ST. HELENA RECORDS.
Letter dated London, 19th December 1673, appoints Captain Richard Field to be Governor—Captain Anthony Beale to be Deputy Governor—the Lieutenants of the two companies of Foot on the Island for the time being Francis Moore, John Colestone and Richard Swallow to be of our Council. "You are to take into your possession all the cattle that can possibly be attained, that a distribution may be made to the several Inhabitants according to the rules hereafter mentioned. The Three Boats left by Sir Richard Munden to be kept in repair and permit the inhabitants to goe a fishing therein. All fish to be distributed equally amongst the inhabitants. We have sent £400 in pieces of eight and copper money for payment of the soldiers. All soldiers to be reduced to two companies. The Governor to be Captain of one and the Deputy Governor of the other. The Pay to be as follows:
Captain Richard Field as Governor and Captain of one company £50 per annum and a yearly gratuity £50. Captain Anthony Beale as Deputy Governor and Captain of the 2nd Company and as Husband of the Stores £50 per annum. The Lieutenants each per month £2 10 0, Ensigns £2. Sergeants being four in all £1 10. Gunner £2 and his dyett. Two Gunners Mates £1 10.
The Soldiers are to be exercised &c. and you are to permit the soldiers when they can be spared to assist the planters in their plantations.
A Wooden Store house is sent out. Captain Anthony Beale to have accommodation of dwelling therein for himself and family for the first two years so as he kepe no fire therein.
Although during this present Warr wee do continue the said Military forces in our pay yet being desirous to encourage the soldiers to become planters we have as a beginning entertained several persons as planters who come by this shipping and are named on the list herewith sent and are to receive the accommodation hereafter particularly mentioned.
All the Old planters that were formerly settled in the Island and are now bound thither shall be repossessed of their several houses and plantations which formerly they enjoyed in the condition they shall be found at the arrival of these ships, and all new planters shall upon their arrival have 20 acres of land rough and smooth. Each family shall have besides 2 cows given them freely with provision gratis out of the Company's Magazine for their maintenance for the space of nine months.
All the Planters are to be listed under either of the aforesaid companies that they may exercise and train them up in arms at least once in two months to qualify them for the defence of the Island. Though we do not require the Planters to keep constant watch as Soldiers during the time that we shall continue soldiers in pay, yet we do strictly require in case of the approach of any shipping and especially upon discovery of any Enemy or any general alarms that they do repair to their respective posts. It being one of the conditions on which we have granted them the land and other accommodation. Soldiers who desire to be discharged and become Planters grant them the same acquainting them that are married that if they desire it their wives shall be sent out to them.
No female Cattle are to be killed for three years until the Island be sufficiently replenished.
The Company's Plantation is to be at the direction and disposal of the Governor for the supply of the table for himself and others—appointed to dyett with him.
We have entertained Mr. William Swindle a Minister of the Gospel of whom we have received a very good character to preach once and catechize every Lord's Day and to teach or direct the teaching of children as their Schoolmaster and also as many of the Negro children as are capable of learning. His allowance £50 a year as Minister £25 as Schoolmaster and £25 gratuity and to have his dyett at the Governor's table and also at Plantation.
We have entertained Mr. Francis Moore Chirurgeon to have £25 and dyett at the Governor's table and to have the like proportion of ground and cattle as other planters and £5 gratuity.
We have received an account from Sir Richard Munden that a certain negro was very serviceable in guiding those of the English that first landed in order to its retaking and that Sir Richard Munden redeemed him from a Portugal to whom he was sold—we have repaid the money to Sir Richard Munden and have also paid Mr. Coleston £18 which he allegeth he disbursed in charges for the negroes wife and his two children so that we have sent the said negroes wife and his two children over to him as free planters and do order that he receive land and two cowes as other planters with all privileges as a reward of his service and the encouragement of faithfulness.
We also order that all negroes both men and women living in the said Island that shall make profession of the Christian faith and be baptized shall within seven years after be free planters and enjoy the privileges of free planters both of land and cattle.
Wee do understand that Captain Kegwin was entertained into His Majesty's Service at — per month which you will find is to be paid by us from the time of landing upon the Island until the time of his discharge. Upon receipt hereof discharge the said Captain Kegwin of our service and we direct that you treat him with all civility and that he take his passage for England in either of these two ships.
A List of what men were left upon the Island out of the several ships following (160 names in all) viz :—
The Assistance frigott Sir Richard Munden's ship 53 names which include Captain Richard Kegwin—Wm. Bodley—Jno. Powell—Thos. Birch.
The Levant Merchant 46 men including Captain Gregory Field—William Powell—William Fox.
The Mary and Martha Company's Ship 24 men including John Easthope and Thomas Coles.
The William and Thomas 37 names including Richard Alexander, Henry Francis, Matthew Pouncey.
We have freighted the ship Loyal Merchant on which we intend to send some more planters and passengers. When the ship Loyal Merchant arrives you may permit the seamen that were left there by Sir Richard Munden and as many soldiers as desire it (not exceeding 30 in all) to return for England, and as we shall be informed of any others that would come for England wee shall give further orders concerning them.
Send us a particular account of what anchors and cables are on the Island and whether they did belong to the Surratt Merchant and the Humphrey and Eliza that was lately at the Island and were afterwards taken up by the Dutch.
Any of the Inhabitants are to be allowed on their request ground sufficient to build a house in any valley provided they build the said houses regularly in order to a town of defence above each of the fortifications that shall be made in any valley. The Houses that are between the sea and any of the Forts are to be removed by the proprietors.
A Register is to be kept of all Marriages, Burials and Births.
For seven years the Company will take all Sugar Cane, Indigo Cotton, Wool, Ginger, Tobacco, &c.
London, 10th April 1674.—Now since it hath pleased His Majesty to make peace with Holland we must now consider to lesson our charge yett so as to keep a sufficient garrison with as much care and vigilance as if the warr had continued. Wee therefore order that you keep only in pay 75 of the oldest civillest and best soldiers and for the remainder that you propose, to them the Company's terms for their staying there as free planters, which if they will not accept send them home.
London, 18th Dec 1674.—By this ship goeth old Mr. Swallow whom we would have to be one of the seven in Council—and our order is that you will be speedy in settling of these new comers in laying out their lands and give them assistance by the negroes and encouragement to build them up cottages to dwell in. Till their habitations be built they may be distributed to lodge amongst those planters that have houses.
We would have you take opportunities of fair weather to go round the windward part of the Island at a distance with your Boats for to dicover what fishing grounds there are, to which end we send you dypsey lines and leads.
If any European people who are at amity with England arrive at the Island for refreshment use them civilly but do not too far trust them on shore nor to discover the strength of the place.
We intend to give orders to Suratt to send you some Kermenia Goats and we take what care we can to procure some Indians by our returned shipps to be left with you.
Wee are sorry to hear of the death of your Minister being a man we fear will be much wanted there. Capt. Kegwin hath been with us and presented us with a bill of Exchange for £112 which we paid him but you must for the future forbear to charge unless it be for some extraordinary occasion.
You advise that some seamen aid report amongst the soldiers that we did intend to transport them for Planters to Bombay you should have done well to have found out the author of that forgery that he might have received his reward and had not the soldiers been heady hare brained persons they would not have given credit to any such reports. Whereas the soldiers say they will have dyett as well as wages, it is contrary to all custom for soldiers in Garrison to have so, but if they plant and work for us when they are off guard then we shall allow it.
And though we say fifty soldiers yet if we find by the strength of the Inhabitants you can secure the Island we would have you lessen the number, for it is our thought with such soldiers as those are that mutiny upon every report will be little security to you.
As for the Dutch prisoners you must give them liberty in any of our own or European returned ships, or to ship themselves for Bantam whither they will.
The wife of Captain Field having made it her earnest desire that her husband may come home we do therefore give him free liberty to come for England, and if he come away Captain Beale is to succeed as Governor.
