Feb. 13, 1700.—Capt. Thomas Bright Depy Govr having sett his love and affection upon Mrs. Eliz: Ellet Mr. John Sich's daughter the Govr could not be satisfied to permit them to go on he having been present at her first marriage. In reply John Ellet is shown to have died by Small Pox in France the ship Seamore in which he sailed 4 years and 8 months ago being taken by the French.
April 3.—Penalties against Runaway Blacks. First time to wear an Iron Collar for one year—2nd time to have cut off the joint of the little finger—3rd time the joint of next finger—4th time to be castrated. If women to have their ears cut off—owners required to give information of such runaways under a penalty of £5. Two persons appointed specially to look after them.
April 23.—"Shrewsbury galley" an Interloper made to pay 20s. a ton before being allowed to obtain water and provisions.
April 30.—A parcel of coined Gold found tyed up in an old Ragg in pulling down an old wall at Gurlings.
January 1, 1701.—Distilling Arrack discouraged. The Company order duties of 12d. a hundred on firewood and 4d. a gallon on the Rum distilled—you may easily perceive our main intention is to prevent ye distilling Trade which we understand is grown very ripe in the Island to the great destruction of the wood, the impairing the people's healths, impoverishing their Estates and introducing a sottish drunken quarrelsome humour amongst the Inhabitants.
April 29.—Gov. Poirier records a complaint against Capt. Bright for giving him many ill words in presence of Serjeant Field and Corporal Maxwell. Notwithstanding the good character the Company is pleased to give me by their instructions brought with me, likewise the commission they have honoured me with he told me when I came here I was but a Vineroon and that I have been hanged in France in effigies and that it was not for Religion sake but for Treason or rebellion—of which slanderous words I do appeal to my Right Honourable Masters to do me justice—such words tending only to contempt and to slight me And to withdraw the people's hearts of this Island from me, and so consequently to come to dangerous consequence and to combine with the French whom all Europe knows they boldly both in words and writing do what they can to hide such horrid persecutions (if they could) from all good men.
May 12.—Capt. Bright refuses to come into the Fort after the Governor had set the watch and Centreys within and without the Fort being nigh 11 at night. At 12 o'clook Capt. Bright came to the Fort but I would not lend the keys to humour him. When I went the grand rounds he did not fail to stop me, drew his sword, set ye point to my breast swearing and cursing me said he would have the word—I did answer him that I did not know him at that post, and that I ordered one Capt. Bright at 11 o'clock to come to his lodging within the fort but refusing to come I could not know him then: after many flourishings of his sword cursing me he went away—so submit to my honourable masters whether such proceedings are lawful or no.
Ship John Galley arrived having been plundered in 36 South by a French Pyrate of her victual ammunition and part cargo, so preventing her intended voyage to India.
July 7.—Mr. Goodwin refuses flatly to obey the Governor's order to reckon with three soldiers who had been enlisted by the Governor—but finally consents on finding the Governor would borrow the money under protest at 8 per cent.
August 1.—Houses washed away by the late Flood—Defountain, Powell, Dixon, Harding, Greentree and O. Bagley allowed to have building plots in the valley also Edward Crosby had a brief granted him for collecting charitable relief he having suffered a great loss of his Plantation by ye late dreadful Flood.
Aug 26.—Great increase of Drunkenness—Gov. Poirier's proclamation—"Said vices have brought and will bring again on this poor Island the judgment of God Almighty. We forbid all assemblies upon what account soever to be held at any house whatsoever past 10 o'clock in the evening wheather to be shipping time or not. Every Inhabitant to repair to their own house immediately after Taptoo which shall be henceforth beaten but at tenn of ye clock."
Sept. 23, 1701.—The Act of Parliament against Piracy to be strictly enforced against all who remain out of their ships contrary to the clause which requires all officers and seamen to be brought back.
Oct. 6.—Capt. Bright dismissed by the Company and Capt. John Fowlis sent out as Depy. Governor in the hope that he and Mr. Goodwin will cooperate with our Governor.
The Captain of the Mountague a ship belonging to the new East India Company threatens to use violence to obtain water and provisions if permission to purchase them is refused. Sends a boat well manned and armed to one of the leeward valleys. Capt. Fowlis sent with a party to oppose them.
Oct. 7.—Mr. Jethro Bradock the Minister of the shipp King William fined 80s. for marrying Gabriel Powell and Sarah Rider without lycense and without Mr. Ryder's consent. The Fine afterwards remitted on account of Mr. Bradock's poverty and his being almost distracted.
Oct. 28—Great expectation of Warr—70 crowbars prepared for rolling Rocks.
The Upper Garden and Concord House [i.e. Maldivia] let to Margaret Cotgrave for £10 per annum to be returned in like good condition. Damages by Floods and boisterous Winds excepted.
Letter from Court of Directors 16 April 1701—Our present Governor's continued care for discountenancing vice and promoting virtue we very well approve and earnestly recommend to all of you to lay your shoulders heartily to so good a work as you expect ye Divine protection and blessing and our Favour. When those in authority sett a good example the reformation of their Inferiors is thefore rendered much more facil. Your care for keeping ye Lords Day we approve but must at the same time remember that works of necessity and mercy are allowed at all times so yt when any ships are in danger of losing their passage or otherwise streightened in want of time they should not be restrained from fetching water or other refreshments on ye Lords Day nor on ye other hand ought they be allowed to do any servile work on that day which can without prejudice be deffered to the next.
Mr. Humphrey is come here and would faine extenuate ye crimes you charged upon him. We are sorry he proved so contrary to ye character wch first recommended him unto us. If we can hear of another of good conversation we intend to send him, otherwise we think it far better to send none at all.
We are sorry to hear there should be factions among our Council when there are so few of you. We have too many instances of it as well viva voce as your seperate letters, to put a stop to which we have dismissed Mr. Bright from his station of deputy Governor. We have elected by Ballot Mr. John Fowles in his place hoping he and Mr. Goodwin will co-operate with our Governor.
We have complaint made to us that our Governor has laid out some hundreds of pounds in a Tarrass walk against the consent of his Council—send us by the next to what end and intent it was done.
