Jan. 1, 1686.—Starling and others rewarded for the late capture of Richard Hancock that had lived in ye woods 22 months and was a principal agent in the late Rebellion.
Note.—Nothing further is said of his fate, but he was probably hung like the other planters who had been sentenced by Court-martial. His hiding place still retains the name of Hancock's Hole and is in Stonetop Valley.
Feb. 8.—Anne Bowyer [whose husband was one of those executed for rebellion] complains of Perkis forbidding her banns of matrimony with Harding. Perkis in answer says she made herself sure to him by promising to marry him as soon as any other, but there was no solemn promise. Adjudged that ye Widow Bowyer is not sure to ye said Perkis but yt she may proceed to marry Richard Harding.
June 21.—Frank a black man of Gurling in custody for murder and burglary— breaking into Tuesdales house and killing Armingo a slave who had seized him—also dashing a white boy Jonathan Young on the ground leaving him for dead. "The way and manner of bringing him to condign punishment occasioned some debate as being unwilling to allow him the privilege of an English subject who are by our instructions to be tried by Juries." Resolved that all Blacks guilty of such crimes shall be tried by the Governor and Council without any other form or process—Frank sentenced to have his right hand cut off and nailed to the jibbet near the Sessions house and then to be hung and quartered. Two of Capt, Johnson's blacks at Broad Bottom for enterteyning Frank and receiving silver buttons from him to have 40 stripes each under the jibbet, to carry the quarters to the country and be branded on their left shoulder with R.
June 22.—Thomas Eastings aged 14 years for many thefts it was judged he might be brought within the compass of the law to take away his life, but looking on him as a youth who may become a good man—It was ordered—that he be whipped under the gallows at Franks execution, and then again at the Crane and then be sent away off the Island in the ship Resolution [i.e. a dangerously leaky vessel which needed hands to pump her].
This punishment could hardly be called leniency to an orphan boy only 14 years of age but it met with sharp rebuke from the Company who said in their letter "your banishment of Thomas Eastings is likewise such a silly piece of pageantry instead of a banishment that we are ashamed our Aged Governor should be guilty of so great a folly."
We know Runagadoes young fellows love to be rambling and believe if the fellow had committed no fault deserving death or imprisonment he would have thanked the Governor for giving him the opportunity to satisfie his humour of changing places. The wise Dutch never banish white men out of India, for to send home such to any part of Europe is rather a reward than a punishment."
August 5, on a petition from Gurling and Tuesdale it was ordered that the masters of Blacks executed or murdered were to have compensation by a Poll tax on other blacks as is the practise at Barbadoes. (A list is given which included 45/ from the Company for 45 blacks their slave men.)
On this the Company observe. We approve of a Poll tax upon the owners of Blacks to satisfy other owners whose Blacks shall be executed, but you went beyond your cast when you gave £2 5 0 of the Companys money to Gurling and Tuesdale. We never gave you authority to dispose of our charity.
Jan 21 1867—Taylor complains that "Parrum's cow is an unlawful beast for she hath bin seen to leap over a wall above six foot high and over a ditch nine foot wide and eight foot deep."
[As it was through Capt. Holden the Depy-Governor the so called Dennison insurrection occurred with its fatal consequences to so many of the principal planters of the Island the following entry will be useful to give some insight into his character.]
25th Feb 1687.—Mr. Goffe a Member of Council complained of Capt. Holden for detayning a cask of arrack his property on pretence that as Receiver of Customs and "guager of spirits" he had not then gaged the cask, tho he then had his gaging rod in his hand and refused to measure the cask—but that he had seized the cask and put ye Broad Arrow upon ye Bonge and Head of the Cask.
The Governor and Council invited Capt. Holden to settle the complaint before public notice be taken of it—Capt. Holden answered "The Governor and Council have nothing to do with it to concern themselves in that affaire and that he shall not concern himself with what they shall act in that matter. He will not come to answer Mr. Goffe's complaint."
Refusing a second kind and friendly invitation a warrant is issued to Henry Jackson the Sergeant of the Guard for delivery of the spirits. On this Capt. Holden "acts in a violent and singular manner" and the Council note "that his violent and stubborn disposition is known."
It was then resolved ye Governor and Council attended by a guard should goo to Capt. Holden and demand restitution "and 11 o'clock before noone the Governor and Council went out of the Fort attended with a sergeant and file of musqueteers. * * The serjeant went to the window, called and knocked several times but no answer was made, whereupon the Governor and Council advanced up the stairs and called Capt. Holden—Capt. Holden—Capt. Holden I desire to be admitted into the Hon. Company's storehouse and yt you will not deny me entrance. This ye Governor did five times reiterate but no answer would be made * * Upon this the Governor called Capt. Holden under his chamber window after ye same manner as before but no answer was given upon which the Governor said to all persons present.—You see how it is and what we are unwillingly forced to do—Then order was given for wrenching open the door of that roome where the cask was but none permitted to enter but the Governor and Council who delivered ye cask to Mr. Goffe and ye customs of it viz. 3s. 4d. he paid to Mr. Keelinge who was desired to deliver it to Capt. Holden and the door was made fast by a strong padlock. In the evening information was given that some of the Company's goods were lying abroad. The Governor and Council are persuaded that Capt. Holden was in the storehouse but kept himself recluse and silent therein whilst the Governor and Council were there and we cannot but conclude that after their departure he himself put forth the forementioned pieces of goods.
March 7.—Capt. Holden had withdrawn from our community both in Council and in table.
April 23.—Capt. Holden refuses to collect any more revenue—complains of being impeded in his duties. The Governor and Council desire he should collect and offer to give him a guard to protect him—he replied—He will not concern himself any more—the Company must judge who was in error and the hardest must fend off, for be was resolved not to have the stores forced open for Customs any more.
June 27.—Mr. Keelinge having been sent by the Governor and Council to Capt. Holden with a letter inviting him to join them in collecting the Revenue returned with a dateless unsubscribed paper without superscription but in Capt. Holden's own hand-writing. Quoting his appointment as Storekeeper he says in these orders I am conjoyned with none, or any is conjoined with me. I shall not oppose when I am too weak to resist or assume to be a judge of ending a controversie when appeal can be made to a superior court. We can never live happily when we assume an intermeddling with anothers affaires. The Governor is chiefly to look to the Civil Government—I to my accounts—Capt. Field to look after the Company's buildings and repairs—Mr. Coxe to the Govt of the negroes and plantations and Mr. Goffe as supernumerary to give assistance as occasions shall need him. These orderly done, things would proceed well and end well, but as they are we but eudeavour one anothers ruin and make our live uneasy and uncomfortable to us—Vale.
Nov. 2—Capt Holden detains goods from the Captain of the Herbert till the due of a barrel of powder for the Company be paid to him—refusing to recognize its payment to the Governor. He would cause the Captain to know that there was two Governors in this place—viz—a Governor and a Deputy Governor and that he in that affair was above the Governor. Capt. Holden had uttered many seditious words as "That the Governor was a Rebel, &c., and was turned out of his place long ago"—Resolved—if he continued his invectives to confine him and send him off the Island.
Capt. Holden refuses to issue pay to Mr. Coxe a Member of Council, Mr. Coxe is therefore paid partly by three bullocks of the Company's Stock—A similar complaint from Capt. Field.
Mr. Coxe complains of the Armourer Andrew Rooker telling him with much abuse he would have seized his boat if he had not received Capt. Holdens lycence as well as the Governors. Rooker in "a fierce and insolent manner chooses rather to go to prison than beg pardon, and so to prison he went."
24th Nov. 1687.—Peter a black slave of Richard Griffin confessed that be had poysoned his former master Hedulph Eiben—also that he had given poyson to Captain Bealle's black named Derick—and to Andrew Philips black named Job and to Gabriel Powell's black and to Robert Tomp's black and also that he had strewed powder glass upon meat to his present Master and Mistress Griffin but they spying it upon the meat did not eat it.
According to the evidence of other slaves Peter had used powdered glass with earth taken out of dead peoples graves "mixed with his blood and sweat."
He was sentenced to be burnt to death on 29th Nov. Proclamation made yt all ye inhabitants do cause all their Blacks (except young children) to be present at ye execution—and that every one of them do bring down a turn of wood for ye same purpose.
No serious notice was then taken of the other blacks who were accused, but two years afterwards fresh complaints were made 23 Dec. 1689 against Job the slave of Andrew Philips and one of his slave women named Maroa and on examination it was found that Job had poysoned his Masters former wife and that Derick had not only poysoned Captain Beale as formerly alleged but had also in April 1689 given poyson to the widow Mrs. Eleanor Beale as he said "to be revenged on his Mrs. because shee had hyred Andrew Rooker a soldr to whipp him"—Mrs. Beale was "still living but in a very weake languishing condition" and her death ensued soon afterwards.
Job and Derick were sentenced to be burnt to death and a Proclamation issued as before.
Maroa the black, woman was sentenced to be chained to a post neare unto the said two blacks that are to be burned and there continue until execution be finished and then to have 30 lashes on her naked body then returned to prison in irons there to remain until shee can be sent off the Island but whilst shee stays to receive 30 lashes on her naked body every Saturday afternoone.