London, March 8th, 1676.—You have done well in reducing the number of soldiers to 50. We are pleased to hear from you that our Island is in such a flourishing condition and that all things there thrive well with you. But yet we find there is wanting industry and painstaking in many of the inhabitants which we will not permit to continue to be amongst you for they that will not plant should not eat—we will not supply them, rather send them home under the title of Drones.
You advise us of the death of the Gunner by a disaster in firing a gun for which we are sorry, but much blame you to spend our powder so vainly, and as we are informed your gun had a double charge by carelessness. We are informed that there is a rumour amongst the soldiers and inhabitants of the island that we do intend to send shipping to transport them for Bombay which report is feigned and false, it never so much as having been in our thoughts.
You do hint as if there did remain among you some of the old mutineers. If there be any such suffer them not to continue unless they demean themselves according to rule. We have no good report of one Young who was of the old stock.
We have paid the Governor's wife Mrs. Field £100 at several times in part of his salary and would have him advise us what sum he desires may be allowed.
We take notice of your want of a good Minister by reason of the death of him last sent. We have entertained Mr. John Winne who takes passage by way of Surratt.
8 Carmenian Goats sent from India for 132 rupees being all we can procure which are to keep apart for their breed that it be not lost as it seems some formerly hath by running amongst the ordinary.
St Helena 19th June 1678—The good ship Johanna came into the road on Wensday the 19th June 1678 and about noone the Governor John Blackmore landed.
His commission dated London 20th February 1677 appoints Capt. Anthony Beale deputy, Lieut. Jonathan Tyler, Lieut. Joshua Johnson, Richard Swallow, John Greentree, and John Coleston, to be of our Council.
His instructions direct him "to secure all avenues and passages especially the avenues in Lemon Valley. All Planters are bound by the tenure of their lands to be at your command to bear armes and observe orders for the defence of our Island. That you may not want Powder when you have occasion to use it we order that not above three guns be returned to a salute of any ships, and that none be shott at healths or any needless occasions. Fruit trees are sent and Planters informed that their produce of Sugar, &c. will be bought to encourage them. Wages appointed to master workmen 1s. per diem; a servant or labourer 8d. per diem. That the windward parts of our Island may be planted as well as any other we order that planters be allowed on that part of the Island a double portion of land than elsewhere, i.e. 40 acres each family rough and smooth. Market to be kept. A Register of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. The produce of Plantation to supply a Public Table. You can agree with a Chirurgeon instead of Mr. Moore who we understand desires to come home.
The times being troublesome and dangerous we enjoin your more than ordinary care in your watches—that you keep centry on the hills constantly.
We have received an account of Capt Anthony Beale whereby he makes coming to him £79 7s. 6d., but we cannot approve of it for that we have no particulars of the £405 charged to him nor of the £719 brought to his credit. We order Capt. Field be of the council whilst he remains and that his salary be continued until he takes his passage for England.—Invoice of stores by the Johanna, £2802.
23rd January 1678, Fort St. George.—We understand that arrack is acceptable upon ye Island and in case you should be attacked would be very serviceable for encouraging your men. We send 2 Butts.
Consultation 27th June 1678.—The Council, pledged to secrecy.—The outguards which have formerly been kept in five places, viz. Ruperts, Bankses, Flagstaffe, Prosperous Day, and Spragues alias Lemon Valley to be continued, and further from high Peake down the ridge to Old Womans Valley be another outguard, the rather for at the said Valley the Dutch landed when they took the said Island in 1673.—Besides Officers and soldiers there are above 90 freemen—ordered 10 to keep guard in rotation for a week night and day viz. at Flagstaffe 3, Prosperous Bay 3, Spragues 2, Old Womans Valley 2, so that the 90 freemen will perform it in nine courses.
9 soldiers having been in service here above five years, beg leave to return home. Not granted in consequence of the dangerous condition of affaires in England.
Council ordered to meet in every fourteen days—penalty for absence ½ dollar, 2nd time 1 dollar, 3rd time 1½ dollar, then afterwards to be suspended
List of 24 soldiers and 24 other passengers with Governor Blackmore in the Johanna—includes E. Chubb, Jno. Powell, Joshua Johnson Lieutenant, William Price, John Trapp, Stephen Legg, Richard Griffith, John Downing, J Rowland, Madame Blackmore, Mrs. Johnson and two children.
[Note.—Trapp Cot, Chubb's Spring and Chubb's Rock, Downing's Cove, and Rowland's Cove named after the above.]
Consultation 5th August 1678—Arrangements for Defence 20 Inhabitants at East Ridge, 6 at Bankes and 4 soldiers, 12 at Ruperts and 7 soldiers 20 at West Ridge, 12 at Lemon Valley and 7 soldiers. The rest with the soldiers to be at the Fort. That each of the Lieutenants have delivered unto them a Field Colours and a Drumm with 20 lbs of Powder and a barrel of shott to be kept by, them until an Enemy shall approach the said Island and then they are to deliver out the ammunition as necessity requires. That there be forthwith twelve light Iron Croes prepared and made fitt to move Rocks and Stones of which each Lieutenant is to have six delivered to them to be made use of in case any Enemy should happen to get on shore.
That Mr. John Greentree and Mr. John Colestone have each of them a Drumm and Colours delivered to them and to be made use of at Spragues and Ruperts upon any such alarms.
That a general Rendezvouse of all the Inhabitants be had on Monday at the Market house near Fort James and that then an account be taken of all the armes in their custody and what are found to have been delivered out of the Companies Stores be marked to distinguish them from others, and to prevent embelzment.
That all such who are found to have noe Armes have at the said Rendezvouse some delivered to them, but all of them are to be marked and the persons names taken to whom they are delivered.
That two of the Small Gunns lately brought to the said Island be forthwith conveyed to Prosperous Bay and planted at some convenient place to prevent the landing of an Enemy there. That two more of the said Guns be forthwith conveyed to Old Womans Ridge or valley and Lieutenant Johnson and Mr. Greentree are desired to view the place most convenient to plant them.
That other two of the same Guns be conveyed to the Companies Plantation to be in readiness to be conveyed to any place where there be most need. Whereas the houses built for Courts of Guard at Ruperts, Spragues and Banckses are exceedingly decayed and the Battery's Platform and Works are greatly out of repair—ordered they be all repaired with all the speed that may be and because there are 8 gunns at Ruperts and a spacious Road and Valley the Works there are first to be repaired. Then Spragues where are five Gunns and lastly Banckses where are three.
Consultation, 2nd Sept., 1678.—Matthew Pouncey to be entertained into pay as a Drummer— * * Likewise he is to use his best endeavours to teach some young Soldier or youth (whom the Governor shall appoint) to beat a Drumm and the ordinary points of Warr that are in use—to have the allowance of 20/ per mensem, And because the said Matthew Pouncey hath the family of a wife and small children who in his absence upon duty will want some help it is further ordered that Mary Whally one of the Companies orphans now living with Nathaniel Barindine be placed with the said Matthew his wife and family as a servant for six months he the said Matthew Pouncey allowing her sufficient Dyet, Lodging and Clothes and at her dismission he is not to take away any clothes from her which she brought with her or that he hath given her whilst she hath been his servant.
[Note.—The land called Pounces derives its name from Pouncey.]
An Advertisement and Invitation unto the Inhabitants to send their children unto School at the Church be publicly read in the Church on the next Lords day by the Minister Mr. Wynne. "These are to advertise all the inhabitants of the Island and earnestly to invite and desire every one that hath children capable of learning, and that can possibly spare them, that they would lay aside unnecessary and frivolous excuses and be so much Friends to their children as to send them to the said school and keep them there as contantly as possibly they may. That they would not be soo great Enemies to their children and to learning as to detain them at home about small or trifling matters, or send them soe seldom and soe uncertainly to the said School as that they should receive but little or no profit thereby and so the gratious intendment of the Honourable Company be slighted, the design of this advertisement frustrated, the Minister and Schoolmaster discouraged and the poor children's welfare neglected.
