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Proposal by the Board of Trade of England concerning the revocation of proprietary charters
England. Board of Trade
March 26, 1701
Volume 01, Pages 535-537

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Proprieties. No. 27. P. 12.]

To the Kings most Excllt Majestie.

May it please &c

Having formerly on severall occasions humbly represented to your Majesty the state of the Government under Proprietors and Charters in America; and perceiving the irregularities of these Governments dayly to increase, to the prejudice of Trade, and of your Majesties other Plantations

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in America, as well as of your Majesties Revenue arising from the Customes here, we find ourselves obliged at present humbly to represent to your Majesty;

That those Colonies in general have no ways answered the chief design for which such large Tracts of Land and such Priviledges and Immunities were granted by the Crown.

That they have not conformed themselves to the severall acts of Parliament for regulating Trade and Navigation, to which they ought to pay the same obedience, and submit to the same Restrictions as the other Plantations, which are subject to your Majesties immediate Government, on the contrary in most of these Proprieties and Charter Governments, the Governours have not applyed themselves to your Majesty for your approbation, nor have taken the Oaths required by the acts of Trade, both which Qualifications are made necessary by the late Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade.

That they have assumed to themselves a power to make Laws contrary and repugnant to the Laws of England, and directly prejudicial to Trade, some of them having refused to send hither such Laws as they had enacted, and others having sent them but very imperfectly.

That diverse of them have denyed appeals to your Majesty in Councill, by which not only the Inhabitants of those Colonies but others your Majesties subjects are deprived of that benefit, enjoyed in the Plantations, under your Majesties immediate Government, and the Parties agrieved are left without remedy from the arbitrary and Illegal proceedings of their Courts.

That these Colonies continue to be the refuge and retreat of Pirates & Illegal Traders, and the receptacle of Goods imported thither from forreign parts contrary to Law: In return of which Commodities those of the growth of these Colonies are likewise contrary to Law exported to Forreign parts; All which is likewise much incouraged by their not admitting appeals as aforesaide.

That by raising and lowering their coin from time to time, to their particular advantage, and to the prejudice of other Colonies, By exempting their Inhabitants from Duties and Customes to which the other Colonies are subject, and by Harbouring of Servants and fugitives, these Governments tend greatly to the undermining the Trade and Welfare of the other Plantations, and seduce and draw away the People thereof; By which Diminution of Hands the rest of the Colonies more beneficial to England do very much suffr

That these Independent Colonies do turn the Course of Trade to the Promoting and proprogating woolen and other Manufactures proper to

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England, instead of applying their thoughts and Endeavours to the production of such commodities as are fit to be encouraged in these parts according to the true design and intention of such settlements.

That they do not in general take any due care for their own defence and security against an Enemy, either in Building Forts or providing their Inhabitants with sufficient Armes and Amunition, in case they should be attacked, which is every day more and more to be apprehended, considering how the French powr encreases in those parts.

That this cheifly arises from the ill use they make of the powers entrusted to them by their Charters, and the Independency which they pretend to, and that each Government is obliged only to defend its self without any consideration had of their Neighbours, or of the general preservation of the whole.

That many of them have not a regular militia and some (particularly the Colonies of East and West New Jersey) are no otherwise at present than in a state of Anarchy and confusion.

And because the care of these and other great mischiefs in your Majesties Plantations and Colonies aforesaid, and the introducing such an administration of Government and fit regulation of Trade as may put them into a better State of Security and make them duly subservient and usefull to England, does every day become more and more necessary, and that your Majesties frequent Commands to them have not met with due complyance: We humbly conceive it may be expedient that the Charters of the severall Proprietors and others intitling them to absolute Government be reassumed to the Crown and these Colonies put into the same State and dependency as those of your Majesties other Plantations, without prejudice to any man's particular property and freehold. Which being no otherwise so well to be effected as by the Legislative power of this Kingdome.

Wee humbly submit the same to your Majesties Royall consideration


Whitehall.
March 26th 1701.
STAMFORD
LEXINGTON
PH: MEADOWS.
Wm BLATHWAYT
JOHN POLLEXFEN
ABR: HILL
MATH: PRIOR.