GERMANNA History Notes Page #039

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This is the THIRTY-NINTH page of John BLANKENBAKER's series of Short Notes on GERMANNA History, which were originally posted to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Discussion List.  Each page contains 25 Notes.

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This Page Contains Notes 951 through 975.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 39

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Nr. 951:

This is the start of another half-century of notes and it is customary to comment on the scope of expression in these notes.  Let�s take the word "Germanna" as a start.  It was coined by Alexander Spotswood, the Lt. Governor of Virginia, from 1710 to 1722.  He intended the word Germanna to denote Germans and Queen Anne.  Because the policy of England toward foreigners in Virginia was not clear, he felt apprehensive about the Germans being there.  By calling the place where he settled the Germans "Germanna", he was hoping this little bit of public relations would help to smooth out any rough spots with respect to Queen Anne.  She raised no objections to their being there; in fact, she had earlier approved a land grant for a colony of Swiss in Virginia, who were now being replaced by a group of Germans.

Germanna is a 'place' and, in the course of time, every 'place' will be the scene of many events.  For Germanna, the 'place' became the country seat of the Spotswood family, and the county seat of the new Spotsylvania County.  It was a none too thriving community, especially after the county seat was relocated.  During the Civil War, it was the scene of assorted military actions.  What I like to emphasize out of all of this are the Germans and the physical features that they knew.

Two groups were closely associated with Germanna.  The First Germanna Colony lived there.  The Second Germanna Colony lived up the Rapidan River, starting about two or three miles.  They probably went to church where Rev. H�ger was preaching, but this came to an end when the First Colony moved away.  This is the site of the courthouse where the lawsuits by Spotswood against the members of the Second Colony were held.

But the First Colony was there only four and a half years; the Second Colony was near there for seven years.  After this they spread out to the north and to the west, respectively.  So the Germanna episode really does not cover much of the history of these people, but we use it as a verbal symbol for them.  The word does have in it the idea of their origins.  The significance of the word has been extended just because it does catch the "Germannaness" of a much larger group of people.  The majority of the Germanna people never saw the place called Germanna.  We choose to use the umbrella to cover the much broader group.

Technically, the area where all Germanna people lived is the Piedmont (the foothills), east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, extending down to the Tidewater lands.  Or, if you want to get out a modern map, locate the counties of Madison, Rappahannock, Culpeper, and Fauquier.  Even this area is not an exact definition as Germanna itself is not in any of these counties, but in Orange.  That is the advantage of the Piedmont definition which is larger, but most people have a hard time finding the Piedmont on a modern map.

However, having said all of this, we take note that our Germanna people interacted with others over a wide geographical area.  Therefore we do not place any restrictions on the discussion while emphasizing the one hundred or so German families that did live in the narrowly defined area.
(11 Aug 00)

Nr. 952:

Reviewing the story of the ship and captain who brought the Second Colony, there are three positions that one could take.

First, the ship is unknown and the captain is Scott.  This position cannot be defended in my estimate.  It is at a variance with the internal wording of the documents.  The colonial records do not show any master (captain) named Scott.  There is, instead, a ship named Scott.  This suggests strongly that the clerk was confused and called the wrong thing the "Scott".

Second, if you take the Scott to be the name of the ship, then this suggests that the master was Andrew Tarbett.  From the records, we know two things about him.  His morals were low, and he was given to breaking the law.  In this regard, he fits the actions which the Second Colony ascribed to him, namely, taking them to Virginia, when he said he would take them to Pennsylvania.  And, within the previous year of the trip to Virginia, Tarbett talked to Spotswood.  We know from a study of Spotswood's actions that he was very anxious to get lots of Germans to populate the western lands that he and his partners wanted to take up.  So Tarbett was aware of the opportunity.  So he had the knowledge, the lack of morals, and a ship of the correct name.

The third position is that one can plead ignorance and say that the answers are unknown.  For years, I was in this camp.  When I found the evidence cited in the first two positions above, I switched to believing that the ship was the Scott and the captain was Andrew Tarbett.

This all shows that just because people keep repeating a statement, it does not make the statement true.

As another point, how many times have you heard that the Second Colony came in 1717?  Let's look at the possibility that this might not be true.  Until 1752, in the English-speaking world, the year did not end until March 25.  Today, for the ease of comparison, we would say that the days between January 1 and March 24 were in the new year, not in the old year.  If the Second Colony arrived in the period from January 1 to March 24, they could say that they arrived in the year 1717, using the English calendar then in use.  But today we would say 1718 to make a better comparison to today's dates.

What we apparently know is that the Second Colony left Germany late in the month of July.  It took time to get to Rotterdam, then to London, time to find a ship there, and then there was an indefinite wait while Tarbett was in Debtor's Prison.  Finally, when the voyage did start, it probably took about ten weeks.  Counting all of the bits and pieces, it was probably past December 31 before they landed.  But they and everyone else in Virginia would say they came in 1717 if it was not yet past March 24.  If someone says they came in 1718 on the new style calendar, they are probably correct.
(12 Aug 00)

Nr. 953:

Recently I have mentioned the use of the Colonial Records in the State Library of Virginia.  Survey Reports have been prepared and typed up, and are stored as images in the Library's computers.  One can call these from home, though the process has some frustrations in it.  I thought we would spend some time and look at the Minute Book for the Board of Trade (and Plantations).  The minute book is a summary of actions and relevant documents the Board took, while the survey report, made by Virginia researchers, is their summary.  The latter is to be likened to a card index with a short summary.

Let's just start at 11 Jul 1709, which is about a year before Spotswood was appointed Lt. Governor of Virginia.  The Board was concerned with all of the colonies, but we will be looking at only Virginia.  The Board received a letter, dated 28 June 1709, from the Earl of Sunderland, Secretary of State, referring to the Commissioners (the members of the Board).  The letter contained a petition by George Ritter and Frances Lewis Michel, relating to a proposed settlement of Switzers on the Potomac River in Virginia.  Mr. Michel and Christopher de Graffenried attended the meeting and put forward a new proposal, and asked permission to withdraw the former scheme.  It was arranged that Mr. Stanyan, H. M. [Her Majesty's] Envoy in Switzerland, should attend a later meeting, for discussion of the matter.

[There are several typical elements in this summary.  All people were very much inclined to get a second opinion before committing themselves.  Even the Queen would ask for a report from her advisors before she made her decisions.  Everyone asked other officials for their opinions, just to make sure that they would not be isolated when they made a decision.  Another point is that much time was often consumed before a point was decided, especially when communications overseas was involved.  In the summary above, Ritter and Michel had put forth their original proposal about three years earlier, but no decision had been reached.  This original proposal had been presented through Stanyan who was in Switzerland.  The matters that underlie the summary above are the basis for their being a Germanna.]

13 July 1709:  Mr. Stanyan, H.M.'s Envoy to Switzerland, Mr. Christopher de Graffenried, and Mr. Lewis Michel submitted a new memorial relating to the proposed settlement of a colony of Switzers in Virginia, asking that the colonists should enjoy "the same privileges as the rest of Her Majesty's subjects in those parts".  The Commissioners agreed to consider the matter.

[The original proposal had not involved Graffenried, but he joined Ritter and Michel, and, perhaps at his suggestion, a new proposal, which did not have so many special requests in it, was substituted; however, this was not the end of the memorials (memorial = a petition or letter, a formal statement of position).]

15 July 1709:  Received a third memorial from Mr. de Graffenried and Mr. Louis Michel ...

[Notice how Graffenried is coming to the front.]
(14 Aug 00)

Nr. 954:

I decided there needed to be a better explanation of the Colonial Records and perhaps at the same time I could improve the treatment in the first paragraph of the previous note.  As the 350th anniversary of the founding of Virginia was approaching, the state decided to try and get a copy (microfilm image) of every document in Great Britain that mentioned Virginia, either explicitly or implicitly.  They sent a crew of people over to read all of the documents they could find and to make survey reports.  These survey reports specified which pages were to be copied and gave a summary of what the originals contained.  Back in Virginia, with their several hundred reels of original images, they stored them in a filing cabinet next to the microfilm readers.  They have since made computer images of the survey reports and one can download these reports.  In the process they created several indexes to these survey reports.  One is a personal name index.  One is a ship's name index.  One is a keyword index.  One is a survey number index.  One can either search or browse the survey reports.  When you locate an original document, which may be summarized in two or three lines, then you have to go to one of the approved libraries in Virginia to read the microfilm.  You cannot make a copy of this microfilm because the terms under which Virginia was allowed to film the documents required that no further copies be made.  Though the survey reports do not give much detail on a particular unit or document, one can fill in a lot of the gaps by using one's imagination.  Yesterday, I gave what the survey reports had to say about two documents.

