To the KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
May it please your Majesty.
In obedience to your Majesty's commands, we have prepared the following state of your Majesty's Plantations on the Continent of America; wherein we have distinguished their respective situations, Governments, strengths and Trade, and have observed of what importance their Commerce is to Great Britain,
Your Majesty's Plantations on the Continent of America, beginning from the North, are Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina.NEW HAMPSHIRE
Lumber, Fish, Masts for the Royal Navy, and Turpentine are the chief produce of this Province; they build some ships, but not so many since the last war as before; they have some mines, which produce very good Iron, tho' but little of it hath been hitherto forged; there are likewise great quantities of Stone, in which 'tis believed there may be silver. The annual produce of these commodities is very uncertain, tbe price falling and rising according to the demand there is for them, seldom exceeding £50,000 per Annum of New England money.
This Province would produce hemp and flax if proper encouragement were given for it, and the people had good seed for the first sowing.
They export their Lumber, and some part of their fish to the neigbbouring Governments of the West Indies, and to the Western Islands, from whence they get their Wines. They likewise have sent some Lumber, tar and Turpentine of late to this Kingdom, in exchange for linnen and woolen manufactures; but they have some supplies of this kind from Ireland also, either directly or by way of other plantations. Their best and most merchantable fish is exported to Portugal and Italy and the produce of it generally remitted to this Kingdom except what is returned in Salt for the fishery.
Their fishing is much increased since the Peace with France, but the Lumber trade decreased, by reason of the low price it bears in the West Indies, and the little encouragement there is to send it to this Kingdom, because of the duties on that commodity here.
Their Iron works which were erected many years past, furnish them with small quantities of iron for common_ use, but the iron imported from this Kingdom, being esteemed much better, is generally used in their shipping.
The natural produce of this Country consists in provisions, which are sent to the British Islands in the West Indies; in Horses sent to Surinam, Curacoa, and St. Thomas, and in Whale-oil, and peltry to this Kingdom; besides some Naval stores, which this Country is capable of producing in very great quantities, if proper measures were taken for this purpose.
This province could likewise furnish iron in great quantities. It has some Copper and lead, but at a great distance from the British, and amongst the Indian Settlements. There are Coal Mines in Long Island., which has not yet been wrought.The several Commodities, exported. from this Kingdom to New York, have at a medium of three years, commonly amounted to about £507000 a year. The imports from thence have not, upon the same medium, risen higher than £16,000 a year; so that the balance in favour of this Kingdom, as far as can be judged of it by the Custom house accounts, has been upwards of £25,000 a year.
The Vessels belonging to this province are small, and not considerable in number; being employed only in carrying provisions to the Southern Islands, and in the coasting trade to the Neighbouring colonies on the Continent.
The number of the inhabitants in this province increases daily; chiefly from New England, and from the North of Ireland. . . .NEW JERSEY
This province produces all sorts of grain or corn, the inhabitants likewise breed all sorts of Cattle, in great quantities, with which they supply the Merchants of New York and Philadelphia, to carry on their trade, to all the American Islands; but were they a distinct Government, (having very good barbours) merchants would be encouraged to settle amongst them, and they might become a considerable trading people; whereas, at present, they have few or no ships, but coasting vessels, and they are supplied from New York ,and Philadelphia with English Manufactures having none of their own.
The Inhabitants daily increase in great numbers from New England and Ireland; . . .PENNSYLVANIA
The natural produce of this Country is wheat, beef,. pork, and lumber. Their Trade consequently consists chiefly in the exportation of these to the several parts of the west Indies, and Madieras from whence; in return, they take rum, sugar, Cotton, Spanish money, and wine. They likewise build many Brigantines tines and Sloops for sale; but having few or. no manufacture of their own, they are supplied therewith from Great Britain, to the yearly value of about 20 , 000f. And as 'this province does greatly aboound in iron, so we
have good grounds to believe, that, if proper encouragement was given in Great Britain, to take off that, and their timber, the people would thereby be diverted from the thoughts of' setting up any manufactures of their own, and consequently the consumption of those of Great Britain considerably advanced. For it must be observed, that this Plantation is in a very flourishing condition; greatly increased in its inhabitants; and altho' the informations we have received touching their numbers, differ extremely, some computing them at about 60,000 whites and 5,000 blacks, and others not above half that number; yet they all agree in their opinion, concerning the flourishing state of this Colony, and that the produce of their commodities may well be reckoned at 100,000L per Annum.