Jan. 6 1687.—Some obstructions lately in passing Copper Barrs for money. Ordered that in all payments of debts one half may be paid in barrs and the other in currant money. Those who refuse such payments to be looked on as turbulent persons and disturbers of the peace.
For methodizing proceedings in tryalls resolved that the Governor and Council do meet and sit as a Court of Judicature four times in ye year viz. the first Monday in April July Oct. and Jany.
[Note.—The first institution of the Quarterly Sessions.]
July 23rd—Upon consideration of regulating the prices of Punch it is ordered—That 20d. in strong distilled Liquor and 9d, in Sugar with other usual ingredients shall be putt into each Bowle of Punch for which no retayler shall presume to demand any more than five shillings.
Directors Letter 3rd August 1687.—Capt. Gregory Field is a mere useless burden to us and therefore we do hereby dismiss him from our service. Give him leave to come home at his own charge and we shall admit him into our almshouse here which he petitioned for.
Mr. Nathaniel Cox we are satisfied have misspent his own time and our money and therefore do hereby dismiss him. At Bencoolen he may employ his talents and his stock in making sugar for himself if he think fit.
You must not dispense with our orders, nor suffer the inhabitants to disobey yours, but make it your business to undeceive those ignorant inhabitants by convincing them of the truth that we are intrusted by His Majesty with the execution of Sovereign power in that Island as well Legislative as Executive and that we would govern them as well as our soldiers by marshall law as often as we or you find it necessary and as the Dutch do their Colonies in India.
You must always wear the King's Flag and force a due respect to be paid to it by all ships that come into that road.
Our Governor's expence of powder wee think too much by halfe notwithstanding the apology in your letter of 1 May 1686. Wee think our honor consists in saving the Company's money and so doth yours, which the Governor's great years may very well give him experience of it.
Sallutes to strange ships may sometimes be necessary in in point of reputation, but to our own ships more than what we ordered is foolish prodigality and is forborne in the King's Garrisons even to his own Men of Warr without any blemish to His Majesty's honor (which is infinitely more to be preserved than ours) but rather to the increase of it.
Our Governor is very much to blame in not doing his duty in keeping Mr. Smoult from running so much into our debt. We require you to seize all his stock and Plantation. If you should reply that he hath made them over to Mr. Tyson or his son in law we must answer you in that maxim "Nullum tempus occurrit Regis aut Ecclesiae " &c.
Make an extract of all our orders and enter them in a Book to be alwaies lying on our Council Table such our orders being to you as good law as Magna Charta is to England and he that thinks it to be otherwise doth but discover his own ignorance, all foreign Plantations being indisputably subject to His Majesty's despoticall power which whosoever doubts may easily be satisfied by looking into our Statute books where he will soon observe that our English Acts of Parliament extend no further than to the Kingdom of England dominion of Wales and town of Berwick upon Tweed, neither is the municipal or common law of England of any further extent.
If our Governor were a mere Mr. Cher, a Boy and not a soldier of experience armed with the King's authority and law as well as with swords and musquets we should wonder the less at the weak paragraph in one of your letters wherein he says some of the Freemen stand out and will not have their cattle markt—We would have you do as the law is here and as every little Lord of mannor daily practisesand if after notice by reason of the wildness of the Cattle you cannot drive them to the Company's cowpound in such case you may commission some of the soldiers to shoot them 1/4 to the soldrs 1/4 to the company and the remainder to the proprietor.
The Dutch at the Cape have more for licensing one tavern than we have for all the Revenues of St. Helena we order to be paid in future £4 per annum which you cant think hard while there is none at the Cape without paying the Dutch Company £400 per annum.
Upon perusal of your Council Books beginning June 1686 we approve of your manner of trying the Blacks but think very meanly of you for the matter of your sentence and wonder the more how you could be guilty of such weakness as to lett those Blacks pass with a whipping which an Englishman could have been condemned to dye here with a jury especially since Mr. Cox was present who knows the English could not keep the knife from their threats at Barbadoes if they did not punish their thievish Blacks with far greater severity. Those Blacks that were whipped but once if you are minded to save their lives for their masters sakes (which we vehemently suspect) you should rather have whipt 6 or 8 times by intervals keeping them in the interim to hard imprisonment.
Its now high time to come to a resolution what is to be done with the Estate of the Rebells that were executed now remaining in the hands of the Widows.
We give unto ye widows and orphans of the executed Rebells all the personal effects belonging to their late husbands and fathers but sequestrate all the houses and lands, Concerning the nine men condemned and which lye at present under sentence of death we shall determine nothing, positively but leave that to our next ship. But in general you may assure those condemned persons that none of them shall suffer death for what is past. Such as desire it we intend to transport to Fort S George where ye men and youths have the pay of soldiers and may live happier than ever they did or could hope to do at St. Helena in such drunken company.
That chest of money which Capt. Harding has not orders to receive from you shall lye by you not to be broken open but in the case of some exigency of a rebellion or an invasion, as the Romans formerly after they had been so frequently invaded by the Gawls kept always a sacred treasury which was never to be touched upon any emergency but an invasion of the Gawls.
The Sugar is so very good that we cant take less than 9d. per lb being the best sort of white dry sugar—and 2/ per lb for the tobacco. It is the best sweet scented Virginia yt people of the best quality smokes here and by retail will bring the same rate in the shops in England, though we had it cheaper than any retailer buys it taking so great a quantity of it as five tunns together of Alderman Jefferyes who is an Adventurer with us.
Capt. Holden we require constantly to attend our Council and to agree amicably with our Governor whom we have very good thoughts of, with confidence of his fidelity, notwithstanding we do (and as we think) justly blaime him for some mistakes in the management of our affaires, and of his too much indulgence to the rebblious people which have alwaies proved so ungrateful to us as to him and are never to be governed but by sever Laws and a strict execution of them.
If Mr. Cox or any of the condemned persons families or any others are willing to remove to Bencoolen to live there as free men you may give them leave for their passage on board this ship. We have ordered the Govr to sett out to each family 40 acres of free land on the same terms that land is holden at St. Helena and besides all the men that go thither shall have the pay of Soldiers.
26th April 1688.—Mr. Coxe late Member of Council accused of employing the Company's blacks on Various and numerous occasions for his own benefit and advantage—also "keeping one Black when ships were in the road continually shooting of Patrages and Ginny hens for presents to commanders and when shipps was not here to kill him wild goats which he presented as he pleased and sent nor spent any of them to ye Govr"
9th July.—The Attorney General prosecutes Parrum for selling Punch. Parrum's defence was that he does not sell Punch, but that he gave his customers six lessons of musick for a dollar and a bowle of Punch into the bargain.
Oct. 1st—Elizabeth Cothorne pleads inability to pay her debt to the Company—having lost three negroes by death—on this it is noted "yt shee ye sd Elizabeth Cothorne had destroyed her negroes by ill usage and undue corrections" and it was seriously debated what should be done with reference to the debt, but the fate of the unfortunate negroes received no other consideration.
John Knipe complains of Bridgett Coales for she did forbid ye banns of matrimony yt was published beween him and Mary Seale.
Bridget Coales alledgeth yt John Knipe and herselfe had contracted a marriage between themselves by several sollem promises made to each other and also that ye said Knipe bid her forbid ye banns of matrimony for proof of which shee had severall witnesses ready. John Knipe confesseth yt he did solemnly promise marriage to ye said Bridgett Coales but afterward he thought slice slighted him which made him seek his fortune elsewhere, but he is now very willing to take ye said Bridgett Coales for his wife and ye question being put to her in open Court whether she had contracted her selfe to him to marridge shee replied yes—thereupon it is ordered that John Knipe do pay damages £10 unto Mary Seale forthwith—or else be detained in prison for making a contract wh her when he was before engaged.
Nov. 29—James Wakefield accused of words derogatory of our Sovereign Lord ye King saying to Long—"That neither you nor your popish King shall keep me in awe."—(Long and he abused each other as "Papist Dogg" "Protestant Rouge" "Irish Dogg,"—and "Kentish Longtail.")
Dec. 11—John Long gives information that on the 30th Nov.—the day before the good ship Modena departed for England Capt. Dore who came to the island in ye sd ship had instigated several persons to sign a petition to the King's most Excellent Majesty against ye Rt. Honorable Compy Lords Proprietors and their established Government, on this place representing the Govr. and dep Govr. as persons not fit to be trusted or continued in their places.
Several persons are hereupon ordered to be examined upon oath—Matthew Pouncey one of those accused of having signed says—That Capt. James Dore sent for me and told me that severall persons had desired him to write a petition for them to the King of England and asked me if I would not sett my hand to it. I told him ye last time yt I sett my hand to a Petition it had like to have cost me my life. On the 26th Nov he came to my house and showed me the petition and asked again if I would sign it. I told him I dare not for if I should I should undoe myself and family—he told me I had better for he did not question but that he should come Governor of this Island and then he would remember me and those yt had signed it. On 28th Nov being at the Fort I went into Mr. Stitches house. Mr. Bradley desyred me to goe to Capt. Dore and pray him to lend him his Recorder. Capt. Dore replied that his Recorder was for noe Whigg to play upon and as for your part if yt you will not sign to the petition I will say that it was you that put me upon it and I will sett the Governor and Holden upon you. I doe remember when Capt. Dore read ye petition to me I asked him who told him all this, he told me George Sheldon told him and that he Sheldon had given him a noate where to find his sister Bolton in London (widow of one of the executed planters) and yt shee would swear to it.
