Page images

•go to ruin, and possibly so far as to be past recovery, hy such a revenue* bill hereafter, and tben what can follow, but that they must be rebuilt at the country's charge; for after this we must never expe6t again to have the quit-rents by any law to be appropriated to the use of the island; besides which, all the pains and charge we have been at these seven months together with our more precious time, in making of such laws as are already passed here, will, in all probability, be quite lost, and the laws rejected at home, when it mail be known to the king that we have resused him the seven years bill; yet never was there a better body of laws framed for the good of Jamaica than these that now are, and others that may be passed; so that we should be extremely unhappy in such a disappointment, which being drawn upon us by our own wilsulness, we shall rather be exposed to contempt and scorn than pitied by our sellow subjects. I .have too much reason to sear we shall never have the same opportunity again, at least I am sure it is no prudence to trust to it, whilst it is in our power to make sure of this we have, especially when it is to be done, as I told you before, at the sole charge of foreigners, without one penny of .leal money of the island.

Con.—That, I must consess, weighs more with me than any thing else you have said, but I shall consider-both os that and the rest, with som£ .ether of our friends; and God Almighty direct us all to do for the bestL

JPrawn by colonel Hender Molesworth, 16*82, upon the passing the re« .venue bill void of clogs, the sirst of sir Thomas Lynch.




At the court at Whitehall, the twenty-third February, 1682, by fh$ king's mojl excellent majejty, and the lords of his majejiys privy council.

WHEREAS, by the powers given unto Charles, earl of Carlisle, late governor-in-chief of the island of Jamaica, and, in his absence, to the commander-in-chief thereof for the time being, dated the third day of November, in the thirty-second year of his majesty's reign, his majesty has been graciously pleased to authorise and empower the governor, council, and assembly, of the s.iid island, to constitute and ordain laws, which arc to be in force until his majesty's pleasure' be signissied to the contrary; and forasmuch as, in pursuance of the said powers, an act has been passed at an assembly in the said island, on llv twenty-eighth of October, 16'81, entitled, ' An ael declaring the laws of England in force* -his majesty is pleased to signify his dissatissaction and disallowance of the &me; and, according to his. majesty's pleasure thereupon expresjed, the &id law is hereby repealed, void, aud of no effect,

John Nicholas.