Wild Cattle.—For the better looking after the Stock of Cattle our Masters have on this their Island, especially such of them as are wild, the following order be forthwith issued out. Whereas a great number of Cattle belonging to the Hon Company our Masters doe usually pasture on the West Part of this Island more especially about the High Peake and whereas you with the rest of the Tanners having had the hides gratis of all such as have been killed have formerly been ordered to be aiding to the pounding of the said Cattle every weeke that thereby those who are wild might the more easily be made tame and the true number taken and kept which for some time past hath been but too much neglected by you and the rest of the Tanners you are now hereby ordered to assist in the pounding of the said Cattle every weeke constantly beginning 9 September and soe successively every Monday until further orders.
Tomstones Wood.—Peter Williams 20 acres in Tomstones Wood is in a remote and desolate place far from neigbbours and from having notice of any alarm he is to share with Smoult in his 20 acres at High Peak until some other inhabitants shall have land allotted in or near Tomstone Wood.
Consultation 30th September, 1678.—The Church suffered damage by the extreme heat of the weather to be examined and repaired. Henry Kersey that lives near the Church to be Sexton. Lieut. Tyler and Mr. Greentree to meet together to consider what each inhabitant should pay yearly into Kersey for officiating provided that none pay above twelve pence per annum. Also ordered that half a measured acre of ground about the said Church be forthwith enclosed by the Inhabitants to be and remain for a Public Church Yard or burying place—the said enclosure shall be by a bank cast up out of a ditch that shall be five foot in breadth and five foot in depth upon the Topp whereof shall be set Lemon Trees round the whole enclosure and a Gate shall be made with a bridge to goe over the Ditch for a comely and convenient entrance and passage to and from the said Church and Church Yard.
[Note.—First enclosure of the Country Church Yard.]
Whereas several persons have many times neglected the planting and improving of ye lands allotted them and have taken a liberty to hunt and kill many of the Goats that are wild and under pretence of killing wild have killed some Tame altho the said persons have noe more right unto ye wild Goats than to any Cows or other Cattle that are wild on the said Island all the said wild goats and Cattle being properly the goods of the Company who are the sole Lords of the Island where the said wild goats and cattle breed and feed, offenders hereafter to make reparation and be punished.
21st Oct. 1678.—Several Inhabitants claim satisfaction for dyetting of soldiers by order of the late Governor Field when there were no provisions in the stores—allowed 10/ a month for each soldier.
11th Nov. 1678.—Mr. Greentree reports that the Timber for the repair of the Guard House at Spragueses [Lemon Valley] is out and felled ready to bee carryed. Ordered—that on Monday all the Inhabitants of the West Division doe in their own persons or any others that are sufficient carry the said Timber unto Spragueses and see many Bushes and long Grasse for thatch as may bee sufficient to cover it.
2nd Dec. 1678.—Two soldiers on duty on the crane battery this morning have bin suddenly killed by the fall of Rocks—the said Battery is a place very dangerous in passing throw it to the landing place and in standing of centinell in or near unto it by reason of hanging Rocks that many times fall downe. Ordered—That there be speedily made and set up a strong covering of Timber over the battery. The persons hereafter named of the East Division to be at Mr. Coleson's house on Tuesday by 8 in the forenoon with axes and such other needful Tooles for cutting felling and Darking 240 pieces of Gumm Wood Timber in the next adjacent wood at the head of Sayne Valley and bring it to the battery. None are to fail to do this service as they will answer the contrary at their peril. That the Timber be brought down into Chappel Valley on the hither side of the water at the foot of Parsley Bed Hill [i.e. now the Briars] by all the Inhabitants and freemen able to bear Armes except those thirteen that were employed in felling the same.
William Doveton hath bin on this Island near five years and yett never had any land, but he having lately married a wife he is to have ten acres of land and a cow.
27th Jan., 1679.—Upon complaint of Mr. John Greentree one of the Council that Peter Williams inhabitant hath lately entertained and concealed two of his runaway Blacks several weeks—ordered that Peter Williams be committed to prison 24 hours—afterwards he have one and twenty lashes on his naked body at the Flaggstaffe and pay 8 dollars.
Information being given that there are great numbers of swine in Tompstone Wood Manatee Bay and parts adjacent and that several inhabitants have lately driven a great drove to the said places which is the principal and chiefest for the greatest part of the Companies stock of Cattle to pasture in ordered that they all be removed to other places where they may doe least prejudice to any.
24th Feb., 1679.—There hath bin of late a great scarcity of Lemons by reason of disorderly persons that gather them where ever they find them and that many times before they be halfe ripe, to the great inconvenience of those shipps that touch here expecting refreshment, ordered a penalty of 4 dollars if any presume to take Lemons from any private land or from the Companies plantation or betwixt their house called the Hutts and the place called Money tree Ground.
James Eastings having had his house lately burnt down by a sudden fire and petitioning for relief—ordered that his petition be recommended to all the Inhabitants and that Mr. Smoult and John Luffin be requested to goe from house to house throughout the West division—and Suttan Isaac and William Fox junr: throughout the East division to gather the charitable benevolence of all the people—they are to sett down in writing what every one gives or promiseth and to return an account to the Governor for the Council.
The Watch kept at the High Peake may bee taken off as noe shipps can without much difficulty approach the leeward or westward part of the Island.
Several Inhabitants complained that although they are on duty and watches but one week in nine yet that the said duty and watches are very chargeable and troublesome to them—ordered that the inhabitants be taken off all duty as watches and guards excepting at the Flagstaffe and Prosperous Bay where three of them at each of the said places are to continue and be relieved weekly.
16th June 1679.—The good ship Johannah is lately returned from Bantum preparing to return to England in some few days, but having lost many of his seamen this voyage and brought several sick to this Island and needing some of the soldiers who have been seamen to supply their roome—ordered—that some soldiers who came hither with Sir Richard Munden about six years since when this Island was recovered out of the hands of the Dutch have leave to shipp themselves and return to, England.
Jonathan Higham (one of Sir Richard's Mundens party who landed at Prosperous Bay) and Thomas Goodale prayed for leave to return to England. Though formerly soldiers they returned free and received land and cattle about three years since and for that no certain intelligence hath yett arrived whether there bee peace or Warr betwixt England and the neighbour nations, their petition not to be granted.
11th August 1679.—Whereas several persons have turned many Swine into the Great Wood and parts adjacent many of which have turned wild and their increase hath not been marked whereby persons are not able to distinguish their own from other mens but now all are mingled and running in droves and herds soe every one thinks that all unmarked Swine may be as well his as anothers and have endeavoured to kill and convert to their own use as many as they can catch which hath occasioned sundry complaints—ordered—that all persons have their Swine marked and that noe person presume to kill any Swine that are not see marked.
Whereas Captain Anthony Bealle hath a house standing on the Hon. Companies Plantation which he erected by consent of the late Govenor Captain Field which he proposeth to sell for the use of the Company they having noe house upon their plantation but where the Blacks lodge which also is so old and decayed that tis ready to fall. Ordered that the said house be veiwed and valued.
29th Sept 1679.—Lieutenant Johnson for his allotment of 30 acres of land had made choice of a Parcel of land commonly known by the name of the Great Bottom not farr from the High Peak.
27th Oct 1679.—Captain Anthony Bealle who hath measured all the lands that hath bin distributed and disposed to the Inhabitants is desired to draw up and prepare as exact and punctual a draught Mapp of every man's land on the Island with their due and just Buttals and Boundary's as possibly he can to be transmitted to the Company.
John Walls lived some years on the Island before it was taken by the Dutch in 1672 and after it was retaken by Sir Richard Munden returned back again and repossessed the 20 acres of land he formerly lived upon.