Our Governor is also complained of as being too arbitrary. We hope the scence he has of our continued kindness to him and his family will engage his utmost zeal to our service. He must consider we join our Council with him. If after calm debate you continue of different opinions send us your reasons and we shall be able to judge who are in the right. However let no difference of opinion grow up to difference in affection.
We now give our reasons for sending this ship direct to St. Helena viz.—The King of Spain deceasing some months agoe and the Duke of Anjou second son to ye dauphin succeeding him, his grandfather the French King resolved to fix him thereon notwithstanding ye claims of ye Emperour in favour of his second son the Arch Duke who as is alledged is next heir—all Europe is arming and in motion as apprehending ye conjunction of two such mighty kingdoms as France and Spain will be fatall to ye libertys of Europe.
The French forces being already got into Millan to secure yt Dutchy to ye new King of Spain and ye Emperour's forces are moving thitherwards to dispute his title. This makes us very apprehensive a War will suddenly ensue between ym and England and Holland are likely to be engaged on the Emperour's side to support ye ballance of Empire. Your care must immediately extend itself to secure ye Island and all its Avenues. Herewith you will receive an acct given by our late deputy Governor Holden what places he apprehends need waling and fortifying—could you arrive at ye way of blowing up your Rocks there needed little more than bare labour to make yt Island impregnable. We have been tould yt while ye French shipps stayd there several French gentlemen went all abt the Island on pretence of shooting—howsoever yt might favour of complaisance in our Governor to permit it we think it was no good policy and must never again be allowed to any foreigner.
Feb. 17, 1702.—We are very desirous that St. Helena may be made as strong as possible to be defended against an Enemy. Take the advice and assistance of all the commanders whether men of warr or Merchant shipps for fortifying the Island. We would have you if you find it practicable to roll some of the Rocks with which you are stored into the Sea along the Beach to prevent boats landing.
Council Proceedings Nov. 11, 1701.—On Sunday last in ye morning the Gov. being going up into the Countrey to Church mett wth a black man of Mr. Luffkins wth a burden on his back. Luffkin fined 6s.
Jany. 1702.—Ordered Dinner to be provided in the Countrey on Sundays for the Council when they went to Church.
Feb. 9.— Mr, John Chappel Agent for the new East India Company prohibited from remaining on the Island. The Governor consents to receive and deliver letters to their shipps there being nothing in them against our Masters Interest only how to direct their shipps homeward to escape a greedy enemy—and if for want of those letters the shipps were taken the whole nation will accuse us of intelligence with the Enemy and make us bear the effect of ye said nations just auger.
May 23—Capt. Fowlis deputy Governor died and is succeeded by Mr. Goodwin.
Alexander Frazer for theft "to have on his naked body 15 lashes wth a halbert in his hands at the dismount of the Guard."
July 2, 1702.—Mr. Bowes a passenger brought before the Governor for abusing the Centrey—giving the Governor saucy language the Governor pusht him and told him if he was not civill and quiett he would kick him like a dogg.
Aug. 4.—Resolved to build a Fortification to keep Ruperts Valley. Capt. Richards a passenger a very ingenious man in matters of Fortifications planned it. At a general Randevouse of ye whole island the inhabitants required to assist.
Sept. 15.—Governor sent for Mr. Goodwin and Mr. Edmunds Members of Council—they were on board the ship Hern. He sent again next morning half an hour past six but was likewise on board said shipp which makes good what they often told the Governor that in case they should give him notice of their going on board ship it is a meer civility.
Sept. 29.—Mr. Edmonds accused of saying to Elizabeth Luffkins when she remarked, That she believed the new Fortification at Ruperts if taken by an Enemy would be the means to lose the Island and the party posted there would have to retreat to the Hill side. Edmonds answered what for running away I believe the Governor and Field is agreed and that it was his opinion if they runn away they ought to be shott through the stern.
Mr. Edmonds acknowledges all the above said evidence to be true.
Oct. 6.—Two Slaves and Jack formerly a slave but now a freeman are apprehended for breaking into Luffkins house and stealing Arrack. Governor proposes severe corporal punishment but at the request of the Jury they are sentenced to be hanged that the Island might be rid of such rogues. Free Jack reprieved but made a slave. The Toll for compensation to the owners shows there were 71 owners of slaves, 111 men slaves and 37 women slaves exclusive of the Company's.
Jany. 19, 1703.—A French ship plying about the Island on Sunday and Monday 10th and 11th January. The Serjeant at Banks complains of Edwards for reporting that he had run away from the battery. He having gone to the end of Banks house to observe where the shott fell when the two last guns were fired from the battery at the ship.
Feb. 10.—Mr. Edwards 3rd in Council dead. Serjeant John Field elected Ensign and Councillor.
Dr. John Kerr the Chaplain a most dangerous man and was always getting people by the ears worse than ever Mr. Humphrey was—had boasted that he came here on purpose to ruin the French rougue and refugee—meaning the Governor.
Mr. John Alexander Clerk of Council informs the Council that drinking Punch with Dr. Kerr in company with the Serjeant and Corporal, Dr. Kerr abused the Governor saying that he stood up in Church in time of Divine Service like a French Hogonot proud fool (and I think Rouge too) when he ought to have kneeled clown to make his confession—moreover said he had gotten the copy of a letter that the Governor wrote to the late deputy Governor deceased and that he had sent one copy to the Archbishop of Canterbury and another copy to the Bishop of London for he had wrote very reflectingly of them especially of the Bishop of London and said further that he had done the Governor's business for him and was sure he would be turned out when the next ship come from England.
Dr. Kerr accuses the Governor of disloyall words in having said "that the Royal race of Stuarts were an unfortunate family and never did any good for England. 2nd. That the Parliament of England did very ill in choosing Queen Ann to be Queen of England for she being a woman could not head the Army or Confederacy and the Parliament had better choose the Prince of Hanover to head the Army and Confederacy. 3rd. This deponent also swears that the said Governor said if I were as Prince George if they did not make me King I would go over to Denmark and never see the Queen again."
Dr. Kerr calls John Oswald for proof. Oswald says that in a conversation about Oliver Cromwell where the said Cromwell was called Usurper and Traitor the Governor said That these things might be lett alone, for when he was alive no man durst say so.