The Heads of the Petition—Whereas we yr Majestys poore distressed and loyall subjects have sent several petitions to your Majesty but being intersepted by some of ye Governor's creatures whome he himself have bin one of Olivers great companions and Traytors to him of Blessed Memory your Father, and still being Governor of this place doth usurp over your poore distressed subjects, and have hanged two of your subjects and banished seven of them without your Majesty's Commission and here is several of your poor subjects yt lye under condemnation and they know not how soone they may take away their lives and Estates as they have done by some already—the Depy Governor told them that they were none of your Majesty's Subjects but ye Company's and what faith and alegeance yt they owe to your Majesty they must and shall pay to ye Company soe desyring that your Majesty would please to send us some speedy redress in sending us a loyall subject to be our Governor we know not how to have sent this petition to your Majesty but by God's Providence sent us Capt. James Dore that Loyall subject.
Several others were examined who gave similar evidence but each of them carefully denied having had any shard in signing the petition. It was ordered that Gabriel Powell and George Sheldon be immediately committed to prison and also two soldiers Clifton and Ritchee for being concerned in it.
[The next entry occurs two days after on 13th Dec. that George Sheldon had died in Prison Intestate—no enquiry is recorded and no explanation is given of Sheldon's sudden death, but in a petition from Coulston's daughter to the House of Commons it is alleged "that George Sheldon was barbarously stifled to death in prison and that Gabriel Powell did happily make his escape to Europe."
If Sheldon was confined in what was called "the Dungeon" it was "a noisome hole" underground and as capable of stiffing a man as the Black Hole of Calcutta, particularly if as seems probable he was vindictively placed in Irons.
It will be seen that the petition sent by Captain Dore very carefully avoided all allusion to the execution of the five planters, although that was really the grievance, and the harshest part in all the proceedings, but as it was done under cover of the King's own Commission, the petitioners in addressing the King prudently are silent on that point and dwell only on the executions which had previously taken place without the King's Commission.
The account given in Brooke's History is both defective and inaccurate. He charges the Planters with a serious attack on the Fort and he associates Capt. Dore (or as he calls him Capt. Hord) with the proceedings as an inflammatory man who arrived soon afterwards and was banished from the Island with his principal accomplices. As no other account in detail has been published the following summary is given:—On 13th Oct. 1684 Dennison a soldier who had charged Capt. Holden deputy Govr with saying that the inhabitants were the subjects of the Company and had transported themselves to that place where this King of England had nothing to do with them, was committed to prison. On 21st Oct. 1684 about 30 soldiers carrying a King's Flag or Jack marched to the Castle to demand Dennison's release. They were unarmed, except a couple who carried muskets on each side of the Flag, apparently out of show of compliment to the Flag. They were followed in the rear by about 30 planters, all of them unarmed. Finding the castle gates closed against them, the soldiers used threatening language and kicked at the gate. On this they were fired upon from the Castle guns and three men were killed and fourteen wounded. This was followed by the arrest of several that night at Broad Bottom, who were again fired upon and one man killed. On 23rd Dec. 1684 the prisoners (eight soldiers) were tried and sentenced Death. Two of them were executed and the rest banished to Barbadoes. No proceedings were taken against any of the planters, but a year afterwards Sir John Weyborne arrived in Nov. 1685 with a Commission procured by the Company from King James II. with orders that left little discretion to their judges at St. Helena. Nineteen planters were tried and condemned. Sir John Weyborne, when their wives begged for their husbands lives, answered, "Twas not in his power for they were judged and condemned before he came out of England"—and this is fully borne out by the written orders under which he acted. Five of the nineteen were hung and 14, altho' respited, remained under sentence for a long time.
Capt. Dore's visit was not until Nov. 1688, and he sailed again the 30th of the same month. So far from being banished (as Brooke says) the Governor did not know until after his departure that he had taken with him a petition from some of the inhabitants to the King. On learning that fact in Dec. 1688 Sheldon and Powell were imprisoned. Sheldon died immediately from the alleged severity of his confinement and Powell broke out of Prison and escaped to Europe in August 1689 The petition to the House of Commons written by the four daughters of Coulston who had been executed, and published in Brooke's history, was evidently written after Powell's escape, as their petition alludes to that event. Coulston was one of the five executed and had been an original settler on the Island before its capture by the Dutch in 1672. He bad been instrumental in the recapture and it was his slave "Black Oliver" who guided Sir Richard Munden's party. He was afterwards a member of Council and proprietor of the Estate called Prospect, 20 acres of which formed his allotment.]
Letter from Court of Directors 5th April 1689.—All condemned persons to be forgiven and their forfeitures remitted except their estates.
Concerning the accessible valleys of the Island we find that prudent men that know that place to vary much in their opinions. Some think if you guard the hills well there is no danger of the valleys. Others think the Island will not be secure except the valleys be fortified—consider both well and doe whatever tends to the great safety by degrees as you can.
[Note.—Notwithstanding this caution the importance of securing the heights was not recognized until about 1790, when Governor Brooke established the first works at Ladder Hill and High Knoll, and at other passes and defiles selected defensive positions chosen on the heights.]
Because we know your Island abounds with young people which growing up can hardly find room or subsist within your narrow limits [Note—The whole population at that time, Slaves and Garrison included did not exceed 500.] we doe hereby give lycence to all young people of either sex exceeding fourteen years of age with consent of their parents to take their passages for Bombay paying £4 for sea provisions. For their encouragement we have ordered the youths to be entered as soldiers and there is no doubt but the young women may soon get husbands there where there is a great want of English women, which being known here some of that sex are so desirous to go hence for husbands that they pay us £12 each for provisions besides £8 to the Captain. To such of the condemned as shall be willing to transport themselves and families to Bombay as aforesaid you may pay the full value of their respective lands as they were formerly rated to us.
We have bourne with some impatience Capt. Holden's exceeding restiveness to our Govr sometimes with reason but seldom managed with discretion and sometimes without any collour of reason, but now we have heard from Mr. Brabourne and others such lamentable complaints of his enhancing the price of many commodities so uncontionally upon the inhabitants and all to his own private benefit without any manner of advantage to the Company that we cannot endure it any longer, and therefore we do hereby dismiss him from our service and have appointed Capt. Joshua Johnson to be our Lieutenant of that first Company in his stead and Mr. Richard Kelinge to be storekeeper. Another exception we have to Capt. Holden is his impertinent capriciousness in questioning our authority, or rather the King's, whether we could by His late Majesty's Commission govern that Island by Martiall law in time of peace. His reading of law books had informed him that could not be done in England legally without consent of Parliament, and that is a true notion in our law, but he forgot to distinguish of places. In all Plantations H. M. Charter gives the law and his power is despoticall if he hath not bound it by some Charter of his own to the first planters or adventurers as in the plantations of the Matathusis (Massachusetts) or Boston in New England.
After divers attempts to make some profitable productions upon the Island we have at length fixed upon the planting of vines and the making of Wine and Brandy which all men, of what quality soever that ever were upon the Island that we have conversed with doe unanimously agree to be a feazable attempt. We have agreed with Capt. Poiryer upon termes contained in his instructions. He is an honest man and lived formerly in great plenty upon his own land in France where he made 200 or 300 hogsheads of Wine and Brandy per annum. But being a Protestant was driven from all be had in France by that violent persecution which hath caused us to make the conditions of his entertainment the more reputable as to his own person. All the Vineroons that goe with him are likewise French protestants, but we must tell you the French are excellent servants if you keep them under and hold them sharply to their duty, but are apt to grow insolent and negligent if they be not held to, their work as they are in France—and if you give them ear, they will not leave craving and asking, against which troublesome humour you must arm yourselves irresistably if you expect to have any quietness with them.
M. Poirier as you will see our instructions is for his great reputation to have place at our Council when he is at the Fort and to have the appealacon of Captain though under the pay of a Sergeant. He speaks little English yet, but we hope he may learn more in his passage and that by the time he comes to St. Helena his sons may be perfect in our language.
We having now removed Capt. Holden may reasonably promise ourselves that while our Governor lives we shall have no more complaints of exactions. But we have found by experience it is an easier thing to change men than manners; but now you know our case and the trust we repose in you we promise ourselves some tollerable reformation because we believe our Governor is conscientious, hath nobody now to controle him, and cannot think himself farr from the time of his great account and Capt. Johnson by his cordial assistance may reasonably promise himself to be established in the succession, and Mr. Keelinge we are sure will or can doe nothing against your joynt inclinations.
We send you with this two Proclamations of our Gracious King and Queen William and Mary which you are to publish with all dutiful solemnity as hath been performed here.
