Mid 17th Century trade between Newfoundland and Boston

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Mid 17th Century trade between Newfoundland and Boston

Transcribed and contributed by David Anstey, August 2018. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be errors.


A volume relating to the early history of Boston, containing the Aspinwall Notarial Records from 1644 to 1651. Aspinwall, William, fl. 1648-1662. Boston, 1903.

*William Aspinwall, Notary Public.

Page 77.

Entry of March 13, 1647. I suscribed a Copy of an Order from Sir David Kirke unto John Bodington to draw bills of Exchange to value 1 Pound upon Mr. John & James Kirke & to sell 400 Kintalls [ Quintals ] of dry fish in New England. Dated Ferryland, July 3, 1646. Subscriber: David Kirke. This was for Account of Mr. John Kirk.

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Memorandus & Orders to John Bodington. Dated August 1, 1646. When he arrives in New England to dispose of his goods, & to buy or build a Ketch of 40 or 50 Tons or thereabout, & to take advise with Mr. [ Alexander ] Shapley therein, & to let him have the ordering of all. Also that he & Mr. Shapley freight a Ship or Ketch or other vessel not exceeding 100 Tons for 8 Pounds, 16 Shillings per month, or 24 months at most. This was for the Account of Mr. John & James Kirke Merchants in London. Dated Ferryland, October 1, 1646. Subscriber: David Kirke.

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Page 103.

Entry of September 15, 1647. Mr. James Carie brought a token in a bag closed up from Oliver Callow Mariner from Newfoundland to Henry Messinger, which he Delivered to Sarah the wife of Henry Messinger in presence of me William Aspinwall Public Notary, in whose presence it was by her opened, & at her request by me the said Notary told, and was found to be the just sum of 7 Pounds sterling. Quod attestor virtute officij mei. September 15, 1647.

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Page 126.

Entry of March 23, 1648. Be it known unto all men by these presents that I William Davies of Ferryland in Newfoundland do acknowledge my self to owe & stand indebted unto Charles Dobson the just sum of 3 Pounds, 6 Shillings, 8 Pence & is for 80 Pounds of Tobacco & is for the use of John Shaw & is to be paid the first day of August next ensuing in sterling moneys or merchantable New found land dry fish & the above said William Davies doth bind me my heirs & Assigns in the penalty of 6 Pounds sterling: monies or fish for the performance of the above said sum & is to be paid to the foresaid Charles Dobson or his Assigns whereunto I have set my hand & seal this 26 Day of September, 1647. The mark of W D ( William ) Davies & a seal. Sealed in the presence of us: James Warring, Trustram Long.

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Page 130.

Entry of March 23, 1648. John Shaw of Boston did constitute & Authorise Robert Loue or Lone, late of Ferriland in Newfoundland Planter his true & lawful Attorney granting his said Attorney full power etc., to ask etc., of James Davies of Ferryland in Newfoundland the sum of 3 Pounds, 6 Shillings, 8 Pence due by bill obligation: to Charles Dobson for the use of the said John Shaw, & of the receipt to give acquitance etc. Also to compound etc. And to appear before the Governor etc. to sue etc. & generally to do all things etc. with power to substitute one Attorney etc., Ratifying etc.

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Page 127/8.

Entry of March 24, 1648. Valentine Hill granted a Letter of Attorney to Joseph Grafton to recover & Receive the Bills of Trustram Doge, William Woolcot, & William Davies or any other in Newfoundland with absolute power etc. Dated March 3, 1648.

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Page 303.

Entry of February 7, 1649. Nicholas Shapley of Piscataqua, merchant, bound for England. Ordained his loving kinsman John Treworgy [ grandson of Alexander Shapley ] merchant his Deputy & Attorney in his place and stead to manage all his affairs in New England. Witness his hand and seal November 6, 1644. Nicholas Shapley, Legal Seal.

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Page 205/206.

[ Page containing Accounting. The financial tally on the right side of the page, is omitted here. ]

Mr. George Ludlow of Virgina Merchant is Debtor unto Mr. Alexander Shapley of Dartmouth Merchant, 230 Pounds, for his 1/3 of the freight due on the "Susan" on the Newfoundland voyage.

*Unto him 33 Pounds, 6 Shillings, 8 Pence, for his 1/3 of 100 Pounds drawn on him from the Newfoundland towards her lodeing [ lading ].

*Unto him 33 Pounds, 4 Pence, for his 1/3 of passage money received by Mr. Ludlow in Virgina.

*Unto Him 2 Pounds, 10 Shillings, for his 1/3 of 7 Pounds, 10 Shillings, for freight of 5 hogsheads of Tobacco, Mr. Ludlow received in Virgina.

*Unto him 7 Shillings, 6 Pence, for his 1/3 of pilotage.

*Unto him 100 72 Pounds Tobacco which is for Mr. Shapley his 1/3 of the product of the fish received out of the "Susan", as by the Account of Sales former sent Mr. Shapley appeareth.

