Commercial Orders to Governor Andros.
Having notice that under color of a trade to Newfoundland for fish, great quantities of wine, brandy and other European goods, are imported from thence into his Majesty's plantations, particularly New England, on an allegation, that the said New Foundland is accounted as one of the said plantations. To which purpose, it is now become a Magazine of all sorts of goods brought thither directly from France, Holland, Scotland, Ireland and other places, which is not only contrary to law, but greatly to the prejudice of his Majesty's Customs, and to the trade and navigation of this Kingdom. To the end, therefore, that so destructive and growing an evil may be timely prevented, we desire you, for his Majesty's service, to give public notice to all persons concerned within your government, that the New Foundland is not to be taken or accounted a plantation, being under no Government or other regulation, as all his Majesty's plantations are. But that all European goods, imported from thence, will be seized, together with the ships importing the same, as forfeited by the act of trade, made in the 15th year of his late Majesty's reign, and his said Majesty's Proclamation pursuant thereunto. And you are strictly to give in charge to all his Majesty's officers, that they be very careful not to suffer any European goods, other than what are by the aforesaid law and Proclamation accepted, to be imported into New England. But such as shall appear by coquets or authentic certificates from some port of England, Wales, or Berwick, to have been there duly shipped and put on board, under forfeiture of ships and goods as aforesaid. And, in order to prevent the acceptance of forged coquets or certificates, which have been heretofore practised, you are, according to his Majesty's particular instructions to you, to give effectual orders that the coquets for such goods be produced to the collector of the Customs in New England, or to his deputies there, for the time being, before the unloading of the goods; and that no European goods be landed, but by warrants from the said Collector or his Deputies, in the presence of one or more officers, appointed thereto. And that for the better prevention of frauds of this kind, no ship or vessel do load or unload any goods or commodities whatsoever, until the master or commander thereof has first made known to yourself, or the person appointed by you, the arrival of such ship or vessel, with her name and size, name of the master, and has shown that the ship or vessel is duly navigated and otherwise qualified according to law, and hath delivered a true and perfect inventory of her lading, together with the place or places, in which the said goods were laden and taken into the said ship or vessel, under forfeiture of such ship and goods. We are frequently informed from our agent in Scotland. of several ships coming thither with the innumerated plantations' commodities, without touching to clear in any port of England, Wales, or Berwick, being generally ships, that pretend to belong to, and give bond in the plantations; which are plain instances of the great neglect or corruption of the officers, employed in executing the laws, without which we think it almost impossible, that ships should take in their whole lading, and not be discovered either at their arrival or departure. Wherefore, we desire you, for his Majesty's service, not only to make a strict and speedy examination of these and the like frauds, tending so apparently to the prejudice of his Majesty's revenue, and the trade of this kingdom; but to take care and give effectual orders, that the like may be prevented for the future, which may be done these two ways; first, by your care, that all ships, not producing certificates of bond given in England, Wales, or Berwick, be obliged to give bond to yourself or Naval officer according to law, before they load or take on board any of the innumerated commodities under the penalty of the forfeiture thereof; second, that such ships having so given bond, you use your utmost care and diligence to discover whether the conditions thereof are performed, and certificate thereof produced in a convenient time after, or, in failure thereof, that the said bonds be effectually prosecuted. We are
Your most humble Servants,
To Edmund Andros, Governor of New England.
Custom House, London, 12th January, 1686-7.
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