Page images
PDF
EPUB

REPORT

OF THE

RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDSOFTHECOMMITTEM

FOR

TRADE AND PLANTATIONS,
To The KING,
dt the Court ef Whitehall the 2$f/» of May, I679w

.

PRESENT,

The King's most excellent Majesty,.

Lord Archbishop of Canterbury,.
Lord Chancellor,
Lord President,
Lord Privy Seal,
Duke of Newcastle,
Duke of Lauderdale,
Earl of Essex,
Earl of Bath,
Viscount Faulconbridge,
^Viscount Halifax,
Lord Bishop of London,
Lord Robe/ ts,

Mr. Seimore, master of

Marquis of Worcester,
Marquis of Winchesters.
Lord Chamberlain,
Earl of Saiji/bury,
Earl of Bridgxvater,
Earl of Sunde? land+
Lord Rufel, v
Lord Cavendisti;

Mr. Secretary Coventry,

Sir Henry Capet,

Sir William Temple,

Mr. Powell,

the ordnance.

WHEREAS there was this day read at the board a report from thfi right honourable the lords of the committee lor trade and plan* iions, in the words following;

Mat It Please Tour Majesty,

WE have, in obedience to your majesty's commands, entered into tfie Consideration of the prclent state of your majesty's island of Jamaica, in order to propose such means as may put an end to the great discouragements your majesty's good subjects there lie under, by the unsettled conditon thereoi; occasioned by the resusal of the laws lately ofsered by the earl of Carlisle to the Assembly for their consent; at which proceedings disatisfaction appears to have risen in the manner following: By the commission granted by your majesty unto the lord Vaughan and several preceding governors, it was your majesty's royal pleasure to intrust the astembly of Jamaica witha power to frame and enact laws, by the advice of the governorand council; which laws were to continuein force for thespace of two years and no longer: but so it hath happened, that your majesty, finding the inconveniences that did attend that power and manner of making laws, by the irregular, violent, and unwarrantable, proceedings of the assembly, was pleased, with the advice of the privy council, to provide, by the earl of Carlisle's commission, that no laws should be enacted in Jamaica, but such as, being framed by the governor and council, and transmitted unto your majesty for your royal approbation, were afterwards remitted unto Jamaica, and consented unto by the astembly there; and, in pursuance thereof, the earl of Carlisle carried over a body of law* under the great seal of England; which laws, upon his lordship's arrival there, have been rejected by the general assembly, upon grounds and reasons contained in an address to your majesty's governor, and in divers letters received from his lordship in that behalf.

llt.-^-In the sirst place, we sind, they are unsatissied with a clause in the fnilitia bill, whereby it is provided, that the governor may upon all occasions •r emergencies act as governor-in-chief, according to and in pursuance ©f all the powers and authorities given unto him by your majesty's commission; searing that thereby they shall make it legal to execute all instructions that either are or shall be sent unto your majesty's governor,

fd.—They have likewise rejected the bill for raising a public revenue, as being perpetual and liable (as they say) to be diverted.'

fld.—It is objected, that the laid laws contain divers attd fundamental errore.

a T*tfy

4tli.—-That they were not compared with and amended by the last laws sent over by the lord Vaug'.ian.

5th.—That the distance of place renders the present method of making ,ia vs v. holly impracticable.

6tli-—That the nature of all colonies is changeable, and consequently the laws must be adapted to the interest of the place, and must alter with it.

7th.—That thereby they lose the satislaction.of a deliberative power io making laws*

-8th.—That this farm of government renders your governors absolute*

9th.—That by the former method of making laws your majesty's .prerogative was better secured.

These .being the objections and pretensions upon which the afiembly liave, with so much animosity, proceeded to reject those bills transmitted by your, majesty, we cannot but oiler, for your insormation and satissaction, such a short answer thereunto as may not only give a testimony of Ihe. unreasonableness of their proceedings, but also surnish the governor, when occasion shall serve, with luch arguments as may be lit to be used in justisication of your majesty's comnumon and powers granted unto him.

1st.—It is not without the greatest presumption that they go about to question your majesty's power, over the militia in that illand, since it hath JbCen allowed and declared, even by the laws of this your kingdom, that the sole supreme government, Command, and disposition, of the militia, and of all forces by sea and land, and of all forts and places of strength, is jejiding with your majesty, within all your majesty's realms and dominions.