We are looking at the Minute Book of the Board of Trade.  It is a record of what the Board of Trade did, plus some of the documents they received and sent.  The last note closed with the mention of a third memorial from Mr. De Graffenried and Mr. Louis Michel.  The original desire in the first memorial had been to establish a micro-Switzerland in the Shenandoah Valley, i.e., in the forks of the Potomac River.  Among the purposes of this was to have an outlet for the Anabaptists, which the Bern city fathers wanted to expel from Switzerland.  At this point, I am filling in with details which are NOT all in the original documents.  England objected and did not approve the concept of a foreign nation within their nation, so the first memorial had been tabled.  Graffenried and Michel changed tactics and merely asked for land where they could place some Switzers, who would live under the same laws as all other inhabitants of Virginia.  They emphasized that the Switzers would be a buffer between the French and English, and this appealed to the authorities in England.  Decisions were never reached immediately though.  It was better to get more opinions.  So the Commissioners arranged for Micaiah Perry, Mr. Hyde, and one or two other leading Virginia merchants to attend a future meeting together with Col. Blakiston to discuss the matter.

Merchants and traders in England carried a lot of weight with the English government.  Repeatedly, one sees that their opinions actually determined the laws, especially those which pertained to the colonies.  The Board did not have any items for Virginia for the next six days, and then, on 25 July, they approved a draft of a letter to Colonel Jennings, President of the Council of Virginia, and the head of the government there at the time, and ordered it to be fair copied.  This same day, the Commissioners signed a letter to the Earl of Sunderland, relating to the proposed settlement of Swiss on the Potomac River in Virginia.
(15 Aug 00)

Nr. 955:

Skipping ahead to 16 Nov 1711 in the Board of Trade Minute Book, there is a letter from the Lt. Gov. of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood.  He asks about the policy of selling the tobacco which is received as quit rent payments.  [I believe it was Spotswood who made tobacco (actually the warehouse receipts for tobacco) legal tender.  People were paying their "taxes" with tobacco, and the colony was becoming a major owner of tobacco.]  The question was, how were they to sell it.  Spotswood also requested a fresh supply of gunpowder, as the quality of the gunpowder for the use of the colony was poor.  There was also a question about land grants.  [Spotswood was not hesitant to ask for guidance on policy questions.  Also, he did a good job of keeping the Board informed.]  On the question of selling tobacco, the Commissioners wrote to the Lord High Treasurer.  On the gunpowder question, an opinion was asked of the Earl of Dartmouth, who asked the Board of Ordnance.  The Board of Ordnance's answer to the Earl was forwarded to the Board of Trade, who sent a copy to Spotswood.

On 29 Nov., a letter, dated 15 Oct., was received from Spotswood reporting an armed uprising by the Tuscuraro Indians in North Carolina, and the massacre of many settlers.  The now Baron de Graffenried was captured, along with a NC official, Lawson.  Lawson was killed by the Indians, but Graffenried talked his way to freedom.  In Spotswood�s duties as Lt. Gov., a major part of his time and travels were taken up by Indian questions.  He was at Indian conference in New York when he was replaced as Governor of Virginia in 1722.

There were two vacancies on the Council of Virginia and Spotswood had recommended two people, whose names he forwarded to the Board.  Other people, such as the Earl of Orkney, also made recommendations on filling vacancies.  Generally, the Board selected a name to fill a vacancy and sent it to Her Majesty in Council, who said yea or nay.

On 4 Dec 1711, the Commissioners prepared an answer to the Earl of Dartmouth, regarding the poor condition of gunpowder in Virginia, along with a request for a fresh supply.  Two days later they signed the letter to the Earl.  [Their copy machine sometimes was not the speediest.]

On 8 Jan 1712 (NS), the Commissioners read an Order in Council [the Queen�s advisors], dated 19 Dec 1711, referring to them, for consideration and report, a petition submitted by Mr. Garvin Corbin, Naval Officer of the Rappahannock River, protesting his suspension by Col. Spotswood, Lt. Gov. of Virginia, on suspicion of having made an erasure in H.M.�s Letter of License for the ship Robinson.  The Commissioners arranged for Mr. Corbin and Mr. Blakiston (agent for Virginia) to attend a later meeting at which the matter would be considered.

[This was another typical action � complain to London about something or some person in Virginia.  The Board considered all manner of requests of this type, some of them without any signature.]

On 11 Jan, the Commissioners heard Mr. Corbin, Col. Blakiston, the Earl of Orkney, and the mate of the Robinson frigate, and considered Mr. Corbin�s petition.
(16 Aug 00)

Nr. 956:

In governing Virginia, even simple questions could lead to involved answers.  Lt. Gov. Spotswood lived in a rented house.  The question went to the Board of Trade about the payment for this.  They sent it on to the Lord High Treasurer.  They also had to answer Mr. Harley's letter on this subject.  The Earl of Orkney wrote a memorial on the subject.  The minutes do not define the question exactly, but I am guessing it is a matter of who pays for the house, Spotswood or the Colony?

In the spring of 1712, there was concern about the military preparations in Virginia.  The Indian troubles were much on their mind.  Requests from Virginia indicated a need for muskets, powder, and tents.  This was not a simple question, and it occupied the Board's attention on several occasions.

Virginia and Maryland were told that Mr. Roos, Her Majesty's Seal Cutter, was making seals for use in the colonies, and they were to use them.

All colonies in America were warned that, if people were sent to England for alleged crimes, they must be accompanied by full proof of guilt.  [You figure that one out.]

To show the detail that the Board could get involved in, Mr. M. Perry and Mr. R. Perry prayed for the confirmation of a Private Act of the Virginia Assembly, which was passed on 7 November 1711 [it was now 26 Aug 1712], which would allow John Custis to dispose of some land left entailed upon his wife Frances by the late Daniel Parks, so that debts and legacies could be paid.  The Board ordered the Memorial and the Act to be sent to the Attorney General for his legal opinion.  A month later, the Attorney General sent his opinion that there was no legal objection to the Private Act for the benefit of the estate of Daniel Parks.  The Commissioners proposed that her Majesty confirm the Private Act.

On 11 Dec 1712, Indian trade was discussed.  This was a question that involved North Carolina (who was interfering with Virginian traders), and of the structure of Indian trading in Virginia.  Indian trading was set up as a monopoly in Virginia [and Spotswood was an investor in the "approved" Indian trading company].  The Queen's desire was that there be no interference in Indian trading.  [The Board was reading a letter dated 8 Feb 1712 (NS) from Spotswood; note the delay.] Graffenried was proposing to move his Palatines to Virginia, as a way to solve his difficulties in North Carolina.

27 Jan 1713 (NS).  Mr. M. Perry, a merchant in England, reported the anxiety in Virginia at the possibility of an Indian War.  The citizens were having a hard time procuring weapons.  The Commissioners wrote to the Earl of Dartmouth.

[A surprising thing to most people is how much England was involved in the governing of Virginia.  Appointed officials were heavily involved, including the Queen, and everyday citizens also intervened.  Notice that the Perrys pushed for a confirmation of the Private Act, where the estate of Daniel Parks was probably a debtor to them.  Any law passed in Virginia was often in limbo for a few years until it was approved in England.]
(17 Aug 00)

Nr. 957:

4 Feb 1713 (NS), in the Minute Book of the Board of Trade (and Plantations).  The commissioners decided to examine all relevant documents concerning the ownership of the lands in the fork of the Potomac River.  This question had been raised by Spotswood in his letter, dated 8 May 1712.  [The question had arisen because Graffenried had come up from North Carolina with the intention of finding a place in Virginia for his people now in North Carolina.  He was also motivated to find the alleged silver mines in the fork of the Potomac River.  Several of the proprietors said that he would be on their land.  The question was, "Whose land was it � The Queen�s, the Northern Neck Proprietor, the Maryland Proprietor, or the Pennsylvania Proprietor?"  No one was too sure.  Spotswood was very willingly helping Graffenried, because, whether Graffenried pursued silver, colonization, or both, Spotswood could profit.]

On the next day, the Commissioners followed up on this question and instructed Col. Nicholson to procure a copy of Lord Culpeper�s 1688 patent for land in that area.  [These actions show that in England and in America there was much confusion about the geography of America.  The French were even thought to be just over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Or, when standing on the Blue Ridge, it was reported that one could see Lake Erie.]

[One of the questions, on which there was a difference of opinion, pertained to who had jurisdiction over the coastal waters of Virginia.  If a Virginia ship captured a pirate, who had the authority to try the pirates?  Was it Virginia or was it the Admiralty?]