The Governor says that Dr. Kerr turned the most innocent conversation into Criminal ones—as for example the letter which he wrote to the late Deputy Governor. It is known to all the world that when my wife was with child it was our usual custom to drink to the Boy in the basket and besides to say I firmly expected a Boy which I did intend to educate to be a minnister and who know but in process of time he might be a Bishop of London, But proving to be a Girl I wrote to the worthy gentleman in the countrey as followeth—Sr. It hath pleased the Almighty to give my wife a happy deliverance yesterday of a * * * *. I say no more but be sure it shall neither be Bishop of London nor Colonel in the King's Army.
March 31.—Ralph Gates for quitting his post at Bankses to ride the Wooden Horse one hour next reliefe day and to be tied neck and heels at the head of the Company one hour at next musterday of the Garrison.
Volume 7 of the Consultations 1703.—The first few pages contain some old accounts of 1691 and then follows this entry:—"This Book was made use of for a Council book having none at all for such uses beside."
April 13.—The Inhabitants petition that a penalty of £10 be imposed on any person buying Arrack from shipps for more than 6s. per gallon, further Ripon Wills being the Agressor who gave the 9s. per gallon for the Arrack and sold it again at £l 4s. per gall which prodigious and exorbitant gains and extortion cannot be expiated without an Attonement made to the Church or some other charitable use wee humbly beg be may be fined.
The Bridge over ye Water Course that comes from the Town to the Fort damnifyed and broken by ye last great Flood.
Mr. Carne takes Eleanor Kelinge daughter of late Governor Kelinge for £9 a year to board clothe and educate her "according to her Quality," and his nephew Richard Bealle for £3 a year.
May 20.—Bradley complains that Edmund Bagley called him and his wife "Poor Devils" which is but a very frivolous complaint suppose it was true but no evidence said any such thing.
August 29, 1703.—Bankses and Ruperts guarded in consequence of open war between England France and Spain.
October 5.—Robert Leach singleman and Ann Gurling spinster came this morning down to Fort James in order of being married in the presence of the Governor and Council so that in case Sutton Isaac junior did forbid the banns as he did on Sunday last they might have a trial before the said Governor and Council immediately. Whereupon Isaac again forbid the banns and produced evidence that Ann Gurling had promised to marry him and had accordingly break a piece of money between them (an English shilling). Her engagement declared void she being a minor and free to marry Robert Leach.
Cornelius Sodington Deputy Governor arrived. Both Companies now happily united as the United East India Company.
October 27.—Governor Poirier charges Dep. Governor Sodington with misconduct. On Sunday being at Ruperts Fort he did unnecessarily strike and beate Stephen Child the Gunners mate uttering publicly words against the Governor saying if those ships the alarm was made for were French ships and he were amongst them he would have the said Governor cut in pieces. Again last night he came drunk into my private room putting many impertinent questions chiefly why did I not order a guard to wait on him ashoar being a gentleman, when I myself rather than to weaken our guards I won't use none, or very seldom—continuing his impertinent language the Governor commanded him to repair to his department—who said positively he would not go whereupon the Governor got up from his table, took holt of him by one hand to lead him out, but be immediately laid hands on the Governor which provoked him to take fast holt of him and thrust him out of said chamber.
Jan. 17, 1704.—Gabriel Powell on Tuesday whipt his slave boy aged 8 years till his back was in some places raw and on Wednesday his master threw him with his hands tyed into a bed of nettles which venomed and stung him to that degree that he immediately fell into convulsions and dyed. For this he was fined by a jury 40s.!!
Jan. 19.—Mr. Sodington complains of the Chaplain Mr. Kerr that he had not been in the Island ten days before Mr. Kerr used his endeavours to raise an animosity between him and the Govr telling him the Govr was a traitor to his own King and was forct to fly his own country and that it could not be expected he should be true to the Company or Queen of England. That he found Mr. Kerrs talent lay much more to Bacchus than his own profession being never better pleased than when his face is of a scarlet dye by his dearly beloved Punch which makes him very captious, on the 17th inst. being flushed as usual he did tell me his black coat was as good as my read, and called me little fellow. But the said Kerrs tongue is no slander be giving it what scope his airy genious thinks fitt to annihilate every one even the Govr and his Lady by Lampoons pretending he finds them but are always write by his own hand.
Jan. 25.—Doctor Kerr sets up the bloudy hand upon a Proclamation by rubbing his hand in red paint and pressing it on the Proclamation. Beats his servant barbarously for giving information about it.
Jan. 31.—Dr. Kerr abuses Governor Poirier saying you Hogonist go go to your own Hogonist countrey to command your Hogonist Ministers. Before the very Council calling him to his face a church presbyterian.
Nov. 30, 1704.—From Court of Directors—We send you Keebles Justice of the Peace and would not grudge to sent you the other law books if they would be serviceable to you—But as it is a standing rule here that English Acts of Parliament bind only persons inhabiting England, Wales and Berwick and are not of any use in the Plantations except in very few and select cases, so we think it no way for your advantage to have your heads troubled with nice points of the Common Law of England, but to adjudge of all things in a summary way according to equity and good conscience.
March 12, 1705.—The Company's Blacks at Plantation sent away as usual at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning to Horse Pasture to fetch firewood there being none on the common round about the great Plantation.
May 2.—Mr. Lushington mate of the Panther confined for disorderly conduct—threatens the Governor saying that he was like to be turned out only by a vote which vote when be comes to England he will buy if it cost him £100 to turn him out.
May 8.—The Company intend strengthening their fortifications on the Island of Borneo and thinking we have no power to punish with death any crime whatsoever we think fitt to send the criminals in our power for those parts. Dutton and Scriven convicted of Burglary to be whipped pilloried on three successive days and then sent to Borneo to work for five years.
Mudge convicted of killing a calf, goats &c., and Stephen Child convicted of incest with his first wife's sister, ordered to be transported to Borneo. Governor thinks without wages, Mr. Goodwin thinks he should be allowed soldiers pay. Settled by casting lots. In Mudge's case the lot fell to the Governor's opinion. In Child's case the lot fell to Goodwin's opinion.