SINCE all colonies need, and all people desire, certain and knowli laws, and that we have here laboured above twenty years in composing a body of them, and since we may believe this sessions will give the sinishing stroke to so great and needful a thing, it must therefore follow, it will not only be agreeable to us but prositable to them that come after us. It is true former assemblies have met generally out of temper, some of them have been prejudiced, others jealous, the best so anxious, that all have been rendered impracticahle; but you, gentlemen, have taken .better methods, and the lastseffions given such instances of your duty and loyalty to the king, and zeal and aifection to the interest of this flourishing colony, thatthe people cannot enough value nor enough praise you; for, without flattery, it is your prudence and moderation that have established our peace, promoted our interests, and given such sanction to the meeting of assemblies, that 1 daresay, now you have made them^easy, they will for the suture become frequent. From your last sestions, gentlemen, we may begin to date the prosperity of the island, lor it was then you gave his majesty all the testimonies of duty you were capable of, by entirely submitting all your concerns to his sacred will, and by your ready and cheersul taking every ofsensive clause out of the act of his revenue: It was then you framed your most seasonable petition and discreet address, wherein yOu acknowledged that duty, and prosessed that gratitude, which is due to so great a benesactor, so exact a prince, as our king: It was then, likewise, you made such prudent and humble application to our lords at home, that I may say without hyperbole, if I could without presumption, it has rendered them so savourable that they seem concerned for us as advocates, kind to us as guardian angels; the happy consequences thereof are so obvious, I need say nothing, for who does not know how gracious the king is, how obliging the lords have been, how great our credit abroad, how persect our union here, all mankind agrees in it, and see heaven seems pleased as well as the king. For, if the last year it appeared brase, this it melts into ihowers, to rain blesIfihgSonus; 'for who has ever seen Port-Royal so full of stiips, or known. -<he planters have fold their goods so dear. Is we have had losses at sea, have they not been borne with that equanimity and silence that becomes merchants and reasonable men, and our trade is nevertheless encrealed, so that we have more seamen and vessels than any king's colonies in these Indies; and are not you all my witnesses that, within sifteen months, -every man's freehold throughout this great island is almost risen in value from sifty to tvvq hundred per cent, so that we have actually experimented what is commonly said, conc&rdia parve res crelennt, 8Cc. peace and agreement make little and young colonies thrive, whereas discord and quarrels ruin those tliat are great and prosperous; I must therefore again say, and wave my part in it, your conduct has done tins, and, which is more valuable, it has procured us a most particular mark of the king's grace and savour. This, gentlemen, appears best in his majesty's own letter. I dare not presume to -tally it with any comment, tor it is all the king, every syllable is good, every period inssinitely gracious. The gentlemen of the council have entered it in tiieir book; here it is for you to record, not only in your journal, but in your memories, so that ybu may discourse it to your children, they to their posterity, that the gene•rations to come may know it, bless God for it, and recur to it as another kind of magna charta. You have, gentlemen, that clause in the charter of the governor that continues assemblies, declares their laws mult depend on the king's pleasure; \ ou must needs have heard those of Virginia, Bar» •badoes, &~c. do to this day, yet they are ancient colonies, have cost the king nothing, but have and do render considerably both to him and tl\e nation; notwithstanding this, and that wise and just princes manage their prerogative, yet ours has been so singularly gracious to us as to relax his, pass your laws, and here they are in your own words; by which act and -grace his majesty is pleased for seven years to foreclose himself the use of that power which all divine and human rights vest him with; and this, gentlemen, is a consideration so extraordinary, a grace so obliging, that you can better comprehend than I express it j- certain it is, another kind of of prince, in inch kind of juncture, would have made no such concession, nor when prested for money, on report tonly of our losses by pirates, been at the charge to send us another freight. These things are extraordinary, so is all that the king has d me for us, -and by it you see princes fouls, or the persect representative God has on earth; you can no looner shew your submission and dependence, but you shall receive good and have protec4ion. Possibly, gentlemen, fume scrupulous and ill informed people.


•JtvMiout doors (we here know and can judge better), tnay'be shocked at seven years, and sancy the laws should have pasled indesinite; but these do not consider that places, times, and affairs, as well as.-men and the reason of things, do all naturally change; pray mark it, and that there is no difference betwixt making a thing perpetual and putting-it-into the train of being so; we do not think the motions oi' a clock the less persect or regular because it needs winding up, and it* we desire assemblies should somelimes meet, we.ought what may occasion it. Can any-one judge it reasonable we should have so great a concern for.our little trifsting municipal laws, and think the ministers at home should be so supine as to have none at all for the great laws of the state, and what regards the king? Is riot his revenue the reason and balance, is it not rather the soul ;>••(! vitals? Can there be motions, can there be lise, in government without .money? The king then is very just, and his ministers have been exceeding prudent, for . they have only joined with his powers what our good renders absolutely inseparable. If that does not entirely please, yoij should have done, or do yet, as wise nature for the noble parts, the heart sirst, and you may believe the body and members will proportionally have lise, vigour, and duration. I his book, gentlemen, does not contain all your laws, some are returned to be amended, but those amendments are so reasonable, you will no sooner hear them but you will allent to them: one is the king is too humane to be paid for shedding man's blood, so you must sind some other way to restrain the cruelty us mailers, more barbarous than their slaves; another is, his majesty would have his peace observed, and all his subjects have their rights; his attorney he thinks an honest and material ofsicer herein, so must not be discouraged, nor pay other sees than in England. There arc .some other things like these, the detail of them you have in the letter of the lords, which I put into your hands, because it will best insorm and direct you. .And pray take notice if there be any thing in the act already palled that you will judge ought to be altered or amended, you may do it and believe it reasonable it will be readilyaslenu d to by n.e. '1 he negro act the king ki eps in his ow n power, oil her to suppressor continue as seems most reasonable to his majesty; and this I think the be U for us. and that it was a mistake to wave his majesty's order, that provided for the importation as well as dt teimined the price. In trade, all restrictions and impositions that are not very supportable prove prohibitions; it is against reason or the nature of commerce to put a perpi tual standing price oh goods w n ed, and tl at IUle to be imported., for trade ought to have liberty and encouragement


« PreviousContinue »