26 Feb 1713 (NS).  The Commissioners noted that Spotswood�s letter of 26 July 1712 told of the discovery of a silver mine in Virginia.  [This was an indirect outcome of the visit by Graffenried.]  On the next day, the Commissioners wrote to the Earl of Dartmouth, with a copy of Spotswood�s letter, relating to silver mines "at the back of Virginia."

[Several of the actions of the Commissioners were related to the chaotic state of the government in North Carolina, and the troublesome relations with its northern and southern neighbors.  Other actions were more routine, such as requests for income and expenses for the past year.]

28 Apr 1713.  Mr. M. Perry (a merchant in England) and Col. Blakiston informed the Commissioners of the death of Col. Harrison, a member of the Council of (and in) Virginia.  They recommended that Mr. Cocke, Secretary of Virginia, be appointed to fill the vacancy.  The Commissioners agreed to add Cocke�s name to the list of candidates.  [Notice that the merchants seemed to be better informed than the Commissioners, and that Perry joined in recommending a replacement.  We see repeatedly that the merchants were a powerful factor in the government of the colonies.]
(18 Aug 00)

Nr. 958:

20 Jul 1713.  The Commissioners asked the Earl of Orkney, Governor of Virginia, whether he had any recommendations to fill the vacancies on the Council of Virginia.  The Earl sent several names, and the Commissioners decided on Mr.William Cocke and Mr. Edmond Berkley.  [These would have to be approved by the Queen in Council.]

5 Jan 1714 (NS).  The Commissioners received a recommendation from Col. Blakiston, Mr. Jennings [I believe he was temporarily in England], Mr. Ludwell, and Col. Spotswood [in the form of a letter], recommending Mr. Nathaniel Harrison for appointment as a Member of the Council in the vacancy created by the death of his father.

[The executive head of the Virginia government was the Governor.  He was advised by a select group of about twelve people, who constituted the Council.  They were also the upper part of the legislature and had to approve all legislation, but could not originate any.  The lower legislature, the House of Burgesses, was elected, and originated all legislation.  Members of the Council, which were prestigious posts, were appointed by the Queen, after the Board of Trade recommended a name.  They received suggestions from all quarters.]

[The Commissioners had to consider many matters.  They were involved in the quality of tobacco being shipped, and in the decline of the tobacco trade.  They had to consider the request of Spotswood to exchange the land allotted to him for another piece of ground.]

25 Jan 1714 (NS).  Indirectly, through Mr. Lowndes, Secretary to the Lord High Treasurer, Mr. Byrd, the Receiver-General of Virginia, asked if he could come to England.  The Commissioners had no objection to the matter proposed by Mr. Byrd.

11 Mar 1714.  Mr. Lowndes, on behalf of the Lord High Treasurer, asked for a report upon the memorial from the Earl of Orkney, relating to the recent discovery in Virginia of an ore "that had the semblance of silver in it".  The matter had been referred to the Lord High Treasurer by an Order in Council [the Queen and her advisors], dated 30 Nov 1713.  The Commissioners arranged for the early attendance of Col. Blakiston, agent for Virginia.

The next day, Col Blakiston and Mr. M. Perry attended and discussed the Earl of Orkney's memorial.  Col. Blakiston recommended that the person who is willing to develop such deposits should be given a patent giving them the sole benefit for 21 years.  The Commissioners requested the Col. to put his views into writing.  This same day, Col. Blakiston and Mr. M. Perry recommended Mr. Harrison for appointment to the Council of Virginia to fill the vacancy.

[Silver mines become a hot issue.  The mines were being represented to the Queen as silver mines.  While some people have said that the word "silver" was a coverup for "iron", it is much more likely that "silver" was what was really intended.  One is inclined to speak the truth to the Queen, if one wishes not to lose their job or their head.]
(19 Aug 00)

Nr. 959:

Recently, several events in London have been related; let's tie these together with other events in London, on the seas, and in Virginia.  The Earl of Orkney had sent a memorial to the Queen in Council pertaining to the ore in Virginia which had the semblance of silver in it.  The Council had sent a letter dated 30 November 1713 to the Lord High Treasurer asking for his opinion.  At this very time, there were forty odd Germans in London who expected to be going on to Virginia to mine silver for Graffenried; however, when the Germans and Graffenried came together in London, it was discovered that Graffenried was broke and could not possibly help the Germans.

Col Blakiston had been working with Spotswood, who had written as early as February of 1712 (NS) that Graffenried thought there was silver in Virginia.  Not long thereafter, it was thought that a silver mine had been discovered.  But, Spotswood, on checking the law on such matters, found that the Queen owned these entirely.  As Spotswood pointed out, this was hardly encouragement for anyone to explore for and develop such mines.  Without any development, the Queen herself would not profit.  So, it was suggested that some arrangement, or profit-sharing scheme, would work to the mutual benefit of everyone.  While this was being pursued, the Germans arrived in London.  Why they should have come at this time is not known.

Graffenried, in an attempt to help the Germans, contacted Col. Blakiston, who was aware of the effort being put forth by Orkney.  He was optimistic enough to believe that some decision was going to be reached, though things moved slowly in London.  What Blakiston saw was an opportunity for Spotswood to get the labor that he would need when the question was settled.  Certainly, the word from Virginia was very optimistic about there being silver.  Prudence on the part of Blakiston would have prevented him from committing Spotswood, but Blakiston thought that several events could be overlapped and time could be saved.

On 12 Mar 1714 (NS), Blakiston testified before the Board of Trade that he thought anyone finding and developing silver should be given the sole benefit for 21 years.  Just at this very time, the Germans were at sea and Spotswood was just hearing that he had become the master of the Germans.  Though Blakiston, M. Perry, and Lord Orkney had all testified urging a resolution of this problem, and there is no known adverse opinion, a resolution was never achieved.  Perhaps, it was due to the health of the Queen, for in the summer she died.  Her successor, George I, had his own problems, as he was new to the country and to the language.

Though Spotswood urged a continuation of the efforts to get a resolution, none was ever made.  The Germans in Virginia were in Fort Germanna protecting the frontier, but they were not permitted to develop the silver mine, which was about four miles from Germanna.  Spotswood complained, after two years, that they had done nothing for him and his partners to repay the costs of settling them.  That is not true, as the Germans provided the seating for his land patent which included Fort Germanna.  The value of the land was more than the 150 pounds sterling that he had paid on their transportation.
(21 Aug 00)

Nr. 960:

2 Jun 1714.  Returning to the Minute Book of the Board of Trade, the Commissioners received an Order of the House of Lords asking for the Commissioners' opinion of the state of the tobacco trade.  They have a proposed bill for the encouragement of the tobacco trade, and they want an opinion on it also.  [The tobacco trade had its advocates and opponents.  The advocates took note that selling tobacco to other nations brought in foreign currencies.  The opponents just did not like tobacco.]  The same day, Mr. R. Perry and Capt. Hyde gave statements on the tobacco trade.  The next day, Mr. Perry and other merchants, trading in [or with] Virginia, spoke their opposition to the proposed bill.  They objected to the high duties and the requirements for security.  The next day after that the Commissioners drafted a reply to the House of Lords, and on the day after that, they signed it.  Lord Guildford, one of the Commissioners, was asked to deliver the comments to the House.

3 August 1714.  The Commissioners gave orders to all Plantations, instructing them to proclaim King George in their respective governments.  Three days later, acting on instructions in an Order in Council, the Commissioners prepared a formal statement proclaiming His Majesty (as King).  Later in the week, copies were sent by two vessels that had been standing by to deliver the proclamation to the American colonies.  [It appears that activity became very quiet for several months.  It was just at this time that Spotswood was writing about Fort Germanna and the Germans.]

17 Feb 1714/15.  The Inspector General of H.M.'s customs, presented an account showing the amount of mast timber, pitch, and tar imported into Britain since 1706 from the Baltic countries and from the Plantations.

11 Mar 1714/15.  A memorial was received from Col. Jennings, Secretary of Virginia, asking that he should be continued as a Member of the Council of Virginia.  The Commissioners requested him to attend a future meeting, bringing with him his license for being absent from Virginia.  This same day, the Commissioners agreed upon the order of seniority in which the names of the Members of the Council of Virginia should be placed.  [Seniority was a hotly debated topic among the Council members, who were very jealous of their position.  If the Lt. Gov. should die, the senior member of the Council became the Lt. Gov. until a new Lt. Gov. was appointed.]  The Commissioners decided that Mr. Berkeley's name should be added to the list of Council Members.  After talking to Col. Jennings, they decided his license to leave Virginia had not expired and he was to be listed as the senior member of the Council.  The Commissioners prepared instructions for the Secretary of State that no member of the Council in any Plantation should be granted a leave of absence from his colony without the Commissioners being first consulted.