Such is the present condition and state of affaires in England upon the late Revolution with reference to other nations that we now judge it advisable that our Commanders loose no time after they are refreshed in staying for any other of our ships, but to make the best of their way for oar Channel, and by no means goo for any part of Ireland, that Kingdom being now in armes and hostility against their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary.
May 1, 1689,—We have received an order from His Majesty under his sign Manual of which enclosed we send you a true copy. You will see it is not dated for in regard the proclamation is not yet out for declaring the Warr against France we have not yet got the broad seal affixed to it. A proclamation was yesterday issued out which you will receive herewith prohibiting the importations of all French goods after the 16th instant which plainly intimates the sudden irruption of a Warr betwixt us and France.
May 18, 1689.— We have received H. M. Warrant under the Great seal of England by virtue whereof we authorize you to surprize seize and take by force of armes any French Ship or Goods that shall come into any part of the Island St. Helena. You are to take the Goods on shore and send on the ship and papers to the General President and Council of India at Bombay in order to adjudication in our Admiralty Court there.
From Sir Josiah Child to the Governor.
Wansted Feb. 20, 1689,
I have recd. all your letters &c. except that by Capt. Knox who I fear is lost.
In the business of Mr. Smoult I must plainly tell you I think your excuse of not understanding accts is of no weight, for that affair need not the length or of the skill of accts which you have exercised in other matters.
Capt. Holden had my favour for some virtue thrift and pts I saw in him, but as soon as the effects of his avarice was manifest to me, you see I have not spared him. That which made me the longer disbelieve any ill report of him was Capt. Johnson's owne letters to me wherein he did highly accuse him for his saying the Islanders were the Lords Proprietors Subjects which was and his truth. I have frequently without offence when 1 have had the honour to discourse with the last two King's themselves called the Inhabitants of St. Helena, Bombay and Fort S. George the Company's Subjects under his Majesty.
I shall not enter into any of yr quibbling discourse concerning honesty at the top as well as the bottom and such like carping expressions for which you often desire excuse upon the infirmity of your age, and I shall pass them by on that account because I think you are honnest at the Bottom.
I have as little opinion of Sherwins honnesty as you have and I think myself as able to see into him as you are it having been more my business and I may say my duty in the place I am to pray into mens dispositions and secret and sinister inclinations. But if Sherwin had been worse than he is he was fitt enough to carry a message by which he would neither gain nor lose in repeating it right or wrong.
Pray tell Mr. Symes I have his letter and wish him well but I understand he is apt to be overtaken with drink and if he cannot refrain that it will be his inevitable ruine wherever he is.
You must be very nimble in securing our stores before Capt. Holden knows of his removeable, to which purpose it may be best for you to send for Capt. Johnson privately before you open the Gen. packet and to set a guard upon onr stores that nothing goe in or out until you have caused a particular acct to be taken—for this end our general letter shall be directed to yourself, or in case of your death (which God prevent) to Capt. Joshua Johnson.
I remember you was some years past very uneasy wth Mr. Beale and I believe the Company lost much by him, we removed him as we now doe Capt. Holden and now you are at full ease with both your assistances.
The last Extract from Company's letter of 5th April informed the Governor of the late revolution in England and of the Proclamation of King William and Queen Mary, but before that letter reached St. Helena indirect intelligence was received in the following manner.
July 24, 1689—The Rochester arrived on the voyage from India and had met a small ship from New York in America bound for Madagascar who declared that he had heard before his departure there was like to be Warr between the English and Dutch. Also the same day arrived the ship Nathaniel from the Cape. The Captain states the Dutch told him that "the Prince of Orange was landed with an army in England whereby the peace of our Kingdom was greatly disturbed and that there was Warre betwixt the Dutch and French. Likewise when he came into the Cape it was demanded whether his ship belonged to His Majesty or was a merchant ship whereunto he answering that the said ship was in the service of the English East India Company, answer was made that it was well that it did so for if it had been in our King's service they had lately received orders from Holland to seize it. But being in the East India Company's service they should have supplies of any thing. But whilst he was in the said road a French ship stood in who as soon as it was getting into the Road two. Dutch men of warre (after some dispute) boarded and took her." It was resolved—knowing of what importance this poore Island is to our Master's trade to ye East Indies to repair the Fortifications particularly that all the Avenues months and landing places to the leeward of the Island be surveyed—repairs to be done first at Seyne Valley mouth [i.e. Ruperts] which is most accessible next to Fort James. Arms ordered to be restored to all the Planters except the condemned persons and 24 new handcrows to be prepared.
Aug 2.—Gabriel Powell one of the condemned persons for ye late rebellion having lately broke prison it is greatly, suspected that he is gotten off the Island in one of the last ships.
Oct 7.—John Cotgrave fined a dollar and a half because his wife refused to receive payment for a bowl of Punch in half copper barrs and half silver, saying her liquor cost her all silver and she would not let it go without all silver again.
Oct. 8—Many complaints made of the loss of cattle from the waste lands supposed to be clandestinely killed—ordered that the Hide horns and Ears of every beast killed be carried within 24 hours and shown to one of six persons who are named.
To prevent the numerous actions for Trespass the heights of various kinds of fences are prescribed—requiring that a double stone wall should be four feet high. A bank faced with stone five feet high. A ditch fence to be six feet wide and deep but the bottom one foot wide.
Nov 6, 1689.—Robert Stamper a passenger and late a writer in the Company's Service at Tonquin wishes to remain. The Governor finds that his object is to marry a girl of about 12 years of age daughter of Matthew Pouncey who is one of the persons condemned for the late rebellion. It was thereupon ordered that he should be sent on board and not goe any more into the country.
Ordered that no dogg goe loose with his master or any other from the owners house. But when there is occasion to use a dogg for killing of a man's owne cattle he is to lead his dogg by a roape or chaine neere ye place where ye beast to be killed either is or doth usually graze and then he may be let loose.
[Note.—From this it may be inferred that the cattle of that date were chiefly of a wild breed and from several other occasional entries it is certain that this was the case.]
Jan. 6, 1690—Captain Stephen Poirier 3 sons and 5 daughters, Samuel Defountain and nine other French Vineroons landed from the ship Benjamin.
Jan. 16.—Matthew Pouncey availing himself of the permission to go to Bombay (being one of the condemned) offered his land called Pounces to the Govt which they gladly buy being contiguous and abounding on part of the Company's Great Plantations and there being a good quantity of Provisions on it a good supply towards the maintenance of Captain Poryyr and family.
Feb, 17, 1690.—Adroall and Bedwell two men from Madagascar being found with a considerable amount of Gold are suspected as Pyrates and confess that they were with Capt. Swan commr of a Pyrat and were with him for several years and did take several prizes from the Spaniards and others whereby they acquired this treasure. Ordered to be sent as Prisoners to England.
Feb. 25—Matthew Bazett refuses to go as Assistant and Book keeper to Capt. Poirier at Plantation saying he was sent hither to be a soldier and not a Slave.
March 3—George Lock [afterwards hung as a confederate in Jackson' s mutiny] complains of Hemmons for saying that he and others were knaves Rogues and Knts of the Post.
Andrew Wilson complains of Draper for Defamation for saying to Wilson that he was a Scot and you sold your King for a groat.
Serjeant Hailes complains that Parrums wife did say openly "God curs the Island and all that is upon it."
Andrew Wilson complains of Parrum that Parrum did lay and lose a wager of a cow with Wilson that Wilson would have Widow Starling to be his wife. The evidence says "it was some jocular or merry discourse not worthy to be brought into an action."
[Note.—The above four cases with some others are heard on the same day and are samples of the litigation of the period.]
March 12, 1690—Jack a son of "Black Oliver" deceased was charged with an offence but there was no evidence against him. "He very audaciously not only peremtorily denyed the same but behaved himself very impudently as if by his boldness he would prove himself guiltless" ordered to be imprisoned and have irons put on him for his bold audacious carriage before ye Govr and Council.
[Note.—He was tried at the ensuing Sessions and acquitted by the jury but without any reason assigned was ordered to be flogged before he was discharged. A specimen of the old proverb "Not Guilty, but to be flogged for troubling the Court."]
March 20—Grace Coulson widow of the executed John Coulson charged that she has not paid rent for the land forfeited by him. "She answered she had paid none and further peremptorily added that none would she pay withal saying she had paid too much already, and soe in a womanly Passion departed saying you may do what you will and turn me with my children out of doares I am bleeding every day and you may as well hang me as you did my husband."
Tuesdale Goodwin and Coales brought up for killing a Sea Cow and not paying the Company's Royalty. They desire pardon and say the Sea Cow was very small the oyle would not amount to above 4 or 5 gallons.
June 28—Ten of the most lazy and weakly of the Company's slaves sold—their ages 8 to 27—prices 7 to 24£.
Oct. 6—Hemmons prosecuted for having scandalously told ye Company when he was in England that ye Govr and Council put their own prices on the Company's provisions and for spreading a report since his return to the Island that the condemned persons had been released from all their forfeitures, though enforced here by ye Governor.
Hemmons answers that he did not accuse the Council but had said that Capt. Holden had put prices upon the inhabitants country provisions—and that when he was in England he went to the India house with Liecester Sexton and Widow Bolton and a clerk there read to them an order which had been sent for the release of the property of the condemned persons.
