by Court-martial, 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 757, 763. 

2 See, e.g., the claims of Governor Lynch in Jamaica. C. C. 1681-1685, 
pp. 428, 491-493, 597; nos. 1433, 1480-1484, 171I7 19357 2032, 2044, 2051, 
2055, 2060, 2063. 

2 Ibid. 16S5-1688, pp. 372-374, 387, 388, 444, 465. 



for I do not think the Council here competent to deal with 
affairs of the Navy.' ^ 

Such quarrels, which cropped up every now and again, 
hampered the efficiency of the administrative system and 
interfered "v\^th the enforcement of the laws. They were a 
direct result of the triple system of control in England and 
the absence of an absolutely supreme central authority in the 
colony, which could make its will immediately effective. If 
such difficulties existed in the royal provinces, it is not surpris- 
ing that far graver obstacles were encountered in the charter 
and proprietary governments. For in these quasi-indepen- 
dent jurisdictions there was no royal governor, and the local 
authorities viewed with suspicion and dislike all agents of 
the imperial government. They were over-prone to look 
upon every act of the customs officials and of the officers of 
the navy as an invasion of the liberties guaranteed by the 
colonial charters. The resulting friction,^ while far more 
serious, was similar in its manifestations to that in the royal 
provinces. But it proceeded from a radically different 
cause. In the one case, the trouble was due to a defect in 
the administrative machinery, which could have been reme- 
died by a slight readjustment. In the other, it was due to 
what was regarded by these self-governing communities 
as the intrusion of an ahen authority within their limits; 

^ C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 466, 467. The Duke of Albemarle's commission 
as Governor of Jamaica gave him powers as Vice-Admiral to suspend the 
oflScers of the royal navy. Ibid. p. 293. 

2 This friction, especially in IMassachusetts and IMaryland, will be 
treated subsequently when describing the development of these colonies 
under the laws of trade and navigation. 


j and for this there was no corrective other than a revolution- 
\ ary change in their poHtical status. The difficulty in the 
/ crown colonies was superficial and largely personal; that 

in the charter and proprietary colonies was fundamental and 

in the fullest sense of the word pohtical. 



Classification of the colonies according to their imperial value — The de- 
mand for slaves in the West Indies — The English African Company — 
Dutch opposition to its trade — The complaints of Barbados against 
the Company — Its reorganization in 1672 — Opposition of the West 
Indian colonies to the Royal African Company — Its attempts to supply 
Spanish America — The interlopers. 

The English colonies of the Restoration period form them- 
selves into varying groups depending upon the canon of clas- 
sification that may be adopted. The geographical standard 
would roughly divide them, according to their configuration 
and location, into island and continental colonies ; or, apply- 
ing the more discriminating physiographic tests of climate, 
soil, and natural resources, would further separate them into 
a number of subdivisions. Obviously, such a classification 
would differ radically from one based upon the nature of 
their internal political organization. From this standpoint 
the colonies fall into three distinct groups: the royal prov- 
inces with their elective assemblies and crown-appointed 
governors ; the proprietary colonies whose political organiza- 
tion was on a monarchical basis and closely resembled that 
of the cro\vn colonies, the fundamental distinction being 
that the proprietor, not the King, appointed the governor; 
and thirdly, the charter colonies, which were in essence com- 
pletely self-governing communities of a more or less demo- 



cratic t>'pe. WTien judged, not by the character of their 
local political institutions, but from the standpoint of im- 
perial public law and administration, the colonies again 
grouped themselves somewhat differently into two classes; 
first, the royal provinces, and secondly, the charter and 
proprietary colonies. In the former, the executive directly 
represented the Crown and brought the imperial govern- 
ment into immediate contact ^\^th the inhabitants. In 
the latter, this relationship was mediate, as the colonial 
charters interposed a proprietor or a corporation between 
the Cro^^Ti and its subjects in these colonies. This was 
the general broad classification adopted by the English 
government in its routine work of colonial administration. 
Colonies so different institutionally as Connecticut from 
Pennsylvania, or as Rhode Island from Maryland, were 
placed together in one comprehensive group called the 

For the purposes of this work, no one of these various 
classifications is available. In a study, which lays stress upon 
the economic features of the old Empire, and whose aim is 
to describe the commercial, not the political, system, the sub- 
division must necessarily be based upon different character- 
istics if it is to be at all significant. English colonial policy 
was dominated by economic considerations, and as has 
been pointed out, one of the chief advantages, if not the main 
one, anticipated from the movement of expansion, was the 
development of new sources of supply in America that 
would serve to free England from dependence upon foreign 
nations. The somewhat vague, yet clearly discernible. 


comprehensive aim of the EngHsh statesmen was to mould 
the colonies into a self-sufficing commercial Empire, of 
which each section should supplement the economic ac- 
tivities and resources of the others. Some of the colonies 
developed into such complementary economic units, while 
others equally conspicuously failed to answer this funda- 
mental purpose of English policy. There were various 
gradations of complete and partial failure or success, but, 
in general, according to this canon the colonies divide 
themselves into two distinct groups. 

The colonies, which in part or virtually completely failed 
to correspond with the aims and ideals of English policy, 
were those on the continent north of the line to be drawn 
later by Mason and Dixon. Conspicuous among them were 
the New England settlements which, owing to climate and 
resources similar to those of England, instead of supplement- 
ing the economic life of the metropolis, closely paralleled 
it in many phases of its activities. The same was true, and 
scarcely to a less extent, of New York, the Jerseys, and 
Pennsylvania. In general, these northern continental colo- 
nies with their temperate climate could not produce the 
exotic commodities desired in England. With the noteworthy 
exception of furs, the products of their fields, forests, and 
waters could as a rule not be profitably shipped for sale to 
the English markets; and, even if they could so have been, 
in many instances they were decidedly not wanted there as 
they competed with the interests of the landed class, then 
the predominant political force in England. 

The other group consisted of such colonies, whose eco- 


nomic activities, instead of competing with those of England, 
supplemented and stimulated them. It was composed of 
the island colonies and of some on the continent. Occupy- 
ing an isolated position in this group, and one so unique that 
it might be placed in a subdivision by itself, was Newfound- 
land. Neither in law, nor in practice, was Newfoundland 
as yet a full-fledged colony, although England exercised 
sovereignty over the southeastern section of the island. 
Apart from some rudimentary permanent settlements 
having no regular form of government, it consisted of a 
series of fishing stations, where the fishermen from the West 
of England gathered yearly during the summer months to 
procure their cargoes of cod-fish for the markets of Cath- 
olic Europe. It, however, well answered the aims of the 
English government ; as a valuable nursery of seamen and 
as a source of sea power, it was from the imperial standpoint 
a valuable economic asset. Conspicuous among the other 
colonies of this group were the West Indies — Barbados, 
Jamaica, and the Leeward Islands — whose chief crop, 
sugar, was one of the mainstays of English commerce. In 
this group also may be placed the Bermudas and the Ba- 
hamas. Their economic importance was limited by their 
scant natural resources, but they were being valued more 
and more for their strategic position on main-travelled 
trade-routes. The colonies on the continent comprised in 
this group were especially Virginia and IMaryland, whose 
staple product, tobacco, entered very largely into England's 
foreign trade. The settlements to the south of Virginia 
were still in a formative state and had as yet not found 



the path that brought them prosperity in the eighteenth 
century, when the rice of South Carolina and the tar and 
pitch of North CaroHna formed important elements in 
England's colonial trade. 

One feature of the economic structure of these sugar and 
tobacco colonies, which distinguishes them sharply from the 
northern continental communities, was that ultimately their 
resources were in varying degrees, yet to a predominant 
extent, developed by means of African slave labor. In 
Virginia and Maryland this outcome was witnessed only in 
the following century, but already at this time in the West 
Indies the large plantation cultivated by negroes was estab- 
lishing itself as the normal type of production. In the sugar 
fields of Barbados at a most rapid pace, and more gradually 
elsewhere in the West Indies, white labor was being dis- 
placed by the negro slave.^ The prosperity of these colonies 
was considered to depend upon this sytem of labor, and their 
demands for a cheap and abundant supply of African slaves 

1 In 1667, it was estimated that in 1643 there were in Barbados only 
6400 negroes, as against more than 50,000 in 1666. (C. C. 1661-1668, no. 
1657.) In his Description of Barbados, John Scott stated that in 1645 
Lhe colony had 5680 slaves and in 1667, 82,023. (Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 
3662, ff. 54'*'''' of the volume reversed.) In 1668, Governor Willoughby 
stated that the total population was 60,000, of which 40,000 were negroes. 
(P. C. Cal. I, pp. 521, 522; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1788.) Nicholas Blake in 
1669 also estimated the slave population at 40,000. (C. C. 1699, pp. 589 
et seq.) At this time, the number of negroes in the other colonies was far 
less. According to Governor Willoughby, in 1668 there were in Antigua 
only 700 and in Montserrat 300. {Ibid. 1661-1668, no. 1788; P. C. Cal. I, 
pp. 521, 522.) In 1670, it was estimated that Jamaica had 2500 negroes. 
(C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 52, 53.) In 1671, Governor Berkeley stated that Vir- 
ginia had 2000 negro slaves. (C. O. 1/26, 77 i ; Hening II, pp. 511-517.) 



became increasingly insistent. The negroes were deemed, 
to use a contemporary expression, 'the strength and sinews 
of this western world.' ^ Their scarcity, according to Sir 
Thomas Lynch,^ was ' the grand obstruction ' in Jamaica and 
'without them the Plantations mil decline and the people 
be discouraged.' 'These settlements,' wrote Lieutenant- 
Governor William Willoughby of Barbados in 1666, 'have 
been upheld by negroes and cannot subsist without supplies 
of them.' ^ As the prosperity of the most valuable colonies 
was based upon the negro slave, the English government 
felt it incumbent to follow the lead of the other colonizing 
nations — of these, the country of Torquemada and Alba 
alone did not engage in this demoralizing trade — and to 
take steps that the colonial planter should not be dependent 
upon foreign traders for his essential supply of labor. Such 
dependence, it was logically held, would jeopard the entire 
imperial structure. The measures taken to obviate this 
apparently grave peril constituted an important feature of 
English colonial policy. The regulation of the African trade 
was an integral and organic part of the colonial system, and 
hence some account thereof is an essential preliminary to 
an examination of the development of the plantation colonies 
during this period. 

The Portuguese and Spanish had made extensive use of 
this system of labor in developing their American dominions. 
Thanks to the negro's brawn and toil, tropical and sub- 
tropical America, where the climatic conditions debarred 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, no. 577. ^ Ibid. no. 934. 

^ Ibid. no. 1281. CJ. nos. 618, 756. 



the Caucasian from strenuous physical labor, did not remain 
an uncultivated deserOi These negroes were obtained from 
West Africa, whose life until the abolition of the slave-trade 
in the nineteenth century was intimately connected mth 
that of the plantation colonies in the New World. Up to 
that time, in so far as Europe was concerned, "West African 
history was the complement of West Indian." ^ In that 
pestiferous region, slavery was a time-hallowed institution, 
"bound up with the whole social and economic organiza- 
tion of West African society." ^ The Europeans were thus 
responsible only to the extent that they made use of an 
already existing obnoxious system and aggravated its 
inherent evils. At times there were cases of kidnapping, 
but the trade had its well-charted channels; and, as a 
general rule, the slaves were procured by the European 
traders from African dealers in barter for merchandize.^ 
By the middle of the seventeenth century the traffic was 
on a firmly established and well-organized basis. It scarcely 
aroused any moral opposition and was generally regarded 
as an unquestionably legitimate branch of commerce. In 
1684 was published anonymously a bitter attack on the 
methods of the slave-trade and the treatment of the negroes 
in the Enghsh West Indies, which was so comprehensive 
and convincing in character as to amount to a condemna- 
tion of the institution of slavery itself.^ Four years later, a 

1 Lucas, Historical Geography, West Africa (2d ed.), p. 39. 

2 J. A. Tillinghast, The Negro in Africa and America (Am. Economic 
Assoc. 1902), p. 88. 

^ Lucas, West Africa, pp. 70, 71. 

* Philotheos Physiologus, Friendly Advice to the Gentlemen-Planters 


similar protest was made by the Pennsylvania Quakers/ 
but these isolated voices called forth no echoing response 
from a completely unsympathetic and largely uncompre- 
hending world. 

Ever since the days of Henry VIII, the English had inter- 
mittently engaged in trading to Africa.^ Ehzabeth's Guinea 
Company had been followed by two others of Stuart crea- 
tion/ but the main object of these early enterprises was to 
procure gold, ivory, wax, gum, and other African commodi- 
ties. Until the successful introduction of the sugar cane in 
Barbados, EngHshmen were but slightly concerned in the 
slave-trade. With the advent of the sugar industry there 
arose an insistent and steady demand for negro slaves,^ 
which naturally greatly altered the nature of England's 
African trade. But slight success, however, was attained 
until the Restoration,^ when a determined effort was made 
to obtain an important share of this lucrative commerce. 
Two objects were held in view. In the first place, the aim 
was to secure an adequate supply of slaves for the English 
colonies, thus freeing them from the danger of having to 

of the East and West Indies, printed by Andrew Sowle in 1684. Sowle printed 
a number of books and pamphlets for the Quakers. A. C. Myers, Narratives 
of Early Pennsylvania, etc., p. 224. 

1 W. H. Smith, A Pohtical History of Slavery I, p. 6; W. E. B. Du Bois, 
The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade, pp. 20, 21 ; E. R. Turner, The 
Negro in Pennsylvania, pp. 65, 66. 

^ W. R. Scott, Joint-Stock Companies to 1720, II, pp. 3-11. 

' Beer, Origins, p. 220 n. ; Certain Considerations Relating to the Royal 
African Company of England (London, 1680), p. 3. 

^ Beer, Origins, p. 415. 