[It seems to me that it would have been hard to stay awake at the meetings of the Council.  But it appears that most days they had little work to do.]
(22 Aug 00)

Nr. 961:

At the Board of Trade and Plantations, on 27 May 1715, the Commissioners considered the question of the production of naval stores in the Plantations.  [For several years following this time, naval stores are a major concern for England and the Commissioners.  Spotswood, noting this, used the idea as an excuse for his large land holdings.]  The Commissioners decided that new seals should be provided now that the throne was occupied by George.

The Commissioners invited Mr. Bridger (late surveyor of the Woods on the North American Continent) to testify about naval stores.

24 June 1715.  The Commissioners read an Order in Council of 25 Sep 1712 (note the lapse of time), regarding a Private Act passed by the Virginia Assembly for the benefit of Col. Parkes.

1 Jul 1715.  The Commissioners read a letter from the Commissioners of the Treasury, which enclosed a memorial from the Commissioners of Customs protesting an Act of the Virginia Assembly, passed 23 Oct 1705 (ten years earlier), prohibiting any person from holding office in Virginia unless he had resided for three years or more in Virginia.  [Notice how many people could get involved in the internal workings of the Virginia government.]

8 Jul 1715.  To try and resolve a dispute between Virginia and North Carolina, the Commissioners invited the Lords Proprietors of North Carolina to discuss the matter.

14 Jul 1715.  Mr. Byrd of Virginia, Mr. Bannister, and Mr. Shirrif were asked to attend the Commissioner's meeting on 15 Jul.  The next day, the Commissioners heard Byrd's and Banister's views on Indian hostility to Carolina, and their comparative harmlessness to Virginia.  They said the Carolina traders were dishonest and also purchased Indians for resale as slaves in New England.  The next day several Carolina traders offered their opinions on what was wrong in Carolina.

[As a side note, the First Germanna Colony has been on the job for a year now.  The Indian question, though seemingly favorable in Virginia, could boil over and therefore put Virginia into danger.]

In the days following, more testimony was taken about the miserable conditions in Carolina.  [This had been a contributing factor to the downfall of Graffenried's efforts to establish a colony there.]

The Carolina discussions went through the month of July, and Byrd, with Mr. Crawley, who had lately arrived from Virginia, saying the reasons for unrest among the Indians were dishonest trading, ill treatment of the Indians and their womenfolk, and forced labor.  Shortly thereafter, Mr. Beresford, lately from Carolina, said the colonists there were seriously considering abandoning the whole colony.
(23 Aug 00)

Nr. 962:

On 11 Aug 1715, the Board of Trade heard Col. Blakiston, Mr. Byrd, and Mr. M. Perry present an Order of Council [the King and Council], dated 25 Jul 1715, referring to the Commissioners an Address from the Virginia Council and Burgesses, reporting that revenues from tobacco exports had fallen since England had imposed a duty on the tobacco.  As a result, the expenses of the Virginia government could not be met and they requested permission to fill the gap with Quit Rent revenues.  The next day Byrd (the Receiver General of Virginia) handed in accounts of the revenue arising in Virginia from the tobacco export duty of two shillings per hogshead, from 1705 to 1714, and the Commissioner ordered these reports to be compared with the similar accounts already in their office.  Two weeks later, Byrd explained the differences between the two accounts.

The question of Carolina, Virginia, and the Indians consumed more time of the Commissioners.

17 Nov 1715.  The Commissioners read an Order in Council repealing the Act of Virginia limiting office holding to three year residents of Virginia.  This had been passed in Virginia several years prior.

12 Jan 1715/16.  The Commissioners ordered the Inspector General of Customs to produce statements showing the quantities of mast timber, pitch, and tar imported into Britain from the Plantations, from Christmas 1706 to Christmas 1714.  [Naval stores is an important topic.]  On the next day, the Commissioners ordered seven merchants to attend a future meeting to discuss the question of the production of naval stores in the Plantations.  Five days later, several merchants appeared and discussed the merits of mast timber, pitch, and tar produced in various of the Plantations.  They stated that tar made in Virginia and Carolina was superior for ropes to that made in New England.  The Commissioner asked for recommendations on improving the quality and increasing the output of naval stores.  The next week, merchants trading with New England gave their opinions on steps to improve and to increase naval stores production.  They suggested that the duty be lowered to offset the freight costs, which were higher for imports from the Plantations than from the Baltic nations.  The same day, Mr. Bridger, the Surveyor of H.M.'s Woods in the continent of America, gave his views on the measures to improve the quality of naval stores produced in the Plantations.

Algerine rovers (pirates?) were harassing English shipping to Virginia.  English ships were to be issued passes for identity purposes.  [The Algerines were probably imitating English ships.]  Col. Blakiston thought that forty passes would be needed for ships trading with Virginia.

(Note from SgtGeorge, Webmaster:  "Algerine rovers" refers to ships from Algeria, with which America was "at war" in the early 1800's.  Ships in the Mediterranean was constantly harassed by pirates from the Barbary States of Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripoli.  I'm not sure how pirates in the Mediterranean could have been harassing English shipping to Virginia, since the English ships never came anywhere close to the area in which the pirates usually operated.  In any case, you can read about this "war" at these web sites:  Lycos Zone and Bartleby Great Books Online

There is a problem here with the dates.  John has quoted from the Minute Book of the Board of Trade, and the problem with the "Algerine rovers" seems to have been of great concern in 1715; however, according to the above references, the active period of the "Algerine" pirates was at its height in 1815, one hundred years later. ?????)

1 May 1716.  The Commissioners received two anonymous letters from Virginia, one dated 7 Feb and the other undated.  Both letters complained about the activities of Col. Spotswood.  One of them was based on resolutions of the Virginia Assembly.  The Commissioners took these letters seriously, even though they were not signed, and sent copies to Col. Spotswood for his comments.  Copies were also sent to Col. Blakiston.

[Some of the complaints were based on the land acquisitions of Spotswood.  Little did the letter writers know that Spotswood was already planning much larger land acquisitions.  Right then he was planning a western trip over the Blue Ridge Mountains to look at the land to the west of Germanna.  This resulted in his acquiring, with some smaller partners, a tract that, in fact, included 65,000 acres.]
(24 Aug 00)

Nr. 963:

Just to show how far into the past that someone might go in questioning a law that the Virginia Assembly had passed, William Byrd of Virginia, who was now in England on 1 May 1716, presented a memorial to the Board of Trade, relating to an Act passed in 1663.  The Commissioners agreed to consider the matter.  The next day, the Commissioners asked Byrd for more information.

7 May 1716.  The Commissioners considered the seating and planting of land in Virginia, with special reference to the Act passed in that colony in December 1713, entitled "An Act declaring what shall be accounted a sufficient seating, planting, cultivating and improving of lands already granted or hereafter to be taken up and patented".  Again the Commissioners decided to ask Byrd to appear and testify on the subject.

[Notice the constant interference in the internal affairs of Virginia.  Also note the need for, and the desire to get, information.  People in England were basically in the dark about the Plantations.]

10 May 1716.  The Commissioners received a petition submitted by several merchants and planters of Virginia and Maryland, complaining of an Act of the Virginia Assembly related to the Indian trade.  The Commissioners decided to ask M. Perry to attend a later meeting to discuss this.

11 May 1716.  The Commissioners considered an act passed by the Virginia Assembly in 1712, relating to the lapsing of land from Infants due to failure to seat, plant or pay Quit Rent.

15 May 1716.  Byrd explained the objections to the Act of the Virginia Assembly entitled "An Act for preventing frauds in Tobacco payments and for the better improving of the Staple of Tobacco".  He said no improvement had resulted.

17 May 1716.  Mr. Offley, who had been invited, gave the Commissioners his views and his friend's views on the merits of the Act relating to Indian trade, whereby all such trade was in the hands of 17 or 18 traders selected by the Governor.  [The Governor was also an investor in the Indian trading company, which had a monopoly.]  A week later, Mr. Robert Carey (agent for the Virginia Indian Company) submitted opposite views.

12 June 1716.  The Commissioners gave orders for Mr. Martyn, Inspector General of H.M.'s Customs, for two accounts, one for Virginia and one for Carolina, asking for the imports of peltry in the period Christmas 1698 to Christmas 1715.  The Customs office first asked what peltry was but within ten days they were able to supply the report which had been requested.  Several more rounds of discussion ensued on the Indian Trading Company question.  The Commissioners decided the act was to remain probationary while they sought the opinion of Col. Spotswood.
(25 Aug 00)

Nr. 964:

The meeting of the Board of Trade came to order on 8 Aug 1716, and in the new business was Mr. Dodd asking, on behalf of Mr. Blathwayt, Auditor General of the Plantations on the Continent of America, for a copy of the complaint made by Col. Spotswood against Col. Ludwell, Deputy in Virginia for Blathwayt.  Mr. Bumpfield applied in person for another copy of the same complaint, and Mr. Byrd (late Receiver General of Virginia) asked for a copy of the Lt. Gov.'s complaint against him (i.e., Byrd).  The Board agreed to do so when they got a copy of the original complaints.