2nd Dec. 1690—9 a.m. Governor Blackmore coming out of ye country towards Fort James last Evening about 6 p.m. did suddenly and irrecoverably fall from the side of a hill near unto the place called Bowman Stone towards the foot of Putty Hill—ordered that an Inquest be held.
Governor Blackmores death an insupportable loss not only for his desirable presence with us but great abilities with which he was plentifully furnished for the reputable discharge of that trust and office he had and hold here for more than twelve years part the consideration whereof is next to overwhelming.
2nd Dec. 1690.—An Inquest on Govr Blackmore which shows that his death was caused by falling over some steep precipitous Rocks at the upper end of James valley. Leaning on a Bamboo stick while coming over the Rock either his foot or the stick gave way and he could not recover himself and was picked up dead in the stream of water in the valley.
On consideration that ye late Governor was very corpulent and much bruised it was ordered that he should be interred the following day in as solemn and. reputable a manner as possible. Ordered Escutcheons, six Pall Bareres, Scarves, Hatbands, &c. An Invitation to all Housekeepers and that there be provision made what is necessary for refreshment of so many as might be at the Funeral both of Bread and Drink. Drums and Colors to be put in mourning. 4 vollies of small arms fired. at the grave and after that 20 of the guns about the fort.
The funeral expences afterwards charged included "170 lbs. Flour, 11 lbs. Tobacco—2 gross pipes—28 Gallons Arrack, 40 lbs. Sugar," &c.
There is an item also of 8 bushels of Lime for making the Tomb and repairing the Tombs of his late Lady and his Son. [No traces of these graves are now to be found].
April 22, 1691.—Precautions adopted in consequence of Warr with France and six French men of warr of great force in India. Guard rooms to be made at Matts Mount or Flaggstaff and at Prosperous Bay where the English landed. Gates to be set up across the passage from the landing Rocks [i.e. near the upper Crane] and a wall at the West end of the Line from the Rocks to the Sea to prevent surprize by any Boats Crew at night to spike up our line of Guns to the hazard if not loss of the Fort.
June 8.—Much damage lately done at several of the Forts by great and unusual Floods.
July 27.—Several Blacks punished for plotting to run away with the Company's Boat. Ringleader to have 75 lashes and 5 drops of burning sealing wax on his naked body the others in proportion.
Oct 26.—The Church in the Country in bad repair—the windward part much decayed it being all done with Boards. The Chappel in Town in bad repair and the Roof in danger of falling.
Arrack sold on Company's account at Plantation distilled from Potatoes.
Manning the Chirurgeon being unskillful and ignorant disrated to a private sentinell (as formerly he was) but to continue to read the prayers as before and funeral services at 2s. a week.
Manning very sottish and continuing in his old drunken practises dismist and Clifton to read the Prayers.
Jan 8, 1692.—Unlicensed sale of Punch to be punished by penalty of 40s. 10s. of it to the Informer on "proof wherein his owne oath shall be sufficient evidence as it is in such cases."
[The cruelty and inutility of torturing accused persons to discover the truth is so plainly acknowledged and shown in the following entries that it is hard to understand how such injustice could have been inflicted by officers who were so well aware of its inhuman nature.]
April 25.—A Slave beating some glass while minding Swine was caned by Lancaster a soldier and brought before the Governor. "It was thought ye said slave was not guilty of any designed mischief being a kind of foolish ignorant fellow. To extort an acknowledgement of any accomplices if any (but he confest no more than before) he was slasht and dismist to his labor.
June 2.—Another Slave accused of crime "after much sifting he did at length confess." [How the poor wretch was sifted is not related but it is added] "On consideration of what hath past in ye examination that there was but one evidence and that several times it hath been known that ignorant Blacks (such as this) hath been brought by threats to confess, themselves guilty of those facts they never acted it is ordered, Though he deserves death yet for the consideration aforesaid and that the said Slave is not within pale of the Church that the sentence be mitigated by executing some punishment next to death."
July 26.—Slaves suspected of killing a cow ordered to be punished by lashes at ye Flagstaff in order to the extorting a true confession; after which the Company's Slave confessed yt he had helped to kill the said cow and that Sherwin's Blacks were confederate with him. But after punishment had been inflicted on him he denied all that he had paid, saying, he said anything whilst under ye lash to prevent further punishment. Sherwin's Slaves were then punished by lashes at the Flaggstaff but nothing being gotten from them was released. It was further ordered that ye Company's Slave and Sergt. Jackson's Slave have ropes put about their necks and threaten them to be hanged if they would not confess and nothing could be gotten more from them, so were committed and examined again with promise of reward but to no purpose.
July 25.—William Clifton soldier and schoolmaster allowed 20s. for having drawne out and perfected the Register Books of Christenings Marriages and Burials.
Sept 12.—Matts Mount or Flagg Staff considered to be needless for a Look Out—being mostly very foggy and hazy and inaccessible to an Enemy. Prosperous Bay being much lower hath a very clear prospect and ships are discerned from it at a greater distance.
The Alarm of two guns for a ship from Prosperous Bay, ordered to be repeated by the Alarm guns on the Main Ridge. But if more than one ship then three or more guns to be fired on which not only the Planters but their Black men must attend the muster.
24th Oct. 1692.—Lightfoot a soldier who had been lately fined 20s. for killing a goat is charged with saying that the Governor and Council would put the same in their own pocket and that the Company would be none the better. That the Soldiers were a parcel of beggarley Rogues and had not a coat to their back.
Lightfoot denied all this having confidence for that and much more and being possessed too much with the untoward temper of his Father sent off in Irons with two others for mutiny more than 13 years since—ordered to be dismist the Company's Service.
Dec 29, 1692.—The Island in great necessity for cloth and clothing. No ship had arrived since the Kempthorne on 4th May, 1692. Many of the Garrison have never a Coat to put on their back save only an Old Red Coat of them that came over by ye Benjamin three years since.
Jan 2, 1693.—Jamy a slave of Dep: Governor Keeling found guilty of Sorcery and burnt to Death.
July 25, 1693.—The Island Register of Christenings and Marriages, &c,, was formerly very unparfect there being no prson appointed to take care of Registering them. Wm. Clifton soldier and Schoolmaster appointed to look after the Register and allowed 1s. 6d. for each Christening or Marriage registered.
April 21, 1693.—Governor Johnson shot by Henry Fogg a mutineer. Whereas on Friday last in the night Henry Jackson being then on guard did conspire with 13 other soldiers [named] all which persons the said Jackson let into the Fort in order to accomplish his design, on which Friday night when the rest of the guard was at rest and all persons belonging to the Fort within the walls gone to bed they assembled themselves together and so called up the guards one by one by a messenger and demanded of them whether they would consent with them in their wicked design which was to Plunder the Fort, rifle the valley of all Treasure that might be found therein, Demolish the Fortification, to imprison the Govr and Council with all persons below at the Fort or in the Valley that would not adhere to their designs, and afterwards to seize on the ship that was in the Road and so make their escape, by which means calling persons up singly and examining them in the matter and finding them not to agree with them they had imprisoned all that was within the walls or the Fort except what was in the Forthouse without the least noyse in a Dungeon under ground being a secure place built on purpose to secure villinous and desperate Blacks. Having thus secured all in the night, in the morning being Saturday as soon as the Trevally had beaten the Govr coming out to deliver the Sergt the keys of the Fort he was seized on having then only his gowne and slippers but the Govr crying out and making resistance they inhumanly and barbarously murdered him with three shot in the head then hauled him into the guard and lett him in, that lamentable condition for two or three hours then suffered his lady with two negro women to carry him into his own chamber—afterwards they went into the Forthouse and secured all persons therein. The Govr Lady they halled naked out of bed and forced her to carry her cloaths under her arms into another room to dress herself—afterward they secured all passages up into the country so that no news secure could be carried there and imprisoned all persons in the valley, and so fast as the soldiers repaired to the Guard (it being Relief day) they took them and imprisoned them guardthem with centinels well armed—afterwards they plundered the Fort, took away all the Company's Treasure—spiked up all their guns—oversett the guns on Munden's mount and point tumbling the carriages down the bill where they were broken—then carried as prisoners on board the ship Lt. Keelinge Mr. John Luffkin Thomas Goodwin and Rich Gurling whom they detained until Lords Day Eveng then admitted them to come on shore. It was thought fitt by us that a Jury of Inquest be impanelled by us to enquire not only after the manner of the said Govrs death for that is apparent enough. But also to enquire if any of the Rogues be left behind culpable to be called in question about the aforesaid villany.
1st May 1693—George Lock, Isaac Slaughter and Joseph Davis were found guilty of Treason and sentenced death. The accusation was that they were confederates in Jackson's mutiny—and accompanied him on board of ship with the rest of his party. Lock was proved to be one of those who went with a party to Munden's bill to dismount the Cannon—and Slaughter went with Jackson into the Governors office to take the money.
When Jackson sailed and released the hostages he put these three men into the boat with them and sent them back to the Fort saying that what they did they had been forced to do it.