* W. R. Scott, op. cit. II, pp. 15-17. 


rely upon foreign traders and also making the English Empire 
more self-suf&cient. Furthermore, the purpose was to com- 
pete with the Dutch and other slave-traders in supplying 
the insatiable demands of Spanish America. The familiar 
economic arguments of the mercantilistic type were used to 
prove the national advantage of the trade. ^ 

Owing to the intrenched position of the Dutch on the 
slave-coast and the peculiar conditions surrounding the 
trade, it could be carried on successfully by private indi- 
viduals only if they were extensively supported and pro- 
tected by their government. The sole other alternative 
was a monopolistic company with large resources. Outside 
of European waters armed commerce was still the rule, 
and there was scant likelihood that the Dutch would allow 
unprotected private merchants to trade peacefully on the 
slave-coast. Moreover, in order to facilitate commerce, trad- 
ing stations had to be established, and forts also had to be 
erected to repel European enemies and to defend the traders 
against the savage tribes that sold the weaker enslaved 
races to the Europeans. Short of abandoning the traffic 
entirely to foreigners, the trade to Africa could have been 
left free and open to all Englishmen only if the government 
were to undertake its entire regulation and defence, sending 
out convoys to protect the traders and building and main- 
taining forts and stations. Such a course would have 
necessitated the assertion and maintenance of EngHsh sover- 
eignty over portions of West Africa and would have led to 

^ Certain Considerations Relating to the Royal African Company of 
England (London, 1680), pp. 1-5. 


interminable disputes and conflicts mth the European pow- 
ers interested in the slave-trade. Moreover, the finances 
of a seventeenth-century government could not stand the 
strain of so extensive an understanding. Even so restricted 
as was then the scope of governmental activities, the ex- 
penditures were wont to exceed the income. Parliament 
was chary in its grants, and the taxpayer was keenly sensi- 
tive to any additional burdens. Hence, as was customary in 
such instances, recourse was had to the de\dce of a priidleged 
company, to which was granted a monopoly of trade in 
return for the great expense and risk necessarily involved 
in an undertaking of this nature.'^ 

Towards the end of 1660, the first African Company of 
the Restoration era was formed with the Duke of York 
at its head.^ Charles II personally invested in this enter- 
prise, which was energetically carried on.^ But events soon 
showed that the resources of a much more powerful and 
wealthy organization were needed if England were to secure 
a firm foothold in West Africa. The English Company was 
bitterly opposed by the Dutch, who, during their protracted 
war of independence from Spain, had succeeded in ousting 
the Portuguese from West Africa and, as their successors, 

^In 1663, the English African Company stated that in i66o the trade 
was carried on by individuals, who were a constant prey to the Dutch, 'and 
were quite tired out of the trade by their great and frequent losses. . . . 
So if his Majesty had not established a company the nation had probably 
by this time been quite driven out of it.' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 618. See 
also Beer, Origins, pp. 220-225. 

2 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 408. 

^ Ihid. nos. 120, 206. In 1662, the Company agreed to deliver 300 negroes 
in Jamaica. Ibid. no. 287. 


now claimed the slave-trade as their exclusive national 
preserve.^ They treated all other European traders, even at 
unoccupied points on the West African coast, as intruders, 
and did not hesitate to use violence in expelling them. 
The first conspicuous act of aggression came, however, from 
the English. In 1661, Captain Robert Holmes, in command 
of a small naval force, seized some Dutch trading stations, 
to which England had a more or less valid claim.^ In their 
turn, the Dutch stirred up the natives against the English 
and forcibly interfered with their commerce. In 1661 and 
1662, two English ships were seized on the African coast 
by the Dutch and another was prevented from trading with 
the natives.^ In order to cope with the powerful Dutch 
West India Company, England obviously needed a far 
stronger Company than that of 1660. Accordingly the 
patent of 1660 was surrendered; and, on January 10, 1663, 
a new charter was issued to the Company of Royal Adven- 
turers trading to Africa, granting to it all of Africa from 
Sallee to the Cape of Good Hope and forbidding all other 
Englishmen to trade there.^ Among the patentees, besides 
the Queen and other members of the royal family as well 
as a number of great noblemen, were the leading men 
occupied in colonial enterprises and their administration, 
such as Lord Berkeley, Sir George Carteret, Sir John Col- 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 467, 553. 

2 Ibid. nos. 177, 304, 316, 338. See also H. L. Schoolcraft, The Capture 
of New Amsterdam, in Enghsh Hist. Rev. XXII, pp. 684-686. 

3 C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 20s, 383 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 328-330. 

* C. C. 1661-1668, no. 408. See also Clarendon's Autobiography (Ox- 
ford, 1827) II, pp. 231-234. 


leton, Sir Martin Noell, and Thomas Povey. The fact 
that the same group of men were promment both in this Com- 
pany and in the work of colonial expansion significantly 
shows how closely related were these two spheres of activity. 
The English African Company had the full support of the 
government, for not only were Charles II and his immediate 
family financially interested in its fortunes/ but it was re- 
garded, not as a mere private enterprise, but as a quasi- 
public xmdertaking whose success was a question of grave 
national concern. 

This enlarged company immediately proceeded vigor- 
ously to engage in the slave-trade, with the twofold purpose 
of supplying the English colonies and also Spanish America. 
In the way of the latter object stood serious difficulties. 
Cromwell's war with Spain had been inherited by the Res- 
toration government, and desultory fighting still continued 
in the West Indies. Moreover, apart from the existence 
of an informal state of war, Spain strictly prohibited foreign 
vessels from trading to her colonies. The English govern- 
ment was anxious to settle the outstanding differences in 
order to gain admission to the Spanish colonial trade. But 
the means adopted were scarcely those best calculated 
to attain this end. In 1662, the Governor of Jamaica, Lord 
Windsor, was instructed to endeavor to obtain and preserve 
good correspondence wdth the Spanish colonies; but, if 
their governors refused his overtures, he was somewhat in- 
consistently authorized to settle such trade by force and 
by such acts as should seem most proper to oblige the 

1 C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 504, 508. 


Spaniards to admit them to a free trade. ^ As the governors 
of Porto Rico and San Domingo absolutely denied such 
intercourse, the Jamaica Council in 1662 determined to try 
force." During the autumn of that year, an armed expedi- 
tion from Jamaica successfully surprised the city of Santiago 
in Cuba; and, early in 1663, another force captured and sacked 
Campeche on the mainland.^ In great indignation Spain 
protested against these assaults, and, to reheve the tension, 
Sir Charles Lyttelton, upon whom the government of 
Jamaica had devolved on Lord Windsor's departure, was 
instructed in the future to forbid such undertakings.'* 
However effective in other ways exploits of this nature 
might be, they assuredly were not likely to open the Spanish 
colonial ports to Enghsh traders. 

But if the English were not allowed access to the Spanish 
dominions, this proposed trade in slaves might still be carried 
on, provided the Spaniards were permitted to come to the 
English colonies and to buy there the slaves that they 
required. On receipt of the above-mentioned royal orders 
to desist from further hostihties, Lyttelton wrote to the 
Secretary of State that he hoped soon to establish trade 
relations with the Spaniards, especially in negro slaves, 
which they could fetch from nowhere else so easily as from 
Jamaica.^ Against such intercourse, however, stood the 

1 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 278. 

2 Ibid. no. SSS- 

3 Heathcote MSS. (H.M.C. 1899), pp. 34, 35. For full details, see C. H. 
Haring, The Buccaneers in the West Indies, pp. 104-110. 

* Heathcote MSS. pp. 88, 89; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 441-443. 
5 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 566. 


Navigation Act, which expressly prohibited foreign ships 
from trading to the Enghsh colonies. In 1662, some 
Spaniards had come to Barbados to procure negroes and 
were allowed to trade by the acting Governor despite the 
opposition of the Council.^ In order to legahze such inter- 
course, recourse was now had to the Crown's disputed 
prerogative to dispense with Acts of Parliament. In 1663, 
Charles II issued orders permitting Spanish ships to trade 
to the English West Indies for the purpose of purchasing 
negroes.- In Barbados, some slight use was made of this 
permission,^ but nothing could be effected in Jamaica, which 
was most conveniently located for this purpose. 

In 1664, Sir Thomas Modyford, a prominent colonial, 

^ Ibid. no. 417. 

2 C. O. 1/17, 13 ; ibid. 389/4, ff. i et seq.; P. C. Register Charles II, III, 
ff- 336-338 ;IP. C. Call, pp. 345-349; C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 414-417, 
425, 426. See also the instructions issued to WiUoughby in 1663. C. O. 
1/17, 49; P. C. Cal. I, p. 360; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 489. It was ordered 
that every negro so exported, except such as had already been contracted 
for in England with the African Company, should pay a duty of ten pieces 
of eight, of which each was reckoned equivalent to four shillings. In 1663, 
the African Company stated that they had sent a ship with 160 negroes to 
the Spanish Main, and complained to Whitehall that Lord WiUoughby had 
exacted £320 on these slaves from their factors in Barbados. WiUoughby 
was ordered to make restitution, and he was instructed that the duty of ten 
pieces of eight should be levied only on ' negroes bought upon the place by 
Spanish subjects or others, to be transported into foreign dominions, and 
not otherwise.' C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 583, 585. 

^ In September and October of 1662, and again in May of 1663, the Presi- 
dent of the CouncU, Humphrey Walrond, aUowed some Spaniards to trade, 
receiving from them in return comparatively large sums of money, which he 
agreed to hand over to Governor WiUoughby on the latter's arrival in Bar- 
bados. C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 417, 434, 569 ; C. O. 31/1, f. 78. 



was appointed Governor of Jamaica with instructions to pre- 
serve good correspondence with the Spaniards and to do 
everything to encourage the trade of the African Company, 
whose interests he had represented in Barbados.^ Modyford 
accordingly opened negotiations wath the Governor of San 
Domingo.^ At first, favorable answers to these overtures 
were received,^ but ultimately they were rejected.* The 
difficulties in the way were well described in a despatch 
of one of the ablest of the Restoration colonial officials to 
the English Secretary of State. On May 25, 1664,^ the Pres- 
ident of the Jamaica Council, Thomas Lynch, wrote that 
it was not in the power of the Spanish governors to allow 
the English to trade in their colonies, ' nor will any necessity 
or advantage bring private Spaniards to Jamaica, for we 
and they have used too many mutual barbarisms to have a 
sudden correspondence. . . . Nothing but an order from 
Spain can gain us admittance or trade, especially while 
they are so plentifully and cheaply supplied mth negroes 
by the Genoese, who have contracted to supply them with 
24,500 negroes in seven years.' ^ Even if this bitter an- 
tagonism of the Spaniards — the inevitable fruit of the 
exploits of the lawless Jamaica buccaneers — could have 

* C. C. 1661-1668, no. 664. 2 75^, no. 739. ^ Ibid. no. 762. 

* Ibid. no. 744. ^ Ibid. 

^ At this time it was also said : ' The fortxme of trade here none can guess, 
but all think that the Spaniards so abhor us, that aU the commands of 
Spain and necessity of the Indies will hardly bring them to an EngUsh port ; 
if anything effect it, negroes are the likeUest.' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 811. 
For an account of the Assiento of these two Genoese, Grillo and LomeUn, see 
Georges SceUe, La Traite Negriere aux Indes de CastiUe I, pp. 495-549. 


been overcome, no extensive trade relations could have been 
established at this time, because, as a result of the invet- 
erate opposition of the Dutch, the EngUsh African Company 
was scarcely able to obtain enough negroes to satisfy the 
demands of the English colonies. 

The African Company planned to procure three thousand 
negroes yearly for the English colonial market, which they 
offered to sell in lots, "as hath been customary," at £17 the 
head.^ This method of selling in lots ^ was not adapted to 
the requirements of the tobacco colonies, where there was 
not sufficient capital available for such wholesale purchases, ^ 
and hence the relations of the Company were at the outset 
confined solely to the richer sugar colonies, whose demands 
were far greater. Already in December of 1662, the chief 
of these colonies, Barbados, petitioned the King that the 
trade to Africa should be free, or else that they might be 
furnished with negroes by the Royal Company at the same 

1 Declaration of the Company of Royal Adventurers of England trading 
into Africa (London, 1667), pp. 8, 9. The buyer had the option of paying 
these £17 in Spanish pieces of eight, which were valued for this purpose at 
four shillings, or in colonial produce — sugar, cotton, and indigo. Twenty- 
four hundred pounds of muscovado sugar was computed as equivalent to 

2 In her novel, Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave, Mrs. Aphra Behn, who 
had lived in Surinam, has left a vivid description of this system. Works 
(London, 187 1) V, p. 82. 

^ In 1663, Governor Charles Calvert of Maryland wrote to Lord Balti- 
more : "I haue endeauored to see if I could find as many responsable men 
that would engage to take a 100 or 200 neigros euery yeare from the Royall 
Company at that rate mentioned in y^ Lo^^^ letter but I find wee are 
nott men of estates good enough to vndertake such a buisnesse, but could 
wish wee were for wee are naturally inclin'd to loue neigros if our purses 
would endure it." Calvert Papers I, p. 249. 



prices as they had been by the private merchants.^ Cir- 
cumstances completely beyond the control of the Company 
prevented it from satisf>dng the colonial demand. 

When, in the smnmer of 1663, the English ships arrived on 
the African coast, they had to encounter the determined 
hostility of the Dutch. The native chiefs were bribed not 
to trade mth the English and even to attack them.^ The 
Dutch, so ran the complaint to the Enghsh government,^ 
'have endeavoured to drive the English Company from the 
coast, have followed their ships from port to port, and hin- 
dered them coming nigh the shore to trade. . . , Had it 
not been for the countenance of some of his Majesty's ships, 
to give the Company a respect in the eyes of the natives and 
preserve their forts, the Company had ere this been stripped 
of their possessions and interest in Africa.' The EngHsh 
Envoy to the United Provinces, Sir George Downing, was 
instructed to demand full and speedy satisfaction for these 
injuries and also assurances that they would not be repeated.* 
As no redress could be obtained, Captain Robert Holmes 
with a small squadron was sent by the government to Africa 
to protect the English trade. During the opening months 
of 1664, he captured a number of the Dutch Company's 

1 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 392. 