[One might observe that things were not going very well for Spotswood.  He had made a few enemies by this time.  This is one of the blackest marks on his stewardship, since he was destroying his own effectiveness.]

10 Sep 1716.  Spotswood warned that pirates were becoming very active and were establishing a permanent base of operations in the Bahama Islands.  On 27 Sep 1716, Byrd handed to the Commissioners his written reply to the charges made by Spotswood against him.  Shortly thereafter, he informed the Board that they might wish to examine some people about to return to Virginia on the questions that Spotswood had raised.  On 2 Nov, Byrd and three gentlemen from Virginia attended a Board and were examined on six points that Byrd had suggested.

On 5 Dec 1716, the Secretary of State asked the Board what the best course of action was to dislodge the pirates from the Bahamas.  The same day, agents for South Carolina presented documents representing the miserable condition of the colony.

On 31 Jan 1716/17, the Secretary of State directed the Commissioners to submit, for His Majesty's information, a statement showing the quantity of naval stores imported into Britain from the American Plantations, and to suggest how the volume could be increased.  Four days later the Customs Office supplied data on rosin, turpentine, cordage, pitch, tar, and mast timber.  In March, Mr. M. Perry, Capt. Hyde, Mr. Bradley, and Mr. Joshua Gee discussed with the Board how the production of naval stores might be increased [mostly these were merchants or traders].

[Naval stores became an important part of Spotswood's personal economic plans, which included a large tract of land and a ship load of Germans to work at the activity and to provide the seating for the land.  For a month, almost every meeting of the Board was concerning with some aspect of naval stores.  In doing this, much testimony was taken from merchants and traders who dealt in these products.]

13 Mar 1716/17.  Byrd testified on the production of hemp and iron in Virginia.  Hemp could be grown on land unsuitable for tobacco.  He also testified there was excellent iron ore in Pennsylvania and Virginia.  He was invited to submit proposals for encouraging the production of naval stores in Virginia.
(26 Aug 00)

Nr. 965:

William Byrd attended a meeting of the Board of Trade and Plantations on 13 Mar 1717 (NS) and gave testimony to the effect that there was excellent iron ore in Pennsylvania and in Virginia.  He was in a position to know Virginia, as there was a sizeable deposit of iron ore on his property along the James River, just below present day Richmond.  This deposit had been known for a hundred years,and, ninety-five years previous to his testimony, an iron smelting furnace had been built there at the considerable cost of about 5,000 pounds sterling.

When Alexander Spotswood wrote to England a few months after he started on the job in Virginia, he said he would submit a proposal for the development of iron mines, which were newly discovered.  Later writings indicate that this "newly discovered" iron ore was Byrd's ore, and knowledge of the existence of it was more than a hundred years old!  Spotswood simply erred when he said it was newly discovered.  The original comment of Spotswood has been interpreted, by some, as evidence that he had found iron ore, which was another error.  He was referring to Byrd's property and the iron ore on it.

In his testimony at the Board, Byrd made no mention of iron furnaces, in either Pennsylvania or Virginia.  There were none to mention.  There was an iron furnace at Saurus, Massachusetts, but it was not technically advanced, nor was it a financial success.  If Spotswood had an established furnace in Virginia at this time, Byrd would have mentioned it, as one of his objectives in being in England was to testify against Spotswood.  He would have used every opportunity that he could to put Spotswood behind the eight ball.

In 1717, Spotswood was thinking of establishing his economic future on land devoted to naval stores.  There was concern in England about the necessity of purchasing naval stores from the Baltic countries, and it was hoped, from the King down, that production of naval stores in the North American colonies could be increased.  Spotswood was planning to procure large tracts of land in the western regions to be used for naval stores.  He hoped to mask the size of the planned land purchase by the use to which the land would be put, namely the production of naval stores.

Already, he had made an exploratory trip into the area, where he might obtain this land, when he crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains.  His purpose on this trip was hidden behind the facade that he was studying the possibilities of establishing western defenses at the passes over the Blue Ridge.  Of course he was interested in this in order to know just how safe his proposed lands would be, but the real purpose of the trip was to find the land.  He was very successful in this, as he staked out about 65,000 acres in present day Orange and Culpeper Counties.

With the land identified, Spotswood was in need of a large group of people to seat the lands.  Since they would be providing their mutual defense and the road building for the area, he needed a large group that he could settle simultaneously.  He did not have the answer to this question just yet.
(28 Aug 00)

Nr. 966:

A reader asks for a fuller explanation concerning William Byrd.  Without deviating from the longer purpose of reviewing the Board of Trade minutes, a short note on Byrd might be appropriate to aid in understanding the minutes.  The William Byrd that I have been writing about was the son of another William Byrd, the founder of the family in Virginia.  William I, with the assistance of an inheritance from his father-in-law, amassed a considerable fortune and was not adverse to spending part of it on the education of his children in England.  As a consequence, William II knew England very well, as he lived and worked there many years.  Upon the death of his father, in 1705, William II returned to Virginia and the family estate at Westover, at the age of 31, and took Lucy Parke for a wife.  When her father died, William II assumed his lands in exchange for payment of his debts.  Unfortunately for William II, the debts were much larger than he had imagined, and he spent much of his life trying to recover from the debtor position.  However, he maintained the life style which his father had initiated, and for which William II had received many years of training in England.  William II served the colony of Virginia in many capacities.

About 1713, he came into conflict with Lt. Gov. Spotswood over the manner of collecting the quit rents (Byrd was the Receiver General).  Also, in the Council he led the opposition to Spotswood on the question of who, the Governor or the Council, had the power to appoint people to the courts.  In 1715, Byrd was in England, partly on personal business and partly to oppose Spotswood.  (Spotswood attempted, unsuccessfully, to get Byrd removed from the Council.)  When Byrd went home to Virginia in 1720, he was sent with instructions to made peace.  England was becoming tired of the bickering that was going on.  Spotswood and Byrd did reconcile their differences and they became friends once again.  We know Byrd best as the author of "Progress to the Mines", which tells of his visit to Spotswood and his family in 1732.  Even though Byrd lived on the frontier at the future site of Richmond, his life could not be characterized as living on the frontier.  His library contained thousands of volumes.

When Byrd testified before the Board of Trade on 13 March 1717 (NS), concerning iron ore, he would have mentioned that Spotswood had an iron furnace if Spotswood had a furnace.  All that he mentioned was iron ore.  Perhaps he did not even tell the Commissioners that the ore he had in mind was on his (Byrd's) property.  He was hoping that the colony or the King would develop this and in the process give him a management job which would be another way of earning money to pay his debts.  The Commissioners ignored his comments about iron.

Five days later, Byrd testified about the production of hemp and naval stores in Virginia.  Two days later, the Commissioners decided to issue a report on obtaining naval stores from the American Plantations.  They worked on the report more the next day.  Again the next day, they worked on a report and the encouragement required to stimulate the production of naval stores in the American Plantations.  Over the next week, they continued their work on the encouragement to be given to the production of naval stores.  On 28 March, they forwarded the report on naval stores to Mr. Methuen, the Secretary of State.
(29 Aug 00)

Nr. 967:

At the Board of Trade on 6 May 1717, the Commissioners read a memorial submitted by several Virginia merchants (unnamed), relating to an Act of the Assembly of Virginia, for preventing frauds in tobacco payments, and to an Act for regulating the Indian trade.  [This is related here to show the influence that the merchants and traders exerted on the legislation in Virginia.]  On 10 May, Mr. Perry, Jr., Mr. Hyde, and Mr. Byrd attended the Board and discussed much the same questions as the earlier traders.  They explained their objections to these Acts and the Commissioners decided to send the Acts to the Attorney General to obtain his legal opinion on them.

On 5 June, the Board appointed Byrd to officiate for William Hodskin, one of the clerks in the Commissioner's office, who was going on a diplomatic mission to Spain.  [William Byrd held many jobs and was qualified for them.  He was always looking for an income source to help him meet his expenses and debts.  And he was considered the richest man in Virginia at the time.]

All through June, the time of the Commissioners was taken up in considering these Acts just mentioned.