4th May—No Executioner being procurable Joseph Davis found by the jurors to be the least culpable was spared to execute the sentence on Lock and Slaughter.
June 22—On arrival of the ships Tonqueen Merchant and Orange a court was convened to take evidence relating to the mutiny. [The evidence of Gurling and Goodwin is published in Brooke's history. The substance is here given.]
Richard Gurling—saith—on 22nd April he went down to the Fort in the morning very early with Capt. Pitts. Goodwin, Rooker and Bodley—so soon as they were all entered in the Fort Jackson stepped before them with a fuzee in his hand ready and said Gentlemen stand and yield yourselves prisoners or else you are all dead men—he asked Jackson what was the matter who answered D—n you I'll kill you as soon as another man for all you are my father [for Jackson had maried the said Gurling's daughter in law] so was put into prison until evening and then was called up to go on board with them.
On board Capt. Pitts wept bitterly and desired he might have liberty to go on shore, but Jackson told him no harm should come to him and he heard Capt. Pitts say they had best go to the Cape of Virginia and as they met with ships coming out to distribute their company.
Thomas Goodwin saith—On 22nd April very early in the morning being in his house in Chapel Valley, Capt Pitts Commander of the ship Francis and Mary came to call me to go on board with him as was agreed on the night before —went with Rooker Bodley and Gurling and thought to have gone through the Fort as usual. As soon as all were within the Fort Jackson stept out of his room with a fuzee in his hand cocked and guarded and said stand and yield yourselves prisoners or you are all dead men—I was going to lay hands on the Serjeant thinking he had been drinking but before I could do so I saw several other soldiers behind who said to the same purpose as the Serjeant and added that their design was to do us no harm but take the ship and go away so conveyed us all but Capt. Pitts to the dungeon. At the mouth of the dungeon was much blood, which made Rooker say "Lord have mercy on us, there is blood spilt already." Going into the dungeon we found several people there who told us the Governor was killed or desperately wounded. Afterwards as people came into the fort our number was increased in the, dungeon till we were almost stifled with heat. About Sunset I with Luffkin, Gurling, Capt. Kelinge and Capt. Pitt were all five conveyed on board ship as stages that the people might not fire upon them and that they might have what necessaries they wanted. We that were on board as hostages were much afraid of the people's firing on the ship I was therefore permitted to go on shore to dissuade the people therefrom and to tell the great danger he was now in that should be their Governor.
Before next morning much people came out of the country and as there were many men so they were many minds—some for firing on the vessel and sink her—so in a great hurly burly; but we were like men of war without guns for I searched the line round and found them all spiked up. About the break of day we cleared primed and shotted several of our guns tho, not to be fired so long as Capt. Kelinge, &c. were on board. In the morning came one of their crew Stephen Lancaster to the rocks with negroes to row the boat and demanded some of their necessaries but was answered they should send a boat half way betwixt the ship and the shore with their prisoners and then they should have them—who went off immediately saying—'I smell a rat'—for they saw the armourer clearing some of the vents of the guns. Not long after they sent another, Wensley, demanding those goods again saying they would not be brought to compound upon terms but would carry their prisoners out of gun shot before they would release them and further added they had liked to cut the throats of their hostages on Lancaster's words, but that they know him to be a lying rogue therefore he came to know the truth, and further said that an axe was laid to the cable to cut if he fired his fuzee tho they sunk presently and that the prisoners should not have the honour to sink with them for they would be presently killed. I desired him to put his boat to and he should have his necessaries—by the time one hogshead of beaus was in the boat there by chance fired a fire, lock in the Fort which made this fellow swear desperately he would fire—but I with much persuasion and telling him I would go on board with him caused him to forbear so I went off with him. When they weighed anchor and set sail and run two leagues off then they put Lock, Slaughter, Davis and Evans into our boat saying that what these men did they were forced do it by them.
John Stevens, chirurgeon—saith—I was called by Jackson and pressed to join them but refusing to do so was imprisoned. In the morning Trevalley beat tho but short—presently I heard a great noise of trampling at the stayres head and a voice which I thought to be the Govr to cry oh oh oh and immediately two fuzees fired—not long after I was called out of prison to dress Jackson's arm which was wounded with one of the shott which shott the Governor. I asked him to goe and see the Govr which would not be granted but about two hours after was permitted with Madam Johnson to goe to dress the Govr whom I found weltering in his blood in the guard where myself Madam Johnson Black Bess and another carried him up stairs and laid him, on his own bed. I found his wounds to be mortal with three holes in his temple. I also saw Jackson Gartry and Isaac Slaughter goe into the Govr closet and take the chest of money and carry it out of the house and afterwards conveyed it on board. I also saw Lock to goe up the hill with Willis to Munden's Mount to dismount those guns.
Andrew Rooker armourer saith—22nd April very early in the morning Capt. Pitt, Gurling and John Alexander went altogether into the Fort and was presently set round by Jackson and others who said Gentlemen yield yourselves prisoners or else you are dead men—further saith—Jackson snapt his fuzee at him and that Fogg pricked him in the breast and another in the buttock which made him cry out quarter, for the Lords sake quarter—then said Jackson let him go out of my sight: coming to the mouth of the Dungeon he saw blood there which made him cry Lord have mercy on us there's blood spilt already, so not making so much haste as he should Jackson came at him with his Fuzee clubbed to knock him down which made him jump into the Hole were he understood the Govr was wounded and that the blood he saw there was some that issued out of Jackson's arm.
Elizabeth Luffkin saith—Lancaster and Fogg came to her house in the valley on the morning of 22nd April and said the Govr would speak with her—going towards the Fort Lancaster swore "there's a clear valley now." She was allowed liberty to walk up and down the Fort and then she saw some of them bringing up powder out of the powder room to blow up the prisoners in the Dungeon and a fire stick was brought out of the valley for that purpose but Jackson prevented them and saith they had other business to mind so locked the powder room door.
John Vernon writer saith—On 21st April after Taptoo refusing to comply with Jackson's request to go with them they said they must secure me—so led me into the Dungeon where I found several both White and Blacks. When the day begun to appear Jackson came to the Dungeon door saying Gentlemen it you make any noise you are all dead men—after the Trevally had beaten heard the Govr as we supposed opened the Fort House door and presently after heard a great scuffle and heard the Govr cry ah, ah, ah, and then a small firearm fired which daunted us all very much and presently after another which daunted us the more—after Mr. Solomon Heaton was brought into the Dungeon by Jackson (who had his arm all bloody). Heaton told us that as he came down stairs he saw the Govr lay at the foot of the stairs Dead or mortally wounded which struck a great terror in me. So many persons was trepanned and brought into the Dungeon till we were above 50 souls. In the even Goodwin, Luffkin and Gurling were taken out to goe on board and as soon as they were gotten on board of the Boat they gave the keys of the Dungeon to Mrs. Luffkin whom they had taken to the seaside for that end and who soon after released us all out of prison. In the morning some were for firing at the ship and importuned Capt. Poirier to fire at her being a shame to see such a rogue lye at the command of the guns and not fire at him. Capt. Poirier replied Gentlemen when Capt. Krelinge went on board you made a contract with them that in case you fired at them they would kill Capt. Krelinge that is now our Govr and if we break our word they will murder all the hostages. So after ye people that came down from the country hearing upon what termes the present Govr went on board they were passifyed.
[Note.—It was supposed the vessel was steered either for America or Ireland, but nothing more is known as to what became of her or of any of the mutineers.]
July 4—William. Birch son of Thomas Birch killed on 17th June by a fall from a very dangerous place at White Hill while driving goats.
[Note.—This spot retains the name of Billy Birch.]
July 31—The Inhabitants (serving as Militia) suspected of an intention to demand officers chosen from themselves and not to be directed by the garrison officers. The oath of obedience was therefore tendered to the Inhabitants which every one seemed willing to take except Richard Griffen who refused it.
May 3 1694—Fort House, &c. very much decayed. Timber growing very scarce in the Island—ordered that none of the Company's Timber trees (Redwood) be sold for private use.
Jany. 7 1695—Hoskinson complains of Rooker for saying that that he was privy to Jackson's conspiracy. The evidence in this trial shews that Governor Johnson had been forewarned by Gargen who had heard Fogg say that he and 30 others would conspire to seize the ship Francis & Mary whenever she arrived—that he told Govr Johnson what he heard from Fogg but the Governor made light of it.
July 1—Intelligence that six Frenchmen of war had sailed from Brest in February supposed to be designed for an attack on the Island or the Cape—ordered Two guns to be mounted on a point at Bankses towards Sugar Loaf which is very convenient to damnify an Enemy. [Hence probably the name King William's Fort.]
Nov 28—Sandy Bay considered to be dangerous for the landing of an Enemy because there is no defence by ordnance. The Inhabitants meet at Plantation to debate the necessity of fortifying the Bay. A battery of two guns ordered to be built.
December 2—Rumoured conspiracy of the Blacks. On Friday 29th Nov Mr. Thomas Goodwin's Indian slave Annah told her mistress that the night before she was acquainted that Gurling's Jack, Bevians Will and Joan with many others intended that very night to murder all the whites. First going to Lemon Valley to kill the two soldiers there and possess themselves of all their arms and on arrival of a ship to endeavour to take her and go away and see leave the Island desolate.