Swine running loose upp and downe Chappel valley besides them coming into and annoying the Port and frequently going upon the Batterys doe alsoe root up along the Water Course that runs to the Spouts where the shipps take in their fresh water—ordered that the Inhabitants upon alarm of any shipp coming in doe drive their swine upp into the valley and keep them at some good distance from the burying place above the spring house under a penalty of half a dollar.
3rd Nov. 1679.—John Boston complains that Sattoe his Black did attempt to kill him, and wounded him with a knife in his right arm and legge. Sattoe being examined confesseth that upon his said master beating him and threatening to do it a second time he took his knife and wounded him in the arm and legge. That he received the knife from Rowland Mr. Swallows Black about ten days before who said when your master beat or strike you then doe you beat him again and kill with this knife. Further that Rowland did about three weeks since proffer him some Red and White Poison in two papers which he said came from Bantum and that he should give some of it to his Mr. and Mistresse when they did next beat him. Alsoe he saith that he had a pipe of Tobacco from Rowland the same day he wounded his Mr. which afterwards he found it very hot in his head and belly and thincks it did the more enrage him against his master.
Ordered that Sattoe be hanged—that the hand with which he wounded his master bee first cut off. His head to be severed from his body and placed upon the top of the Market house.
That Rowland be imprisoned and be brought to the place of Execution with a rope about his neck—and then have forty stripes save one on his naked body and have an Iron pair of Pot hooks rivetted about his neck,
6th Nov, 1679.—John Boston said he had not any thing to say on his Blacks behalf believing that he deserved death but if he were executed it would be unto his the masters undoing in regard of his own weakness and want of help to manage his Plantation. Ordered thereupon that Sattoe's life be spared and that his right hand with which he wounded his master be cut off in the presence of all the Blacks on the said Island. Further that the sentence on Rowland be inflicted on him.
In regard that the sentence on Sattoe was inflicted not only as a punishment but in terrorem to all the Blacks of the Island to deter them from offering any violence it is recommended unto all the Inhabitants more especially to those that have black servants to contribute to the said John Boston their neighbour considering that what his Black by the instigation of the devil attempt to doe the like unto them and theirs.
Thomas Green killed in April last while fishing on the Windward Rocks by the falling of a stone judged to be accidental which broke his leg all in pieces and caused his death in a few hours. But of late there having bin some further discovery as if it were not altogether accidental,—Ordered that a Coroner and Jury examine the matter.
After the Coroner and Jury had spent the whole day in examination of witnesses and in taking up the body of the said Green viewing it and causing several persons to touch the same they brought in a verdict of manslaughter against Richard Alexander, John Waller and John Turner.
The Company our masters have several asses on this their island some of which may be useful to those inhabitants that stand in need of them, ordered that Henry Coales having a family of seven children and being settled in Pleasant Valley towards the Windward part of the Island at as great a distance from the Fort as any other shall have one of the asses delivered into his custody.
William Melling soldier for many uncivil actions towards Mary Wrangham the daughter of the wife of Henry Francis which with some other children he had in charge as School Master ordered that next day when all the soldiers were to be in armes at the head of them upon his knees he aske the said Mrs. Francis and her daughter Mary Wrangham forgiveness—and not to be permitted to keep any-school for one twelve months.
22nd Dec. 1679.—Many contentious persons on frivolous occasions trouble one another by complaining of words spoken some months or years before—all such complaints must in future be made on the following Council day. Such frivolous complaints have occasioned the Governor and Council to spend much pretious time to compose their impertinent brablings and squabblings.
The number of Blacks increasing and they wander abroad from their masters houses especially on the Lord's day sometimes with armes or at least with staves giving occasion of suspition especially considering that not long since one Black who was reputed to be one of the soberest and civilest among them presumptuously wounded his master. Ordered that no Black presume to absent himself from his masters house without leave under some special token fitt to evidence to any that question them, and not to be given on the Lords day nor in any night unless for matters of very great importance. Noe Black to be found abroad or to come to any inhabitants house with armes. This last clause not to extend unto Black Oliver whom the Company our masters thought fit to allow the priviledge of a free planter, nor yett to extend unto the Company's Blacks when they are by order going to and fro to kill cattle for the Company's use.
It hath been lately found out by sad experience that some persons have come to a sudden untimely end by the fall of Rocks from off the hills many of which are very high and steep—divers persons have carelessly or for sport tumbled down several rocks endangering the lives of persons or cattle—ordered—that no person presume to do so under a penalty of two dollars unless it be in the time of any invasion or sedition. This forfeiture not to extend to passengers and mariners unless it be proved that they had sufficient notice of the prohibition.
Jan. 26th, 1680.—The Inhabitants of the Eastern Division petition to build a place of worship and school being at see great a distance from the Church.
March 20 Coroners Inquest on William Denning—verdict Dyed a natural death he having been long under a natural distemper of the flux and his body worn to a perfect anathomy.
William Melling soldier for incivility to Mrs Orlando Bagley and saying "there were noe spirits and none need fear to die"—to ride the wooden horse two hours with a bag of shot at each heale.
Two freemen having sold their land in order to return to England are allowed to goe but none in future who have received land or cattle from the Company are to sell until they know whether they will be allowed to leave.
10th May.—20 acres of land granted as an allotment to William Young in the valley below Plantation called Rope Valley or Plantation Valley—i.e. now called Young's Valley.
Gambling prevalent—some have lost above a years pay all gambling debts cancelled—no playing allowed at Bowles—nine holes—nine pins, &c. for more than one days pay.
Sept. 27th.—Women not allowed to goe on board shipp without special lycence from the Governor and then only in the day time in company with their husbands.
Nicholas Matthews a Lieflander by nation imprisoned and to be sent off the Island for saying that for 1000 guilders he would conduct the French Admiral and shew him a place he had found where he might unseen land what men he would—and that the English were as bad as Turks.
Feb 12th, 1681.—Mr. Greentree and Mr. Colson suspended from Council. The Governor and Council taking info serious consideration a meeting yt was held in the open fields on 6th Jany last by about 50 or 60 inhabitants without leave lycence or approbation of the Governor and Council or without any solemne notice given by them of their intentions where were several things agitated and discoursed of dangerous consequence tending to division and making of parties and factions, particularly some of them did enter into a combination and engagement in writing and others were perswaded or threatened to sett their hands thereunto wherein Mr. John Greentree and Mr. John Colson two of ye Council were observed to be by their example and practises most active. Ordered—that they be henceforth suspended.
Precautions taken to prevent any number of Inhabitants from coming into the fort particularly during Council sittings. Guards to be doubled and gates shut on such occasion.
"Bridgewater ship with slaves arrived from Island St. Lawrence beyond the Cape—much sickness on board—all trade forbidden with her but considering distressed condition of these our countrymen allowed to stay four days."
The Company having sent two boats ordered that the old Pinnace be exposed to sale by an inch of candle on Tuesday next.
March 3rd.—The free planters claim payment for their work at the Fortifications. The Company having ordered that those who receive land and cattle should assist at their suit and service in such works as were for the defence of themselves and families their demands were judged to be unreasonable. But the inhabitants consenting to submit to the final decision of the Governor the claims of 66 planters amounting to £264 are examined and allowed at £81.
April 25th.—The ship Roebuck an Interloper in great distress for supplies—notwithstanding the Company's resolutions against all trade with Interlopers provisions were allowed—"Wee were induced to these conditions because they were Christians and our fellow subjects who by the laws of God and man are to be relieved in a time of such great exigency—and because most of the inhabitants discovered high discontent tending even to sedition and mutiny upon some doubt that they should not have liberty to stay and buy provisions."
16th Jany, 1682.—A stone wall lately built to enclose a large garden near the Fort for the Hon. Company. [The origin of the present Castle Garden.]