21 Jun 1717.  Mr. Kennedy from Virginia stated that he assisted Carolina during the Indian troubles and asked for compensation for his services.  The Board advised him to appeal to His Majesty.  [Notice that many things were decided after the fact.]

The Board was considering repealing the Acts above, and wondered what the consequences would be.  Spotswood wrote and complained about the lack of a response by South Carolina to the aid given by Virginia.

10 July 1717.  Several unnamed merchants trading to Virginia complained that Daniel McCartney, Collector of the South Potomac District, was himself engaged in trade, contrary to the law and the prejudice of other merchants.  The Board of Trade Commissioners decided to send the complaint to the Customs Commissioners.

The next day, the Lords of the Treasury asked for an opinion about the memorial of Mr. Kennedy (see 21 Jun above).

A perennial question by the Crown was for information about the revenues raised in the Plantations.  In Virginia, about fourteen hundred pounds sterling was collected each year in quit rents.  This could be paid in money or tobacco.  This led to a question as to just how much land had been taken up in Virginia, so the Commissioners decided to ask Spotswood for a report on this.  They then decided to make it a standing order that all Governors of the Plantations were to report how much land had been taken up.

8 Aug 1717.  The Commissioners read a letter from Spotswood (of 30 May), stating that the quit rent revenues were insufficient for the expenses of the government in Virginia.  Also on this date, the Commissioners read an Order in Council [i.e., the King and his advisers], which repealed three Acts of the Virginia Assembly relating to the Staple of Tobacco and to the Regulation of the Indian Trade.  The Governors in all of the Plantations were warned against passing legislation which would interfere or effect the Trade or Shipping of Great Britain.
(30 Aug 00)

Nr. 968:

First, I give some of my commentary on what we have seen at the Board of Trade.  When Lt. Gov. Spotswood arrived in Virginia in 1710, he was approached by William Byrd to develop Byrd's iron deposits.  These were proven deposits, and, about 90 years earlier, a furnace had been built on the future Byrd property.  This was overturned by the Indians, who killed all of the workers.  Thereafter, iron was a dead topic for another century.  When Spotswood came to Virginia, Byrd tried to get him behind the development of these deposits by the colony of Virginia.  This was the "newly discovered" iron that Spotswood mentioned.  Both of these men knew that an iron furnace in Virginia would probably upset the merchants, manufacturers, and traders in England.  As we have been seeing in the Board Minutes, these were powerful people who could overturn the laws of Virginia.  When Spotswood wrote to the Board about his proposals for iron (this was in 1710), he was warned by the Board that it should contain a suspension clause.  That is, any investors in the Iron Works, even the colony of Virginia, should be aware that the whole thing might be overturned and declared illegal.

Spotswood turned his attention to Indian trading, and had an Act passed for a monopolistic company for that purpose (he just happened to be an investor).  We saw in the last note that this was overturned in England.  But Spotswood was not stupid; he saw the importance that was placed on naval stores by the King, Council, and the Board of Trade.  (The King even sent a message to Parliament encouraging them to enact legislation for encouraging the production of naval stores in the American Plantations.)  So Spotswood changed tactics and made land the kingpin of his personal economic future.  He used naval stores as the cover for the large amount of land that he wanted to procure.  And, he would say that this was only what the King wanted done.

In 1717, the Board told all the Governors in H.M.'s Plantations not to pass any legislation that would "affect the trade or shipping of Great Britain".  This was a very powerful statement.  It was best to go with something that seem to have strong approval in England, like naval stores.  Spotswood started down this path when he led the group to the western regions in 1716 to have a look at the possibilities for land there.

8 August 1717.  The Board of Trade had to deal with the Commissioner of H. M. Customs who was complaining about the poor quality of tobacco from Virginia.  On 8 August 1717, Col. Spotswood sent the Board a letter complaining about Col. Ludwell, Deputy Auditor, who had replied to the Board about Spotswood's charges against him without sending a copy of his reply to Spotswood.  On August 23, Mr. Blathwayt, the Auditor General of H.M.'s Plantations on the Continent of America, sent a copy of his authority to appoint Col Ludwell to be his Deputy in Virginia.

Carolina and Virginia could not agree on several things.  One thing they did not agree on was where the boundary line between them was located.  On 29 August, the Board sent proposals to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina to settle this dispute.
(31 Aug 00)

Nr. 969:

[Nothing in the Board of Trade Minutes gives any clue to the following, but Spotswood later wrote that he set his Germans to work about this time, looking for iron ore.  In spite of the negative attitude in England toward iron in the colonies, some well placed people in England wanted him to look for iron ore.  It was a very low key search but, in the end, was successful.  Why did he proceed if English opinion could be, and was, negative?  He felt that he had the support of powerful people in England (as partners) who could divert any objections; however he went about the search and development very slowly, and spent a minimum of money.  This in no way changed his outlook toward land on the frontier as the kingpin of his economic future.  That was a proven way, and iron was very problematic on several points.  Naval stores were much more promising, as the King was behind the idea of providing them from the Plantations.]

On 25 Oct 1717, Mr. Cock, Secretary of Virginia, sent information about two Laws of Virginia concerning Quakers and Foreign Debts.  The Commissioners prepared an initial draft to His Majesty, recommending the repeal of these laws.

On 12 Nov 1717, Col. Blakiston and M. Perry attended the Commissioners in connection with Spotswood's dispute with the Council on who controlled appointments to the court.  For several days, the Commissioners listened to Byrd and Cock re the dispute.  The discussion took several meetings, and they deferred a decision.  They finally decided to consult the Attorney General.  At one point, Byrd presented information on how the Council stood related to one another.  [I believe the question was how the Council members were related by blood or marriage.  They were a close group.]

This same month, information was received about the interception of a Virginia ship by a Spanish warship.  The Virginia ship was on the way to the Bahamas under orders from Spotswood.

21 Nov 1717.  All Governors of H.M.'s Plantations were ordered to submit statements showing the quantity of Madeira wine imported into their respective colonies each year for the past three years.  In the future, they should submit similar accounts every six months.  The following week, the Commissioners reexamined the history of naval stores in the Plantations.

Major policy questions arose when Mr. Beresford sent a memorial saying the French were establishing forts from the St. Lawrence River to the Mississippi.  The Commissioners asked the Governors of Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia what should be done to counteract this threat.

The Commissioner did send the Act "prohibiting the unlawful Assembling of Quakers" to the Attorney General for his opinion.  A month later, in January, they had not reached a decision on what to recommend concerning this Act.
(01 September 00)

Nr. 970:

24 Jan 1717/18.  The Commissioners of the Board of Trade invited Mr. Joshua Gee to reconsider his views on naval stores and then submit a proposal in writing.

29 Jan 1717/18.  The Commissioners read a letter from the Secretary of State enclosing a copy of the address, to His Majesty from the House of Commons, relating to the importation of naval stores from the American Plantations.  The Commissioners arranged for their report on naval stores to be laid before the House of Commons.

In the next month, many of the topics previously mentioned here (courts, Acts of Virginia, and pirates) were discussed.

13 Feb 1717/18.  The Commissioners wrote to the Commissioner of the Navy, asking what premiums had been paid for naval stores from the Plantations for the five years ending at Christmas 1717, and what quantities of pitch and tar from the American Plantations had been bought for the use of the Royal Navy during the same period.  The information was forth coming very quickly and the Commissioners asked that this information be sent every year.

5 Mar 1717/18.  The Commissioners signed a letter to the Governors of all H. M.'s Plantations on the Continent of America, regarding the prevention of fraud by claiming premiums on poor quality tar and pitch exported to Britain.

27 Jun 1718.  The Commissioners considered three Acts of Assembly passed in Virginia in 1714.  The first Act established the parish of St. George and relieved German Protestants of payment of levies for seven years.  They had no objection to this Act.  [Of course, this Act is familiar to students of Germanna history.  The main point of interest is that it was being reviewed four years after the enactment.]

16 Jul 1718.  With the assistance of Mr. West, a Counsel at law to His Majesty, the Commissioners considered five Acts of Assembly passed in Virginia in November of 1714.  One was approved, no objections were raised to two, one had had its effect, and one was "tabled."

Later in the month, six Acts of the Virginia Assembly were considered and the results were again divided as to approved, tabled, out of date, consider more, etc.