May 28.—The English ship Duchess arrived under Merchant colours. Capt. Raymond not saluting Governor sent off to demand his reason and sent also the instructions of 3 August 1687—"You are always to wear the Kings flagg and must force a due respect to be paid to it by all shipps." Capt. Raymond answers offering to salute gun for gun. Mr. Goodwin is of opinion that altho coming in under a Merchants Jack yet if he says he will hoise the Queens colours we may give him gun for gun not to exceed five.
The Governor objects that as he came in under a Merchants Jack it is now out of time to offer to hoise the Queen's colour and that he would answer with two guns less and allow no refreshment until complied with.
Court of Directors letter 14th Dec. 1705.—We observe that you have sent four stout fellows condemned for fellony and Incest to Benjar. We are not of the Governor's opinion that death is the proper means to keep others in awe from committing Felony as you mention was the crime of the four stout rogues you sent to Benjar though we think him so far in the right that sending them off the Island is not a punishment adequate to their sin. We take it to be the best way to reclaim villains and deter others by putting them to, bard labour. The Governor's objection that the persons wronged would not rest content that the Company should reap the profit of their labour is of no weight, for who would be the better if they were hanged, and as that punishment is for the sake of others so is hard working too, but with this difference when a man is dead he can never again be usefull whereas being reclaimed by labour he may. We would have none punished with Death for any crime we apprehend they can be guilty of at St. Helena besides wilful murder.
April 30, 1706.—Mr. Charles Masham the new chaplain died this day.
June 1—At seven o'clock this morning the Guns fired at the Two Gun Ridge and gave us a double alarm which was soon followed with an account that two large ships under Dutch colours were standing in. Before ten they came up with Bankses Fort and upon ye firing of one gunn as usual from thence they lowered their topsails and salluted with five guns. In a very short time after, having a fresh gale they were up with the Company's ship Queen and one of them clapt her on board, entered some men and took her with Dutch colours still flying. But after they were actually in possession showed their French Antient. The other ship stood directly to the Dover who immediately struck. Upon the first suspetion of their being an Enemy (which was when we see the Queen give them a broadside) we fired at them from the shear and continued plying all our guns with our greatest diligence, but had the misfortune in a very little time after they had cutt the shipp loose, to see most of our shott fall short occasioned by the great distance from the shoar the Captain thought fitt to ride at. We used our utmost endeavour not only to destroy our enemys but to sink their prizes and were disappointed in both only by our ships anchoring so farr off, which did much enable the Enemy in half an hour's time to drive out of ye reach of our guns. The French appeared of equal force and of seventy guns at least. They fired several broadsides at ye shoar and most of their shott weighed 24 and 32lb.
June 5.—William Swallow indicted for petit treason for saying he wished the two French ships had taken the Island. His mother sued for a Libel for writing verses in which George Hoskinson is said to have run away and hid himself when the French ships took the Queen and Dover. Jury found him guilty of speaking most rash words but believe in their conscience they were spoken in a way of bravado. He and his mother to pay costs.
July 8.—The Governor is informed when the Queen and Dover were taken there was a great defect in the Spunges and Cartridges at the Grand Fort and Ruperts. A survey ordered which reports they found due allowance of Powder to every gun as also spunges and every thing else in their proper places.
July 13.—In consequence of the fatal taking of the ships Queen and Dover the buildings of the Warehouse and Store yard delayed to complete Ruperts and then a Moat to be made to the great Fort which is the only means we can think on to prevent an Enemy's landing.
July 30.—Thomas Swallow accused of cruelty to his apprentice boy beating him and threatened to hang him up by the heels and make a smoke under his nose and head as he did his black wench!
August 11.—We have had last month as great floods and oftener as hath been ever seen since your Honours hath been possessed of this Island which hath caused great confusion in Ruperts Fortifications and at the Fort likewise although we used all the means to prevent it. We shall make use of that sad experience to find new means to let the Gulleys come to the main channel.
Sept. 10.—Portuguese shipp arrived bound to Angolo. The Captain sick and wishes to remain till his ship returns. Resolved—The Portuguese are our allies and most necessary confederates with the great alliance of Europe against France—and the ship may do some considerable service by leaving at their return some slaves greatly wanted on this Island.
Sept. 26.—The ship Indian frigott seen first by Robert Bell's Black close to the Island near Stone Top—no alarm being made Bell sent his black to run to ye Bay and bid him hollow all ye way he went to call the Bay men. Finding none the Black fired the Alarm with a fire stick reloading and firing again just as the guard returned. The Corporal says he went the water course to fetch water little thinking a ship would come nigh in so short a time. Ordered to be Dismist from being Corporal and to carry three muskets upon each shoulder to the upper end of Jamestown and so down again at next dismount of the guard.
Oct. 6—A ship off Prosperous Bay—sayled to Windward. In the evening seen opposite to ye White Hill supposed to be the Bombay. The Long boat of the Indian frigott sent out to inform her she might come in without fear.
Aug. 11, 1706.—Letter to Court of Directors.—We come now to a very sorrowful paragraph since the matter is to give notice to your Honours of the loss of the two ships Queen and Dover. The first of June last we bad a double alarm about 7 o'clock in the morning. At 10 two large ships arrived under Dutch colours but we were extremely surprized to see the Queen fire at them being assaulted by the said ships and in less than five minutes time cutt her cables boarded her and drove her away under Dutch colours. Had not Mr. Dolben assured us there was no French ship in India and for certain there was a Dutch ship bound absolutely for this Island we would not be altogether so secure. As soon as the Governor perceived the Queen gave them a broadside he orderered the line of guns to be fired at them as fast as could be. Capt. Goodwin did the same at Ruperts, but were soon out of reach of our guns and all this while the action was acted under the said Dutch colours. They fired ashore at us 80 or 100 shott without any damage and then hoised French colours, but after they were in possession of the Queen, insomuch they acted more like Pyrates than men of Warr. The Dover who had her berth to the West of our road struck her colours immediately so received no damage that we know of, altho we did what we could to sink her, but by an oversight were both anchored too far from our guns. We cant truly utter our sorrow for that unhappy mischance bat by this sad experience we know that it is absolutely impossible to save your Island from an Enemy unless you order your ships to send their boats ashoar at Bankses which the Governor tried when first he came in place to force them but received from the most part but rough and proud answers—and to desire the men of Warr to do the same till we have received your orders on that account.