In the year 1710. was computed 34,796, whites, and 7,935 negroes, in all 42,741.
And in the year 1719. was computed 55,000 white inhabitants, and 25,000 blacks, in all 80,000.
From whence it appears, that the Inhabitants of this province have increased to above double the number in 15 years, and altho' some part of this increase may have been occasioned by the transportation of the rebels from Preston, by the purchase of slaves, as well as by the arrival of several convict persons, and of many poor families, who have transported themselves from Ireland; yet it must be allowed, that Maryland is one of the most flourishing provinces upon the Continent of America.Tobacco is the staple commodity of this province of which about 30 or 35,000 hogsheads are yearly exported to Great Britain. The inhabitants export some tobacco to the other plantations, as also grain, beef, pork, and lumber, for which they have in return rum and sugar.
They likewise send some corn to the Madeiras for wine, but the most part of the wine they have from thence is purchased by bills of Exchange.
Whilst tobacco answers, in its price, the planter's labour, all manufactures., and all other trade., that might arise from the product of the Country are laid aside.
No mines are yet discovered here, except iron, which are very common, but not wrought, for want of a sufficient stock, and persons of skill to engage in such an undertaking.
The number of ships belonging to this province, are only four small Brigantines, and not more than 20 Sloops for the Sea; theinhabitants not being inclined to navigation, but depending upon British bottoms for the exportation and importation of the bulk of their trade; and there has been employed, of late years above 100 sail of ships from Great Britain.
The principal product of Virginia is tobacco; and in general it's of a better quality than that of Maryland. Before the conclusion of the last peace with France, the Virginia planters exported to this Kingdom a at least 30,000 hogsheads per Annum; but about that time, the trade declining, for want of foreign consumption, an Act was passed in the 12th of Her late Majesty 's reign for encouraging the tobacco trade, and your Majesty bath been since graciously pleased to give your Royal Assent to an Act for continuing the same.
The other branches of the trade between this kingdom and Virginia consist in pitch and tar, pipe and hogshead staves, skins and furrs, and a few drugs. They also export to the other Plantations some small quantities of tobacco,, provisions, and lumber; but their dependence is almost wholly on the produce of tobacco,
There are great tracts of good land in this Province, and it is a very healthy country; but the situation renders it forever incapable of being a place of considerable trade, by reason of a great Sound near sixty miles over, that lies between the Coast and the Sea, barred by a vast Chain of Sand-banks, so very shallow and shifting, that sloops, drawing only five foot water, run great risk in crossing them.
We are not thoroughly informed of the number of inhabitants; but according to the best accounts we could get, the number of persons in their tythables, or poll-tax, were not long since above 1600, of which about one third were blacks.
The trade of tbis Province, with respect to their own shipping is not hitherto very considerable; the inhabitants not having above 20 sail of their own,' amounting to about 1500 ton; and as they chiefly apply themselves to the plantation work, they have not many sea faring men, but their trade is carried on by the Merchants of Great Britain, who reap a considerable advantage thereby.
The commodities the people of Carolina take from Great Britain, are all manner of Cloathing, woollen linnen, iron ware, brass and pewter, and all sorts of household goods, having no manufactures of their own; and their southerly situation will make them. always dependent on Great Britain for a supply of these commodities, whose consumption may be computed at about £23,000 per Annum; besides the cost of a considerable number of Negroes, with which the British Merchants have for some time furnished them yearly, taking their returns in rice, and naval stores.
There is a small trade carried on between Carolina and the Madras for wine; and the Commissioners of the Customs have a Surveyor General, a Collector, a Comptroller, a Searcher, a Waiter, and a Naval Officer, to put the laws of trade and Navigation in execution here: But daily experience shews, that illegal trade is not to be prevented in a proprietary Government.