19 Aug 1718.  The Earl of Orkney, Governor of Virginia, appeared in person to ask the Commissioners to enquire into the circumstances of the bitter dispute between Col. Spotswood and the Council of Virginia, and either to remove the former or to reconstitute the second.  His Lordship spoke favorably of Col. Spotswood, but repeated his opinion that either he or the Council should be changed.  The Commissioners agreed to examine the question at their first opportunity.
(02 Sep 00)

Nr. 971:

[In August 1718, things were black for Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood at the Board of Trade.  Even his boss, the Earl of Orkney, was considering replacing him.  Things were not entirely set in place for Spotswood, as far as his personal plans were concerned.  His land acquisition plan had gone into high gear though, with the arrival of the shipload of Germans earlier in the year, who were now settled on the lands in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock (i.e., on the north side of the Rapidan River).  He did not file a patent on this land until a few years later, but it was clear, from the location of the Germans (i.e., the Second Colony), what his plan was.  The First Colony of Germans was searching for iron ore, though by this time it would probably be better to say they were developing the iron mines.  They had already probably given notice that they were going to leave at the end of the year, so the 40,000 acre Spotsylvania tract, with its naval stores project, was exceedingly important to him.  Though he had made enemies in Virginia, it was better to make friends so he could emphasize his plans, not the King's endeavors.]

On 7 Oct 1718, the Commissioners of the Board of Trade, passed on to the Secretary of State Spotswood's proposals relating to the settlements to be made at Lake Erie, and in the passes of the great mountains on the back of Virginia.  [This was a smart move by Spotswood, as it was generally in line with the policy of the King (countering the French), and it justified Spotswood's future land acquisitions in the western regions.]  Still, in October, the Commissioners sent a letter to the Secretary of State with information about the progress the French were making in establishing a line of communication from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi.

[Most of the Plantations had agents in London.  The Board ordered all agents to show their credentials.  Col. Nathaniel Blakiston showed his letter, dated 16Aug 1705, from the Council of Virginia, by which he was appointed agent for Virginia.]

10 Dec 1718.  Mr. Byrd of Virginia appeared on behalf of certain members of the Council in Virginia.  It was believed that they (the Council members) were about to be removed.

31 Dec 1718.  Mr. Joshua Gee presented a memorial relating to the existing trade with the Baltic countries in iron and timber, and to the POSSIBILITY [emphasis added] of obtaining these materials from the American Plantations instead.  [The date here is a coincidence, since this is the date that the First Germanna Colony ended their work for Col Spotswood in developing the iron mines.  As of this date, there were no iron furnaces in Virginia, though it was known that there was iron.  A century earlier, the iron had been proven to be good, but the policy of England had not come around to importing iron from the "Plantations".  The merchants in England regarded the "colonials" as consumers, not manufacturers, and opposed all attempts to manufacture goods in America.  For example, raw wool was to be shipped back to England, where it would be manufactured into clothing.  The colonials were then to buy clothing from England.  It was beginning to dawn on some people in England that buying iron and naval stores in the Baltic countries might not be the best policy.]
(05 Sep 00)

Nr. 972:

2 Jan 1718/19.  The Commissioners at the Board of Trade received a copy of a letter to the Governors of the Plantations concerning the war with Spain.  Also, on this date the Commissioners sent Commissions for trying pirates in the Plantations.  [Special people were appointed for this purpose.]

On this same date, Mr. Gee and Mr. Astell, the latter a merchant interested in the trade of naval stores, outlined to the Commissioners their views on the possibilities of obtaining timber, iron, pitch, tar, potash, and hemp from the American Plantations, instead of from the Baltic countries.

5 Jan 1718/19.  Sir Charles Wager, one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and Mr. Ackworth, Surveyor of the Navy, attended the Commissioners and discussed the encouragement to be given to raise the production of iron, mast timber, hemp, pitch, tar, turpentine, and potash in the Plantations.  The Commissioners decided to consider the matter further.

8 Jan 1718/19.  Sir Dudley and Mr. Pultney, Commissioners of H.M.'s Customs, discussed further the proposals for reducing the Custom's duty on naval stores from the Plantations.

13 Jan 1718/19.  The Commissioners and representatives of the Admiralty considered further the question of naval stores.

20 Jan 1718/19.  With representatives of the Exchequer, Customs, Treasury, and Admiralty, the Commissioners continued their examination of proposals for encouraging the increased importation of naval stores from the Plantations into Britain.  It was decided to recommend that the import duties on Plantation timber be entirely removed, those on hemp be reduced, and those on pitch and tar be left unchanged, with stricter safeguards against fraud.  Two days later they approved a clause, added in the House of Commons to an Act of Parliament, to introduce stricter examination of pitch and tar.  [There was no mention of iron as this was not being imported at the time.]

22 Jan 1718/19.  All of the people just recently mentioned discussed the encouragement to be given to the importation of iron and hemp from the Plantations into Britain, and the measures required to deter the colonies from establishing their own iron manufactory for the production of consumer goods for their own use.

[People were considering giving some encouragement to iron production, IF procedures were set into place to prevent the "colonials" from manufacturing iron goods for the consumer own market there.  Britain was willing to import iron to satisfy their national needs (replacing the iron purchased from the Baltic countries), but only if the Plantations did not produce consumer goods.  There was an awareness that iron could be produced in the Plantations, but the tone of the comments was that none was being produced yet.  This point is also proven in other ways.  So, when the First Colony left Germanna at the beginning of 1719 (NS), which is the time under discussion, there was an awareness that Virginia could produce iron, but none had been produced yet.  The first iron furnace remained to be built in Virginia.]
(06 Sep 00)

Nr. 973:

These recent notes have looked at the Minute Book of the Board of Trade for the information they give of how the English viewed the "Plantations", as they called the Colonies.  We have seen several things.  The English were not adverse to interfering in the affairs of Virginia.  They reviewed their laws and appointments and made changes as seemed necessary.  The whole purpose of the colonies was the enrichment of Great Britain.

We just looked at the question of iron and naval stores.  Naval stores were not a consumer product.  Mostly they were for the use of the British Navy.  England had long lost its sufficiency in naval stores.  For several years prior to 1719, naval stores had been purchased in the colonies and in the Baltic countries.  In 1719, England was considering how to encourage a larger production of naval stores in the Plantations, so as to reduce the dependence on the Baltic countries.  In the field of iron, the fear was that the colonists would produce consumer products and upset the established trade patterns.  Iron had been discouraged and definitely not encouraged.  When Alexander Spotswood, Lt. Gov. of Virginia had proposed that the colony itself produce iron, he was warned against doing this because it violated the trade practices.

Alexander Spotswood was hitching his wagon to the acquisition of land.  The land was to be used for the production of naval stores which were in demand in England.  Also, western expansion via his proposed land purchases would tend to counteract the French threat which was a concern in England.  Therefore, he was following the trends which were evident in England as the main thrust of his personal plans.  Late in 1717, or early in 1718, he was approached by well-placed people in England to find some iron ore sources.  Though iron production in the Plantations was treated with suspicion in England and might be overturned simply on the complaint of merchants there, he was willing to explore iron as a possibility.  But it was not the main thrust of his efforts.  His plans had not yet been brought to fruition in Virginia, and, before his enemies gained the upper hand and had him evicted from office, he had to make peace with them so as to stay in power in Virginia.  Already in 1718, he had people placed on land which he intended to acquire but for which he did not yet have a patent.

On 20 Feb 1718/19, the Board of Trade proposed the name of Mr. Digges as an appointment to the Council of Virginia, to replace William Byrd who had been in England for three and one-half years.  Four days later, a letter from Spotswood discussed Lake Erie (and the French), which served to keep the menace of the French alive as a topic of concern.

Naval stores continued to occupy the attention of the Board, Parliament, the Admiralty, and the Customs people.  The Board had to consider again the dispute between Spotswood and the Council.  The Earl of Orkney was involved and restated that the dispute had to be settled, by surgery if necessary.  In the midst of this, a letter from Spotswood had an account of the "remarkable proceedings" in the Assembly of Virginia.  Mr. Digges was nominated to replace Mr. Edmond Berkley of the Council of Virginia, who had just died.

In 1719, the Board decided to submit the 1713 Act of the Virginia Assembly, pertaining to the requirements for seating, planting, cultivating, and improving land to Mr. West, one of H.M.'s Counsel at Law, for a legal opinion on the Act.
(07 Sep 00)

Nr. 974:

On 5 Jun 1719, the Commissioners of the Board of Trade in London noted that no private Act of Assembly passed in any of H.M.'s Plantations in America should become effective until it had been confirmed by His Majesty.  [Private Acts were for the benefit of a private individual, not for the citizens as a whole.]

23 Jun 1719.  Col. Spotswood sent a letter in reply to the charges made against him by the House of Burgesses.

2 Jul 1719.  Mr. Keith, Deputy Gov. of Pennsylvania, related in detail the progress made by the French in establishing a line of communication between the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi.

30 Jul 1719.  The Commissioners set out to determine the boundaries between the French and the British Plantations on the North American continent.  The colonies were asked to send the best maps they had available.  There were also some questions pertaining to how far south the English claims went on the continent.