2 Ibid. no. 507. 

' Ihid. no 618. See also Heathcote MSS. (H.M.C. 1899), pp. 146, 149, 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, no. 545. On Sept. 25, 1663, the African Com- 
pany wrote to Downing that they were "extreamly Sensible" of their 
obhgation to him for prosecuting their complaints against the Dutch. Brit. 
Mus., Add. MSS. 22,920, f. 19. 


important forts and inflicted severe damage.^ He then 
sailed across the Atlantic to attack the American possessions 
of the Dutch West India Company, of which the chief, New 
Netherland, was destined shortly to become an English 
colony. During his absence, the famous Dutch admiral, 
De Ruyter, arrived with a strong force on the African coast 
and, in addition to quickly nullifying the acts of Holmes, 
he captured mth one exception all the English -posts as well.^ 
Thus events were gradually bringing about another armed 
struggle between England and the United Provinces. In 
reaHty a state of war existed already in 1664, but, pending 
abortive negotiations for a peaceful solution, it was not 
declared until the following year. 

This war was only one manifestation of the deep-seated 
economic rivalry between the EngHsh and Dutch nations 
and, fundamentally, it was due to the fact that the Dutch 
blocked many of the paths over which England had to pass 
in order to attain her fuU economic development. More 
specifically, the immediate cause of the war was the deter- 
mination of the United Pro\dnces to maintain inviolate 
their monopoly of the slave-trade and to prevent the English 
from establishing themselves in West Africa.^ 

1 C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 646, 697, 737, 829. Under date of Sept. 29, 1664, 
Pepys recorded: "Fresh news come of our beating the Dutch at Guinny 
quite out of all their castles almost, which will make them quite mad here 
at home sure. And Sir G. Cartaret did tell me, that the King do joy mightily 
at it." 

2 Lefevre PontaHs, John de Witt I, p. 316. 

^ On Dutch interference with England's African and East Indian trades, 
see Sir George Downing, A Reply (London, 1665), pp. 19, 21, 42, 43; and 
A Catalogue of the Damages for which the EngUsh demand Reparation 


Finally in 1667, after some memorable fighting, famous in 
the annals of naval warfare, peace was concluded at Breda 
on the general basis of each power retaining its conquests. 
Thus, in America, Lord Willoughby's colony of Surinam was 
ceded to the Dutch and New Netherland became part of 
the English Empire. In West Africa, the EngHsh lost 
Cormantine, but instead gained Cape Coast Castle. Far 
more important, however, was the Dutch renunciation of 
their exclusive claims in this region. In the future, the Eng- 
lish Company could pursue its course unhampered by the 
continuous prospect of violent opposition from the Dutch.^ 
Just as the first Dutch war under Cromwell had put an end 
to the exclusive claims of that trading nation in the Far East 
and allowed England to develop her East Indian trade,- 
so this second armed conflict opened up the unoccupied 
points of the West African coast to the English merchants. 

(London, 1664). From Paris, April ^7, 1664, Lord Holies, the English Am- 
bassador, wrote to Downing : "I looke for lesse kindnes from your Minheers 
that you deale with, who vse vs very coursely euery where as aU my inteUi- 
gence from England tells me, refusing vs y® restitution of Poleron, & deny- 
ing vs trading in aU y*^ coast of Guinee (w''^ can Signify nothing else but 
that they meane to quarreU w*^ vs) & vpon aU occasions faUing foule vpon 
y'^ English." Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 22,920, f. 35. 

^ The ninth clause of the treaty provided that "whereas in countries 
far remote, as in Africa and America, especially in Guinea, certain protesta- 
tions and declarations, and other writings of that kind, prejudicial to the 
liberty of trade and navigation, have been emitted and published on either 
side by the governors and officers in the name' of their superiors," it is agreed 
that aU the aforesaid claims shall be henceforth null and void. Chalmers, 
A Collection of Treaties (London, 1790), p. 136; Dumont, Corps Universel 
Diplomatique (Amsterdam, 1731) VII, Part I, p. 45. 

^ Beer, Cromwell's Policy in its Economic Aspects, in PoUtical Science 
Quarterly, Vols. XVI, XVII. 


The English Company was, however, in no condition to 
avail itseh of this opportunity. It had suffered heavy losses 
during the war and the preHminary hostilities in West Africa.^ 
Its original capital of £122,000 had almost entirely dis- 
appeared, and its credit was at so low an ebb that loans to 
secure the indispensable fresh resources could not be ne- 
gotiated.^ Moreover, it had become involved in a serious 
controversy with the chief English slave-holding colony, 
Barbados, which complained bitterly of the high prices and 
the inadequate number of slaves shipped there. In 1668,^ 
Governor Willoughby wrote to Charles II that the colony 
would be ruined unless the trade to Africa were made free, 
so that they might be supplied as plentifully as formerly. 
Slaves, he claimed, were so excessively dear and scarce that 
the poor planters would be forced to emigrate to foreign 
colonies in order to gain a livelihood.^ In the same year, 
formal charges against the Company were brought before 
the House of Commons, in the form of a petition signed by 
a number of men, among whom were Sir Paul Painter and 
Ferdinando Gorges, who were prominently identified with 

To the first charge that formerly, under free trade, the 
colonies were well and cheaply supplied, and that forts in 

^ C. C. 1661-1668, nos. 902, 903. 

2 W. R. Scott, op. cit. II, p. 18. 

3 C. O. 1/21, 89; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1539, 

* At the same time, the Barbados Assembly petitioned the King to the 
same effect. Ibid. no. 1563. 

^ The charges and replies are in the Answer of the Company of Royal 
Adventurers of England trading into Africa, published in 1667. 


West Africa were not necessary, the Company replied that 
without such forts England would lose the African trade, 
and the merchants would be at the mercy of every enemy; 
and further, that the colonies had never been more cheaply 
and plentifully supplied than immediately prior to the Dutch 
war. Secondly, it was charged that the Company was in 
bad credit and heavily in debt, and being thus imable to 
find the capital required for its trade, had "lately taken up 
an unknown way of granting their Licences to others of his 
Majesties good Subjects to fetch Negroes from Guiny, exact- 
ing for the same two, three, four and five Hundred pounds a 
Ship." In reply, the Company admitted that it was greatly 
in debt as a result of the heavy losses inflicted upon it by 
the Dutch, but pointed out that on the other hand the colo- 
nies owed it £90,000. Furthermore, they said that they had 
been forced to adopt the licensing system in order that the 
colonies might be supplied, and that the fees so obtained 
were devoted to the maintenance of the forts. ^ The third 
charge was that the Company had contracted to furnish 
thousands of negroes yearly to the Spanish colonies, while 
the English colonies were not only poorly supplied, but in 
addition had to suffer from the competition of the products 
raised by this labor in Spanish America. The Company 
admitted the Spanish contract ; otherwise, they said, the 
Dutch would have secured it, but stated that never in any 
year had more than 1200 negroes been delivered on its 

^ These fees, they said, were "3/. per Ton, or 10 per Cent on the Cargo, 
which is less then the Company pays in proportion upon their whole Trade" 
towards the maintenance of the forts. 


account, while at the same time the English colonies had been 
furnished by them with over 6000 slaves in a single year. 
Further, they asserted that the colonies themselves sold 
many negroes to the Spaniards, and that such slaves were 
employed in the mines and in domestic service, and hence 
did not raise products competing with those of the English 
colonies. Finally, it was charged that the negroes were 
formerly sold in the colonies at from £12 to£i6a head,^ and 
that of late the price had been £25 and had even risen to 
£30.^ In reply, the Company stated that before they had 
received a charter the average price of negroes in the colonies 
was £17 or 2400 pounds of sugar, and that at the outset they 
had instructed their agents to sell at this figure,^ but that on 
account of the Dutch war the price had inevitably risen, 
and might recently have been as high as £30.^ 

Early in 1668, the Secretary of the Company, Sir Ellis 
Leighton, also issued a formal answer to the complaints 
that had come directly from the colony.^ He especially 
emphasized the absolute necessity of carrying on this trade 

^ Or 1600 to 1800 lbs. of sugar. 

2 It was also claimed that the best negroes were at the same time sold to 
the Spaniards for £18. The Company, however, denied that the best negroes 
were delivered to the Spaniards and only the "refuse" ones sold to the Eng- 
lish colonies. 

^ '' The Company alwayes did order them to be sold in Lotts according 
to the custome of the Countrey." 

^ Before the Restoration, the best male slaves were sold in Barbados for 
£30, and the female for £25 to £27. Richard Ligon, A True and Exact 
History of Barbados (London, 1657), p. 46. Already in 1661, Barbados 
complained of the great rise in the price of negroes. C. C. 1661-1668, no. 85. 

^ C. 0. 1/22, 21 ; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1680. 


by means of a privileged company, saying sarcastically that 
'open markets and free trade are best for those that desire 
them is certain, and so it is to buy cheap and sell dear, and 
most of all to have commodities for nothing, and if all his 
Majesty's dominions and plantations were made only for 
Barbadoes it might be expedient ; but since it is conceived 
that his Majesty will have regard to what may preserve 
the trade of the nation, and not only to what will gratify 
Barbadoes, they think their desire of free trade will prove as 
impracticable and pernicious to themselves as destructive to 
all other public interests. ' Leigh ton then carried the war into 
the enemy's camp, stating that Barbados was greatly in debt 
to the Company, and praying the King to write to the Gov- 
ernor to assist them in recovering these outstanding sums. 

During the following year Barbados renewed its com- 
plaints, but the government decided not to allow trading 
in violation of the Company's charter.^ The colony's case 
had been greatly prejudiced by the fact that the financial 
difiiculties of the Company were in part due to its inability 
effectively to collect its outstanding debts in Barbados 
under the existing local laws. Already in 1663, before 
Lord Willoughby had assumed the government of the 
colony, the local authorities had issued an order "obstruct- 
ing all proceedings at law against any planters there for 
their debts." ^ In response to some complaints of the mer- 
chants and traders,^ the Council for Foreign Plantations in- 

1 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 518-520. 

^ Ibid. p. 354; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 459. 

' C. C. 1661-1668, no. 462. 


vestigated the matter and reported that this order was 
without justification, as there was an excellent prospect for 
a plentiful crop, and that there was good cause to suspect 
that "the said President and some of the Council! being 
deeply indebted did take hold of the said Petition (praying 
for the measure in question) aswell to avoid the payment 
of their owne debts as to gratify the Petitioners." They 
added that this order for a stay in proceedings for the 
recovery of debts was unprecedented and of so evil a con- 
sequence that, if not immediately prevented, it would tend 
to the ruin not only of Barbados, but of all the other colonies 
as well ; and advised Charles II to rescind it and to forbid 
such orders in the future.^ Accordingly, Lord Willoughby 
was directed to give effectual and speedy redress to this 
grievance;- but as he had to act with the advice of the mem- 
bers of his Council who, being planters, "carry it in favour 
of their brethren," this instruction could not be fully 
executed.^ In 1664, the African Company stated in a peti- 
tion that they had supplied Barbados liberally with slaves 
and had given long credits to the planters who owed them 
£40,000, yet they were very much abused "by the intoller- 
able delayes of Payment amongst the most of the Planters, 
against which the present Form of Judiciary proceedings in 
that Island afford no Remedy, but what is worse than the 
disease." ^ 

This was merely an instance of the friction that inevi- 

1 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 352-354; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 470. 

2 P. C. Cal. I, p. 355. 3 C. C. 1661-1668, no. 689. 
* P. C. Cal. I, pp. 381-383. 



tably exists between all debtor and creditor communities, 
and which played an important part in the politics of the 
old Empire. Without any conscious moral turpitude, 
there was a constant tendency on the part of the colonial 
planters to scale down their debts by inequitable currency 
and bankruptcy legislation. Against such measures the Eng- 
lish merchants had to protect themselves as best they could. 
Accordingly, when the African Company in 1668 met the 
demands of Barbados and agreed to sell negroes at the old 
price of £17, it stipulated that good security had to be given 
for their payment.^ No satisfactory arrangement could, 
however, be made, nor would Barbados amend its law for 
the recovery of debts. In reply to the orders of the English 
government that the lands, as well as the goods, of a de- 
faulting debtor should be liable, the Speaker of the Assembly 
wrote in 1670^ that their laws were in every way as effectual 
for the recovery of debts as those of England, and that they 
had much more reason to complain than had the Company, 
in that it had not complied with its proclamation to fur- 
nish negroes at £17, but had sold the best to the Spaniards, 
and the refuse to them at nearly double this figure.^ 

' C. O. 1/22, 22; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 1681. 

2 C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 133, 134. 

^ In 1669, the Royal African Company complained "that the Creditors 
of the said Company hving in Barbados refuse to pay their Debts, and that 
the iniquity of proceedings, and the ill constitution of the Lawes in that 
Island is soe great, that as these Lawes have already ruyned the said Com- 
pany, so in a little time they wiU infallibly ruyne the Inhabitants themselves." 
After a hearing of the interested parties, the Privy Council ordered that 
henceforth lands, as well as goods, in Barbados should be hable to be sold by 
"an out Cry" for debts, and that the Governor should cause a law to this 


In the meanwhile the financial condition of the Company 
had been going from bad to worse, and in 1671 bankruptcy 
was imminent. The English Exchequer itself was on the 
brink of insolvency and could not stand the additional 
burden of providing and maintaining the forts in West 
Africa so that this commerce might be open to all. Hence 
again, the only alternative to losing the trade entirely was 
a drastic reorganization of the insolvent Company and the 
formation of a new one with ample capital to continue its 
work. It was proposed that the stockholders of the old 
Company, whose capital had amounted to £122,000, should 
receive ten per cent in new stock, while the creditors holding 
claims amounting to £57,000 were offered forty per cent, of 
which the bulk was in cash. The plan went through, and 
in 1672 the Royal African Company was incorporated with 
a capital of £100,000, of which £35,000 was applied to 
satisfying the claims of the stockholders and creditors of the 
old Company.^ Among the numerous patentees were the 
statesmen, officials, men of affairs, and merchants interested 
in large colonial and commercial enterprises, such as the 
Duke of York, Prince Rupert, Shaftesbury, Arlington, 

effect to be passed by the Barbados legislature. P. C. Cal. I, pp. 528, 529, 
532. A year later, Governor Willoughby, who was in London, wrote to the 
Speaker of the Assembly that, although he had 'justified their laws to be 
authentic enough for the recovery of just debts,' yet this complaint of the 
African Company had prejudiced them, and that it would be advisable to 
alter their laws. C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 81, 82. In reply, the Speaker wrote 
the letter quoted in the text. 