Court of Directors answer 20th December 1706.—We must say that you are infinitely to blame in your management and we wonder you can have the assurance to write us that had not Mr. Dolben told you there was no French ship in India you had not been so secure. Is that an excuse think you to be given to us. We think rather it deserves the severest censure. We are also told that our Governor has been unaccountably careless about the Fortifications, that the Spunges are not fitt for the gunns that there is scarce Rods for the gunns and when the Governor has been friendly told us to remedy such things he abuses people for their kindness. What satisfaction can be given us for his miscarriage; does he think it enough to throw the blame on others which so probably is his own. Add to this—that Monsr. Des Dugers (Desdugiéres) who commanded in chief these two men of Warr is the very man as we are told that Mr. Poirier was so wondrously kind unto some years ago and gave him a reception on the Island much better than to any of our own Commanders, suffered his boats to sound round the Island and his men to survey it on shoar under pretence of shooting. We are informed that he has taken the Workmen off from the Fortifications leaving them unfinished and sett them upon making a new garden and terraces which will cost and has already cost many hundreds pounds. We have been told that when the French ships were at St. Helena your guns could hardly reach them, while their shott flew some of them a mile up into the Island. If this be so it must arise from the difference of the Powder. We recommend you to look after it and keep it dry.
Governor's reply 20th May 1707—As for what your Honours blame us in letting those French ships come into the road under Dutch colours we begg you to consider that there were three Dutch ships outward bound touched at this Place 12 months before, and we might have as well destroyed a Friend as an Enemy, but withall to consider your Honours have never been pleased to give us a positive order and power to destroy any ship soever suppose they refuse to bring to at Bankses, which to prevent in part we do as we did before in our of 11th August 1706 beg that you will order all ships in your service to bring to at Bankses Platform.
The Governor is extraordinary troubled that your Honours is so very angry with him while (under favour) in his conscience he has clone his duty. Match was lighted more than there were guns and Powder upon the line in three Powder Rooms filled with cartridges and that he did advise both Capt. Cornwall and Capt. Garraway several times to bring their ships nigher the shoar which they did promise to do, but did not. And as concerning Mons. Des Augers (Desdugières) whom your Honrs are pleased to point at, the Governor offers to take his oath that be did never see the gentleman nor did he go on board of him, not he come on shoar and as tis to do justice to our greatest enemy he does really believe that they did not sound anywhere.
The Governor saith it is true your Honrs have ordered him to get assistance both from Men of War and Merchant ships which he never failed to demand and that some had complied and some not, or else how should it appear in the account of Fortifications that so many men hath been employed in that service, and as what concerns the gardens that he never concealed from your Hours what he hath done. Beside the wall which faceth the line will serve for a good breast work against an Enemy endeavouring to land shooting with small arms over the Moat. In short, some of the wall were begun by Govr Keelinge, and the present Govr did not expect your Honrs would have taken it ill, whilst he read in our Masters instructions that they will have the wall of their Garden to the Leeward 12 feet high.
The information given your Honrs, about your shott not reaching the French ships when theres went a mile up the Island we p'sume is a misinformation and those who did informe doubtless understands the rule of multiplication perfectly well, since the farthest of their shott was not up a quarter of a mile. As for ours we must needs say first that this Island keeps Powder perfectly well and that we have little or no bad Powder. Besides we were informed that the Queen after she was in the Frenches hand received a great many shotts from the shoar and consequently the French might have received more being nearer before they had turned the Queen to face our Guns to the end she might guard them from the force of our shotts.
Jan. 9, 1707.—Fox on some hearsay statement from a girl returned home and "having stripped his black man Toby threatened him in the most severe manner he would burn him if he did not confess." Tobey in his terror made a confession evidently out of his imagination of some talk with Mingoe about getting into the Fort. There was no other evidence; but Seu a slave girl being brought down by her master to be punished for some domestic offence in the hope of saving her own punishment volunteered some further vague statement that the Blacks thought of rising. Seven Blacks who all stoutly and earnestly denied the accusation were ordered to return to prison until to-morrow in the afternoon and then to be severely whipped to try whether they or any of them will make any ingenious confession. The only thing extorted by the whipping was the unexpected confession of one of them that he had been told by Tobey Mr. Foxes black that he and "his master went out one moonshiney night to steal a fatt heifer and they caught one of the Company's sheep round the High nowle in Powel's Valley."
Mingoe was ordered to be kept for trial—meanwhile 28th Jany. John Palin a planter complained of Seu that she had circulated some scandalous slander against him on this the Council ordered that Seu be severely whipped knowing her to be qualified to make mischief and guilty of telling lies and stories.
Jany. 29—Mingoe tried by a Jury who without any other evidence find him "guilty of designing to massacre by murder all the white inhabitants of the Island."
Jany. 31—The Council considering the Jury were not sworn and not expecting so severe a verdict summon them again. The Jury being sworn repeat their verdict.
Feby. 24—To-morrow was the day appointed for the execution of Mingoe but the chief and main evidence named Toby retracted his former statement and said Fox his master bid him say what he could to hang Mingoe. Ordered seeing that Toby varies so much in his declaration that the Jury be summoned again tomorrow.
Feb. 25—The Jury summoned and Toby who had again been in his masters hands returned to his former statement adding that Mingoe had threatened to haunt him after he was dead was the reason he had denied his first declaration. Mingoe was accordingly executed this day!!
April 8.—Henry Francis allowed two acres of land lying on the Water Fall Plain next adjoining his own land formerly granted to Edward Edmunds his deceased Father in Law—[i.e. now called Francis Plain.]
June 25—John Luffin going to England sells his house and 30 acres of land near Great Plantation to Govt. for £350.
Aug. 26.—Mrs. Clavering sentenced to be duckt in the sea at the Crane for scandalizing the whole Island—afterwards remitted and fined six dollars.
