« PreviousContinue »
ceived formal authority to serve as his agent. The character of this cargo depended in large measure upon the special line of trade which the person who dispatched it pursued. Every branch appears to have been represented by the English merchants who had commercial intercourse with Virginia in the seventeenth century; there were tallow-chandlers, haberdashers, distillers, stationers, pewterers, fletchers, ironmongers, cordwainers, apothecaries, felt-makers, merchant tailors, weavers, goldsmiths, coopers, vintners, and woollen drapers. Only in a few cases did they, in the powers of attorney which they gave to their factors in the Colony, describe themselves as tobacconists.1 The value of the goods sent by the English traders to the Colony was very great; those included in a single shipment made in 1681 were held at twelve thousand pounds sterling.2 Instances of cargoes appraised at two thousand pounds sterling were not uncommon, a sum with a purchasing power perhaps equivalent to as much as fifty thousand dollars at present.3 A fair notion may be obtained of the size of many of these cargoes from the warrants issued in the time of the Protectorate giving permission to merchants to transport shoes to Virginia, there being a law then prohibiting the exportation of leather without a special license from the Government. In 1653, licenses of this kind were granted to the masters and owners of twelve
1 Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 171; Ibid., vol. 16911701, p. 89, Va. State Library.
2 Petition of William Fisher et al., British State Papers, Colonial; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1681, p. 104, Va. State Library.
8 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 64. In 1678, James Vauli imported a cargo of goods valued at £260. Records of York County, vol. 1675-1684, p. 390, Va. State Library. A cargo brought into Northampton County about the middle of the century by Edward Prescott was appraised at £ 471 18s. 6d. See Records of that county, original vol. 1654-1655, f. p. 43.
vessels to carry-out respectively eighteen hundred pairs, making twenty-one, thousand and six hundred pairs in all;1 five years later, the masters and owners of ten ships were authorized to export to Virginia twentyfour thousand pairs.2 During the forty years which elapsed between the Restoration and the close of the century, the increase in this one item of imports must have been extremely large in consequence of the growth in population.3 The same expansion, it is reasonable to infer, extended to the great variety of other goods brought in at the same time.
If the English merchant who had determined to export goods to Virginia did not possess a ship in which they might be conveyed, he entered into a contract with the owner of a vessel for their transfer, the goods themselves, however, remaining in charge of the person whom he had appointed to accompany them. Several traders who followed different branches of business often united in chartering a ship and employing a single factor to represent their several interests in the cargo. In many cases, the captain of the vessel acted for the English merchant whose property he had taken on board, such an agent receiving instructions which were generally placed on record as soon as he arrived in the Colony.4 The commodities trans
1 Sainsbury's Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1574-1660, p. 411. 2 Inter. Entry Book, vol. 106, p. 762.
3 It is not improbable that in the previous cases the word "Virginia" was intended to include the English plantations in the West Indies and all the English colonies in North America.
* The agency of the captain was sometimes made conditional, as the following from Records of York County, vol. 1671-1694, p. 46, Va. State Library, will show:
"London 4'!! Xber 1672. Me. Thomas Wareen. — The goods which I have on board yr shipp vizt. the 3 chests and 6 bbls. etc., which goe consigned to MC Samuel Trevillian, be pleased to take into ye charge of it, should please God to ported were stored in large cases, chests, trunks, hogsheads, barrels, and casks. At times, a heavy loss resulted to the owner not only from rough handling and the casualties of an ocean passage, but also from embezzlement by the seamen and even by the master of the ship.1 If a war was in progress, there was always peril of capture by the enemy. In 1665, the Dutch, who were then engaged in hostilities with the English, destroyed a fleet of merchantmen in the mouth of the James. From the earliest period, the vessels employed in the Virginian trade were under the necessity of carrying guns. In 1633, the number in single instances ranged from twenty to twenty-four.2 A protake away the said Samuel Trevillian, and dispose thereof to my best advantage, remitting the proceeds thereof home in the best sweete scented tobacco in your owne and M* Fassett's shipp, and wherein I have taken 30 hhd. certaine and five uncertaine if notice thereof be given in 10 daies, and it should have occasion to make use of any factor or merchant therein, the disposall of any concerne shall decide you therein if it may be convenient for you to make use of my friend and kinsman, M; John Mobun, leaving what cannot sell on his hands. Trevillian hath invoice hereof, which in case of his own mortality he hath promised shall be delivered to you.