' The capital was shortly thereafter increased to £111,100. W. R. Scott, 
op. cit. II, pp. 19, 25; C. C. 1661-1668, no. 407. In Professor Seligman's 
library is one of the original prospectuses of this reorganization. 


Williamson, Berkeley, Sir Peter Colleton, Thomas Povey, 
Ferdinando Gorges and Josiah Child. To them, as to 
their predecessors, was granted the exclusive right to trade 
in Africa between Sallee and the Cape of Good Hope.^ 

The new Company proceeded vigorously to engage in 
the African trade. For nearly two years after the issue 
of the charter its activities were hampered by the war with 
the Dutch and the embargoes laid in consequence thereof, 
yet the Company despatched during this period seven ships 
with soldiers and ammunition to preserve the forts in Africa 
and to carry negroes thence to America. In 1674, fifteen 
ships were sent and in 1675, twenty.^ Acting energetically 
and skilfully, the Company established itself firmly at various 
points in West Africa, especially on the Gold Coast and on 
the Gambia, and by means of its numerous forts and trading 
stations was able to secure an ever increasing share of the 
trade with that region. English manufactures were bar- 
tered for the native produce — gold, ivory, redwood, wax — 
but especially for the slaves demanded by the planters of 
the New World. ^ Thanks to the settlement of the diffi- 
culties with the Dutch, the financial history of the new Com- 
pany differed radically from that of its predecessor. Up to 
the Revolution of 1688/9, the stockholders had every reason 
to be satisfied with the returns on their investment. From 

1 C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 409-412; Va. Hist. Soc. Coll. New Series VI, 

PP- 37-53- 

2 C. C. 1675-1676, p. 388. 

' African Co. Papers 10, flf. i, 2. The average yeariy exports from Eng- 
land to Africa during the nine years 16S0 to 16S8 were £70,000. Report of 
the Committee of the Privy Council (London, 1789) II, Part IV, no. 5. 


1676 to 1688 high dividends were paid at irregular intervals ; 
in both 1676 and 1677, the stockholders received about 
twenty-two per cent, while the average rate annually for the 
entire period was roughly eight per cent.^ This success was 
attained despite obstacles encountered in many quarters. 
Abuses were committed by the Company's servants, diffi- 
culties with the colonies were a serious handicap, and 
thirdly, its monopoly was invaded by private traders. 

The Company's affairs in Africa and in the colonies were 
necessarily managed by agents and servants, upon whose 
honesty depended the success of the enterprise. In those 
days of infrequent and slow communications efficient con- 
trol from so distant a centre as London was impossible, and 
ample opportunity was afforded for unscrupulous actions. 
As a result, the Company suffered, and also the colonies, 
since the cost of their indispensable labor was thereby 
raised. One great item of loss was the terrific mortality of 
the negroes during their transportation from Africa to the 
West Indies,- which at this time averaged roughly twenty 
per cent.^ Obviously, since the slaves were very valuable, it 

^ Scott, op. clt. II, pp. 33, 34. Despite this, the Company stated in 1683 : 
'We are envied for our advantages, yet our members have not had so much 
as interest on their money, though no stock has been managed with more 
faithfulness and care.' C. C. 1681-16S5, p. 526. 

- This was not a pecuharity of the Enghsh trade. In 1670, La Justice, 
saOing for the French West Indies with 434 negroes, arrived with about 310, 
and La Concorde at the same time brought over safely only 443 out of 
563. S. L. Mims, Colbert's West India Policy, pp. 169-171, 286. 

^ In 1679, the Royal African Company asserted that 25 per cent was the 
usual mortahty, but as this statement was made in order to prove that the 
price of negroes sold by them in Jamaica could not be lowered, it cannot be 



was in the interest of the Company that this mortahty 
should be as low as possible; their original cost in Africa 
was considerable, the expenses of their transportation were 
high, and they commanded a big price in the colonies. 
Thus, apart from any humanitarian considerations, mere 
self-interest would have dictated the best possible treatment. 
Unfortunately, but little was understood of even rudimen- 
tary hygiene; and, furthermore, in some instances virulent 
diseases attacked the ships and literally converted them into 
charnel-houses.^ In other cases, the negroes proved refrac- 

accepted without some question. C. O. 391/3, ff. 228 et seq. In 1707 was 
prepared a report by the Royal African Company for the Board of Trade, 
showing that, in the nine years from 1680 to 1688, 60,783 negroes were 
shipped from Africa, of which 46,396 were dehvered in Barbados, Jamaica, 
and the Leeward Islands. What became of the other 14,387 is not stated. 
C. O. 388/10, H 108. In 1789 was pubUshed a governmental report on the 
slave-trade, giving the same figures and stating that they were derived from 

the Board of Trade's books, but 
further adding that the 14,387 un- 
accounted for were lost in transpor- 
tation. Report of the Committee 
of the Privy CouncU (London, 
1789) II, Part IV, no. 5. 

^ In a letter dated Dec. 2, 1678, 
the Company's agents in Barba- 
dos reported the arrival of the 
Martha ^\•ith 385 of the 447 ne- 
groes embarked in Africa, and also 
that of th.t Arthur \dt\i 329 out of 
417 taken on at Arda, of whom 
many were small and some weak, 
old, and very sickly. African Co. 
Papers i, flf. 6, 7. In 1681, a ves- 
sel arrived in Barbados wixh 130 
African Co. Papers 16 passim. out of the original 232 negroes. 

Vessel's Name 

Number of 


Golden Fortune 


































tory and rebellious, and as the small white crew could not 
cope with them if at liberty, they were kept in confinement 
and weighed down with irons. ^ Such factors would not, 
however, completely account for this great mortality. The 
horrors of the middle passage were greatly accentuated by 
an abuse that was the bane of nearly all the great com- 
mercial companies, namely, the unauthorized private trading 
of their employees. It appears that at times the captains 
of the slave-ships bought negroes for their own account, and 
callously overcrowded their ships to the grave detriment of 
their human cargo's health.^ Of one such vessel, which had 

Ibid. f. 119. The list here printed of slave-ships arriving in Barbados be- 
tween Jan. 27, 1683, and April 21, 1684, shows that in about one-half of 
these ships the mortahty was comparatively low, about 7 per cent, while 
in the others it averaged about 28 per cent. 

1 In 1680, a vessel arrived in Barbados with iSo out of the original 213. 
The agents reported that they conceived "many of the men are much the 
worse for being soe loaded with Irons as they have bin aU the Voyage," 
because they were unruly and the captain feared an uprising. African Co. 
Papers i, f. 62. The horrors of the middle passage were graphically de- 
scribed by a contemporary writer who said : "For no sooner are they arrived 
at the Sea-side, but they are sold hke Beasts to the Merchant, who glad of 
the booty puts us aboard the Ships, claps us under Deck, and binds us in 
Chains and Fetters, and thrusts us into the dark noisom Hold, so many 
and so close together, that we can hardly breathe, there are we in the hot- 
test of Summer, and under that scorching CUmate without any of the sweet 
Influences of the Air, or briezing Gale to refresh us, suffocated, stewed, and 
parboyled altogether in a Crowd, tiU we almost rot each other and our- 
selves." Philotheos Physiologus, Friendly Advice to the Gentlemen 
Planters of the East and West Indies (1684), Part 11, pp. 82, 83. 

2 At a later date, it was said : "The covetnous of most Commanders to 
Carry many to advance their Freight (for they are generally Paid by the 
Head) as it hath occasioned unanswerable abuses ; so the death of abundance 
which should be prevented if possible." John Pollexfen, A Discourse of 
Trade (London, 1697), p. 130. 


arrived in Barbados in 1679, the agents there wrote to the 
Company that its appalling condition was due to such over- 
crowding, and that they presumed that those owning these 
negroes had not been deterred by any fear of the conse- 
quences, because they had resolved, "if soe many remained 
a Live in y^ Ship as they pretended to, they would have no 
Loss, y^ Living being still theirs, & y^ Dead the Comp^'." ^ 
According to Sir William Wilson Hunter, the annals of the 
East India Company afford no counterpart of the sixteenth 
century "Portuguese commodore of two royal ships, who 
lost one by overloading it with a double cargo, while he 
freighted the other with his own goods." ^ The African 
Company can supply this undesired deficiency, for here 
certainly is a close, and if anything a more ghastly, parallel. 
In addition, the Royal African Company was handicapped 
by continuous disputes with the colonies. A few weeks after 
its incorporation, in December of 1672, a declaration was 
issued by the Duke of York, as Governor of the Company, 
offering to contract in London for the delivery of negroes 
in the colonies at prices in lots, ranging from £15 for Bar- 
bados to £18 for Virginia, and reserving to itself the right to 
sell at the best price obtainable in the colonies those negroes 

1 Barbados, June 10, 1679, Edwyn Stede and Stephen Gascoigne to the 
Royal African Company. Regarding this ship's condition, they wrote : "It 
doth most certainly appeare to us the great mortaUty of negroes that was 
in y^ ship from Callabar hither & here was occasioned by y^ ships being 
crowded & pestred w^^ y*^ supernumerary Negroes taken into y* ship, not 
having roome to stow or cleane them, for wee never saw soe nasty foule and 
stincking Ship in our Lives." African Co. Papers i, f. 23. On this private 
trade, see also ibid., £f. 38, 43. 

2 Hunter, History of British India II, p. 167. 


for which no contract had been made prior to their arrival.-^ 
Immediate cash payment was not demanded, but hberal 
terms were allowed to purchasers.^ As Barbados had not 
as yet complied with the royal orders to amend its unsatis- 
factory debtor law, the Company inherited its predecessor's 
controversy A\dth the colony on this score. This friction 
was further intensified by the fact that, during the first 
two years of the Company's existence, England was at war 
with the United Provinces and, consequently, considerable 
difiiculty was experienced in supplying the colonial demand. 
The Enghsh government had several times already in- 
structed Barbados to amend its debtor laws,^ and in 1673, 
when Sir Jonathan Atkins was appointed Governor, these 
orders were renewed. He was instructed to endeavor to 
get the Assembly to pass a satisfactory law and to acquaint 
it, 'how sensible his Majesty is, what great prejudices are 
brought upon the trade of that island by the difficulty men 
find in recovering their just debts.' ^ Accordingly, when the 
Barbados Assembly met late in 1674, Atkins laid stress on 
'the great clamour in England of the injustice of the Island 

1 The negroes were to be between the ages of 12 and 40, and the price 
was fixed at £15 for Barbados, at £16 for the Leeward Islands, at £17 for 
Jamaica, and £18 for Virginia. C. 0. 1/29, 60; ibid. 1/60, 34; C. C. 1669- 
1674, p. 444. 

2 The slaves contracted for in London were to be paid for in three equal 
instalments, respectively two, four, and six months after delivery. 

' In 1671 and 1672, the Governor was instructed to assist with the ut- 
most care the agents of the Company in recovering its just debts. P. C. 
Cal. I, pp. 572-574; S. P. Dom. Charles II, Entry Book 31, fif. 92, 93; 
C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 363, 364. 

^ C. C. 1669-1674, p. 543. 


to their creditors,' and recommended that their antiquated 
and inequitable legal methods be thoroughly overhauled.^ 
To some extent this unquestionable grievance — so staunch 
a friend of the colony as was Governor Atkins termed it 
a 'great scandal' — was redressed by the Assembly.^ In its 
turn then, the colony proceeded to complain of the inadequate 
supply of negroes furnished by the Royal African Company.^ 
Their prosperity, they said, depended upon a plentiful 
supply, which was not forthcoming, and in addition the 
prices demanded were claimed to be excessive.^ 

On being summoned by the Lords of Trade to answer these 
complaints,^ the African Company stated^ that during the 
first two years after their incorporation, though much ob- 
structed by the Dutch war, they had sent four ships with 
slaves to Barbados, and that, in 1674, six of their vessels 
had delivered about 2000 negroes in that colony, while 3000 

^ Full information about these legal details may be found in the extant 
records. See especially C. C. 1669-1674, nos. 11S3, iigi. A careful 
summary is available in E. D. Collins's Studies in the Colonial Policy of 
England, 1672-1680, in Am. Hist. Assoc. Report 1900, pp. 159-162. 

' C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 166-168, 174, 180, 193; C. C. 1677-16S0, p. 7. 

2 C. O. 31/2, ff. 165, 172, 177-182, 183; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 193, 206- 
208, 210; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 6, 7. 

■* At this time, in 1675, the price of negroes in Barbados was claimed to 
be £20 to £22, which they said they could not afford to pay, "our Lands 
being worne out, ou"" Commodities being lowe & Great Dutyes vpon them." 
Regarding the offer of the Company to furnish negroes in lots at £15, they 
stated that it was less advantageous than to pay £20 to £22 for good negroes. 
C. O. 31/2, ff. 178, 179. On Sept. 20, 1675, Governor Lord Vaughan 
of Jamaica wrote to Secretary Williamson that the Company had of late 
suppHed them plentifully, but at extraordinary rates, no negroes being 
sold under £22 for ready money. C. C. 1675-1676, p. 192. 