The Governor indisposed in the Country since 12th August. The Council desire him. 1—That in his absence one of them should lie in the Fort. 2—That the working soldiers should lie there. 3—That no negroes should sleep there. 4—That an account be taken of the Company's stock of Cattle. 5—a similar account of sheep, hogs, &c. 6—That Palin the Overseer should be removed for ill usage of the Company's blacks. The Governor agrees to the first three requests, but refuses the rest adding He was not obliged to render any account since the Company gave him commission to act. That Palin should stay his pleasure let who would say to the contrary, and that he had private orders for what he did.
The following day Governor Poirier was taken speechless and continued so almost to the very hour he died which was on Monday night 8th September 1707 having lingered a long time of a dropsical distemper.
Governor Poirier's Will after the usual preamble begins thus—I give thanks to my God for the miraculous means of which he made use to withdraw me out of my house in France. Protesting that there was no human means in it and that I heard his only Voice (when the Judges sent to take me*) saying come out hence, come out hence—which I did to their confusion and so I came out from under the slavery of Babylon. I give him also my most humble thanks for having provided me an Azile protection and entertainment under good and auspicious masters the Right Honble English East India Company although loaded perpetually of trouble and vexations by traitors and unjust Enemies only because I never sought but toe good and advantage of my illustrious masters. God grant he lay not their sins to their charge.
* In allusion to his troubles in France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
Oct. 8.—Liberty had been granted for some years past to gather Sea Birds Eggs upon the Egg Islands on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays. Notice given that boats which trespass on other days will be deprived of their privilege for the rest of the season.
Nov. 4.—Mr. Daniel Griffiths fined two dollars for being absent from muster, protests against it and claims he ought to have the same liberty as Mr. Carne who is reputed a Roman Catholic—complains that Mr. Carne was allowed to wear his sword and he Mr. Griffiths had never been refused such a privilege anywhere until now. That the Governor and Council had a prejudice against him and can only suppose it was for his being a true friend to the late Governor.
Mr. Carne's reply that he is surprized at Mr. Griffith's allusions "a fellowcountryman though it is to be feared we participate more of the frailties than virtues of the Welsh." Resents being called a Roman Catholic and alleges that the privileges granted him were allowed by the late Governor himself in consideration of his marriage with the precedent Governor's widow.
Nov. 18—Prices of Produce of the Companies Plantations—Yam 6s. a cwt., Beef 25s. cwt., Butter 10d. lb, Pork 4d. lb, Potatoes 4s. bushel, Fowls 1s. 4d. each, Turkies 5s., Geese 5s., Goat 8s., Roasting Pig 3s., Milk 6d. gallon, Sheep 20s. each, Beans 9s. bushel, Running Hoggs 2d. lb.
December 19—List of those dieted at the General table and the order of their place, viz.—The Governor—The Council—The Minister—The Engineer—The Ensign—The Clerk of the Council—The Storekeepers Assistant—The Surgeon—The Sergeant of the Guard—The Writer—The Armourer—The Overseer of workmen—The two Masons—The Assistant to the Armourer—besides the Governor's family.
December 30.—The Company have a large stock of Cattle, therefore no one is to presume to sell Beef to ships except by special permission of the Governor.
Feb. 22, 1708.—Capt. Mashborne in digging lime stone in Breakneck Valley sent some mixt with other stones and dirt which tried in the fire was found mixt with several specks of gold.
Mr. Griffith hath since sent the Govr two sorts of minerals found by a soldier. The one is gold the other we take to be copper.
Rewards offered of £250 for discovery of a gold mine, £150 for copper being assured there are such mines upon this Island.
Feb. 24.—Mr. Mashborne states that being at Mr. Greentree's House with Mr. Hoskison, Hoskison told him that the Governor and Council had not acted as they ought to have done in forbidding the freemen to sell their Cattle to ships. That in gaining £100 for the Company we had lost them £300,000 it being against their charter. For this Hoskison was fined four dollars and admonished.
Feb. 24.—Gabriel Powell although bound over to good behaviour on a previous complaint from Daniel Griffiths hath in a most infamous degrading manner sett up a pair of Beasts Horns with some part of the forehead nayled to a Pole upon a hill facing Griffiths house. Powell prays with great submission that his bond £100 may not be forfeited not thinking that his foolish act would be a breach of the peace. Fined £20 and the forfeiture of the remaining £80 left to the Company's decision.
March 9.—Newman fined for abusing the Engineer Vogel saving the Engineer knows no more than a cat—he was a foole and would go off the Island with disgrace.
March 22.—Crowns and Spanish pieces of eight (Dollars) ordered to pass at 5s. instead of 6s., as heretofore. All other coins in proportion. Those who have coin by them may pay them into the stores for old debts at 6s each dollar.
April 1—The Engineer Vogel tried for profligate conduct and acquitted. But the Governor (Goodwin) on hearing from John Alexander Clerk of the Council that Vogel had asked a slave girl at the Castle who were the sweet hearts of Mary and Martha Goodwin, was very angry and said if this declaration had been given in before he did not think Vogel would have got off so well.
May 25.—Two years head money due to the Church from the inhabitants being computed after the rate of sixpence per head for all whites and blacks over 16 years of age. List shows 180 whites and 177 blacks—men and women—soldiers of Garrison and Company's slaves excepted.
August 24.—Governor John Roberts arrived.
An advertisement published of a reward of $100 to any person who can get any Quarry of Stone to be burnt into lime for the use of the fortifications.
And for the sooner descrying of any ship that may approach nigh the Island from any part by any person as well free planter as soldier a reward of one dollar to any person who shall give first intelligence which we hope all persons will have due respect to for the security of the Island that we may be in readiness of Defence the sooner.
Goodwin, Mashburne, Marsden, and Griffiths to form the Council
August 26—Resolved that a new Fort of 130 feet square be immediately gone about according to the Governor's scheme in order of a better and stronger defence of the Island and conveniency of Lodgings within the Fort.
Sept. 28.—For the speedy taking and apprehending of Runnaway negroes who have been absent for several months through their cruel usage beyond measure and have done damage in stealing from several persons it is ordered that every owner of a runaway Black shall be obliged to give notice to the Governor in six days—if not—the negroe so runaway shall work for the Company six months and for the informer three months and upon the taking of such negroes the owners shall bring him to the Fort to receive condign punishment.
