British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

21
CABINET MINUTE, 30 April 17901

Whitehall. Present: The Lord Chancellor, The Lord Privy Seal, Duke of Richmond, Duke of Leeds, Lord Chatham, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Grenville.

Upon consideration of the information which has been received from Mr. Meares of the detention and capture of several British vessels at Nootka Sound on the coast of America,2 and of the circumstances of that transaction, as also of the papers which here have been delivered by Mr. del Campo relative thereto;

Your Majesty's servants have agreed humbly to submit to Your Majesty their opinion that Your Majesty's Minister at the Court of Madrid should be instructed to present a memorial demanding an immediate and adequate satisfaction for the outrages committed by Mr. de Martinez; and that it would be proper, in order to support that demand, and to be prepared for such events as may arise, that Your Majesty should give orders for fitting out a squadron of ships of the line.


22
CAPTAIN MEARES: EVIDENCE BEFORE THE COMMITTEE FOR TRADE, 27 May 17903

...Q. Had you any reason to suppose that you would be permitted by the Government at Japan to trade in their territories?

A. We had, for we conceive the Empire of Japan to consist of a number of Islands. The great Island Niphon is under the immediate inspection of the existing Government but the other surrounding Islands are under the command of great Lords who are nearly independent of the principal Government. We received information of

____________________
1
Dropmore Papers (H.M.C. 1892), vol. i, p. 579. Enclosed in Grenville to George III, 1 May 1790.
2
On 13 May 1790 Meares's memorial on the capture of vessels (owned by the Merchant Proprietors and by Etches and Co.) by the Spanish naval commander Don Martinez in Nootka Sound was presented to a sympathetically indignant House of Commons: see Meares Voyages, Appendix I. Reparation was demanded and a fleet under Lord Howe was assembled to enforce satisfaction if Spain proved tardy. A convention with Spain on Nootka Sound was signed largely in Britain's favour on 28 October 1790. See Part. Hist. xxviii. 916-18. (For the debate see especially ibid. 972-80.)
3
B.T. 5/6, pp. 230-1, 232-3. When the old Board of Trade was abolished with the special American Department in 1782, Lord Shelburne had tried to co­ordinate the work of both under the Secretaryship of State for the Home Department, and to build up a plantation branch there in the Home Office under Grey Elliott, clerk of reports in the old Plantation Office. But in March 1784 a special (temporary) Committee of the Council was appointed to consider trade and plantation business which in August 1786 was itself superseded by a more permanent committee of ex officio members under Charles Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury, as President.

-33-

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