Mrs. Goodwin seeing her brother-in-law John Goodwin told him who immediately went and took a great Horseman's Sword that was at his brother's house and thus armed tied all the Slaves there. Thence he went to Bevian's and took his Blacks and so to every house thereabout taking all Blacks he met withall tying their hands behind them, so that he with many other white men drove a great many Blacks before them to the Fort where they were all secured.
The Governor as soon as he received a note sent a man to fire the Alarm Guns as if ships were approaching and ordered a great gun to be fired at Fort James, Ruperts Fort, King William and Queen Mary's point at Bankses Fort. Sent also a boat to Lemon Valley and carried away both men and ammunition to the Fort. Sent also a file of Musqueteers to the East part, being acquainted the West was already secured so that 7 o'clock next morning all the Blacks of the Island were in custody. Now knowing that many of the Blacks in custody were not concerned, though doubt but they would all have sided with the head Conspirators had they succeeded therefore this day was ordered for examination.
Jack's confession—That one time two persons from Capt. Wildey's ship were at his master's house (Gurling's) in discourse and wondered that the Blacks did not rise in the Island saying that in some parts of the world where they have bin it was very common for them so to doe and yt they have known them to doe abundance of mischief by taking two or three forts in a night's time. Hearing this first put it in his thoughts. The first be spoke to was Will, afterwards to Firebrace, then some others—[Eleven in all named.] That had they not bin taken in custody the plot was to have been put into execution that very night. That after killing the two soldiers at Lemon Valley they were to return to the Country and meet at Gargen's house (he and his wife being to be killed before he went down to Lemon Valley) and then disperse to several people's houses and kill the master and mistress and children as also all Blacks yt would not side with them.
Will's confession similar adding—that if they could not accomplish all the first night, next day they were to lye in ambuscade by any such person's houses and one black only to goe to tell ye master thereof that his master would speak with him and as soon as he came out to kill him and then rush into the house—and then that night which would have bin last Saturday night most of them was to repair to Fort James to sculke in the garden or orchard of lemon trees that joynes the Fort wall others to set fire to Madame Beale's house which joynes the Company's store rooms. That all or most of the soldiers would goe out of the Fort to quench the fire and then to enter in and make themselves masters of the Fort. That when a ship arrived they were to put themselves on guard as usually soldiers doe when ships arrive here and when the Commander landed to seize him and take him prisoner and goe away as Jackson did. Eleven slaves (all Madagascar or Coffrey Blacks) reserved for tryal. Four of them that consented not but did not discover what they knew to be severely slashed at the Flagstaffe. The rest all dismist.
The eleven tried on Thursday 10th December before a Jury (Orlando Bagley senior Foreman.) Verdict guilty but not all alike—Jack, Will, Joane, Firebrass, Poplar, Randall greatest offenders—Ruface, Hemp, Roger, Peter and Civil lesser offenders. But all had knowledge of the intended massacre and most consented to it.
Dec 16, 1695.—Considering the great charge the whole Island would be put to if the whole of the slaves convicted were put to death it was thought convenient that but three of the greatest offenders be put to death and the other eight receive great punishment yea even unto death. Jack the first promoter to be hanged in chains alive on the top of the point of the Ladder Hill on the 19th inst. on that part that faces to the Fort and be starved to death. Will and Randall to be hanged and cut down alive and quartered.
The others to be flogged on the 19 and again on 21 23 25 and 27 inst, to be burned on the shoulders with the letter R and to be transported by the first opportunity.
[Those cruel sentences were all inflicted and their severity was probably due to alarm caused by the astonishing success of Jackson's conspiracy. But eleven naked frightened slaves who could be so easily secured in a few minutes by Goodwin with his "great Horseman's sword" and who at once confessed everything like terrified children, would have suffered quite enough punishment with a dozen a piece at the Flagstaffe for their foolish talking.]
Dec 16—Ordered that the Roadways and Publique paths of the Island be defined by three Surveyors in each district—for impartiality the three surveyors in each district to be selected from those who dwell at another part of the Island.
[The return required was made on 6th July 1696. Many of the driftways referred to could not now be defined and are therefore omitted. We give therefore only those which could be recognized and it will be seen that they correspond nearly with some of the principal roads as they now are. Some of the modern names are added in parenthesis to guide the reader.]
District 1—From Alisons South to Tomstone Wood and so to Fort James by Degarney's way [i.e. Thompson's Wood past Southerns to Town]—Surveyors Bagley, Luffkin and Taylor. Public Ways. A main Roadway from Lemond Valley Rock through Alisons Land along Lemond Valley head to Thomas Boxes—then to Nicholls land at the Peak [High Peak] from thence to Tomstone Wood and through Tomstone Wood. A Droveway through Thomas Alison's and John Gurling's into Sandy Bay [road now to Fairy Land, Rock Mount, &c] A footway up the Ridge betwixt Gurling's formerly Boyces and Beven's to Lemond Valley head [road now between Boyces and Beven's to Cason's Gate.] A Pathway from Bevians over part of Thomas Goodwin's land from thence over Fuller's Plain [? Cleugh's Plain] towards the Fort.
District 2—From Sandy Bay South part to John Hemans [near Rock Rose.] Surveyors Goodwin, Nichols, Leach.
Public Ways—From Horse Ridge through the middle of Mr. Luffkins land to the Peak Gut. A footpath out of the Peak Gutt through part of Nichols land and French's land.
—A main Driftway from Coles land in the Bay [Fairy Land] and so through Peter Williams to Lemond Valley head.
—A neighbourly Drift Way from Powell Valley Ridge through Purgatory downe the Green hill by Hayles.
A main Drift Way through the Peak Gutt between Saml Wranghams and James Eastings land and above Bolton's land through the Upper part of Powell's land out of Sandy Bay to the Main Ridge.
District 3—From Sandy Bay Ridge North side to Fort James—and from Two Gun Ridge West side to Thomas Alison's to Fort James.—Surveyors—Coales, Cotgrave, Wills.
Public Ways—At Richard Hardings the old Footway and Driftway for all the neighbourhood to go to Fort and Church. From Serj. Dixon up Harper's Plain Ridge [Rosemary Plain,] to the head of the Gov. ground and cross over to Tewsdale's Ridge through Mr. Goodwin's ground and so up through Mr. John Coales ground and so for Lemond Valley Rock and so to Sandy Bay. Mr. Bevian must have a footway to the Church through Harpers plain and over by the Govr and so up to Church.
—A Footpath for Sandy Bay people to goe to the Church, They must goe through Mr. Bagley's ground, through Mr. Edmund's—Bagley's again Bowman's, Hoskisons, Luffkin's. Edmund's, that was Jewster's and so up to the Company's pasture land and then to Church—[? the present Sandy ay Ridge Road.]
—Mr. Sich must have a Driftway for his cattle to his ground under Sandy Bay Ridge along by John Longs lately Mr. Moores with a good driver with them.
—A Footway to Fort for Long through Mrs. Beales Pursley Bed Ground [at foot of Peak Hill and Briars].
—There must be a footway along the Main Ridge from Lemond Valley head.
—A Driftway for Sandy Bay people up to the ridge and so down to Mr. Sich's ground and along through John Longs so through Alexanders [between Woodlands and Longs] and up to the Red Hill between Mrs. Beale's and Mr. Bagley's [i.e. not the modern Red Hill but top of Barren Hill] so to the Gardener's Old House and along under Mrs. Coulson's plantation [i.e. between Prospect and East Lodge] to the Fort.
—From the Hutts Ridge—A driftway by Taylors and so by John Longs—so doune Jay's ground and so to Plantation House. All Church ways should be made four feet broad at least specially on hill sides.
District 4.—From Two Gunridge to John Hemons in Deep Valley. Surveyors Rider—Swallow—Cleverlee.
Public Ways.—A main Drift way from Orchard's grave below Hemons old house in Deep Valley, so by Thomas Coales, so along below Allis house, so over Deep Valley Plains and then over the Hill above Mr. Henry Coales House in Pleasant Valley. So to Shirks Valley betwixt Sinsenigg's and Highams. So up the hill to Queny's. Then between Queney's and Hayses [Teutonic Hall] and so over the Hutts Plaine [nearly the present road from Rock Rose to Hutts Gate.]
A main Publique Path from Hemon's old house to the Hutts plaine must be along Hemon's ground in Deep Valley through Pooles, Henry Coales cabedge tree land through Benjamin Seales so along by Serjeant Purlings up the hill to Queney's through his land by Goodalls waterfall, through Worralls—through the Company's Hutts inclosed ground and so to the Hutts plaine—[i e. Hemon's to Queney's is an old disused cabbage tree road which can be traced from Deep Valley through Masons and through Seale's Flat at Arnos Vale to Rose Hill].
23rd December.—Corporal Grandy who married Priscilla widow of Thomas Pledger complains of William Marsh speaking of her as a Witch. Marsh in defence calls Mrs. Grandy's grand-daughter Jane wife of Michael Isaac who says, That some considerable time since she lay with her grandmother and in the middle of the night she missed her out of bed and then saw come at ye window the apparition of a Black Dogg—so she called grandmother grandmother—so at last the Dogg went away and her Grandmother came to her and said what is the matter child be not afraid.
