313 | To the Board of Trade

    Boston, Octo 27. 1764,

    My Lords,

    I hereby transmit to your Lordships the lists of the fees of the sevral Offices of this Province, together with copies of the Acts of Assembly relating thereto. I have but just now got in all the returns from the several Offices, some of which I have been obliged to send back to them again for want of proper Specifications. Upon looking over my letter to your Lordships dated Aug. 16,1 I find very little to add thereto. But I must inform your Lordships, that I understand from some of the merchants, that it is intended to dispute the fees at the Custom house & Naval Office & reduce them to the fees which are appointed by Acts of Assembly;2 which would very much weaken one office, & wholly annihilate the other. But I hope this is nothing but talk resulting from present ill humour, which is the necessary consequence of the new Regulations. For it seems an improper time to lower the fees of an office, when the Business of it, without addition of fees, is greatly encreased. And the merchants have very little to complain off, if it is t[ru]e3 that the fees of these offices are lower in this province, than allmost in any other whatsoever.

    I must also observe to your Lordships that upon perusing the Acts of establishing the fees of the Naval Office, I find it is not obligatory upon the present Naval Officer in its own words & meaning. For the purport of the Act is to appoint provincial Naval Officers in evry port, in the same manner as they used to do before the grant of King William’s charter, & as they now do appoint notaries public in the sevral ports, by the Election of the two houses in a joint ballot confirmed by the Governor: & therefore they ^the fees^ must relate to such officers so appointed. But it would be very injurious to apply such fees to a Naval Officer appointed by the King, as they would not support any Person in the Character of a Gentleman. Therefore The present Naval Officer  15 years ago presented a Memorial to the Assembly praying they would settle a reasonable bill of fees for him; which they not doing, He has continued receiving the usual fees.4 These appear to be very reasonable, as they do not exceed the fees appointed by the Assembly for the Collectors, which they never acquiesced in. I shall therefore order the Naval Officer to hang up a table of fees, according to the enclosed list, in his office. As for the Custom house fees & the Court of Admiralty fees, as they may probably receive some new regulation, I shall wait for further orders.

    I am, with great respect &ca

    Rt Honble Lords Commrs for Trade &ca.

    AL, LbC BP, 3: 179-180.