13th March.—Scudder a Quaker left sick out of the ship Cesar in 1690 and said to have some skill in the Mathematics, the art of Navigation, and other sciences and allowed the privileges of a free planter because he may teach and instruct the youth of the Island in those things is now deprived of his laud and ordered to leave the island for uncivil words and actions to the Governor and saying he was commanded to do those things.
8th May.—Sundry families settled in Sandy Bay and other windward vallies at a great distance from the Alarm Guns—ordered the Guns to be removed to "Hawley's Mount" and to be fired by any person discerning a ship.
[Note.—Dr. Halley made his astronomical observations on this mount in 1767. From the above othography we may suppose that his name as pronounced by his cotemporaries did not then rhyme to sally as it does according to modern pronunciation.]
August 28.—Several Sea Cows having been caught and appropriated by the inhabitants. Ordered that in future 1/8 be rendered to Government to preserve the royalty.
Sept. 25.—Gates having called Mrs. Powell a witch on the ground that he has never thriven since he took his little daughter home from her he is ordered to ask Mrs. Powells pardon publicly in Church. Mr. Orlando Bagley appointed 5th in Council.
Dec. 18, 1682.—Sutton a soldier complains of Exeter a soldier that he had promised to lend Exeter a silk suit of clothes to goe unto a burial—but that Exeter came unknown to Sutton took them out of his chest and brought them back torn and dirty—to pay 45/,
Aug. 27, 1683.—Joseph Trapp granted land on the East side of Lemon Valley—[or "Trapp Cot"].
Sept. 24.—The boat lost by High winds—the soldiers in her were driven out to sea many leagues for three days but were saved very wonderfully and strangely by a planters boat hastily repaired and trimmed up.
Oct. 15.—The Company having ordered the erecting of a Court of Judicature the Market place now disused near Fort James to be fitted up and called the Sessions House. Mr. John Sich appointed the first Sheriff.
Edmund Chubb killed accidentally by falling from the Ledge of Rocks neare Ruperts or Saine Valley [hence "Chubb's Rock."]
8th Jany. 1684.—Ship Charles 2nd arrived bringing 51 officers and soldiers, among the passengers were Matthew Bazett, French & Worrall, the late Governor Gregory Field returned as an Ensign.
Jany. 28.—Elizabeth Starling assaulted and abused the Captain of the Charles 2nd and her husband threatened to beat him and to make the Sun shine through him. Elizabeth to have 15 lashes on her naked body and to be ducked three times.
Punishment of two runaway apprentices Rowland and Eastings who had killed a sow and broken into a house and taken a fowling piece—ordered to have the tip of the right ear cut off and forehead branded with R—a pair of pothooks to be rivetted about their necks and to be flogged several times viz. 21 lashes on Friday 21 on Monday and on Thursday 6 in town—6 on the top of the hill 6 at half way tree 6 on the hill beyond and 6 more on arriving at home.
July 14.—Gabriel Powell for trading with an Interloper sending off two cows at Friars Valley and attempting to send two more at Breakneck Valley but was prevented by the arrival of a party of soldiers also receiving a black woman slave—fined £15 and cows seized. Gurling fined £10. The Interloper obliged to get water by stealth at Friars Valley by digging holes on the beach.
July 29.—Corporal Bowyer for marrying Mr. Simms widow imprisoned, reduced to private, and Mrs. Simms property 10 acres and 8 cattle seized. The offence being that he disobeyed the Governors order in his hasty proceeding to marry before the circumstances could be considered in Council.
Aug. 5.—Mr. Sault the minister immediately after dinner propounded something to the Gov. relating to a small parcel of land disliking the answer in some disgust and disturbance of mind he threw upon the table a paper folded up and departed. The paper complains of his discouragements, particularly the Governors resentment of Mr. Bowyers marriage which I will prove was strictly according to the canon law of the Church of England. The Govr. and his man both of them striking me (who am a priest in holy orders) on board Capt. Lane's ship because I told the Govr. I laughed to hear him say I was his domestic chaplain whereas we both serve the same Hon'ble Masters.
Aug. 15.—Mr. Sault in council is desired to show a copy of the paper he was handing about the Country for signature which he promised to do—but Captain Holden beginning to speak something about keeping peace Mr. Sault interrupted him saying "Now you are beginning to bubble out your law"—and the Govr beginning to speak Mr. Sault interrupted him—saying "The King and Council would laugh heartily to see him baited by these fellows" then turning his back clapt on his hat and in a scornful manner went away,
Letter from Court of Directors 1st. August, 1683.—Upon perusal of your Consultation Book and observation of the trivial causes that doe fall under your decision and the fewness of the inhabitants yet, we think such a formal proceeding as we have prescribed by our system of law would rather be a burden than a benefit to our Island at present. Therefore you may proceed to determine cases in that method you have already begun and with which your inhabitants are not only acquainted but very well satisfied.
That system we sent you was for the most part drawne from the model of laws we establisht upon our Island of Bombay where the number of the inhabitants are 20,000 but upon recollection finding your whole number of men women servants and children not to exceed 500 we think for the present the method you are in may be the best except in case of taking away of life limbs or land.
Wee find by yc list of gunns fired sent us by Capt. Beale 300 and odd guns which is soe strange a waste that wee could not have thought our Governor would have him guilty of especially considering that Island hath cost us £40,000 without one penny profit hitherto more than refreshment to our shipping which all strangers have as well as ourselves. But most impudent it was to salute Interlopers, and as vile for our minister Mr. Church (if our information be true) to be first aboard the Interloper Pitt that came in last voyage and to entertayne him at his house.
For answering salutes we doe enjoyne for the future never above the number of 3 guns be fired to any of our own ships at arrival, nor any guns fired at feasts or going aboard of Commanders nor over the number of 7 to any French, Dutch &c., nor any at all upon any occasion to Interlopers.
The Planters now keep watch every 6th night i e. two months in the year, or pay for a substitute 40/. Therefore we will levy 40/ a year on their 20 acres of land and they may be relieved from watch duty.
More soldiers will be sent in consequence and no officer or soldiers are to be owners of land during their service. No more land to be alienated but it may be let on lease for 60 years.
Wee have formerly prohibited free planters from bringing any negroes upon this reason viz. least the number of negroes upon the Island exceeding the whites should become formidable and dangerous to the Inhabitants and the security of the Island. But upon further thinking of this matter, considering likewise that there are in Barbadoes usually 50,000 blacks for 600 whites and yett are kept in subjection without other garrison than the Planters themselves, and considering that the soil and climate of the Island is fit for production of commodities of a richer nature than cattle or potatoes, yams, plantains, &c., and being willing that our inhabitants and free planters should not only live but grow rich as we know they will if they may have hands to cultivate their plantations as they have in Barbadoes, Jamacoe and other worse places wee have thought fitt to take off that restraint.
We heard very scandalous reports of loose women going on board our ships—for the future suffer none to board upon any pretence without a lycence in writing.
Be very severe against Robbers and Pilferers and besides the punishment appointed force the offenders for a third offence to wear about his neck an iron collar constantly for one whole year, or an iron lock about his right leg.
Election of Parish officers to be made only by the vote of the Freeholders or only such as are Free planters settled in their possessions and inheritances and their successors whom we shall always esteem and honor as ye first occupants and gentlemen freeholders of that Island, for such we hope their heyres will prove to be and to have estates sufficient to maintain the dignity of that title and deffend their country on horseback.
Every person, Planters, Servants, or negroes, to give one days labour in every year to highways.
In the contriving of the Market place and the building for increasing of the Fort Towne we would have you use all possible regard to ye uniformity and regularity of the streets and buildings after the manner they use now in London since ye Fire—and if there be any irregular buildings that obstruct the evenness of the line of the street cause the owners of such buildings to pull them down or alter them as ye shall judge. The charge thereof cannot be much since we understand most of them are built but 12 or 14 feet high with loose stones piled one upon another
Lands are to be fenced in three years or forfeited. No cattle to stray on the Commons except such as are first marked with the Company's Pitch Brand and to pay the Company 12d. for each annually. Not that we intend to allow of any common hereafter when the Island is fully improved, which are but nurseries for thieves and beggars, though we borrow the method from a custom used upon commons here.