[Note.—Nothing is said about protecting the negroes "from cruel usage beyond measure," which was the admitted reason of their running away.]
Oct. 12.—Aaron Johnston soldier the first that found a Lime Stone on the Island rewarded with twenty dollars, the quantity being small about two tun which burns and sements as well as any chalk.
The Governor has been informed that our late Consultations has been revealed and buz'd up and down among the people. Is a hindrance to those in Council from giving their opinions as they would lest they should be rendered obnoxious to the people. Resolved that whoever reveals the secrets of the Consultations is a Traitor to the Company, a Betrayer of this Govt and to be dismissed.
The Governor reports to the Council that he observes the Engineer to be useless, running headlong, rather a Pioneer than an Engineer and no gentleman—Idle ignorant and lazy—to be dismissed.
Mr. Vogel the Engineer prays he might be allowed time till next ship arrives from England expecting to be employed in India. That his salary be continued to enable him to pay his debts and to carry him off like a gentleman. He is answered:—It was the opinion of the Council that if he carried nothing off with him he would in that point go off as much like a gentleman as he came on.
Dec. 7.—The House in the Fort ruinous and decayed and ready to drop down. Ordered—The Old house to be out of hand pulled down and a new one built. The inner part of the Rampart will serve for the back part of the House.
Dec. 14.—Tea in the stores—two dollars a pound a good medium price.
Letters to Court of Directors, 1707—As to Fortifications we say that Ruperts is almost finished. There's only the East Hill to cutt down 60 yards and a breach that the water hath made : as for the Grand Fort there 110 yards are done and 110 to do to secure the mouth of the valley which two valleys are the most considerable; when done the other small valleys would be soon done.
Nov. 1708.—The Cash is all gone from the Island as you may judge by the sale of the last stores in selling above £800 we have received but seven dollars (ready money) altho we gave out before the sale that we would reduce the dollars from 6 to 5 shillings.
In answer to your 27 para. about Wood we do apprehend there can be no want this fifty year, but we shall be encouraging the people to plant for their necessary uses about their plantations. If the great wood was fenced in it would be wood enough for the whole island. But it will be a great work it being about five miles round and stone very scarce in that place, and could not be done for less than £1000. But shall when the necessary fortifications are done take in some of it and take necessary measures for the next generations. The Blast has prejudiced the Island in general that there is not the thousandth part of the Lemmons there was.
As to Liquors. We can say nothing since Govr Poirier is dead but believe it was most spent in your Fort house [i.e. the Castle] for there was not any allowed to the Council at your Plantation but one or two bottles, when the Minister preached in the Country or when the Governor was there for his own use, and to give an account of the family then does not lye within our reach. The family now at the Fort Table is 27 and at the lower Table 18 besides Blacks and Boats crew that goe for lime and several others.
The storehouse, Plantation, Fort house, Hutts, Luffkins and the Barracks are tumbling down. Those that are standing are supported by Shoars that we are in danger of their falling about our Ears, and so are most of the Planters houses in the Island and thats the occasion we make such a large demand for Timber.
The Blenheim Capt. John Barnes arrived from Batavia 3rd Nov. 1708—we obtained from him 34 leagers of arrack, several of them we found partly emptied and in some we found hollow canes used generally by seamen to suck out of. We took no notice of this to the Captain nor of his leaving the Cape when the Stringer galley would have sailed with him if he had stayed two days but came to this place when the sun was near the Zenith which put the hitting of this place to chance for that very day they made the Island the sun was but 2° 21' from the Island, and had they mist it and put up for this place again she is so bare of sails and rigging she must have been obliged to have layn up here. This is the only Arrack proper for this place for what comes from Bengal or Suratt gives our people the belly ache and Fluxes of which several have dyed.
The Stringer galley Captain Isaac Pyke [subsequently Governor] arrived here 14th Nov. We had no Sugar or Sugar candy for one week and applied ourselves to the Super cargoes. We have taken but 12 small chests 33 cwt. We cannot express our wants to you as matter of fact will—that is the Stringer galley people bought very brown sugar at the Cape at 8 dutch dollars a pecull which was disposed of here to our inhabitants in a moment at 18d a pound.
From Court of Directors 11th Jany. 1709.—The Despatch was in the beginning of May last by a French Privateer sunck on the North of Scotland. The Privateer running her down and all the men except the Doctor perished in her. We suppose Mr. Vogel the Engineer shared in the calamity with the rest of that ship's company as we hear only the Doctor escaped alone.
You say you have 27 persons at your upper table and 18 at your lower table besides Blacks and Boats crew for lime so that your expense cant be less than from 3 to 4 gallons of arrack a day which we think a very extravagant and unnecessary expense—you should have sent us the names of those 45 persons which is as you say the number of your constant daily family. We cant apprehend how there should be so many. We approve of Governor Roberts management for finding out lime by publishing a reward of 100 dollars, yet we cannot admit of his taking any of our Cash out of any of our outward bound ships.
The account is very surprizing to us to suffer the letters Consultation books, Register of Wills, &c. to be so much destroyed and damaged by Ratts, Moths, and Wett or any of them to be missing. That paragraph by intent of the Penman points particularly at Governor Poirier but this is a miscarriage that casts a disreputation upon the whole Council.
1709.—The Laws ordinances &c. lye so intricate and the old books by time and age so much injured that it is diffi- to find anything out or to make anything of them—ordered that Capt. Mashborne and Mr. Griffith collect them in a Book to be titled "The Book of Laws and Constitutions."
The Extract of all Laws being prepared it was found that some of them were proper for the Govr and Council only and some not in force being since repealed. A Digest was therefore prepared and resolved to summon 36 of the principal inhabitants to the Church by Plantation to read and receive them [The List shows who were the principal inhabitants in 1709 and is therefore given] viz:—Thomas Cason, Thomas Southen, Joshua Johnson, Gabriel Powell, Robert Addis, Hugh Bodley, James Draper, Richard Gurling, Charles Steward, Richard Alexander, Richard Swallow, Thomas Perkins, Benjamin Sich, John Twaits, Stephen Lufkins, John Robinson, William Seale, William Marsh, Thomas Harper, Henry Coales, Sutton Isaac, John Nichols, Thomas Swallow, Ripon Wills, Matthew Bazett, Thomas Gargen, Henry Francis, James Greentree, Jonathan Doveton, John Coles, Orlando Bagley, James Vesey, Robert Leach, Robert Bell, Thomas Burnham, and Francis Wrangham.