5 Ihid. p. 373. 6 lUd. pp. 387, 388. 


had been ordered sent in 1675. As regards the allegation 
that they had sold their negroes for £20 to £22, they 
asserted that an examination of their books would show that 
the selling price averaged about £15.^ The Lords of Trade 
then questioned the official representative of the colony 
in England, Colonel Thornborough, who admitted that 
Barbados was then and had for some time been plentifully 
supplied, and that the complaint referred to the time when 
the Dutch war had created a scarcity.^ Accordingly, a 
severe letter of censure was sent to Governor Atkins, in 
whom the colony had found a zealous advocate, for continu- 
ing these complaints after their cause had been removed.^ 

But in 1679 the Barbados Assembly again instructed Sir 
Peter Colleton and Colonel Henry Drax of the Committee 

^ The Company further said that the colony already owed them £25,000 
and would owe £70,000 more for the 3000 negroes sent in 1675. 

2 C. C. 1675-1676, p. 388. Between March and June, 1676, there had 
been sold by the Company in Barbados 1372 negroes; 224, which could 
not be disposed of there, had been shipped to the other colonies. Ibid. 
p. 481. 

3 C. O. 1/38, 31 ; P. C. Cal. I, pp. 676-679; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 484, 
485, 488, 489. On July 14, 1676, Atkins had written that he did not be- 
heve that since his arrival in Barbados, somewhat less than two years prior 
thereto, 2500 negroes had been imported, although three times as many could 
have been sold. C. C. 1669-1674, p. 615; ibid. 1675-1676, p. 422. In 
reply to the letter of censure, he wrote to Secretary Williamson that, for 
some time before his arrival and for a year thereafter, the Company had 
sent very few negroes. He added that since then the colony was fully sup- 
pUed and could take 2000 to 3000 slaves yearly. Ibid. 1677-1680, pp. 6, 7. 
In 1677, a vessel, which had arrived in England from Barbados, reported that 
the colony was very prosperous and that several Spanish ships were trad- 
ing there for their "refuse" negroes. One of these vessels had taken away 
300, paying about £25 apiece for them. Cal. Dom. 1677-1678, p. 263. 


of Gentlemen Planters in England to complain that the isl- 
and was poorly supplied and that the negroes delivered there 
by the Company were poor and useless.^ This complaint 
was not without some justification, for though the number 
of negroes was not inadequate,^ their quahty was unquestion- 
ably poor.^ It was, however, not disingenuous and had 
a covert purpose, being intended to prejudice the Company 
in the abortive campaign which Barbados was then inaugu- 
rating against its monopolistic privileges.^ As there was no 

1 C. O. 31/2, fif. 339-341 ; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 352. 

2 In the twelve months beginning Dec. i, 1678, the Company sold in 
Barbados 1425 negroes for £20,520, valuing the sugar received in pay- 
ment at los. a cwt. On Jan. 5, 1680, were received 484 more, which 
were sold for £7050. C. C. 1677-1680, p. 510. In addition, at this time 
a considerable nimiber of negroes were sold in the colony by interlopers. 
On Dec. 2, 1678, the agents in Barbados wrote to the Company: 
"Wee feare y*^ many Negroes soe lately imported (by the interlopers) wiU 
be a means of making y*^ Comp^-^ Slaves" not sell so quickly as otherwise. 
African Co. Papers i, ff. 6, 7. 

^ On Aug. 18, 1680, the agents in Barbados wrote to the Company: 
"Wee doe assure the Company both these Last Ships brought as many 
Miserable Poore Old Lame Blind and Bursten Negroes as ever any two 
Ships of Like Numbers brought Since wee have been here. . . . And in- 
deed what ever the matter is wee know not but within these two or three 
yeares the negroes have generally proved bad and come in 111 Condition in 
Respect of what they did before." African Co. Papers i, S. 63, 64. 

■* At the same time that this complaint was forwarded to England, the 
Gentlemen Planters there were instructed to see 'whether the Royal African 
Company cannot be di\'ided into sundry and separate stocks and jurisdic- 
tions.' C. C. 1677-1680, p. 352. On Dec. 2, 1678, the agents of the 
Company in Barbados, Ed\\'yn Stede and Stephen Gascoigne, wrote to 
London that Colonel Christopher Codrington was a great favorer of inter- 
lopers, and that he, Drax, and Sharpe had bought the chief negroes from 
the last private trader at very low prices. If this be true, they added, it 
was done with the design of prejudicing the Company by enabling them to 



change of success, this design was soon dropped, and the 
specific complaint about an inadequate supply was not 

During the following ten years the English government 
was not further bothered with the examination of such 
grievances from Barbados. The Company delivered there 
yearly on an average 2400 negroes,^ which, with those secured 
surreptitiously from the private traders in violation of the 
Company's monopoly, amply filled the wants of the colony. 
But this interloping trade, which at this time had assumed 
considerable proportions, was strongly favored by the colony 
and equally firmly opposed by the Company. Its efforts 
to suppress the interlopers led to constant friction in Bar- 
bados and more than kept alive the colony's antagonism 
to the privileged Company. 

The relations of the Royal African Company with the 
other West Indian colonies were essentially similar. The 
Leeward Islands had suffered severely during the Dutch and 
French War, which was concluded in 1667, and had virtually 
to begin their economic life anew. A fundamental require- 
ment was a large number of slaves to develop their resources. 
The Governor, Sir Charles Wheler, reported in 167 1 that 

say when they arrive in England that they can buy more cheaply of inter- 
lopers than from the Company, and then to use this as an argument for an 
open trade. African Company Papers i, f. 7. 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 71. Between September of 1682 and August of 
1683, the Company consigned to Barbados 18 ships with 6380 negroes. 
Ibid. p. 486. The total number of negroes dehvered by the Company in 
Barbados during the nine years from 1680 to 1688 was 21,521. CO. 388/10, 
H 108. 



4000 were needed;^ and, in 1676, Governor Stapleton stated 
that the islands were in a position to take and pay for 
1000 negroes yearly.^ The slave population had greatly 
increased during these years. In 1678, it amounted to 
8500.^ Despite occasional complaints, the wants of these 
islands as a whole seem to have been adequately filled.* 
Yet there was unquestionably some friction on this score 
between the Royal African Company and the separate 
islands,^ and this was increased, as in Barbados, by 
certain provisions in the local laws which interfered with 
the effective collection of debts.^ 

1 C. O, 1/27, 52; C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 287-292. 

2 C. O. 1/38, 65; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 497-502. In 1672, Stapleton 
said that during the past seven years no slaves had been brought by the 
Royal African Company, but that 300 had been imported into Nevis by 
licensed ships and 300 into Montserrat and Antigua. C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 

392, 393- 

3 St. Kitts 1436, Nevis 3849, Montserrat 992, Antigua 2172. C. C. 1677- 
1680, p. 266. 

^ In the nine years from 1680 to 1688, the Company deKvered in the 
Leeward Islands 6073 negroes. C; O. 388/10, H 108. 

^ In 1680, the Council of St. Kitts complained to the Lords of Trade 
that the Royal African Company did not supply their wants and stated 
that it was 'as great a bondage for us to cultivate our plantations without 
negro slaves as for the Egyptians to make bricks without straw.' They 
admitted that a large number of negroes had been sent to Nevis, whence 
they might have been supplied, but they claimed that in this manner they 
got only the poor negroes and these at immoderate rates. C. C. 1677-1680, 
pp. 571-574. See also C. O. 391/3, £f. 231, 232; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 629. 

^ Though united under one government and at this time occasionally 
holding a federal General Assembly, each of the four chief islands had its 
separate legislature and insisted upon passing its own laws. C. C. 1681- 
1685, p. 530. In 1683, some London merchants trading to the Leeward 
Islands stated in a petition that 'a law has lately been made at St. Chris- 


In Jamaica, similar disputes and controversies took place. 
After the conclusion of peace with Spain in 1670, the colony 
was able to develop its agricultural resources, which hitherto 
had been neglected on account of the large profits derived 
from privateering. As a result, the slave population of the 
island grew apace. In 1670, the colony had but 2500 negroes, 
w^hile five years later their number was said to have been 
9000.^ At this time, the Governor, Lord Vaughan, wrote 
that the Royal African Company had of late supplied 
Jamaica very weU, though at extraordinary rates, no negro 
being sold for less than £22 cash.^ The following year, 
however, Peter Beckford — a forefather of Chatham's well- 
known supporter — as Secretary of the Colony, ^\Tote to Sir 
Joseph Williamson^ that the people were 'much dissatisfied 
with the Royal Company.' He claimed that, as they were 

tophers which, in effect, leaves the debtor at liberty to pay, or not to pay, 
his debts at will, and we have reason to fear that the inhabitants of the 
other Islands will try to obtain a like Act to the ruin of petitioners.' Ibid. 
p. 528. At the same time, the Royal African Company complained against 
this law, stating that, according to it, the property of the debtor was ap- 
praised by three of his neighbors and had to be taken by the creditor at 
this valuation, and any surplus over his claim had to be paid to the debtor. 
'It is plain,' they said, 'to what frauds such a law gives opening.' Ihid. 
PP- 538) 539- Accordingly, the law in question was repealed by an Order 
in Council. Ibid. pp. 569, 774. Governor Staple ton, however, wrote to 
the Lords of Trade that untU recently there had been no complaint against 
this Act and a similar one in Nevis, and that the merchants had always 
been treated fairly. Ibid. p. 585. The question was then reopened, and 
the Lords of Trade decided that a clause should be added to the Act, com- 
pelling the appraisers to take the property at the valuation set by them. 
Ibid. p. 714. 

1 C. C. 1669-1674, pp. 52, 53; ihid. 1675-1676, pp. 314, 315. 

2 Ibid. 1675-1676, p. 192. * Ibid. pp. 411, 412. 


SO inadequately furnished with negroes, it had become a 
good trade to buy slaves in Barbados for £17 with the 
object of selling them in Jamaica for £24. In order to 
expedite the settlement of Jamaica, it was even suggested 
at this time that special permission be granted to this 
colony to trade to Africa for negroes, provided security 
were given not to carry them elsewhere.^ The average 
number of negroes imported during this decade was 1500 
annually, but the island demanded more.^ 

In 1679, the Jamaica legislature petitioned the Duke of 
York to intercede with the African Company for a sufficient 
supply of negroes at moderate rates.^ In due course this 
petition was carefully investigated by the Lords of Trade, 
who held a hearing, at which were represented the interested 
parties.* On behalf of the Royal African Company, it 
was stated that Jamaica owed them £60,000 for negroes and 
that upon the arrival of this year's ships the amount 
would be increased to £110,000. It was contended that 
the negroes cost originally in Africa £5, that the expense of 
their transportation was only somewhat less than this sum, 
to which further had to be added twenty-five per cent 
which "they lose by the vsual mortality of y^ Negros," 
while in addition the Company spent yearly for main- 
taining the forts in Africa £20,000. 

In their turn, the representatives of the colony stated ^ 

1 C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 515, 516. 2 7^,^. 1677-1680, p. 344. 

' Ibid. p. 436. ^ Ibid. pp. 625, 626; C. O. 391/3, ff. 228 et. seq. 

^ These statements were embodied in a memorial, which was read by 
the Committee on Nov. 4, 1680, the day of this hearing. C. O. 1/46, 32 ; 
C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 626, 627. 


that Jamaica would buy yearly 3000 to 4000 negroes, 
provided the price were £16 or £17 in lots containing 'no 
refuse negroes ' and a credit of six months time were 
allowed. 'If the Company,' they said, 'objects that the 
Island has always had more than it could pay for, then it 
is truly answered ' that this is due to the extortionate prices 
demanded, and that 'the Islanders are under no great 
obligation to the Company for biting and devouring them 
by such unreasonable and unconscionable dealing.' 

With a view to a compromise satisfactory to both parties, 
the Lords of Trade thereupon asked the Company whether 
they could furnish Jamaica with negroes at £18; and, upon 
the receipt of an affirmative answer, they advised the King 
to order the Company to send there yearly 3000 'merchant- 
able' negroes to be sold at £18 a head in lots on six months 
credit, provided good security were given. The Com- 
mittee further reported that the Company should also be 
obliged to send constant supplies of negroes to the other 
colonies and to take particular care that Montserrat and 
St. Christopher (which had also forwarded complaints of 
a great scarcity) should be well stocked in the future.-^ 
This report was adopted and its recommendations were 
embodied in an Order in Council, dated November 12, 

The Company's agents in Jamaica complied with the 
terms of the order, although to some extent violating its 
spirit by making up lots of a poorer average equality than 

1 C. O. 391/3, ff. 231, 232 ; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 629. 

2 P. C. Cal. II, p. 12 ; C. C. 1677-1680, p. 639. 


had been customary. But even if the average were poorer, 
the price of £i8 was so low that competent judges thought the 
private traders would be driven from the Jamaica market.-^ 
Instead of this result, the Company found that under the 
prevailing conditions it could not make money at this price, 
and hence the number of negroes stipulated was not sent to 
Jamaica, and the field was left free to the increasing number 
of interlopers.^ 

1 On June 27, 168 1, Hender Molesworth and the other agents in Jamaica 
wrote to the Company : "Wee preseeded w*? an equall respect to the Order 
of CouncUl & your Interest (in the Sale of Bills Negroes) Soe that making 
our Lotts accordingly (w*? a mixture of more Ordinary Negrf) wee Sold at 
''^iS p head Six m*f & -^17 ready money. After V^ rate the diffrence 
vpon the whole is not considerable from what it would have been if wee 
had only putt choice negroes in Lotts as formerly & Sold at ^22." They 
then added that the interlopers could not sell profitably at this price and 
would be ruined. African Co. Papers i, f. 116. On June 13, 16S1, the 
Deputy-Governor of Jamaica, Sir Henry Morgan, wrote : ' I doubt not 
that the interloping commerce would fall of itself if the Company would 
keep the Island sufiiciently supplied with negroes at the present rates.' 
C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 72, 73. Shortly thereafter, he wTote that the Company 
had, in accordance with the royal commands, sold the negroes in the last 
sliip at £18 a head, 'which proves a great help and ease to the country.' 
Ibid. p. 82. 