We find by Mr. Church's proceedings he is an encroaching avaricious person and therefore we would have no allowance of provision made him hereafter since he has become so great planter upon 30 acres of our land, more than his beare salary and gratuity and diet att the Governors table when he is there attending to say grace and do his duty as a Domestic Chaplain, and if it be true as we are informed that he did refuse to marry Mr. Smoult's daughter upon the lycence of the Governor it is as great a signe of his weakness as of his pride, for if he understands our constitution he must know that no laws are of force in yt island till they are laws made by us.
We send you herewith Mr. Robert Holden to be Depy Governor and 2nd of Council and Mr. Gregory Field to be Ensign and 3rd of Council.
In regard this ship comes with a Commission from His Majesty to take all interlopers and ye commander is such as will be sure to doe what is enjoined him by his Superiors you will do well to sett upon producing so many yams, &c. as you can because if any Madagascar ships fall in while these ships are about the Island the Blacks will be sold upon the Island one halfe for the King and the other halfe for the Company.
We think the Great Wood is the fittest place to be first enclosed for the Company's use. This work will be proper for our negroes but unless Sr Thomas Grantham shall take some Madagascar ships coming to your Island while he is there we cannot suppose you will have any great supply of them before May or June. We would Lave you fence in the full extent of the Great Wood which we understand is near two miles square.
We understand you use not oxen to carry burdens as indeed we doe not in England, but however with you and in all mountainous countries it is very profitable so to do.
We are greatly offended at your telling us the Planters will not duly register their lands, which we know well enough, nor will they doe anything else orderly if they may have their own wills. But what doe we maintain a Government for but to compel them to do what is fit and reasonable. Do you fine constantly the refractory and levy your fine until they are reduced to better order.
We have received a good letter from Lieut. Johnson and do not remove him from any dislike but Only to make a pollitical change of our Council for we must tell you we cannot think it possible you should have admitted any Interlopers upon any pretence of necessity countrymanship or the like if the major part of our Council had not been Planters.
We have perused your Council Books &c. which are so well methodizod that they do justly merit commendations and we have no fault to find with the judgements you have given in cases of controversy scandal or misdemeanor. Wee think you are not severe enough by much in the cases of contemptuous words to ye Governor—Such insolencies has a tendency to contempt of authority and might therefore be punished severely both in person and in purse.
Court of Directors letter 25th April 1684.—We hope yon have begun with preparing a proper piece of ground for a large Sugar Plantation which as soon as we hear from you we shall further by sending Copper Stills.
For the clothing of our negroes we intend to allow them nothing but clouts which you may make either of coarse calico, saile cloth or reather of strong holland or Dutch canvas.
Having resolved upon a sugar work ourselves we doe absolutely forbid any other sugar work or still to be used resolving to make Sugar Rum and Molasses the Company's owne commodities.
We understand by Capt. Bass that salt is very plentiful about the Island made by the heat of the Sun congealing the salt water upon or in the holes of the Rocks which has put us upon an apprehension that persons of judgment might contrive by letting the salt water into some valley or raising it by some pumps or engines out of the sea and letting it run into convenient places prepared for that purpose on the land where the salt water might lye a great breadth and not above one foot or ten inches thick you might with little labor produce many 1000 tuns there—these kind of cheap salt works have much enriched the French and Portuguese nations the best whereof are about Rochell in France and St. Uvals in Portugal. Capt. Bass thinks Rupert's Valley may be the best place for this purpose on each side the gulley that conveys the Run water from the mountains to the sea. The gulley must be kept open for the purpose least in a time of great rains that gulley should overflow into your salt pans. The salt is to be laid in heaps 90 or 60 bushels in a heap upon the firm land to lay 2 or 3 days. After that bring all these small heaps into one great one as big as a large house and as high as you can possibly make it—the bigness of the heap contributing very much to the security of the salt in all weathers, see that if you can make a mountain of 500 or 1000 Tunns with the form of a Haystack it will in time crust over with so hard a crust as will secure it against all violent rains and weather and the longer the salt lies in such vast heaps the firmer whiter and better it will be.
We have also thought of another way of improvement of our Island and that is the taking salting and drying of fish in boats round the Island as well as from the Rocks. The manner of proceeding in this is that our planters should buy of you the Yawles &c. that they make use of, and that for all the fish well saved and dryed that they bring unto you you should give them 4s. per cwt. The fishing yawles must not use graplings for anchors but kell-locks which is a great stone fastened to four claws of wood because the grapling may chance to break in banging upon the Rocks. All the heads gutts and offill of your fish must be throwne into the sea which will cause the fish the more to haunt the Island. The fish must have their heads and tails cut off and dryed upon the Rocks and if it lies out a night the skinny side must in the night lye upwards especially Bonetos and Ablecoares. If the planters should take any store of mackerel that will not be fitt for drying but must be barreled up in tight casks as it is done in New England.
The greatest deffect as we know of in the Island is the want of grain. We are at length in hopes that you may produce very good Rice upon your high lands. Captain Knox that lived 20 years in Seylone informed us that there is a peculiar sort of Rice that groweth best on high and dry land, the seed and cultivation of which be knoweth very well. He and one Ralph Knight that is on board his ship having wrought many years upon it with his own hands in Seylone. We wish he could stay 12 months that he might show you the manner of Innng as well as sowing. The Planters upon the Island are see loose and neglect a people that you are not to depend upon them for making of this or any new experiment but begin every thing that is new upon the Company's ground and with the Company's own negroes.
Cherish and encrease your Cocoa Nutt Trees all that possible you can they being of much more use than you doe at present apprehend.
We are told your Pamplemuss Trees and some other plants are much subject to blast—supply that deffect by raising the walls about the Company's garden in Chappell Valley to 11 or 12 feet high.
We shall send you a system of the laws and customs of Barbadoes—remember its absolutely necessary you should hold our negroes to the rigour of the Barbadoes discipline without which your owne lives nor our Island can be safe.
You must be careful and diligent in destroying Rats for which purpose we shall send 20lb of impalpable powdered glass.
We are absolutely resolved to keep all the remainder of the land in our own hands and to try whether we cannot improve it better in 3 or 4 years than those leasy Planters have done in 20 years.
Captain Knox is of opinion that Iron Stones abound much in that Island and if it prove soe we have a treasure there which was not thought of before. In the country where he was Captive every poor man tho not worth 20/ made his owne iron for the use of his family, the manner whereof he will show you.
We have discoursed with one Bagley that hath a plantation upon that Island who tells us in some contrary to Mr. Smoult and others that noe West India commodities will grow well at St. Helena—and that your clay will not bind except mixt with lyme, but we do not absolutely depend upon his judgment. He seems to be a man of an unsettled mind that hath begun in many sudden countries to plant but never stayed long in any.
The most material thing we could gather from his information was that hay seed and other grass seeds might thrive exceeding well. We shall send you some grass seeds.
Barricade all your Valleys and Gulleys to leeward with strong stone walls—by such barricades you will at worst have time to be in armes upon the Hills before an enemy can steal up thither in the same manner by which that Island hath been twice surprized.
Upon further consideration of the great advantage that may accrue to us if there prove to be a harbor at the Island Tristan de'Acunha we think fit upon Capt. Knox arrival from Madagascar in case you find encouragement by the acct you shall have from Capt. Knox you doe put on board Capt. Knox* some intelligent person by the name of Governor at the salary of £30 per ann: 5 soldiers at 14/ per mouth besides their dyett—3 or 4 of the Company's oldest negroes that speak English with their wives &c. and what animals, plants or seeds Capt. Knox can conveniently carry all which wee would have him land in his pasaage for India.