1 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 64. The following is from the Records of General Court, p. 146: "Judgment is granted Col. Daniel Parke Esq. against M? Thomas Warren, commander of the ship Daniel in Virginia for payment -of £29, 13sh, 2d, being for money due for goods of the said Parke damnified in the said ship in her late voyage from London, the money to be paid within 40 days upon her next arrival in England." Five other persons also suffered losses in the same voyage. See reference to the robbery of a sloop which had been sent in to a river landing with a cargo of goods taken from a vessel lying in the main stream. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1680-1686, orders July 13, 1681.
2 Devries' Voyages from Holland to America, p. 112. In time of war the masters of ships were directed by law to seek certain places as safe harbors. A proclamation of Nicholson in 1691 named the following: "Upper James, Sandy Point; Lower James, Elizabeth River; Nansemund, vision was expressly adopted that each ship plying between the mother country and the Colony should not only be furnished with mounted cannons, but should also keep on board men who had been trained in their use. At the time of the passage of this law, there was danger of pirates making an attack upon the vessels entering or leaving the mouth of the Chesapeake.1 In 1684, a ketch was furnished by the English Government for the protection of the Virginian coast as well as for the arrest of illegal traders. Occasions arose when its assistance was very much needed; thus in 1699, the Maryland Merchant, while lying in the waters of Virginia, was seized and plundered by an unknown ship carrying thirty guns and manned by a large crew. The Governor took immediate steps to warn the people of Elizabeth City, Norfolk, Princess Anne, Accomac, and Northampton Counties of the presence of these dangerous outlaws. The commander of the militia in each of the counties named was instructed to appoint persons to keep watch along the shore, each one having a certain distance to patrol. As soon as there was reason to suspect the presence of pirates, information was to be given to the nearest commissioned officer, who in turn was at once to communicate with the commander of his district.2 As late as 1692, Fitzhugh, considering the
above fort on Pagan Creek; Warwick River, above Sandy Point; York, as high as Colonel Bacon's; in Rappahannock, above fort in Corratoman River; in Potomac, in Wicocomico, and Matchatax, as high as they can: Eastern Shore, at Appomattox; rivers of Mobjack as high as the ships can go." Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1679-1694, p. 472.
1 Palmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. 23, note.
2 Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1695-1703, f. p. 165. In Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1694-1703, p. 306, will be found a proclamation of Governor Andros, instructing the naval officers of Virginia "to take all possible care to apprehend Capt. Kidd, -who had recently seized a ship in the West Indies." In 1685, John Sherry of York was arrested and brought before court as having given comfort to pirates. perils to which a merchantman was exposed both on the inward and outward voyage, declared that a person engaged in the Virginian trade might be worth one thousand pounds sterling to-day and to-morrow lose the last groat.1 The policies ordinarily secured upon a cargo by its owner did not extend to the acts of public enemies. The insurance was five guineas upon every one hundred guineas' worth of goods.2
In the instances in which the English merchant owned the ship transporting his commodities to the Colony, the most serious charge which he had to meet was the wages of his captain and seamen, an item of importance on account of the length of the voyage, since the vessel not infrequently took a circuitous route, touching first at the Canaries, then at Barbadoes, and finally reaching an anchorage in the waters of one of the Virginian rivers.3 The remuneration of the shipmaster was probably about nine pounds sterling a month ;4 that of a sailor in 1668 was thirty shillings for the same length of time.6 There is an instance recorded in Lower Norfolk in 1680 in which a common mariner was paid only eight shillings. Fifteen years later, there was a second instance in the same county,
See Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 51, Va. State Library. In 1688, Edward Davis, Lionel Delawater, and John Ilinson were seized at the mouth of the James, having a considerable amount of plate in their possession. They were arrested as pirates. Randolph MSS., vol. Ill, p. 442.
1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, July 21, 1692. In 1665, five hundred and eighty hogsheads of tobacco belonging to Thomas Sands were captared by the Dutch. See Colonial Entry Book, No. 83, pp. 115-117; Sainnbury Abstracts for 1686, p. 10, Va. State Library.
2 Records of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 360, Va. State Library.
* Sainsbury's Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, vol. 1574-1660, p. 409.
1 Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694, orders Jan. 2, 1692-93.
'Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1680, orders July 8, 1668.