2 On Aug. 29, 1682, the new Governor, Sir Thomas Lynch, wrote to 
the Lords of Trade : ' I think the Company has imported about fifteen hun- 
dred since I came, which were sold for ready money in a day ; and many 
men that had money went away without any slaves.' A month later, he 
wrote that Jamaica was inadequately supplied. The date of Lynch's 
arrival was May 14, 1682. Ibid. pp. 231, 286, 301-303. On May 6, 1683, 
Lynch wrote that during the preceding six months the Company had sent 
none. Ibid. p. 427. See also pp. 486, 525, 532. These statements, and 
those made in the above references, do not fuUy agree wdth the official re- 
port of the Company, giving the number of negroes delivered by it in Ja- 
maica during the nine years from 1680 to 16S8 : — 



Early in 1683/ the Royal African Company petitioned 
the King, recapitulating the events leading up to the order 
in Council of November 12, 1680, and stating that the price 
of £18 therein stipulated had been embodied in a Jamaica 
law, which further made 'the planters judge in their own 
cause as to what negroes are merchantable, to our great 
prejudice.' In addition, they asserted that they were in- 
jured by the fact that Spanish money was legally current in 
Jamaica at rates greatly in excess of its intrinsic value - 
and, furthermore, that the competition of the interlopers in 
Africa had raised the price of negroes there by one- third. 
As a consequence, they claimed that their trade to Jamaica 
could not be continued, and prayed as a remedy that the 

1680 1371 negroes 

1681 1576 negroes 

1682 1452 negroes 

1683 2919 negroes 

1684 2066 negroes 

1685 3327 negroes 

1686 3094 negroes 

1687 595 negroes 

1688 2402 negroes 

Total 18,802 negroes 

C. 0. 38S/10, H 108. 

1 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 370. 

2 They said that hght Spanish money passed in Jamaica without any 
determined weight and that, as the prices of the colony's produce were in 
consequence high, they lost one-third on their returns from Jamaica. The 
Jamaica law of 1681 provided that Peru pieces of eight should pass at 45. 
and Mexico Seville at 55. C. O. 139/8 (Printed Acts of Jamaica, 1681- 
1737)) PP- 27, 28. In reply, the Jamaicans stated that 'the lightness of 
money' did not prejudice the Company, and that it had been current at 
these rates for years. C. C. 1681-1685, p. 378. 


Order in Council of November 12, 1680, be rescinded and 
that the Jamaica law limiting the price of negroes be not 

The representatives of Jamaica in England, in reply, con- 
tended that the Company's troubles were due to misman- 
agement and that light money might be refused. They 
further pointed out that the interloping private traders 
found it profitable to sell at £18.^ Pending further infor- 
mation as to the merits of the case, the government decided 
that the Jamaica Act fixing the price of negroes should not 
be confirmed, but should remain in force only during the 
King's pleasure.^ Upon receipt of the news of these pro- 
ceedings in England, Governor Lynch, who was especially 
anxious to develop a trade in negroes from Jamaica to 
Spanish America, wrote to the Lord President of the Privy 
Council : ' We were surprised to hear that our friends con- 
tended so \aolently for keeping up the Negro Act. I gave no 
such directions, and the people will be quite content with 
the King's order. It is the failure to provide negroes that 
is the ruin of all.' ^ In his speech to the Assembly in the 
fall of 1683, Lynch also spoke against the colony's law 
fixing the price of negroes, sa>dng ''it's against the reason 
and nature of commerce to put a perpetual or standing price 
on goods we need, for trade ought to have all hberty and 
encouragement." ^ 

In the meanwhile, further investigations were being made 

^ C. C. 1681-1685, p. 378. See also pp. 383, 384. 

2 Ihid. p. 386 ; P. C. Cal. II, pp. 46-48. 

^ C. C. 1681-1685, p. 427. * Ihid. p. 487. 


in England. The representatives of the colony complained 
bitterly that the Royal African Company had suspended 
shipping negroes to the island, and asserted that as a result 
5000 would be needed the first year and 3000 annually 
thereafter. They further said that they had no authority 
to consent to an abrogation of the agreement of 1680, but, if 
this were done, they prayed that the Company be obliged 
to furnish the numbers micntioned above, as other^\dse, the 
price being no longer limited, ' it will simply feed the market 
with just enough to keep the prices at a ruinous height.' ^ 
On its behalf, the Royal African Company begged for a 
release from the agreement of 1680, because the change in 
conditions during the intervening three years had made its 
terms impossible.^ Finally, in November of 1683, the Lords 
of Trade ad\dsed the repeal of the agreement of 1680, as well 
as that of the Jamaica Act embodying its terms; and recom- 
mended that the African Company be obliged to furnish this 
colony wdth 5000 negroes the first year and 3000 annually 
thereafter.^ The final decision was somewhat delayed by 
further comphcations,^ but in the spring of 1684 the govern- 
ment adopted this recommendation, and orders to this effect 
were issued.^ A short time thereafter, Governor Lynch in- 

1 Ihid. 1681-1685, pp. 512, 513. 

2 Ihid. pp. 471, 525, 526. They claimed that the colonies owed the 
Company £130,000 for negroes dehvered. 

3 Ibid. p. 536. 

* Ibid. pp. 544, 570, 579, 580, 59S. 

^ Ibid. pp. 601, 602, 612; P. C. Cal. II, p. 63. On Feb. 28, 1684, 
before the issue of the Order in Council giving eflfect to this arrangement, 
Lynch wrote to the Lords of Trade that he had acquainted the Assembly 
with their decision, 'with which they seemed satisfied, and desired to thank 


formed the English authorities that the Royal African was 
beginning to supply them well, but that they would not 
want the large number of negroes agreed upon, unless the 
Spaniards should come to Jamaica to procure slaves for their 

It was not alone the colony's own needs, but also the 
desire to gain a share of the slave-trade to Spanish Amer- 
ica, that caused the Jamaica merchants at this time to 
insist upon so large a number of negroes. As has already 
been pointed out, the various African companies of this 
period were designed both to supply the wants of the EngHsh 
colonies and also to secure a portion of the lucrative Spanish 
trade. With this latter object in view, the provisions of the 
Navigation Act had even been relaxed. The continuance 
of hostihties between the English and the Spanish in the 
West Indies had, however, frustrated this scheme; but, after 
the conclusion of a definitive peace in 1670, renewed hopes 
were entertained. In 1672, Sir Thomas Lynch, then for the 
first time in charge of Jamaica, wrote to Secretary Arhngton 
that he had had expectations of entering into a trade mth 
the Spaniards, but that they were more cautious than ever 
since the peace, and hence only a few straggling negroes 
could be sold to them.^ This failure was mainly due to a 
fresh international dispute caused by English traders cutting 
logwood in Yucatan, which Spain insisted was an unwarranted 

your Lordships.' C. C. 1681-1685, P- 593- Shortly after its adoption, this 
settlement was slightly modified. Ibid. pp. 632, 636. 

1 Ibid. p. 656. 

"^ Ibid. 1669-1674, p. 335. See also pp. 339-341. 


invasion of her colonial dominions. During the following 
years, Spain seized a large number of English colonial ves- 
sels engaged in this trade, and incidentally also some others 
not implicated in it, while in reprisal the English took several 
Spanish ships. ^ Despite these more than sporadic hostili- 
ties, further attempts were made during this decade to sell 
negroes to the Spaniards,^ but nothing of importance could 
be accomplished until that energetic supporter of the Spanish 
trade, Sir Thomas Lynch, again assumed the administration 
of Jamaica. In 1682, shortly after his arrival in the island, 
the new Governor wrote that there was an excellent oppor- 
tunity for a trade in negroes to Spanish America, but un- 
fortunately the colony's supplies were inadequate.^ Several 
months thereafter. Lynch reported that, as a Spanish vessel 
had been unable to procure negroes from the Royal African 
Company's agents in Jamaica, he had permitted it to buy 
about one hundred from an interloper,^ and that two or 
three thousand could have been sold to the Spaniards during 
the preceding half year, had such numbers been available.^ 
At this time, comparatively few negroes were being de- 
Hvered in Jamaica for the account of the Royal African 
Company, as the price of £18 fixed by law did not allow a 
sufficient margin of profit; but, in 1684, after this matter 
had been adjusted, the supply of negroes became adequate. 
As a result, fairly large purchases were made by the Span- 

^ See post, Vol. H, pp. 67-71. 

2 See Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 501. 

3 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 301-303. * Ibid. p. 393. 
^ Ihid. p. 427. See also pp. 594, 597. 


iards in Jamaica.^ But just when this difficulty was being 
removed, another obstacle presented itself. In 1677, ^-t 
the request of the Royal African Company, which had 
made an arrangement with the Spanish authorities, the 
English government had instructed Governor Atkins of 
Barbados and Governor Vaughan of Jamaica to allow 
Spanish ships to purchase negroes there, provided the laws of 
trade and navigation were not infringed.^ Acting on these 
instructions, two Spanish ships had been allowed to trade 
at Jamaica in 1677,^ In the meanwhile, however, the Eng- 
lish government made belated inquiries as to the legality 
of the orders issued by it. The Solicitor-General reported 
that this trade was illegal, since negroes should be esteemed 
goods or commodities, which, according to the Navigation 
Act, could not be exported from the colonies in foreign 
ships.* Accordingly, early in 1678, the Lord of Trade de- 
cided that this trade ought not to be permitted.^ Appar- 
ently, however, no orders to this effect were sent to the 
colonies, and it was on the strength of the instructions sent 
to Lord Vaughan in 1677 that Lynch permitted Spanish 
vessels to come to Jamaica. In 1684, the legality of this 
trade was again questioned. A Spanish vessel engaged in 
taking negroes from Jamaica to the Spanish Main was 
seized as an offender against the Navigation Act. Lynch, 
who was the chief sponsor of the trade and also financially 

^ C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 594, 682-684, 721, 748. 

^ Ibid. 1677-1680, p. 84. 3 Ibid. p. 169. * Ibid. p. 120. 

^ Ibid. pp. 175, 209, 210. See also pp. 85, 134, 135. In 1680/1, a 
Spanish vessel remained at Jamaica for a considerable time, waiting for the 
slave-ships. Ibid. 1681-1685, pp. 5, 6. 


interested in it, claimed that this action was purely vexa- 
tious, refused to countenance the proceedings, and the ship 
was released.^ The men responsible for this seizure then 
complained to England,^ where the matter was referred to 
the Commissioners of the Customs. They reported in 
favor of continuing the order of 1677 permitting the Span- 
ish negro trade.^ Accordingly, specific instructions to this 
effect were sent on November 30, 1684, to Hender Moles- 
worth, who as Lieutenant-Governor had assumed charge of 
the island on Lynch's death a few months prior to this.^ 

1 C. C. 1681-16S5, pp. 593, 629, 636, 637, 656. 

2 Ihid. pp. 644, 645, 748, 749- ^ Ibid. pp. 677, 719, 728, 733. 

* Ihid. p. 739. This order led to suggestions for a further relaxation 
of the laws of trade. In 1685, Molesworth wrote that an attempt had 
been made to seize the ship Saint Antonio belonging to Nicolas Porcio, 
the agent of the Assiento. The act, he added, seemed to be malicious, 
but he begged for an explanation of the Bang's orders in favor of this Spanish 
trade. 'Is the liberty of buying and exporting our Enghsh manufactures 
comprehended, though not expressed, within the intention of the order? 
My construction is that it is so,' but the Jamaica Council was in doubt. 
Molesworth then argued that such sales of Enghsh manufactures would be 
very advantageous and would not lead to the illegal exportation of the 
island's produce in violation of the enumeration clauses. He further added 
that such importations of Enghsh manufactures into the Spanish colonies 
were prohibited, 'yet the danger is easily avoided, by making up the goods 
in small parcels and so covering them as to protect them from rain. These 
are landed in some wood near the port to which they are bound, and left 
with a man to watch them till they can be brought into town by night. 
This cannot be done \\'ith our Island produce, through its nature, weight, 
and bulk; moreover, it is of no value there.' Ibid. 1685-1688, pp. 19, 20. 
In 1685 also, the holders of the Assiento requested permission to import 
Spanish fruits directly into Jamaica. The Commissioners of the Customs 
reported adversely; but, at the request of the Royal African Company, the 
Lords of Trade decided to instruct the Governor of Jamaica to favor this 
petition so far as he legally could. Ihid. pp. 54, 55, 64. In 1686, the 


Molesworth, who had been one of the African Company's 
factors in Jamaica, naturally followed Lynch's policy of 
encouraging this trade. The Dutch merchants, who had 
contracted with the Spanish government for its supply of 
negroes, sent an agent to Jamaica,^ and several ships with 
slaves purchased there were sent on account of this Assiento 
to the Spanish colonies. Such ships, as in Lynch's time, 
were despatched under the convoy of the English man-of- 
war stationed at Jamaica.^ 

There quickly developed in the colony considerable op- 
position to this Spanish trade. The Jamaica planters, 
as distinct from the merchants, had always opposed it,^ 

Assiento's agent in Jamaica petitioned for permission to export some of 
Jamaica's products — principally sugar, which was cheaper than in Cuba — 
on payment of the same duties as were collected in England. Being illegal, 
this was refused, but the Council asked Molesworth to recommend this 
suggestion to the King. Ibid. p. 357. 

1 For the early history of the Assiento, see J. de Veitia Linage, The Spanish 
Rule of Trade to the West Indies (trans, by John Stevens, London, 1702), 
pp. 154-159. According to Lynch, the Dutch firm of Quayman (Coymans) 
Brothers made a contract in 1683 with Spain to furnish 18,000 negroes in 
seven years and appointed Nicolas Porcio as their agent in the West Indies. 
C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 594-596. In 1685, one Beck (Beque) arrived in Jamaica 
as the representative of Coymans, and requested the delivery of Porcio's 
efifects. On the disputes about this matter, see ihid. pp. 44, 76, 77, 142, 
143. A detailed and authoritative account of the various contracts with 
Spanish government has been written by Georges Scelle, who gives full 
details of Coymans, Porcio, Balthazar Beque, Santiago del CastiUo, and the 
legal wrangles in Jamaica. Unfortunately, he made no use of the Enghsh 
colonial state papers, which would have added considerable additional in- 
formation. Scelle, La Traite Negriere aiLx Indes de Castille (Paris, 1906), 
I, pp. 641-675. 