We send two setts of figures engraved in iron from No. 1 to No. 10 to stamp the Barrs of Copper which are in 30 chests laden in the "Society" that the wt of every barr may be known. This we would have sold at one penny per oz. and may serve instead of money to go current on the Island.
* NOTE.—After Capt. Knox's arrival at St. Helena his ship, the "Tonquin Merchant," was run away with by his officers and crew on 8th June, 1684, whilst Capt. Knox and his carpenter were on shore.
26th Nov. 1684.—In regard you write that your planters are after old wont inclinable to be mutenous we have sent you an order enclosed to all commanders of our ships to assist our Govr, and if required that they shall stay in St. Helena road soe long as necessary not exceeding one month for every one ship.
23rd. Dec. 1684.—From the Governor and Council at the Hughley. We cannot procure any slaves. Here is no such thing. There is but one way to have them viz—to take them by force off some parts on the sea coast and that we dare not attempt. We are here in great trouble—a present stope upon all our business.
Consultation 13th Oct. 1684.—On Wensday last the 8th inst. Allen Dennison soldjr did openly and publiquely declare to ourselves and all the officers and soldjrs in armes present at a mustar that Robt. Holden deputy Governor should say about five weeks since at the Company's store house these following words viz—Wee are not His Majesty's subjects but the Company's—which words we could not but take special notice of and the person that now made this declaration whom we have often found to be an insolent turbulent and disorderly fellow—for this present he was only severely checked for his presumptuous words with all charged to appeare this day to answer this scandalous action. Captain Holden was acquainted with what had passed who wondered greatly at this villanes notorious wickedness which he declared must arise upon the following occasion. Some days before whilst Captain Holden was very busy in stamping the Japan Copper Bars to prepare them for the approaching payday the said Dennison came and demanded a pound of tobacco which Captain Holden refused at that time to deliver. But this fellow at last fell into reflecting and reviling language against the Honble Company and abusive speeches of Captain Holden concluding he would be payd in money and in what goods he desired yea and at what tyme he wanted them. Captain Holden severely checked him for his abusive language and reflection on the Company whose soldjr he was and to whose power he ought to be subject as being ye kings derived to the said Company as their power and authority on this Island was ye kings or words to the same sence.
This is the sum of the said Captain Holdens reply to this wretch his unjust scandall and he did thereupon desire to be excused from sitting in Council whilst the said audatious villaine should be present as not being well able to beare the sight of him—considering the several circumstances of their scandall particularly his concealing the said words about five weeks and then chusing such a season to utter them amongst all the soldjrs when in their armes we have reason to doubt that he had some secrett design to incense the soldjrs and to stir them up to some mutinous motion for want of ready money to pay them, he being chiefly employed in delivering them goods for their pay or else we fear be was influenced and sett on by some of the most active discontented Islanders he having named one of them to be wittness for him—ordered that Dennison be immediately committed to prison, that he have irons putt upon him and kept until the next returning ship doe arrive at this Island.
No further entry on this subject until 3rd Nov 1684, when several soldjrs are said to be in Prison for their late mutiny and rebellion on Saturday 21st Oct. 1684—attempting by force and armes to break into Fort James. Upon serious consideration of the late Insurrection and mutiny by the combination of a great party of free planters and several soldjrs attempting in a horrible manner to enter take and possess Fort James by force, and to change the government and although beaten off and foyled in their attempt not knowing what further design their heads and leaders may have either privately by treachery, or openly by hostility, it is ordered that 60 of the planters who are named should deliver up the fyre armes delivered to them out of the Company's magazine—and that notwithstanding the order that Dennison should be sent off in the first ship, considering now the sad and fatal effects of his calumny and slander that on the 21st day of October an attempt was made by several soldjrs and freemen conjoined who demanded the release of the said Dennison and imprisonment of Captain Holden ordered that Dennison be deteyned now in Prison with others his confederates until tryed according to law.
17th Nov—Ordered that as soon as any returning English ship shall come into this road an officer be sent on board to acquaint the Commander of the late insurrection that he be desyred not to send any of his ships company on shear until he shall think fitt to come himself and that all who come with him shall attend him into the Fort and not goe up into the Town or amongst the Freemen without leave. That if he doe receive any papers letters or any kind of manuscripts from the inhabitants to be sent for England he doe show them all to the Governor and Council.
23rd Dec.—The good ship Royal James being now in the road Capt. James Marriner in command he was acquainted with the late mutiny and desired to be aiding with some of his officers in the trial of them, whereunto he showed great readinesse, accordingly six of them with six officers of the Garrison were chosen who were empanneld a jury, Capt. Marriner was appointed Foreman.
William Bowyer, Joseph Clark, Joseph Orseman and Robert Moore late soldiers now prisoners were arraigned for Mutiny and Rebellion.
Bowyer, Clark and Orseman would not plead nor make any other answer but that they appealed to the Kings Bench Barr in England—but Moore pleaded not guilty and put himself upon God, his country and the jury.
Witnesses—William Roe free planter—on Tuesday 21st Oct saw Wm Bowyer to advance from John Colson's house towards Fort James with a musket on his shoulder and a sword by his side at the head of several soldiers in arms about 20 and many freemen in rear about 20 or 30. Bowyer led them to the Sessions house (called the old Market) near to Fort James and turned to the upper mount where the Governor stood and spake to him but witness was not within hearing.
William Wells gunner saw Bowyer at the head of a party of soldjrs and planters above 60 persons with a flagg like the Kings Jack carried by one Richard Hancock that run away out of Sir Thomas Grantham's shipp. Clark and Orseman on either hand of him with a drawn sword in hand. Bowyer led them to the sally port of Fort James.
Spencer and Hunt give similar evidence and that Bowyer struck beat and bounct att the Sally port with his musket to beat it open. Hunt sayth that being commanded by the Governor to goe with a party to the said Bowyers house be found Clarke and several others with their armes in the said, house and knocking to gett entrance one cryed "to your arms to your arms," on which be fyred in upon them and took them prisoners
Spencer saith—he saw them march to Fort James with the counterfeit Jack and after the Governor had commanded them all to stand and the soldjrs to come into the fort, Moor sayd if you will not deliver Capt. Holden the Traitor wee will have you too as a Traitor and you are all Traitors.
The Jury withdrew and after 2 hours tyme brought in a verdict of guilty.
Friday 2nd Jany. 1685.—The prisoners were brought up to receive sentence. Bowyer and Clark stood to their appeal, Orseman and Moore begged the mercy of the Court. All of them sentenced to death by hanging.
5th Jany.—The Governor's wife by a long and tedious sickness is brought to death's door and in all likelyhood to expyre this day whereon some of the late condemned persons are to have the sentence of death inflicted on them—for this and some other weighty reasons ordered the execution be stopped until further orders.
15th Jany.—Orseman and Moore also Dennison the first instigator to the rebellion ordered to be banished to Barbadoes in the ship John and Mary now in the roads never to come on the Island again on pain of death.
Four other soldiers prisoners' ordered to be brought to trial on Monday next.
19th Jany.—The four prisoners tried found guilty and begged for mercy sentenced to death but decided to banish them to Barbadoes.
25th Jany.—Warrant issued for execution of Bowyer and Clarke upon the upper mount in James Fort.