April 17, 1709.—The Assembly seemed well satisfied and chose twelve of their number to consider the same.
April 27.—Capt. Mashborne impounds five head of cattle off the Common—found to be Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson's widow of the late Governor—The Marshall to summon her next Council day.
May 3.—The Cattle adjudged to be forfeited but Mrs. Johnson allowed to buy them for £12. All Cattle ranging on the Common to pay 1s a year.
May 19.—Considering the vast charge our Hon. Masters are at in fortifying the outside of this Island, at the same the inside is going to ruine and has been decaying for fifteen years past especially in that article of Wood. Resolved the inhabitants shall enclose and plant one acre in ten within two years. The Company have ordered the enclosure of the Great Wood [i.e. Longwood and Deadwood] but the Inhabitants having represented to us what a damage to them the enclosing it would be. We will interceed that they may have liberty of the Great Wood provided they enclose their own land one acre in ten—ordered that no person do presume to cut any live wood until such time the vast quantity of Deadwood that lays in the Company's woods be first used.
Our Masters "Plantation" is quite destitute of wood so that one day in the week it employed all the Blacks to fetch wood from Horse Pasture and the Great Wood; ordered that fifteen acres be enclosed at Plantation Valley and planted with Gum Wood. The Lemon trees in the Fort Valley are all blasted and won't take again therefore 500 Lemon trees to be planted at Plantation. The Yams in the Company's Plantations to be increased from 600,000 to 1200,000, one thousand yams being used daily for the Company's Blacks, Hoggs, and Fowls.
May 31.—Trees in the new plantations not to exceed seven feet from each other (888 per acre) and if not planted in two years the lands to be seized to the Company.
June 14.—The twelve Inhabitants submit their views about the laws. [A detailed account is already published in Brook's History.]
July 5.—Barracks to be built from the Castle along the Garden—[i.e. the site of the present Supreme Court and Police Office].
July 12.—The Inhabitants complain of distress caused by the discharge of their blacks from pay and work at the fortifications in order to fence and plant their lands and represent that ships do not come here as formerly they did to take of their provisions.
July 19.—The Redwood and Ebony trees are most of them destroyed by the Tanners that for laziness never took the pains to bark the whole tree but only the bodies. We find that Ebony wood will burne Lime and being informed that there is huge quantities of that wood which lies dead on the hills near Sandy Bay the Gov. and Capt. Mashborne went there to view it and found the report true for that there is abundance indeed and just by that place where the wood lies is mountains of extraordinary Lime stone.
Ordered that an Alphabetical Abstract be made to all the Books that we may turn to anything we are minded to know unless it be law suits quarrels and other misdemeanors which one would have buried in oblivion (except the life and behaviour of George Hoskinson).
July 26.—The Govr has information that Mrs. Carne has several books and papers in her possession relating to the Lords Proprietors affaires that was lodged with her by her father Mr. Anthony Bealle and her former husband Governor Keelinge. She owns it to be true but remembers some have been destroyed and used for waste paper.
The Governor says by the Lime Kiln in Sandy Bay there is a fine curious plaine which he believes will be proper to plant sngar canes. We find in 1689 Mr. Cox formerly overseer of Colonel Coddrington's plantation in Barbadoes skilled in raising and boyling sugar was sent out to raise Sugar here. We cant find that ever he made an experiment and by his discharge he was an idle drunken fellow therefore not sufficient to discourage us since every body says the Canes grow very well when they were planted formerly in this country.
Sept. 6.—The storekeeper reports short allowance of Arrack in store—whereupon ordered that two Legars of Arrack be reserved to support the spirits of the people in case of an attack.
Sept. 20.—A room taken for the Governor at Thomas Gargen's house in Sandy Bay to lodge in when he goes to view the Sugar Cane plantation.
The Governor finds that the building of Munden's Castle will take 8 or 10,000 bushels of Lime and burn up all the Wood. The thoughts of building Munden's Castle laid aside until we have coales from England.
The Sugar Canes grow in Sandy Bay plaine extraordinary well and the Deadwood will be very useful and serviceable in making Sugar and Rum.
Nov. 17.—Several idle and evil disposed persons do kill and eat more flesh than they can reasonably be supposed to do. To prevent such Pilfrages ordered that no beast or cattle be killed without being witnesssed by some person warranted by the Govr to keep armes.
The Governor says that "Ass negroes" are now brought to be very serviceable in carrying Sand, Lime, Yams &c., there were 19 on the Island of which Capt. Mashborne has one and a foal, Capt. Goodwin one and Mr. Francis two—the rest are the Company's—ordered that they remain so and that all pretensions may be cutt off the others were all bought so that there will be none else upon the Island.
[Note.—The above name for the Donkies is suggestive—and shows that in those days of Slavery Asses and Negroes stood nearly on one level.]
The Governor says we have a great many lees left of the Country Wine and some sower. He believes if a still house were built we could draw off the Wine into a Spirit and if no winter shipping arrive we must be obliged to still the most part of the next vintage.
John Alexander Clerk of the Council dismissed by Gov. Roberts and his brother Richard Alexander sent for and taxt with his scandalous way of running about the countrey saying the Governor would ruin them all. He denyed but we are sattisfied to the contrary—ordered to go off next out bound ship.
[Note.—This harsh proceeding with his treatment of Edward and Hoskison occasioned subsequent trouble.]
Dec. 26.—Captain Goodwin's death on 21st Dec. 1709 after a lingering illness.
Dec. 29.—Humphrey Edwards for beating a soldier and "bid him go to the Governor and acquaint him with it for he did not care", also, sending for Jonathan Doveton in an impudent deriding way to come to see him Kill a Pigg with all speed or otherwise he would kill it without—Ordered to receive 39 lashes on his naked body at the whipping post, to be sent off in the first outward bound ship under the title of a Drone, and to be no longer esteemed a Planter.