August 31, 1696.—Late Chirurgeon Manning dead—George Hoskison soldr who served some part of his apprenticeship with an Apothecary in London engaged at 30s. per annum.
Nov 30.—Six sailors for profligate conduct to receive 99 lashes each under the gallows—the woman Mary Tewsdale cannot be found.
Dec 14.—Mary Tewsdale's body cast ashore dead on Sandy Bay Beach—ordered—her body to be buried at Half Way Tree with a stake through her body and a heap of stones cast upon her as a monument. The seamen sent to carry her body to the grave—Corporal of the guard and eight men sent to enforce execution.
Dec. 7.—Examination of some sailors brought from Madagascar by the Mary concerning the Madagascar Traders of New York and of the Pirates who generally harbour there—they mention the celebrated pirate Avery and his having gone to the Red Sea with four ships—on their return to Madagascar that Avery went away with all the treasure which had for safety been put on board his vessel.
April 5, 1697.—Freeholders elect two of their number as Churchwardens and Overseer instead of four as usual for the Governor's selection of two. Edmunds with others came to the Governor and disputed his right to choose Churchwardens and complained that the planters are much agrieved by the Company. At last after repeated denials they returned four names.
April 19.—Complaint against Jonathan Mudge that he whipt Sarah Sinsemig's son while picking green tobacco on the Common. Mudge says yes he did because she and her son used to call to him as loud as they could in a jeering way as he went by her house "Goe home Boy, Goe home Boy, Red cards is trumps."
June 19.—Lansdowne suicide—ordered to be buried in Peak Hill road and his body staked.
July 6.—Country Church to be rebuilt by an Assessed Rate. The Company contributing £20.
A Sexton appointed—to have 12d. from each family yearly and for a grave in the Country 3s. 6d. In Town 6s.
Nov. 30.—Governor Kelinge died this day Tuesday—Capt. Poirier doth according to his place of being before Deputy Governor by succession as first his being put into Council by the Company, and likewise by a Private Council held 26th June 1694 present Governor Kelinge, Poirier and three Commanders of ships then nominated to succeed as Governor of this place after decease of the then present Governor Kelinge all wch having confered with all ye officers of the Garrison who did unanimously and heartily consent thereunto, and whereas it hath bin ye pleasure of Providence to order things so as to bring the said Governor Stephen Poirier into a station which he doth acknowledge is farr beyond his desert and considering that the said place is of a weighty and great moment for one person only he hath desired Mr. Thomas Goodwin to be his assistant. He is a man indeed who doth stand his friend in these sad circumstances. Dec. 26—Sea tempestuous for three days. The Long Boate and Yoale brake loose. Thos. Earle and two of the Company's slaves recovered them by swimming until they overtook the Yoale. Earle rewarded with 6 handkerchiefs, the two slaves with one each.
Jany. 18 1698.—Governor Kelinge's widow at her departure from the Fort took all her Plate &c. insomuch as hardly the present Governor could have pewter spoons enough to serve ye Company's table therefore Governor Blackmore's box is opened with the desire, and in the presence of the said lady and Govr Poirier, out of which ye said lady had one candle cup, one porenger, one large sault and one tumbler together weighing 37 ounces and the said Govr Poirier had several particulars weighing together ninety ounces valley at five shillings per ounce which was thought the utmost of its worth it being ould fashion broken silver.
Feb. 23.—Mr. Facknold clerk of the Council dismist for giving, information about the Pirates to some suspected sailors. Mr. John Alexander appointed Clerk of Council.
April 4.—Quarter Sessions—Governor Poirier's charge to Jury to enquire into cases of profligacy—"There are some profane persons whose practice is to jest of the best duty the Christian religion doth require of her believers to perform, who speak about it as of nothing and saith that it is a bussy body to medle with such trifelous affairs. It is a sin you know which hath caused the total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha and tis needless to goe fetch so far backwards. It is I am confident the very same sin which lately brought Jameco into such a lamentable condition and almost all overflowed it."
[Note.—This was in allusion to the terrible Earthquake in Jamaica in 1692, which in two minutes destroyed Port Royal and sunk the houses in a gulf of 40 fathoms deep and otherwise desolated the whole Island, hardly leaving a house standing.
April 5.—John Hemon brought up for saying Governor Poirier was not a Governor but only a deputy Governor. Imprisoned, but released on his apology.
May 16.—Mr. George Carne [who had married Mrs. Kelinge, widow of Governor Kelinge and daughter of late Capt. Anthony Beale] brought in as Administrator a list of Governor Kelinge's effects. The Governor after he had given Mr. Caine a receipt said to him, Now you and I have done I pray you let us live friendly and dont you speak so much against me in my place and affront me as you have done heretofore. You are pleased to say I am not Governor, here I show you a receipt from Capt. Dorral a Company's servant as you say you are and Commander of a great ship wherein you see he intitules me Governor. Upon which Mr. Carne made a pish and said what do I care for Capt. Dorrall he is but a single person—said the Govr if you do still continue to affront me I'll make you know my power for I am above you. You lye said Mr. Carne several times over and challenged the Governor to fight him, so that the Governor called for the Marshall—(after resistance he was confined but at laste gave baile for good behaviour)—so then the Governor suffered him to come up into the Hall again where then he said he did not disown the Governor to be above him in his place, but said be was a good a gentleman as be—and upon his fair promises the Governor gave him his sword and dismist him.
Provision for repairs of the Highways of the Island for the year 1698. Mr. Thomas Dixon and Mr. William Doveton appointed overseers of Highways for the year—a list given them of the names of all the white inhabitants excepting such as are in the Company's service and of negroes and Blackmen that any persons hath excepting the Company's slaves:—and a Warrant to the Overseers to cause all persons both Whites and Blacks to work one day and no more in mending making and repairing of such Highways as seemeth best in your judgment, so as all and every the White Inhabitants and their Blacks do worke at the said highways this present year one day and no more as aforesaid. If any persons after due warning absent themselves then you are to put in some other man in the absent person's roome to work one day as aforesaid which person you are to pay according to the Company's orders 18d. for a white man's day's work and 12d. for a Black man, to be repaid by the person absenting himself. The list names 50 white persons and ye Black men Slaves.
[Note.—This shows that the repairs of all the Public Roads in 1698 received no more labour than was equivalent to one man's work for 142 days. They were chiefly Foot-paths, and a few Bridle-paths. Carriage Roads were not made until many years later.
July 19,—List of Inhabitants shows 23 in Govt. employ 71 Planters and 92 men slaves or a total of 163 men exclusive of soldiers and the Company's men slaves.
Sept. 13.—Mr. Carne who had married Govr Kelinge's widow claims compensation for one of the late Governors slaves Jamy who had been burnt alive at a stake on 2nd Jany. 1693 for sorcery. Altho the said Governor Kelinge whilst he lived did never make any motion or demand ordered—a Poll tax for every payable negroe 120 in number owned by 61 masters amounting to £25 for Mr. Carne.
Oct. 5th.—Wild Goats greatly increased so that plantations and Cattle were endangered by a Total ruin. Hunting of them allowed every Wednesday in company.
Nov. 2.—Cosam tried for murder of Jacob (two slaves)—on trial two of the Jurors (Edmunds and Luffkin) were found missing which caused the Governor to order another call of ye Drum to be beaten again. On appearing they both delivered their reasons viz. that they were persuaded the Govr hath no power to call a Court upon Life and Death and to be plaine no power either to stile himself Governor. The other freemen to give them their due did blame very much the said Edmunds and Luffkins and said openly they would stand to ye Governor.
Jany 23, 1699.—The Island suffering from a long drought, Planters for five or six years past had minded only the planting of potatoes—and Yams which ought to be lookt upon as the Main Staff of this Island begin to be extraordinary scarce.
April 20, 1699.—No warrant for repair of Highways had been given in the preceding year it being thought yt what work the country should do towards the mending of the Highways should be employed in carrying two great Guns into some part of Sandy Bay—but being thought that it could not be accomplished it was let fall, so thereby the countrey is indebted to the Publique one day's work for the year past—and whereas the Church in the countrey is much decayed being made all of Timber it was thought convenient that it be rebuilt with stones and for that end the day's work be for the gathering of stones towards the rebuilding of a new Church.
1699.—Several complaints against Mr. Humphreys the Minister that he threatened Matthew Bazett that he would thrash him and have his blood and called him a nasty French Fellow—that he abused Elizabeth Bostock and struck her. He is sent to Sessions but in retort accused Elizabeth Bostock's mother of selling him several bowles of Punch without a lycence.
Aug. 15.—Mr. Humphreys brought up for contemptuous words saying that if the two Members of Council did not join in any complaint to the Company against him he did not care a pish for the Governor's own pen and his pen would make as big a dent as the Governor's.
Feb. 13.—About 20 Pyrates who had accepted the King's pardon through Commodore Warren arrive in the "Pink." Four allowed to remain for a while and hope it will prove some considerable profit to the inhabitants.