2 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 593, 752, 755 ; ihid. 1685-1688, pp. 82, 83, 142, 143. 

3 Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 501. 


fearing both that the best negroes would be sold to the Span- 
iards and also that the price of their own labor supply would 
be raised by the increased demand. The political party in 
the island, which had been opposed to Lynch, availed itself 
of this hostility and tried in various ways to thwart the 
policy of Molesworth.^ They attacked Molesworth be- 
cause he, like Lynch,^ was receiving large fees for permit- 
ting this trade and for the protection afforded to it by the 
English men-of-war.^ These payments were customary and 
were made openly; they were not regarded as illegitimate 
perquisites, though the not over-sensitive political morality 
of the day was beginning to regard them with suspicion. 
Molesworth did not deny the facts ; but, strangely obtuse 
to the principle involved, vehemently defended himself, 
writing to the Earl of Sunderland in a tone akin to righteous 
indignation that the 'premios, with which the Spaniards 
had rewarded my services, are envied by my opposers, who 
magnify the same above all measure, and would make that 

^ In 16S4, Molesworth wrote to Blathwayt that the future well-known 
Governor of Massachusetts, William Phipps, then Captain of H.M.S. Rose, 
'being egged on by ill-wishers to the trade,' had insulted the Spanish at 
Jamaica and was driving them away. C. C. 1681-1685, p. 729. 

2 C. O. 1/54, Part II, nos. 108, 114; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 595, 722, 

^ C. O. 138/6, ff. 287-294. This English trade with the Spaniards 
centred at Jamaica, but some also was carried on in Barbados. One of 
the charges brought in 1683 against Sir Richard Button, the Governor, was 
that he had demanded six dollars a head for allowing 1000 negroes to be sold 
to the Spaniards. Button admitted receiving the sum, but said that it had 
been given to him after the conclusion of the business, and stated that such 
payments had been customary under former governors. C. C. 1681-1685, 
PP- 552, 559-561. 


appear criminal which is really meritorious.'^ In addition, 
this party in 1686 tried to obstruct the trade by passing 
laws imposing duties on negroes exported and on goods 
imported in foreign bottoms, but Molesworth refused to 
give his assent to them.^ 

During the midst of this controversy, in December of 
1687, the Duke of Albemarle — the unworthy son of the 
great Monck — arrived as Governor of the colony. He 
allied himself wdth Sir Henry IVIorgan and the other leaders 
of the party opposed to Molesworth and his policy.^ With 
his consent, the Assembly in 1688 passed an act raising 
the value of the coin current in the island, which was 
equivalent to scaling down the debts of creditors, and 
called forth justifiable complaints from the Royal African 
Company.^ Shortly thereafter, however, death brought to 
a close the Duke of Albemarle's intemperate career, and 
Molesworth, who had been in England convincing the gov- 
ernment of his rectitude, was again restored to office, while 
all the appointments of Albemarle were cancelled.^ These 
steps could not, however, do away with the opposition of 
the planters to the Spanish trade, or with their resentment 
towards their chief creditor, the Royal African Company ; 
and thus, when the Revolution of 1688/9 drove James II 
from the throne, there were outstanding a number of un- 
settled difficulties between the slave-trading Company and 

1 C. C. 168 5-1688, pp. 180, 181. Cf. pp. 278, 407, 408. 

"^ Ibid. pp. 212, 213, 277, 278. ^ Ibid. pp. 516, 523, 573, 622. 

^ Ibid. pp. 480, 514-516. ^ Ibid. pp. 619, 620. 


At various times and in varying degrees, all the sugar 
colonies were involved in similar controversies wdth the 
Royal African Company. Such disputes were, however, 
confined to the West Indies. In the tobacco colonies, the 
negro had not as yet to any marked extent displaced the 
white laborer. In 167 1, Governor Berkeley estimated that 
Virginia had 2000 negro slaves,^ and ten years later Lord 
Culpeper stated that, out of a total population of between 
70,000 and 80,000, 15,000 were white indentured servants 
and only 3000 negro slaves.^ Thus, at this time, Virginia's 
slave population was just equal to the number that the 
Jamaica merchants insisted should be shipped to their col- 
ony every year. Conditions in Maryland were essentially 
the same. At so late a date as 1705, the slave population 
of this province numbered only 4475.^ The slow expansion 
of slavery was due to the fact that the tobacco planters 
were not so prosperous as their fellows engaged in the West 
Indian sugar industry, and did not have the comparatively 
large capital required for the extensive purchase of negroes.^ 

During the seventies, the decade in which the Royal 
African Company received its charter, tobacco was greatly 
depressed in price; and, in addition, Virginia was disorgan- 
ized by serious political disturbances. As a consequence, 

1 C. O. 1/26, 77 i; Hening II, pp. 51 1-5 17. 

2 C. C. 1681-1685, p. 157. 3 c. O. 5/715, G 15. 

* "The institution of slavery played there [Virginia] but an insignificant 
part in the course of the greater portion of this century, not because the 
African was looked on as an undesirable element in the local industrial 
system, but because the means of obtaining the indixaduals of this race 
were very limited." Bruce, Economic History II, p. 57. 


this colony afforded a poor market for negroes. Some 
slaves were, however, imported by the Company,^ which had 
its representative here as in the island colonies.^ By 1679, 
however, this small supply was already in excess of the effec- 
tive demand, for a few months later the Company was in- 
formed that "now good negroes are soe plenty that few will 
buy bad though at Low Prizes." ^ Two years later, Governor 
Culpeper, after commenting on the disastrously low price 
of tobacco, wrote : ' Our thriving is our undoing, and our 
purchase of negroes, by increasing the supply of tobacco, 
has greatly contributed thereunto.' ^ Yet, during the fol- 
lowing years preceding the Revolution of 1688/9, Virginia 
continued to purchase negroes, though on a small scale when 
compared with the numbers landed in the West Indies. In 
part these slaves were procured from the island colonies, 
and in part also from interloping private traders.^ Pre- 
sumably some negroes were also obtained from the Royal 
African Company, as it continued to have an agent in Vir- 
ginia to look after its affairs.^ These interests were, 

1 C. C. 1669-1674, p. 552; ibid. 1675-1676, p. 202; Va. Mag. XIV, p. 

2 On Feb. 17, 1679, John Seayres wrote from Virginia to the Com- 
pany that as their agent, Mr. Skinner, had died, the Governor had honored 
him with this employment. He added some information about one of the 
Company's ships that had arrived in Virginia from Africa, and stated that 
46 of the choicest negroes had been sold before entry to various men. 
African Co. Papers i, f. 9. 

^ Virginia, June 25, 1679, Nathaniel Bacon and Edward Jones to the 
Company. Ibid. f. 19. 

* C. C. 1681-1685, p. 156. ^ Bruce, Economic History II, pp. 80-85. 

® In 1686, Christopher Robinson was the agent. African Co. Papers 12, 
f. 149. 


however, as yet of marked insignificance when contrasted 
with those in the West Indies.^ 

In addition to the friction arising from the causes aheady 
described, the Royal African Company complained con- 
stantly about the favor manifested towards interlopers by 
the West Indian colonies. The charter of the Royal Afri- 
can Company prohibited all other Enghshmen from engag- 
ing in trade to West Africa,^ and in return for this monopoly 
the Company was expected to build and to maintain forts 
and trading stations out of its o^\ti funds. It was generally 
admitted that such forts were necessary, partly in order to 
control the savage tribes mth whom the ttade was estab- 
hshed, partly because the rivalry of the European commer- 
cial nations was so imbridled in non-European regions that 
short shrift would have been allowed to any unprotected 
trader.^ The annual expenditure of the Royal African 

^ An abstract of the letters received by the Company from 1683 to 1698 
shows scarcely any from Virginia. Ibid. 

^ The penalty for violating this prohibition was confiscation of the ship 
and cargo, of which one-half went to the Crown and one-half to the Com- 
pany. C. C. 1669-1674, p. 412. 

^ Cf. Certain Considerations Relating to the Royal African Company of 
England (London, 1680), pp. 6, 7. The proclamation of 1674 enjoining 
respect for the Company's monopoly stated that "it is found by experience, 
That Traffique with Infidells & Barbarous Nations not in Amity with vs 
and who are not holden by any League or Treaty cannot bee carryed on 
without the Establishment of Forts and Factoryes in Places conven- 
ient. The mainteynance whereof requires so great and constant expense 
that itt cannot bee other-wase defreyed" than by managing the trade 
by a joint stock company. C. O. 1/31, 80; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 626; 
British Royal Proclamations, 1603-1783 (Am. Antiqu. Society, 1911), p. 


Company on account of these forts was between £15,000 
and £20,000,^ which amounted to from £2 to £3 a negro. 
Thus the private trader, who was not burdened with these 
charges, had a considerable initial advantage in competing 
with the Company. It was stated at the time that the col- 
onies might possibly, during peace, be supplied at ten per 
cent lower rates by the Dutch traders and the English 
interlopers, but it was pointed out that no negroes could be 
secured from these sources during war.- It might further 
have been argued that, without these forts, the English 
would have been virtually excluded from West Africa, and 
that the interloper was able to ply his trade in comparative 
safety only because of the protection indirectly afforded to 
aU of EngHsh nationality by the Company's estabhshments. 
Hence, the more successful and numerous the private 
traders, the weaker would become the Company. If this 
were the line of development, the ultimate result would be 
that the English would be driven from Africa, since the 
public finances of the day and current practice in such 
matters would not allow the government to assume the 
burden of maintaining the necessary forts. The planta- 
tion colonies would then have been at the mercy of their 
French and Dutch rivals, and there can be but little doubt 
that the English West Indies under such conditions would 

^ In 1680, the Company on one occasion stated that this charge was 
about £15,000, and on another £20,000. P. C. Cal. II, p. 8 ; C. O. 391/3, 
ff. 228 et seq.; C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 625, 626. In a pamphlet published 
the same year, this amount was also stated to be £20,000. Certain Con- 
siderations Relating to the Royal African Company (London, 1680), pp. 6, 7. 

2 Brit. Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 466. 


have had to pay exorbitant prices for their labor supply. 
It was, however, unreasonable to expect that the individual 
planter or merchant in the colonies, even if he realized the 
possibly fatal effects of encouraging the interlopers, would 
as a rule be public-spirited enough to sacrifice his own 
immediate interests by refraining from dealing with them. 
Consequently these private traders always found in the 
West Indies a ready, though clandestine, market for their 
human wares. 

In 1674, the Royal African Company stated in a peti- 
tion to the government that they had advice that several 
ships from New England and the other colonies and also 
Dutch and other foreigners were, with the consent of some 
of the governors, importing directly into the colonies negroes 
and African products, and prayed the King to issue a 
proclamation against such practices.^ A proclamation ^ to 
this effect was accordingly issued, and explicit letters were 
also written to the colonial governors enjoining strict obedi- 
ence to its terms. ^ 

The enforcement of this proclamation depended mainly 
upon the activity of the governors;* and in Barbados, where 

1 P. C. Cal. I, pp. 614-615. 

2 C. O. 1/31, 80; C. C. 1669-1674, p. 626. 

^ P. C. Cal. I, p. 616. In reply, Governor Leverett of Massachusetts 
wrote that none of their adventurers were engaged in this trade, but that 
some from England and Barbados, who had been on this voyage, had come 
to New England to have their vessels repaired. C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 274, 


* In 1679, the agent in Virginia, John Seayres, wrote to the Company 
that the best way to prevent interloping was to "gett yo^ affaires Perticu- 
larly recommended by the Comiss''-^ of his Ma"*^^ Customes to the severall 


the interlopers were most conspicuous, the chief magistrate 
at this time was Sir Jonathan Atkins, who, uncritically 
accepting all the colony's complaints, failed to support the 
Royal African Company in enforcing its monopoly. In 
1675, the Company's agents in the colony wrote: "Wee 
cannot yet find a meanes to prevent the presumption of 
Interlopers who in defiance of his Ma''!"^ Comands, and all 
wee can doe thereupon brave vs & the Authority here." ^ 
The following year, when one of these agents, Edwyn Stede, 
had seized such an interloper, a suit was brought against 
hitn for the recover^' of treble damages under James I's 
Statute of Monopolies.^ On this specific score, and on the 
general ground that the Governor did not give the Company 
adequate support in maintaining inviolate its privileges, a 
complaiQt against him was registered in England. In due 
course, during 1676, the government took up the matter, and 
Governor Atkins was severely rebuked for allowing such 
legal proceedings,^ and was instructed in the future to secure 
the Royal African Company in its pri\dleges and to take 

Collectors and Officers of the Customes in this Collony to whom they 
Yearly send new Orders or else by a particular comand from the CounceU 
board to y® Governor and all other Pubhque Officers here to w*^*^ they 
must give obedience Although they haue divers ways to evade the comands 
of y*^ Proclamation." African Co. Papers i, f. 13. 

1 C. O. 1/35, 19; C. C. 1675-1676, pp. 278, 279. 

2 C. C. 1675-1676, p. 496 ; 21 Jac. I, c. 3, § iv ; W. H. Price, The EngHsh 
Patents of Monopoly, pp. 135-141. On the difficulties encountered by the 
agents, see also E. D. Colhns, op. cit. in Am. Hist. Assoc. Report, 1900, pp. 