*Omitted 1/3 of two firkins of butter bought in Newfoundland, part of the Cargason, which rest 3 Pounds sterling, which Mr. Elliott kept for the ships provisions for Mr. Ludlow's 1/3 part is 1 Pound.

*Mr. George Ludlow per Contra is Creditor by Mr. Alexander Shapley 85 Pounds & is for 1/3 of 255 Pounds freight made on the "Susan" as by his Account sent in unto Mr. Ludlow appeareth.

*By him 6 Pounds, 13 Shillings, 8 Pence for 1/3 of 20 Pounds, 1 Shilling, he received of his passengers for their passages, as by the Account of freight.

*By 85 Pounds paid by Mr. Samuel Langish in London as by his Letter of advice & Account dated the 20th of October, 1639 appears.

*By him 10 Pounds for his 1/3 of the produce of strong waters.

*By him 51 Shillings 8 Pence, to rebate for his 1/3 of pilotage.

*By him 10 Pounds for his 1/3 of 1/2 freight over charged.

*By him 55 Shillings for 1/3 of 83 Pounds of Tobacco: John Treworgy Received at the Newfoundland.

*By him 16 Pounds, 6 Shillings, 10 Pence sent for 1/3 of the Rebates on the 230 Pounds per Contra: for putting into Ireland.

*By balance 49 Pounds, 10 Shillings, 4 Pence, rest due from Mr. Ludlow to balance this Account.

*By balance of the tobacco Account per Contra 10072 rest due from Mr. Ludlow to balance that Account. 100 72 Pounds of Tobacco.

*Drawn up the 18th of March, 1647; by me Thomas Bushrode. [ Thomas Bushrod, merchant, of Kikatm, Virginia. ]

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Page 302/3/4.

Entry of May, 20, 1650. This Charter party is a freightment made betwixt John Manning of Boston in New England Merchant on ye one part, and Joseph Profitt of London merchant on ye other part: witnesseth yet ye said John Manning doth Covenant, to, & with ye said Joseph Profitt, to hire & let to freight his good Ketch, or vessel, called ye "Anne & Margaret" being of burthen 30 Tons, or thereabouts, for 10 Pounds per month or another as sufficient, and rateable, for six monthly pay during her return to Boston in New England. And yet she shall be fit and ready, with rigging, masts, sayles, uptackels, ground tackels, six good muskets, with good powder, & shot sufficient. And all other necessaries, fitting for a voyage of 10, or 12 months, at or before ye 10th day of September next.

To set sail from Newfoundland, for such ports, or ports, as ye said Joseph Profitt shall appoint, and ye said John Manning doth Covenant, yet ye said vessel shall be sound, & tight & fit for such a voyage. And ye said Joseph Profitt shall freight so much of her. As ye goods, he the said John Manning is to pay unto Joseph Profitt will amount unto and ye said John Manning doth Covenant to take to freight for ye said voyage ye remaining part of the said vessel, or allow such proportion of her hire. And ye said Joseph Profitt doth Covenant for his part to pay or Cause to be paid unto ye said John Manning or his Assignees, at ye Arrival of ye said vessel, at Boston in New England aforesaid. So much freight as his part doth amount unto, after ye rate of 10 Pounds per month for ye whole, with rigging, & other necessaries as aforesaid: from ye 10th of September, until ye return of ye said vessel to Boston, and they mutually agree, to bear ye charge of men & victuals in Common between them, according to ye proportions of their freight, the said John Manning, Covenanting, to provide, bread, beef, pork, & pease, sufficient for six or eight months voyage: according to prices here in New England. In witness whereof ye parties have Interchangeably, set to their hands, and seals, this 19th day of July, Anno Donno 1649 Signed sealed & delivered in presence of Michell Powell, Abraham Goade.

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Entry of May, 20, 1650. Know all men by these presents, yet I John Manning, of Boston in New England: merchant, do firmly bind & engage my self, to pay or Cause to be paid unto Joseph Profitt, or his Assignees, in ye Newfoundland so much fish and oil viz one-half refuse one forth part Merchantable & one forth part in oil with Cask for ye same, sufficient & good, at ye Current prices as is bought for money. And to deliver ye same aboard ye vessel hired by Charter Party, at or before ye 10th day of September next. I say so much fish etc. as will amount unto ye sum of 200 Pounds sterling or so much, more or less, according to order from Michell Powell of Boston in New England, in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 19th day of July, Anno Donno 1649. In presence of Michell Powell.

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Page 308/309.

Entry of May 27, 1650. Know all men by these presents that I Thomas Scranton of Isle of Spears in Newfoundland do promise to pay unto Jonas Clarke of New England the full sum of forty & two Pounds of good & Lawful English money, & the said Thomas Scranton do engage himself heirs & Executors or Assignees to pay this same sum of money to Jonas Clarke or his Assignees by the first of August next ensuing the date hereof. Whereunto I set my hand to perform. August 28, 1649. Thomas Scranton, his mark. Witness: Robert Gamon.