2d.—The objection made against the bill for the public revenue hath •as little ground, since its being perpetual is no more than what was formerly olfered -by .them unto your majesty, during the government o£ sir Thomas Lynch, in the same measure and proportion as is now proposed; nor can it be diverted, since provision is thereby expreslly made, that the •fame ihaU be for the better support os that government; besides, that it is npt suitable to the duty and jaodesty oi subjects to suspect your majesty's justice or care for tlie government of that colony, whose set~ tlement and preservation hath heen most particularly carrieil on by your majesty's tender regard, and the great expence of your own treasure.

3d.— It cannot with any truth be said, that these laws contain many and great errors, nothing having been done therein but in pursuance of former laws, at divers times enacted by the assembly, and' with the advice of your majesty's privy-council, as well as the opinion and approbation of your attorney-general, upon perusal of the same.

4th.—To the fourth objection it may be answered, that, if any thing had been sound of moment or importance in the last parcel of laws transmitted by the lord Vaughan, your majesty's tender care of your subjects welsare would have been such as would not have sent those bills impersect or desective in any necessary matter^

5th.—Asto the distance of place, which renders, as they say, the present method of making taws altogether impracticable, your majesty having been pleased to regulate the same by the advice of your privy council, according to the usage of Ireland, such care was then taken that no laws might bewanting which might conduce to the well being of that plantation, and that nothing might be omitted which in all former governments had been thought necessary; nor is it likely that this colony is liable to greater accidents than your kingdom of Ireland, so as to require a more frequent ©r sudden change of laws in other cases than such as are already provided for upon emergencies, or in other manner than is directed by your majesty, whereby the inhabitants have free access to make complaints to your governor and council of any desect in any old law, or to give reasons for any new one, which being modelled by the governor and coun-. cil into form of law, and transmitted unto your majesty, if by your majesty and council found reasonable, may be transmitted back thither to Jdc enacted accordingly.

6th.—It was sufficiently apparent to your majesty, that laws must alter "with the interest of the place, when you were graciously pleased to lodge such a power in that government as might not only from time to time, with your majesty's approbation, and by advice both of your privy council here, and of your governor and council there, enable the assembly io enact new laws answerable to their growing necessities, but even uporj

Q, % • urgeftt ^ntgcrrt occasions to false money for the security of the island*, without attending your majesty'* order and consent.

*7thrf—It Is not to be doiibted but the aflembly have endeavoured to grasp all power, as well as that of a deliberative voice, in making laws; but how sar they have thereby intrenched upon your majesty's perogative, and exceeded the bounds of duty and loyalty upon this pretence, may appear by their late exorbitant and unwarrantable proceedings during the governipent of the lord Vaughan, in ordering and signing a warrant unto the marshal of the island, your majesty's ofsicer of justice, for the stopping and preventing the execution of a sentence, pasled, according lo the ordinary forms of law, upon a notorious pirate and disturber of your majesty's peace. And they have further taken upon them, by virtue of this deliberative power, to make laws contrary to those of England, and to imprison your majesty's subjects; nor have they forborne to raise money by public acts, and to dispose of the same according to their will and pleasure, without any mention made of your majesty, which hath never in like cases been practised in any of your majesty's kingdoms. How sar, therefore, it is sit to intrustthem with a power which they have thus a bused, and to which they have no pretensions of right, was the subject of your .majesty's royal commission, when you were pleased to put a restraint upon their enormities, and to take the reins of government into your own hands, which they, in express words, against their duty and allegiance, have challenged and refused to part with.

8th.—Ttcannotwithanytruthbcsupposed, byfhe presentform of government, that the governor is rendor-d abtolute, since he is now, more than ever, become accountable to youi majesty of all his most important deliberations and actions, and is not warranted to do any thing but according to law and your majesty's commission and instructions, given by advice of your privy council.

9th.—And whether your majesty's perogative Is prejudiced by the present constructions, Is more the concernment of your majesty and tire inbject of your ovvja care, than of their considerations.

And lastly, and In genera!, we humbly conceive that it would be a great satissaction to your subjects there inhabiting, and an invitation to strangers, w^ien they shall know what laws they are to be governed by, and a great

*afc

« PreviousContinue »