[Over the next few months, the French question took up much of the time of the Board.]

August 1719.  The Governors of the Plantations were instructed how to claim a bounty on pitch and tar.

19 Aug 1719.  The alleged friendliness of the Indians to Maryland, and the hostility toward the Virginians by the Indians, was discussed with eight invited gentlemen.

22 Jan 1719/20.  The question was raised as to whether a Spanish ship could discharge or sell Spanish American goods at a British Plantation port.  Mr. West, one of H.M.'s Counsels at Law, said that it was illegal under the trade laws.  [This is why the English ships bringing Germans from Rotterdam to America always had to call at a British port before going on to an American port.]

[Note: The Board of Trade, at some point, became the Board of Trade and Plantations.]

[Over the course of several years, considerable discussions had taken place on who had the authority to try pirates who were caught.  The discussion extended to the disposal of the effects of the pirates.  The Admiralty generally felt that the Courts in the American Plantations were encroaching on the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts.]

11 May 1720.  A bill in the House of Commons to encourage the production and importation into Britain of naval stores was discussed.

[By this date, Mr. Byrd and Mr. Ludwell were back in Virginia, and Col. Spotswood was reporting on the conduct of Byrd.]

15 Jun 1720.  Both Col. Spotswood and the Council of Virginia sent letters saying that their differences had been settled and reconciliation had been effected.  [We will see shortly what one of the benefits of this was to the Spotswood and the Council.]
(08 Sep 00)

Nr. 975:

The Minute Book of the Board of Trade and Plantations recorded a fact that had not been expected.  Lt. Gov. Spotswood and the Virginia Council buried their hatchet and agreed to work together.  Part of the incentive was the message that William Byrd took to Virginia on his return after almost four years in London.  He had observed the growing opposition to both Spotswood and the Virginia Council in London, where they were tired of the bickering in Virginia.  The Earl of Orkney had suggested that perhaps one or the other should be removed from the job.

Probably Spotswood realized that his job was in jeopardy and could not be counted on much longer as a source of income.  He tentatively had staked a claim to a very large tract of land to the west of Germanna.  In fact, he had seventy-odd Germans already living on it.  Paying for it would be something of a challenge, but his hope lay in the power of being the (Lt.) Governor.  Therefore, it was in his best interests to work with other people in Virginia.

The Minute Book records an interesting item on 16 August 1720.  Mr. Joseph Boon, Agent for Carolina, and Col. Barwell, who had left Carolina in the late winter, explained the state of affairs in Carolina to the Commissioners.  They said that the colony had been divided into North and South Carolina and advised that North Carolina might be more profitably united with Virginia than with South Carolina.  The two gentlemen explained that the Indian traders from Carolina and Virginia were not cooperating, even in the face of the threat from the French.

Indian and French questions were a major source of concern to the Commissioners.  The strength of the French and their cooperation with the Indians at the "back of Virginia" were discussed.  Col. Spotswood had undertaken measures to cultivate Indian friendship.

On 2 Dec 1720, word was received from Virginia that Dr. Cock, Secretary of Virginia, had died.  He had also been a member of the Council.  The recommendation was to split the posts between Mr. John Robinson and Col. Jennings with Robinson to the Council.

22 Dec 1720.  Mr. M. Perry and other merchants trading to Virginia complained that the British warships had failed to protect merchant ships off the coast of Virginia from raids by Spanish pirates.  Also, the navy had accepted freight as cargo.  The Commissioners advised the merchants to complain to the Lords of the Admiralty.  (Arguments continued between civil authorities and the Admiralty on other matters.)

On 22 Mar 1721 (NS), a letter from Col. Spotswood enclosed copies of three Acts passed by the Virginia Assembly in the previous November.  [These Acts were to have a profound influence on the Germanna people.]
(12 Sep 00)


(To see John & Eleanor Blankenbaker's May, 2000, and May, 2002, Germany and Austria photos, click here.)

(To see maps of villages in Germany and Austria from which our Germanna ancestors immigrated, click here.)

(This page contains the THIRTY-NINTH set of Notes, Nr. 951 through Nr. 975.)

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(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)

(GERMANNA History Web Pages, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)

This material has been compiled and placed on this web site by George W. Durman, with the permission of John BLANKENBAKER.  It is intended for personal use by genealogists and researchers, and is not to be disseminated further.

Index Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES and Genealogy Comments
INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES
Pg.001-Notes 0001-0025
Pg.002-Notes 0026-0050
Pg.003-Notes 0051-0075
Pg.004-Notes 0076-0100
Pg.005-Notes 0101-0125
Pg.006-Notes 0126-0150
Pg.007-Notes 0151-0175
Pg.008-Notes 0176-0200
Pg.009-Notes 0201-0225
Pg.010-Notes 0226-0250
Pg.011-Notes 0251-0275
Pg.012-Notes 0276-0300
Pg.013-Notes 0301-0325
Pg.014-Notes 0326-0350
Pg.015-Notes 0351-0375
Pg.016-Notes 0376-0400
Pg.017-Notes 0401-0425
Pg.018-Notes 0426-0450
Pg.019-Notes 0451-0475
Pg.020-Notes 0476-0500
Pg.021-Notes 0501-0525
Pg.022-Notes 0526-0550
Pg.023-Notes 0551-0575
Pg.024-Notes 0575-0600
Pg.025-Notes 0601-0625
Pg.026-Notes 0626-0650
Pg.027-Notes 0651-0675
Pg.028-Notes 0676-0700
Pg.029-Notes 0701-0725
Pg.030-Notes 0726-0750
Pg.031-Notes 0751-0775
Pg.032-Notes 0776-0800
Pg.033-Notes 0801-0825
Pg.034-Notes 0826-0850
Pg.035-Notes 0851-0875
Pg.036-Notes 0876-0900
Pg.037-Notes 0901-0925
Pg.038-Notes 0926-0950
Pg.039-Notes 0951-0975
Pg.040-Notes 0976-1000
Pg.041-Notes 1001-1025
Pg.042-Notes 1026-1050
Pg.043-Notes 1051-1075
Pg.044-Notes 1076-1100
Pg.045-Notes 1101-1125
Pg.046-Notes 1126-1150
Pg.047-Notes 1151-1175
Pg.048-Notes 1176-1200
Pg.049-Notes 1201-1225
Pg.050-Notes 1226-1250
Pg.051-Notes 1251-1275
Pg.052-Notes 1276-1300
Pg.053-Notes 1301-1325
Pg.054-Notes 1326-1350
Pg.055-Notes 1351-1375
Pg.056-Notes 1376-1400
Pg.057-Notes 1401-1425
Pg.058-Notes 1426-1450
Pg.059-Notes 1451-1475
Pg.060-Notes 1476-1500
Pg.061-Notes 1501-1525
Pg.062-Notes 1526-1550
Pg.063-Notes 1551-1575
Pg.064-Notes 1576-1600
Pg.065-Notes 1601-1625
Pg.066-Notes 1626-1650
Pg.067-Notes 1651-1675
Pg.068-Notes 1676-1700
Pg.069-Notes 1701-1725
Pg.070-Notes 1726-1750
Pg.071-Notes 1751-1775
Pg.072-Notes 1776-1800
Pg.073-Notes 1801-1825
Pg.074-Notes 1826-1850
Pg.075-Notes 1851-1875
Pg.076-Notes 1876-1900
Pg.077-Notes 1901-1925
Pg.078-Notes 1926-1950
Pg.079-Notes 1951-1975
Pg.080-Notes 1976-2000
Pg.081-Notes 2001-2025
Pg.082-Notes 2026-2050
Pg.083-Notes 2051-2075
Pg.084-Notes 2076-2100
Pg.085-Notes 2101-2125
Pg.086-Notes 2126-2150
Pg.087-Notes 2150-2175
Pg.088-Notes 2176-2200
Pg.089-Notes 2201-2225
Pg.090-Notes 2226-2250
Pg.091-Notes 2251-2275
Pg.092-Notes 2276-2300
Pg.093-Notes 2301-2325
Pg.094-Notes 2326-2350
Pg.095-Notes 2351-2375
Pg.096-Notes 2376-2400
Pg.097-Notes 2401-2425
Pg.098-Notes 2426-2450
Pg.099-Notes 2451-2475
Pg.100-Notes 2476-2500
Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

(As of 12 April 2007, John published the last of his "Germanna Notes"; however, he is going to periodically post to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List in the form of "Genealogy Comments" on various subjects, not necessarily dealing with Germanna.  I'm starting the numbering system anew, starting with Comment Nr. 0001.)

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025