Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Report by the Commissioners of the Customs concerning Scottish trade with American colonies, including a report by Edward Randolph concerning tobacco trade in American colonies
England. Commissioners of the Customs; Randolph, Edward, ca. 1632-1703
December 07, 1695
Volume 01, Pages 439-442

-------------------- page 439 --------------------
[B. P. R. O. Colonial Entry Book. Vol: 100. Page 350.]

By the commissioners for managing & causing to be levyed & collected his majesties customes subsidies &c:

The Commissioners having formerly acquainted their Lordships upon the Complaint of most of the principall Merchants Trading to Virginia and Maryland That the Trade is in a great Measure Destroyed & Ruined by many Scotch ships trading directly from thence back to the said Places without paying his Majesties Duties. And prayed their Lordships to become a means that a Vessell with a skilefull and experienced Commander might be appointed to cruise on the Coasts of Virginia & Maryland and moreover that some effectuall Remedy might be taken by writing to the Governmt of Scotland or otherwise as to his Majesty should seem meet for preventing this great Evile tending to the Diminution of his Majesties Revenue and the Trade and Navigation of this Kingdome and Mr Randolph who is employed by their Lordships as Surveyor Generall on the North Coast of America having since his arrival in England laid before the Commissioners his observation made in his Travell from one Colony to another with a list of severall ships which by his great skill and industry have been discovered by him to have traded between Scotland and the Plantations directly and some with false Cocquetz and Certificats which he hath likewise discovered and brought over being now under the Commissioners Examination. They do humbly lay before their Lordships a copy of the said Mr Randolph's Paper as a matter of great moment. And the Commissioners being humbly apprehensive of this growing mischief for that the trade between Scotland and the Plantations is now about to be more openly carried on under Colour of a law lately past in Scotland for a joint Stock to Affrica & the Indies wherein severall Merchants of England have interested themselves they humbly pray that the same may be duely considered according to the Exigencie of so Important a case and laid before His Majesty in Councill in order to some effectuall Remedy for suppressing such a Trade from Scotland to the Plantations, tending so apparently to the Ruine of this

-------------------- page 440 --------------------
Principale Branch of the Revenue and the violation of the Acts of Trade & Navigation which are the only security of the Plantation Trade to and from this Kingdome


To the Honble Commissioners of the Customes

May it please your Honours

In my Paper of Proposals to suppress the illegall trade in the Tobacco Plantations which have been carried on from thence directly to Scotland for many years I have shewn from whence it has so generally prevailed and laid down proper methods for preventing thereof for the future a copy whereof is hereunto annexed which will be effectually remedyed if they was formed into an Act of Parliament to be passed this session and Entituled An Act for preventing Frauds and regulating Abuses in the Plantation Trade as is the Act of 14 Car 2nd for England. And that the Commanders of His Magesties ships of Warr during their stay in the Country may be ordered to receive Instructions from this Board in what may concerne the care of the Trade and Navigation to and from those Plantations and to the aiding and assisting of the Officers of His Majesties Customes in the Execution of their Dutys.

I now lay before your Honours an Accompt of the present State of His Majesties Colonies and Provinces upon the North Coast of America, in relation to a Scotch Act which is lately past, in which Act under pretence of erecting an East India Company in that Kingdome They do (pr 2d) engage themselves with great sums of money in an American Trade a trade which has already for severall years been carried on by Scotchmen under pretence of being Persons born within the allegiance of His Majesty as by the Act of. 12. Car: 2d They claim liberty to do, and although in the Act of the 14th of the said King only English Irish and subjects in the Plantations are to be accounted English, as to the navigating of shipps, yet they take on them to come from Scotland under the notion of Supra Cargos and Merchants and seldome faile of Counterfeit Masters.

In the 4th page they have Liberty to Plant Colonies &c in or upon places not inhabited by and p. 5th to make & conclude Treaties of Peace and Commerce with the Governors and Proprietors paying only to His Majesty out of Scotland the yearly acknowledgement of one h. hd of Tobacco. And altho they forbid all other Scotts then those of their Company to touch on any Plantations which they shall acquire on pains of confiscation yet they allow all such Scotts to Trade in Tobacco & Sugar

-------------------- page 441 --------------------
else where that is to say amongst the English) They paying for what they so bring home such Duties as are now established in Scotland.

By all which it may be presumed how they project to let themselves into the Trade of all his Majesties Plantations and tis probable they meditate either the purchasing a settlement in one of the 3 lower Countys of Newcastle Kent or Sussex on the Southern Shore of Delaware Bay as being no part or parcell of the land granted to Mr Pen in his Province of Pensilvania or in some one or more Islands nigh the Continent by which Expedient if acquired they might in a short time make a staple not only of all sorts of European Manufactures but also of the enumerated Plantation Commodities even as it is this day practiced with great abuse at the Small Dutch Island of Carasaw.

Wherefore for prevention of so great a mischeife to England tis humbly proposed

1st That the south part of Carolina and all the Bahama Islands be put under His Majesties immediate authority

2nd That North Carolina be annexed and put under the care and inspection of his Majesties Governor of Virginia thereby to prevent the shipping off the Merchantable Tobacco growing in the Southern part of the Territorys by the Inletts of Corrituck and Roanoak

3. That the 3 lower Counties of New Castle Kent and Sussex aforesaid lying upon the southern shore of Delaware Bay be annexed to his Majesties Government in Maryland which will likewise prevent the shipping of the Merchantable Tobacco growing at the Head of Chesepeek bay near Bohemia and Sassafras Rivers into Appaquimine River in Delaware Bay as also the importing European Goods by that passage to Maryland both which Evills have been but too much practiced.

4. That the Province of West Jersey be annexed to the Government of the Province of Pensilvania and an active Governor there appointed such a one as is qualified to uphold the Act of Trade for as things now hang the charge to mainteyn able Officers on both sides the Bay from Bredlington in West Jersey to Hosekell in Sussex County nigh Cape Len Lopen with men and boats &c: will not be defrayed for 800℔ a year for the Trade of that River being now carried on by Scotch men and Privateers Inhabitants in Pensilvania East and West Jersey which ly between Maryland and New York (in the very center of Trade and business) all is exposed and lys open to Traders from all places and can not be secured but by a great charge or very Regular Government:

5. That the Province of East Jersey be annexed to his Majesties Government in the Province of New York as it hath been formerly and

-------------------- page 442 --------------------
in like manner the Colony of Conecticut for this would wholy prevent the Great Importation of European Goods too frequently made even by countenance of those two Colonys.

6. That the Collonies of Rhode Island now under no regular Government be as formerly joyned to his Majesties Government in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England.

7. That no Projection Planter or other person whatsoever presume to alien or transfer any Island Plantation &c: to any Scotch Agent Factor or other Forreigner whatsoever under the Penalty of High Treason the whole Tract from 32 to 44 being his Majesties Dominion and annexed to the Crown of England.

But foras much as severall of the Plantations hereunder mentioned have Proprietors and Owners by Letters Pattents and some small colonies are established by Charters where the Persons concerned may not apprehend the danger that is threatened by the new law in Scotland and so refuse to conforme to what in that consideration only is hereby humbly proposed as to the annexing Governments yet in point of security to England all the Benefitts of the Plantations Trade to which by law they stand bound I think where any shall refuse in this time of danger to accept his Majesties Government they should be obliged both to accept and mainteyn such officers as may be needful to preserve the Trade to England and the Deputys to his Majesty

All which is humbly submitted by

December 7th 1695.