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Report by the Board of Trade of England concerning the governments of proprietary colonies [Extract]
England. Board of Trade
January 10, 1706
Volume 01, Pages 630-633

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Proprieties. Vol. 29. P. 238.]

To the Queens most Excellent Majesty

May it please your Majesty

In obedience to your Majesty's order in Councill of the 20th of the last month, directing us to Enumerate to your Majesty the Several misfearances, and Illegal proceedings of the Proprietary and charter Governments in America, in Prejudice to the Trade of this Kingdom, and your

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Majesty's Plantations; and the advantages and conveniencies that may arise by reduceing such Proprietary and Charter Governments under your Matys more immediate Direction.

We humbly represent to your Majesty, That those Colonies in Generall have no ways answered the chief design for which such large tracts of Land, & such privileges and Immunities were granted by the Crown

That they have not Conformed them selves to the several 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, subject to your Majesty's immediate Government: On the contrary in most of these Proprietary and Charter (vizt Connecticut and Rhode Island) Governments the Governors have not applyed themselves to your Majesty for your Royal approbation & allowance of the said Governors, 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 Plantations Trade.

That they have assumed to themselves a power of making Laws contrary & repugnant to the Laws of England, and directly prejudicial to Legal Trade.

That divers of them have denyed Appeals to your Majesty in Council by which not only the Inhabitants of those Colonies, but others Your Majestys Subjects, are deprived of that benfit enjoyed in the Plantations, under your Majestys immediate Government; and the parties agrieved are left without Remedy, against the arbitrary and Illegal proceedings of their Courts. That these Colonies are the refuge and retreat of Pirates and Illegal Traders and the receptacle of Goods Imported thither from Foreign parts, Contrary to Law, In return of which Commodities those of the Growth of these Colonies are likewise Contrary to Law Exported to Foreign parts; all which is much encouraged by their not admitting Appeals as aforesaid.

That they give protection to soldiers seamen and servants that Desert from other your Majesty's Plantations & do not deliver them up when reclaimed, and do also give Shelter to Malefactors who make their Escapes from other parts, without delivering them up when demanded, and great numbers of the young men leave the Plantations under your Majesty's Government where they are obliged to be industrious and pay Taxes for the Support of the Publick Charge, and maintaining the war against the French and Indians) and go to the Proprietary and Charter Governments, and are there induced to settle, chiefly for that no taxes are raised there for those necessary purposes.

That these Independent Colonies do turn the Course of Trade to the promoting and encouraging 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 those parts according to the true design and intention of such Settlements.

That they do not in General take due care for their own Defence & Security against an Enemy, either in Building Forts or in providing their Inhabitants with Sufficient arms and ammunition against an attack; which is every day more and more to be apprehended considering how the French power increases in those parts; nor have some of them any regular Militia Established amongst them.

That these mischiefs chiefly arise from the ill use they make of the powers intrusted to them by their Charters, and the Independency which they pretend to, presuming 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 upon this Presumption they do refuse to furnish their Quota of assistance (during the War) to the other Plantations under your Matys immediate Government, notwithstanding your Majestys repeated Commands by your Royal Letters in this behalf

That under Colour and pretence of their Charter several of them try Robberies, Murders and other Crimes; make Laws in Capital matters and punish with Death without any Legal Authority for the same.

That they have refused to submit to your Majesty's and his Royal Highness's Commissions of vice Admiralty, and for commanding their Militia, and have defeated the powers given to the Governors of your Majesty's neighbouring Colonies therein.

And whereas upon our several Representations of the great mischief arising to your Majesty's Plantations by the different value of coins, your Majesty was pleased to issue out your Royal Proclamation for settling and ascertaining the Current Rates of foreign Coins in all your Majesty's Plantations in America. We did accordingly transmit to the Several Colonies your Matys said Proclamation and Commands that the same should be put in strict Execution in all parts; Notwithstanding which we have received Information from several of your Majesty's Governors that many of the Proprietary and Charter Governments have not complyed therewith. But that the People there have proceeded to reduce the coin by clipping to a lower value than before which is allowed to pass at any rate in order to drain your Majesty's other Plantations of their current money; So that your Majestys commands will by such means remain ineffectual untill the Several Colonies in America be so regulated as to be brought under the same Directions and Government.

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We take Leave further to lay before your Majesty some particular Misfearances of several of the said Charter Governments.

* * * * * * *

Refer to the Charter Government of Mass Bay Rhode Island and Connecticut.

* * * * *

As to the advantages and Conveniences that may accrue by reducing such Proprietary and Charter Governments, Wherein we are Directed to offer our opinion to your majesty, We humbly conceive that from the aforesaid Irregular and Illegal Proceedings it will be easily Judged of what great benefit the reuniting to the Crown the Government of all these Colonies will necessarily be to your Majestys other Dominions, by the removal of those inconveniences and by the uniformity and more due Regulation of Trade, by the good Correspondency that may be Established thereby between your Majestys Several Plantations, and by the Common and mutual defence of all, as well as by the prevention of the great and frequent oppositions that are made to Your Majestys laws & government by which means yr Majestys Empire in America which is of so great an Extent will be better secured from the attempts of an Enemy and become in all respects of greater advantage to this Kingdome, and to your Majesty's Revenue arising from those parts

Which is nevertheless most humbly Submitted.
DARTMOUTH
ROB CECILL
PH: MEADOWS
WM BLATHWAYT
JOHN POLLEXFEN
MAT PRIOR

Whitehall
Janry 10th 170⅚

As to the Bahama Islands which by their situation are of very great consequence to the Trade of this Kingdom, and Safety of the Navigation from the West Indies, We have made no mention of them in this Report, for that the Proprietors not haveing been able to defend those Islands, the Spaniards about 3 years agoe with a very smal force haveing destroyed and ravaged the said Islands and Killed or Carried off all your Majesty's Subjects there, nor have the said Proprietors done any thing for resettling the same.