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Lord Archibald Hamilton’s Acquittal —2 Oct 1717

Board of Trade – Decision on Lord Hamilton - 2 Oct 1717

BELLIN Carte de Golphe du Mexique et des Isles de l'Amerique - Pour servir a l'Histoire Generale des Voyages... Paris (1754)

Source: "Journal, October 1717: Journal Book S," in Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations: Volume 3, March 1715 - October 1718, ed. K H Ledward (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1924), 269-284. British History Online, accessed October 17, 2017,


Journal, October 1717

October 2. Present:—Earl of Suffolk, Mr. Chetwynd, Sir Charles Cooke, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Pulteney, Mr. Bladen.



Lord Archibald Hamilton.





The Lord Archibald Hamilton, late Governor of Jamaica, attending as appointed, he produced to their lordships several papers in proof of the allegations of his memorial to the king, referred to this Board, and mentioned in the minutes of the 27th of last month, his lordship proceeded to his proofs in order, as the respective paragraphs stand numbered in his memorial, and begun by observing that the differences he had had with the Assembly of Jamaica, were chiefly upon three points, which his instructions and the Board of Trade had recommended to him, vizt. The pretended power in the Assembly of adjourning themselves for what time they thought fit, without leave from the governor;—Their denying the Council any right of amending money-bills; and refusing to make provision for subsisting his Majesty's forces there; which had been recommended by his Majesty.


First article.

1st. To prove "That during the whole administration of the said Lord Archibald Hamilton there, he endeavoured to act in all respects agreeable to his instructions, and according to the duty of his office, in support of his Majesty's royal authority, then manifestly struck at by a set of violent and ill-designing men;" his lordship referred to Mr. Secretary (now Lord) Stanhope's letter of the 25th February, 1714/15, which approves the several steps taken by ye said Lord Archibald Hamilton, in execution of the orders sent him upon the death of her late Majesty, and to his Majesty's letter of the 13th May, 1715, relating to the discharging of publick debts and the subsistence of the two independent companies there, wherein his Majesty was pleased to express his royal pleasure in these terms, vizt.:—We expect you will continue your best endeavours for the advancement of these good ends, which We hope, will restore that Our Island to a flourishing condition: his lordship further appealed to the letter which this Board wrote to Mr. Secretary Stanhope the 17th of February, 1715/16, wherein it is represented that by what appeared by the books in this office, the Lord Archibald Hamilton seemed exactly to have followed his instructions. And as to his Majesty's authority being struck at by violent and designing men, his lordship doubted not but the same would fully appear in his progress through the following articles.


Second article.

2. To prove the second article of the memorial, where his lordship says "He had his Majesty's approbation of his conduct, by the removal of such members of the Council, whose misbehaviour and opposition to the king's service his lordship had represented;" he referred to the report of the 25th April, 1715, made by this Board, whereupon Mr. Chaplin and Mr. Blair, who had encouraged the proceedings of the Assembly, relating to their having the sole right of framing money-bills, and to a power of adjourning themselves at pleasure, &c. were removed from his Majesty's Council in Jamaica; his lordship added, that he should give further instances of Mr. Chaplin and Blair's misbehaviour in explaining ye subsequent articles.


Third article.

3. To support what is asserted in ye third article, "That the Assembly had, notwithstanding his Majesty's recommendtation, refused to make any provision for the subsistence of the two independent companies"; the Lord Archibald Hamilton referred to the minutes of assembly of the 9th Novbr., 1715, and that part thereof was read where the aforesaid Mr. Chaplin reported from a committee of the said Assembly, that the accounts of money disbursed for the subsistence of Col. Handasyd's Regiment and the two independent companies, were of an unprecedented nature, being disbursed without a law, or the publick faith given for reimbursing the same, and that the Committee could not take upon them to determine whether the same ought to be paid or not; whereupon the Assembly voted the said money to be no publick debt, within the construction of his Majesty's letter of the 13th May, 1715, tho' it appears by a subsequent letter of his Majesty's, bearing date the 10th of April, 1716, relating to the payment of that money, that his Majesty did look upon it as a publick debt, and recommended the same to be provided for as such, by his former letter of the 13th May, 1715; the Lord Archibald took notice, as a farther proof of its being a publick debt, that money advanced by the present governor for the same services, was not only acknowledged as a publick debt, but has since been re-imbursed by the Assembly, with an allowance of 12 per cent. interest.


Fourth article.

4. Upon the fourth article, his lordship said, that contrary to his instructions communicated to the Council, complaints had been sent against him to England, which had never been communicated to him in Jamaica, as would fully appear by proofs relating to subsequent articles, and more particularly to the eleventh.


Fifth article.

5. To the fifth article, "That to compass their ill designs against his lordship, a large sum of money was unwarrantably subscribed and collected by the leading men of the Assembly and remitted to Great Britain, on pretence of soliciting the affairs of that island"; his lordship referred to the minutes of the Assembly of the 20th and 21st of December, 1715, and those parts which relate to the said subscription were read, as likewise the draught of the subscription drawn up by Captain Bennet, who, on his lordship's removal, was constituted of the Council under Mr. Heywood. His lordship observed that the Assembly had during his government, prepared and sent to the Council a bill to raise money for soliciting the publick affairs of the island in this kingdom, by which the Assembly had excluded the governor and Council from the very knowledge of what was intended to be transacted; the Council made several amendments to the bill, which the Assembly refusing to admit of, on pretence that the Council had no right to make any alteration to a money bill upon which the bill was dropt, and a subscription was set on foot; and his lordship said, he had been well informed, that about £1100 were raised in the Assembly, besides what was collected in the several parishes, contrary to his Majesty's instructions; his lordship added, that this method of raising money, was at first proposed to the Assembly in the nature of an ordinance, and read there twice as such; and as his lordship had reason to believe, was afterwards dropt, and put out of the form of ordinance only upon some observations which his lordship made as to the irregularity of it. His lordship observed that tho' the chief pretence for raising of this money was to solicit the dispatch of several acts; he did not know, and he appealed to the Board, if any application had been made, since that time, for the confirming any acts of that island; from whence he did infer that the forementioned Bill for soliciting the publick affairs of the island, as well as the subscription, were designed for private ends, and not for the publick service of that islands.


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