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Entry of October 4, 1649. Memorandum that I Thomas Clarke of New England do assign this bill from Thomas Scranton in the sum of 42 Pounds to Mr. John Leveret & Mr. Robert Scot of Boston, or their Assignees as witness my hand, Jonas Clarke.

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Know all men by these presents that I Lionel Cooke of Witless Bay in Newfoundland do promise to pay to the said Jonas Clarke seaman dwelling in New England or his assigns the full sum of five pounds of good lawful English Money: & this do Lionel Cooke promise to pay or my heirs Executors Admin or Assigns to the said Jonas Clarke or his Assigns this debt formerly mentioned by the 12th of August next ensuing the date thereof, whereunto I set my hand & witness LC. Lionel Cooke’s mark written in August 27, 1649.

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Entry of October 4, 1649. I Assign this bill to Mr. John Leveret & Mr. Robert Scot of Boston merchant, as witness my hand, Jonas Clarke.

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Date of August 27, 1649. Know all men by these presents that I William Preston of Witless Bay in Newfoundland do acknowledge my self Debtor to Jonas Clarke of New England, seaman, the full sum of 14 Pounds, 16 Shillings, & 6 Pence. To be paid in & by the 12th of August next ensuing the date hereof, & I William Preston do promise to pay my self or heirs executors Administrators or Assignees this full sum good & lawful English money to the said Jonas Clarke or his Assignees. Witness my hand, H William Preston's mark. The sign of Phillip Gore.

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Entry of October 4, 1649. I assign this bill to Mr. John Leveret & Robert Scot of Boston as witness my hand, Jonas Clarke.

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Date of August 27, 1649. more to put to the Account of William Preston for as much Tobacco as comes to 4 Pounds, 13 Shillings sterling to the 12th of next August after the date hereof in ready money to pay to Jonas Clarke or his Assignees witness my hand, H William Preston's mark.

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Entry of October 4, 1649. I assign this bill to Mr. John Leveret & Mr. Robert Scot of Boston as witness my hand, Jonas Clarke.

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Page 389.

Entry of April 13, 1651. At 40 days sight of this my first bill of Exchange my second & third not being paid, pay unto Mr. David Yale or his Assignees the sum of 50 Pounds sterling & is for the value received here, make good payment & place it to my Account. Ferryland the 13th September, 1650. Suscribed thus your loving brother David Kirk. Copy. To Mr. James Kirk merchant in London these present.

On the back side is written I pray you pay unto Mr. Thomas Bell in Seething Lane or to his Assignees being for the Account of Mr. Hezekiah Usher & Mr. Henry Shrimpton, I say 50 Pounds sterling. Ferryland 13th September, 1651. David Yale.

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By this public Instrument of Protest be it known & manifest unto all people, that on the eight day of the month of November Anno Donno one thousand, six hundred & fifty Stylo Angliq, At the request of Mr. Thomas Bell Citizen of this City of London I John Marius Notary & Tabellion public admitted & sworn dwelling within the same City, did show & exhibit the original bill of Exchange, whereof the Copy is here above written, Unto Mr. James Kirke unto whom the same is directed in person requesting him to accept the same. Which the said James Kirk refused to do, & gave me his reason in writing, which is word for word as followeth.

The reason I accepted not this bill is, That Mr. David Yale upon receipt of this Bill, did promise to give satisfaction unto said David Kirke of an Account of goods which Captain Shapley delivered him in New England, & also Sugars & other goods delivered him by Said David Kirk in the Newfoundland, which he failing to do is the Cause Said David gave no order for acceptance of said Bill. James Kirke.

And therefore I the said Notary did Solemnly protest & do protest by these presents ( at the request aforesaid ) as well against Said David Kirk who hath subscribed the bill of Exchange, as all other that it doth or may concern of Exchange & Rechange of all costs Damages & Interests for want & refusal of acceptation of the said Bill suffered & sustained & hereafter to be suffered & sustained to be all recovered in time & place convenient. This was thus protested in this City of London.

in the presence of Mr. William Peake & Joseph Caron. Witnesses, Quod attestor Rogatus et requisitus John Marius Notary Public.

Endnotes:

1.

Codfish.  Handlined in early Newfoundland, with hooks.
*Stockfish.  Split to the tail.  Heavy salt bulk, 14 days.  Shore dried. Bacalao.  Morue Seche/Sec.  Cod dry. #1. Merchantable/Mercantile.  #2. Madeira, & #3. West Indian/refuse.

*Corefish.  Split to the tail.  Green, pickled, barreled.  Or green bulk salted, in a vessel’s hold.  Morue Verte.  Cod green. Loaded on the banks idea.  Smaller size, named Poor John. ( Barrelled, if not marketed in short order. )

*Mudfish.  Split to the navel.  *Rounders.  Green, pickled, barrelled. Morue Veste.  Cod jacket.
  Loaded on the banks idea.  Tierce, hogshead, etc.

2.

Annals of Commerce, Manufactures, Fisheries, and Navigation with ..., Volume 3. By David Macpherson. 1805. Page 166.

1731. “the oil of the fish paying for the salt”…

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