Note.—In these proceedings and evidences no statement is given of what followed when the soldiers pushed against the sally port of Fort James They were fired upon with both "great and small shot," which killed three and wounded fourteen. One of the killed was Black Oliver, who guided Sir Richard Munden's party up the rocks at Prosperous Bay at the re-capture of the Island and was made a free planter in consequence. The party then retreated and some soldiers went with Bowyer to his house at Broad Bottom. On the apprehension of the prisoners at Bowyer's house on the night of the 21st Oct. one more was killed and one wounded by firing in through the windows on the party showing resistance. No measures whatever were taken or threatened against the few planters who marched unarmed in the rear of the soldiers further than depriving them of the muskets entrusted to them for militia use, and on 9th Feby. Matthew Pouncey, one of them, was fined, imprisoned and punished with 21 lashes for abusing D. Barker as a gallows building rogue and for saying there was no justice to be had in the Island, and that there was no Council, for he did not own Capt. Holden nor Capt. Field. And on the same day Martha Bolton, the wife of another of the planters, was ordered to have 21 lashes, be imprisoned and be ducked three times at the crane for saying the rebels were murdered—that Captain Holden was a traitorous knave and that if ever she and her husband went to England they would goe to the King about it, for the men were plainly murdered.
There does not appear to have been any intention to take further measures, but it will be seen in a future extract that acting apparently upon the first hasty report, a commission was obtained by the Company from King James to make war upon the, mutineers if they were in arms, to reduce them by force and to inflict sentences of death upon twelve planters who were excepted by name from pardon.
Letter from Court of Directors May 6, 1685—We have received yours 17 Jan. and 7 Dec. both giving us an account of the traitorous rebellion of the planters and some of our soldiers which by our former letter you might perceive we, had long since a foresight of that people, as all other that hath bin pardoned for one Rebellion being naturally apt to fall into another. Execution of justice upon notorious offenders being the only known way to keep any people in peace and subjection to good laws—your care and fidelity in defending the fort merits our just commendation but we doe not like your pardoning of those two rebellious soldiers which were condemned by so just and indifferent a Jury, and now since we have his Majesty's Commission to govern our Plantations by Martial Law which is absolutely necessary in such remote places, we would have you proceed according to such his late Majesty's Commission in his new charter of 9th August 1683 and also according to his now Majesty's Commission which we send you.
Upon ye Charter and Commission aforesaid you may observe there is no appeal to His Majesty neither have you power to pardon any person excepted by his Maj: the speedy execution of justice upon such notorious offenders is the, only means to preserve that Island without help of foreign histories, for if the greatest indulgencies that ever was afforded. to any men upon earth would have prevailed upon those planters to live quietly upon lands given them by ourselves they had never rebelled three times which they did before the last insolency.
What pretences these rebellious people make for their impieties and how little effect their suggestions have had either upon His Majesty or upon us, we send you with these all the petitions papers etc., they have sent to His Majesty or to us and you will see that in the paper of their pretended grievances we have made some animadversions in the margin which you may make use of for your own information but these people have for 20 years together appeared of such rebellious wicked ungrateful practises and principles that we would have you not to abase yourselves or His Majesty's Govt which you represent by expostulating soe much and soe often as you have done with such unreasonable men.
We observe yt you say Capt. Beale's house as bin ye rendezvous for contriving much of the trouble that hath lately befallen you and therefore though we have bin prevailed wish not to name him or his son as persons to be excepted out of H. M. gracious pardon yett we think it necessary you should bring him and his son to a fare tryal in the manner you try the rest of the rebells—but if he or his son shall be found guilty we would have you not execute either of ym butt keep them in prison until H. M. pleasure be known concerning their lives,
Mr. Sault is now in prison (as wee hear) for debt you need not have suspected yt such a man as he could have any influence upon us to yr prejudice.
Since there hath bin four rebellions in ye island His Majesty may justly blame our conduct and we yours if there should be a 5th and indeed we must take shame to yourselves that there hath byn so many already. All we can say for ourselves it was too much lenity and compation, but we find too late the verity of the old proverb too much pity spoyles a city.
Amongst the writings we requested from His Maj— for the reducing of Bombay we judged it necessary to have one summoning the rebels to submit upon promise of pardon to all but the excepted but it will be wholly useless in case our Govr be in possession of our Fort.
Copy of the Kings commission for trying of Rebells dated ye 14 of April 1685.
James the second &c. &c. to our Trusty and well beloved John Blackmore &c. [the Council and Sir John Wyborne], greeting. Whereas we have byn credibly informed yt there has byn formerly a Treasonable Rebellion and insurrection made in our Island of St. Helena and a violent assault made upon our Fort and Castle there commonly called Fort James contrived perpetrated and executed by Adam Denison, John Bich, John Colston, Thomas Bolton, Matthew Pouncey, John Luffkin, Job Jewster, William Rutter, Edward Gardner, Robert Beanies and William Cox wth several other the inhabitants and soldrs on the said Island and that some of the persons beforementioned and others their sociates in the late rebellion hath byn formerly aiding abetting or active in other rebellions upon the said Island for which they did not suffer condign punishment as they ought to have done for such their heinous offences and whereas our East India Company have humbly besought as that by our Royal Command some just punishment might be inflicted on the most notorious of the Rebels at St. Helena for to the intent the Island may be produced into a state of obedience and all persons may be deterred from, the like attempt for the future. We therefore hereby give and grant unto the said John Blackmore (&c.) or to any three of you full power and authority to arraign judge and sentence by Martial Law all persons upon our Island of St. Helena that shall by due proof be found to have byn acting aiding abetting or assisting in the late treasonable rebellion there and to cause such of ym to be executed as are excepted out of our general pardon hereafter mentioned, but for as much as many well meaning and otherwise loyall persons may have byn seduced and drawn into ye said rebellion by the especious pretences of Ringleaders hereafter mentioned we doe therefore of our wonted grace and tenderness of the lives of such innocent and deluded persons hereby [this part is illegible] that have been deluded and drawn into the said treasonable rebellion except Adam Dennison one of the first incendiarys, John Sich that was designed to be made Governor by the said Rebells John Coleson designed deputy Governor Thomas Bolton designed Storekeeper, Matthew Pouncey formerly accused of fellony, John Luffkins, Job Jewster, William Rutter, Edward Gardner, att whose house the rebellion was contrived and Robert Symes a fifth monarchy man engaged in Venners rebellion and William Cox who as we are informed formerly betrayed that Island to the Dutch and Anthony Beale
In witness whereof we have signed, these presents and cause our great Seale of England to be fixed to the same. Given at our Court in Whitehall ye 14 day of April 1685 in the fifth year of our Reign.
Note.—On the arrival of Sir John Wyborne this commission was put in effect and fourteen of the planters were condemned at the court-martial which sat 20th Nov. 1685—five of them were forthwith executed and nine reprieved pending further orders.
There is no record of the proceedings of the court-martial, but the evidence taken in the first instance goes far to prove what the Planters themselves alleged in their Petition to the House of Commons, that in going to Fort James their object was to desire the Governor to call Holden to account, not to make any attempt to capture the Castle, seeing that the planters were all unarmed, and so were the soldiers, except three or four who carried their muskets. Anderson in his History of Commerce says:—"That the House of Commons passed a resolution declaring the Company to have acted in an arbitrary and illegal manner, which raised a considerable degree of popular clamour against them."
As the Island had been more than a year without a clergyman some persons were glad to take advantage of the services of one, the Rev. Mr. Buttler, who was on board the ship London to bring up the arrears of marriages. On 2nd Dec. Mr. Buttler was complained of for having married one couple at 9 o'clock at night. He was ordered "to give under his hand a catalogue of all the Christennings, Burialls and Mariages by him officiated on the Island since the coming of the said shipp to-morrow morning by nine of the Clock and when so done yt ye said Mr. Buttler shall be presently carried on board of ye said shipp and there remain without coming on shore any more at this place."
M. Butler then presented a petition highly reflecting on Sir John Wyborne, specially saying yt Sr John Wyborne had threatened his life by saying yt when he came past the Cape of Bona esperanza where he should then be admiral he would try by a court martiall and dead men tell no tales.
But not proving this he was ordered to beg Sir. John Wyborne's pardon immediately before the Council and publickly to do the same before the whole company on board the ship London.