The natural produce of this Country is Rice, pitch, tar, turpentine, buck-skins, furs, corn, beef, pork, soap, myrtle-wax, candles, various sorts of lumber, as Masts, cedar-boards, staves, shingles, and hoop-poles; but the soil is thought capable of producing wine, oil, silk, indigo, pot-ashes, iron, hemp, and flax.
The number of white inhabitants in this province has some time since been computed at 9000; and the blacks at 12,000, But the frequent massacres committed of late years by the neighbouring Indians, at the instigation of the French and Spaniards, have diminished the white men, whilest the manufacture of pitch and tar has given occasion to increase the number of black slaves., who have lately attempted, and were very near succeeding in a new revolution, which would probably have been attended by the utter extirpation of all your Majesty's subjects in this province; and therefore it may be necessary for your Majesty's service, that the Governor should be instructed to propose some law to the Assembly there, for encouraging the entertainment of more white servants for the future.
From this Account it will appear, that the plantations in America take from hence yearly to the value of one million sterling, in British products and Manufactures, and foreign goods.
And although the exports charged in this account to the several Colonies on the continent, amount to no more than £431,027. 16s. 5d yet as the Continent has undoubtedly a great share in the General article of entry to the West Indies, as well as in the articles of entry to Africa and the Madeiras, the exports to the Continent may well be computed at £500,000.
But before we enter into the particular circumstances of the plantation trade on the Continent, it will be necessary to ascertain the principal commodities, wherein their trade consists, and how much they respectively amount to; which will appear, Account No. 2.
It may be observed from this Account, that the exports to the Continent of America exceed the imports from thence about £200,000 per annum; which debt falls upon the provinces to the Northward of Maryland; who probably are enabled to discharge the same, by the trade they are permitted to carry on in America, and to Europe, in commodities not enumerated in the Acts of Trade, . . .There still remains to be considered another great advantage that arises to this Kingdom from the plantation trade, which is, the constant employment it gives to our British Shipping.
And upon casting up the tonnage of the plantation products reexported in the year 1717, it appears there was employed near half as much Shipping, in transporting these goods from hence to Germany, Holland, and other foreign countries, as was employed in the trade directly from the British Colonies in America.
Consequently therefore it may be concluded, that about one third part of the Shipping employed in the foreign trade of this Kingdom is maintained by the plantation trade.
But notwithstanding the advantages, at present arising from the
Plantation trade, are so very considerable, it is not to be doubted,
but that they might still be rendered much more useful, if sufficient
encouragement were given to induce them to turn their industry to the
production of Naval Stores, of all kinds, and of such other commodities
as our necessities require, and which are purchased by us with great
disadvantage from foreign Countries; from whence this convenience,
amongst many others, would naturally result That
the more Northern Colonies would be thereby enabled to pay their balance to England, without lying under the necessity of carrying on a trade to foreign parts, in some respects detrimental to their mother Kingdom.
|The total value of |
imports to UK from
|Region||The total value of the
exports from UK to
|Skins and Furs||£17,340||Products of the Indian Trade|
|Turpentine||£12,082||Products of Plantations|
|Pitch and tar||£34,990|
|Sugar, brown||£9,834||Product of foreign sources|
|Logwood||£21,060||Product of Campeche|
|Total of above||£382,576|
|Woolen manufactures||£147,438||Product of UK|
|Silk wrought & thrown||£18,468||Product of UK|
|Linens & sail cloth||£11,464||Product of UK|
|Cordage||£11,284||Product of UK|
|Gunpowder||£2,392||Product of UK|
|Leather wrought &|
|£15,161||Product of UK|
|£2,565||Product of UK|
|£35,631||Product of UK|
|Lead & shot||£2,850||Product of UK|
|Pewter||£3,687||Product of UK|
|Other goods||£43,941||Products of UK|
|Total of above||£294,886||Product of UK|
|Wrought Silks||£1,189||Foreign Products|
|Iron & Hemp||£6,152||Foreign Products|
|Other Foreign goods||£21,760||Foreign Products|
|Total Foreign goods||£136,141||Foreign Products|
|Adjusted estimate |
of total exports