173, 174- 

^ The legal advisers of the government all held that there was no ground 
for such action imder this statute of James I. George Chalmers, Opinions 
of Eminent La%\-yers (Burhngton, 1858), pp. 580, 581. 


care that no such actions at law m contempt of its charter 
were permitted.^ 

At the same time, similar instructions were sent to the 
other colonial governors, including Lord Vaughan of Jamaica, 
whence a like complaint had reached England. In 1676, an 
interloping vessel with three hundred negroes had been seized 
at the request of the Royal African Company's agents in 
Jamaica and then libelled in the local Court of Admiralty. 
The Judges, however, dismissed the case, claiming lack of 
jurisdiction, which action Dr. Richard Lloyd, the English 
expert in admiralty law, asserted was without any legal 

Despite these imperative instructions, the interdicted 
trade could not be suppressed. Even the utmost ^dgilance 
on the part of the colonial ojficials would not have been able 
to cope with the schemes devised by the self-interest of the 
planters and merchants. As Governor Atkins of Barbados 
said in 1677, all the diligence in the world could not prevent 
the clandestine landing of negroes at night.^ But, in addi- 
tion, a number of the colonial officials were personally 
interested in this trade. In 1677, the agents in Barbados 
wrote to the Royal African Company of the arrival of an 
interloping vessel with ninety-eight negroes, stating that 

iC. C. 1675-1676, pp. 359, 496, 497, 504, 509-511; P- C. Cal. I, pp. 
655, 656, 680, 681 ; C. O. 324/2, ff. 103-106. In his defence, Atkins 
wrote early in 1677 to Secretary Williamson that he had never encouraged 
the interlopers, and that, while he had the King's frigate at Barbados, he 
had seized all of them. C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 6, 7. 

2 Ibid. 1675-1676, pp. 368, 369, 416, 418, 419. 

^ Ibid. 1677-1680, p. 63. Cf. p. 94. 


among its owners were the Chief Judge and one of the 
revenue officials. This, they added, encouraged other peo- 
ple to engage in this trade, since they saw 'those that sit 
in great places and live by the King's Commissions presume 
to act as they do.' ^ Occasionally a vessel was seized and 
condemned,^ but negroes still continued to be landed 
in Barbados by the private traders.^ In the beginning of 
the eighties, there also developed a trade of bringing negroes 
from Madagascar.^ But, as this island was not within the 
limits of the Company's charter,^ its legal pri\ileges were 
not violated thereby, although its interests were adversely 

^ C. C. 1677-1680, p, 93. On the interest of prominent Barbadians 
in this trade, see African Co. Papers i, f . 7 ; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 145, 

2 lUd. 1677-1680, p. 183. 

^ On the trade of the interlopers in Barbados, Jamaica, and the Leeward 
Islands during the years from 1677 to 1681, see African Co. Papers i, ff. 
I, 12, 26, 28, 41, 46, 48, 52, 53, 64, 75 et passim. On some of the methods 
employed by these illicit traders to evade the English customs regulations, 
see P. C. Cal. I, pp. 685, 686, 691. 

■* Already in 1676, Randolph reported that there were in Massachusetts 
some slaves that had been brought in the colony's ships from Madagascar. 
In 1679, Robert Holden stated that a ship had just returned to Boston 
from Madagascar, after landing some negroes in Jamaica. The following 
year. Governor Bradstreet said that no negroes were imported into Massa- 
chusetts, except that two years before a vessel had brought 40 or 50 from 
Madagascar. Toppan, Randolph II, pp. 225-259; C. O. 1/43, 71; ibid. 
1/44, 61 i. 

^ In 1686, a vessel from Madagascar with negroes and merchandise was 
permitted to enter by the New York Collector of the Customs, Lucas San- 
ten. Governor Dongan and the Surveyor General of the Customs, Patrick 
Mein, insisted, however, that security be given to answer any claims of 
either the Royal African or the East India Company. C. C. 1 685-1 688, 
pp. 220, 230-232, 253. 


affected.-^ In 1681, Sir Richard Button, the Governor of 
Barbados, reported that the Royal African Company had 
imported during the preceding seven years about 2000 
negroes annually, and that many had also been brought 
from Madagascar and by the interlopers.^ Button, him- 
self, was not sufficiently zealous in checking the interloping 
trade, and as a result, in 1683, the English government 
judged it necessary to admonish him to observe strictly 
the instructions already issued and to use greater diligence 
in the future.^ 

In the other colonies also, the interlopers were assured of 
a good reception from the planters and merchants. Even in 
a colony where slavery had as yet attained so insignificant 
an extension as in Virginia, some negroes were sold by these 
illicit traders.^ In the Leeward Islands, naturally, this 
trade was more considerable. In 1680, serious complaints 
were received from the African Company that violence had 
been offered to their agent in Ne\ds.^ Two years later, 

^ On April 9, 1681, the Barbados agents ^\Tote to the Company: "Wee 
are apprehensive the Trade that is of Late drove to Madagascar for Negroes 
w"/* they bring hither may in time be some Inconvenience to the Companys 
trade ; And as it is noe small quantitie have been imported being between 
900 & 1000 that have been brought & sold here in about 2 mo^ time, soe that 
if noe remedy be found they and the Intf lop^^ wiU give a full supply of 
negr^ to this place." African Co. Papers i, f. 88. 

2 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 70-72. 

^ The instructions referred to had been issued in 1680 to Governor Atkins. 
P. C. Cal. II, p. 8 ; C. O. 29/3, f. 75 ; C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 73-75, 145, 146, 

332-33^, 480- 

^ C. O. 5/1308, 13; African Co. Papers 12, f. 149; Bruce, Economic 
History II, p. 85. 

5C. C. 1677-1680, pp. 570, 571, 579, 580, 583, 584. 


an interloper was seized at St. Kitts by a ship of the navy, 
but as the illegal traffic still continued, peremptory in- 
structions had to be sent in 1683 to Governor Stapleton to 
use his utmost efforts to suppress it.-^ From 1685 on, the 
ships of the navy on this station were active in hunting down 
interlopers, several of which were seized and condemned.^ 
At this time, some of the chief men in Nevis and St. Kitts 
proposed to buy negroes from the Dutch in St. Eustatius, 
arguing that this would be legal, provided the slaves were 
imported in English vessels, since the Company's charter 
merely prohibited private trading by EngHshmen to Africa. 
The agents of the Company in Nevis wrote to England 
about this scheme, pointing out that it would be most 
prejudicial, since it might lead to the Dutch estabhshing a 
magazine for negroes at St. Eustatius, whence the Enghsh 
colonies could draw their supplies.^ The African Company 
forthwith laid the case before the government; and, in re- 
sponse to their complaint, the Lords of Trade in 1687 in- 
structed the Governor, Sir Nathaniel- Johnson, not to coun- 
tenance this trade.^ These importations into Nevis could 
not, however, be totally stopped.^ 

^ C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 243, 480. 

2 Ihid. 1685-1688, pp. %6, 125, 147 ; C. O. iss/i, ff. 43-53. In 1688, an 
interloper from Bristol was seized and condemned at Montserrat. Blath- 
wayt, Journal I, f. 304. 

3 C. C. 1685-1688, p. 216. 
^ Ihid. pp. 362, 398, 404. 

^ In 1688, Governor Johnson wrote to the Lords of Trade that one Crispe 
was represented by the officers of the customs and by those of the African 
Company ' as a persistent smuggler of negroes and sugar to and from the 
Dutch islands.' Ihid. p. 552. See also ihid. pp. 505, 553. 


In Jamaica also, the Company had to contend with the 
interlopers.^ As in the other colonies, careful instructions 
were issued against trading with them,^ and occasionally 
an interloping vessel was seized by the ships of the navy 
stationed at Jamaica and then condenmed in the Admiralty 
Court. ^ It was admitted in 1681, however, that some 
interlopers had managed to escape the vigilance of the offi- 
cials and to land their negroes. "* In one of his despatches of 
that year, Sir Henry Morgan wrote that, during the tempo- 
rary absence of the frigate, four such ships had in two weeks 
successfully landed their prohibited negroes.^ The compara- 
tivety large extent of the trade at this time was due to the 
fact that the island was then poorly supplied by the Royal 
African Company. Morgan predicted that 'the interlop- 
ing commerce would fall of itself,' if this condition were 
remedied.^ In this he was undoubtedly correct. But until 
1684, when the colony's dispute with the Company about 
the price of negroes was adjusted, interlopers came not 
infrequently to Jamaica. In fact. Governor Lynch even 
permitted the sale of negroes from this source to the 

^ In 1674, when the Dutch war was interfering •u'ith the Company's 
operations, Jamaica had even passed a law allowing the free importation of 
negroes in ships qualified under the Act of Navigation. This law, naturally, 
was not confirmed in England. C. C. 1669-1674, p. 564; E. D. Collins, 
op. cit. pp. 163, 164. 

^ For the instructions issued by the governors to their subordinate offi- 
cials, see Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS. 2724, f. i ; ibid. 272S B, f. 193. 

3 C. C. 1681-1685, pp. 5, . 

* Ibid. 

^ Ibid. pp. 21, 22. 

^ Ibid. pp. 72, 73- 


Spanish traders. Thereafter, however, despite occasional 
complaints,^ there was relatively little trouble on this score. 
As a result of the clandestine nature of the interloping 
trade, it is naturally impossible to state in precise quanti- 
tative terms its proportion to that of the Royal African 
Company. But the data available unquestionably warrant 
the conclusion that the illicit importations were far less than 
those of the pri\dleged Company, and apparently a ratio 
of one to four would be a fairly close approximation to the 
truth. Yet the Company suffered severely from the compe- 
tition of the private traders, mainly because their activities 
greatly raised the original price of the negroes in Africa.^ 
In 1679, it was stated in a letter to the Company from Cape 
Corso Castle that there were a great number of interlopers 
on the Gold Coast, who "gave such extravagant rates for 
Slaves (and there is so few upon the Coast)." ^ As a result, 
the Company was not able to furnish the colonies with slaves 
at the prices set by the English government. Moreover, 
the higher prices secured were, towards the end of the 
eighties, sho^^dng a diminishing margin of profit. Already 
at this time were e\ddent signs of the financial difficulties 
that later beset the Company.^ 

^ C. C. 1685-1688, pp. 157, 216, 299, 300, 339. 

2 African Co. Papers i, f. 119; C. C. 1681-1685, p. 370. 

^ African Co. Papers i, f. 50. 

* In 1686, the Company stated that they had struggled under great diffi- 
culties to support the great expense of maintaining their forts and factories, 
whereby they had kept the African trade from falHng wholly into the hands 
of the Dutch ; but that they had gained Httle for themselves, owing to the 
interlopers who, in spite of the orders issued by the government, succeeded 


From the standpoint of public policy, however, the Royal 
African Company had accomplished its purpose. It had 
firmly established English interests in West Africa and 
had become an influential factor in the slave-trade. The 
English colonies were no longer dependent upon foreigners 
for their labor supply, and, in addition, some share of the 
valuable Spanish-American trade had been secured. But 
these results had been attained only at the cost of con- 
siderable friction with the West Indian colonies. These 
colonies constantly owed the Company large amounts^ and, 
as is usual in the case of the habitual debtor, were prone to 
regard their creditor as an unconscionable oppressor. The 
English government firmly supported the Company as the 
organ which was to carry into effect an important national 
poHcy. The colonial governors were placed in a delicate 
position, because their imperative instructions from Eng- 
land ran diametrically counter to public sentiment in the 
colonies. According to a contemporary writer, if the 
Governor were "zealous for the Company, hee loses the 
Country, and if hee favour the Countr>^, to which hee is 
necessitated by his interest, hee as certainly loses the Com- 
pany and is slander'd, as one guilty of Tricks, w*".*" destroys 
him at Court."- Thus in 1677, Sir Jonathan Atkins, the 
Governor of Barbados, complained to the Lords of Trade 
that the merchants upon the Exchange and the Guinea 

in landing their negroes in remote ports and creeks. C. C. 1685-1688, 
P- 257. 

1 Certain Considerations Relating to the Royal African Company of 
England (London, 1680), p. 5. 

- Brit, Mus., Egerton MSS. 2395, f. 466. 


Company took it upon themselves in some measure to be 
Governors of Barbados, and that, having so many masters, 
he knew not whom to please.^ It was not only in this case, 
where Atkins was clearly at fault,^ that the government 
decided in favor of the Company; but, in general, its privi- 
leges were vigorously supported in England. The colonies 
were, however, not placed at its mercy, for the government 
was ready to listen to all complaints and saw to it that 
negroes were furnished in adequate quantities and at reason- 
able prices. So persistent, however, was the opposition to 
the Company that, in order to secure its privileges, it was 
found necessary to appoint its agents in the colonies to 
important positions. Without some official voice in the ad- 
ministration of the colonies, the Company would have been 
most inadequately supported. Thus one of the Company's 
agents, Robert Bevin, was appointed in 1673 to be the first 
Collector of the Customs in Barbados;^ and, the following 
year, Ed^vyn Stede, another agent, succeeded him in this 
post.'* In 1684, Edwyn Stede and Stephen Gascoigne, the 
two representatives of the Company, were appointed the 
commissioners of the four and a half per cent revenue and 
were entrusted with the enforcement of the laws of trade. ^ 
Towards the end of this period, as Deputy- Governor, Stede 
was for a time in complete charge of affairs. Similarly, 
before his appointment as Governor of Jamaica, Sir Thomas 

1 C. C. 1677-1680, p. 150. 3 Cal. Treas. Books, 1672-1675, p. 427. 

^ Ibid. pp. 206, 207. '* Ibid. p. 580. 

^ Treas. Books, Out-Letters, Customs 9, f. 43. Similarly, the commis- 
sioners of this revenue in the Leeward Islands, Carpenter and Belchamber, 
were also the agents of the Company. C. C. 1685-1688, p. 505. 


Modyford had represented the African Company's mterests 
in Barbados. Moreover, one of the agents in Jamaica, 
Hender Molesworth, was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of 
the colony. On the death of Sir Thomas Lynch, he be- 
came the acting chief magistrate; and, in 1689, he was 
appointed Governor of the island.^ 

^ C. C. 16S9-1692, f. 69. 









Beer, George Louis 

The old colonial system