Council Proceedings 7th Jany. 1710—George Hoskison on 6th July 1708 [i. e. two months before Gov. Robert's arrival] clandestinely left the Island. It was ordered that his Estates seven in number containing 268 acres be forfeited to the Company for breach of the law requiring that two English persons should be maintained on every 20 acres for the defence of the Island.
17th Jany. 1710.—Mrs. Hoskison petitions for indulgence until the return of her husband. She is answered that the Council could not interceed for her to the Lords Proprietors of the Island for her husband had been such an ill liver that except murder we believe it will be no hard matter to prove that he has broak through all the laws of God and man.
7th March.—The Island is brought to that pass that should the Law of planting wood prove abortive the Island in 20 years time will be utterly ruined for want of wood, for no man upon St. Helena can say that there is one tree in the Great Wood, or other wood less than 20 years old consequently it will die with age. There is no wood on Bowman's land and the yam ground is worn out [i. e. 50 acres of the land seized from Hoskison and forming part of the land now called Oak Bank.] The Governor says this is a plain demonstration of the decay of this Island as on this land there formerly lived three families that now wont maintain one although it is in the very heart of the country.
[Note.—This shows how easy it is to blame Nature when the laziness of man alone deserves the blame. The land said to have been decayed and worn out is at the present time full of fine forest trees and is one of the prettiest Estates in the Island].
May 20.—Received "the General letter" by the Mead from England. The ship still lyes becalmed to the windward of the Island.
[Note—The dead calm of which we still have such frequent experience in the month of May annually].
May 30.—The people are very sickly sending down every day to the Governor for Brandy—i.e. for leave to purchase it from the Company's Stores. The demands at the stores for Brandy on 6th June amounted to 20 Hogsheads.
August 15th.—The Governor exhibited to the Council a sample of St. Helena Sugar—9 or 10lbs. Resolved—That a pound or two be sent to our Honourable Masters and that they may be acquainted that we have found the following articles since Governor Roberts came here viz: Lime, Tyles, Bricks, Cut stones for building, Sugar, Rum, Minerals of several sorts, upon which we are now resolved to fire nine guns to drink our Honourable Masters good health and success to the Island.
October 10.—A return of lands showing that the quantity in the hands of the Inhabitants was 2250 acres of Lott land, i.e. lands assigned in lots of 10 or 20 acres to the first settlers and 786 acres lease lands.
Dec. 19.—The Castle at Munden's point finished all but one battery and the angle that joins to the hill to be left so till the Guns are mounted that being the properest place to purchase them up. A path to be cut between Managers Castle on Munden's point and the United Castle that a File of Musqueteers may go in abreast.
Governor Roberts remarks upon a lease granted to Mary Easthorpe near Longwood by the late Governor Poirier that he is informed this lease was given in a very capricious humour by the old Frenchman against the petition of most of the Inhabitants of that side of the Island, but the old gentleman was resolved upon it.
The Council believe that if all Freeholders were or could be bought out and the lands let out to lease it may prove for the benefit of our Masters.
Letter to Court of Directors, 1st Dec. 1710—We pray your Honours to believe we have no wish to point at any of our fellow servants that have gone before when so much labour and paines falls to our share, we say that the Antient Old Company has been very ill served for if any of their orders had ever been put in execution the Island would not have been in this ruined state and condition and if they had kept one half of the Island as by the 38 para. in 1683, we should not have been landlockt all round now nor have needed such large fences. The like order there was in the 88 para. of the same letter to Fence in the Great Wood but there never was a stone laid or had Governor Poirier when he first took possession of Plantation fenced in the wood round about him which was so thick that they could hardly find their way to the place and now we can hardly find a tree. Or had he fenced in the ground that nearly costs as much money to keep the Cows out as the vallue of the grapes amounted to, or indeed had he done anything to prevent the Island going to Rack and Ruine we should have the less need of hands and our labour and time been employed to much better service. Whatever service that gentleman had done is a Secret to every soul upon the Island.
We advised your Honours by the Tavistock and Somers of those two Capt. Gordon and Trotter. First those gentlemen advised that they were not well received here according to the antient custom : they said it was for the Governor and Council to meet them at the Lauding Rocks which the Council did, but the Governor did not budge out of the Fortifications but met them there. They also informed it was usual to welcome the Commodore with so many, Guns which the Governor refused to do. But what was most in Capt. Gordon at his taking leave of the Governor like one of the false brethren Hugged and kissed and immediately after went up the valley and declared he would carry any body off. Missing of two soldiers we do believe he had them, for we, are since informed that our people did see a Man of Warr's pinnace go privately to the West Rocks just before they went under saile which they supposed to be His. Thus your Honours may see the zealous intention of these gentlemen for your service that tramples upon your honour and had not the Commodore been an old intimate acquaintance of the Governor's which old Friendship those gentlemen could not break otherwise we must have been Hobby Horst by those gentlemen or ill blood must have arisen and we should have been very loth to have gone too farr, knowing the great charge they have of your Estate and the chief reason is because they could not Cork and Hosier us although we thought we did them a kindness in taking the goods off their hands as we did, and as the Scotchman was the chiefest merchant, so he made the most stirr.
Governor Roberts petitions to go home.
March 7, 1711—In relation to settling of the people in their property's they seem to scruple whether the sealing of the Old Company's Seale is authentic because the beginning of all leases run thus "The Lords Proprietors of this Island, The Honble United English East India Company of Merchants trading to East Indies" and conclude "have hereunto set our common seale" which seale being the Old Company's Seale seems to these People a contradiction.
Heavy seas fell here in January last. A hundred foot of the middle angle washed away and several other parts much damaged and also the line of guns at Bankses as by the Governors draught of that place is entirely washt away, we had much adoe to save the guns. It sunk the Punt and tore her all to pieces.
We sent you by the Abingdon some sugar but as we say there, we having not the right way of curing it therefore if you will send a man experienced in making sugar with mills and all things necessary you may in 5 or 6 years have a ship load of sugar for a ship load of coals, and therefore we do affirm that we have put the making of Rum and Sugar beyond all doubt.
We have been in a very bad condition for want of Liquor upon the Island. We have not had a drop of strong Liquor in your store this month. There is no living in this hilly country and drink nothing but water. We have made about one hundred weight of sugar out of the canes in this lower garden, but believe we have not the right way of curing it, and are possessed with an opinion that the canes in the country will make much better. We have sent by Capt. Lesly about half a dozen pound. We have not sufficient ground to maintain above 50 blacks more than we have—the ground wears away strangely for notwithstanding we have made several new Plantations within this three years and planted at least 120,000 yams yet by the decay of the old plantations we cant say we are increast.
A vast quantity of Fencing is required, nor can we tell how long we shall be about it, yet when it is done there will be hardly a stick of wood in them all, nor can we give you any Estimate as yet what your charge will be to fence in the Wood at Horse Pasture as also the Great Wood because the digging for stones is so uncertain, for the charge will be so much the more or less according to the distance the stones must be brought for Fencing.
If your Honours should give George Hoskison his Estate at the Horse Pasture again we must bid farewell to most part of the Island and expect no wood from thence. We shall not have wood to boile your yam in a very few years and it will render your Island useless after all your great charge. The young trees we have planted does not answer our expectation as we could wish. We pray your honours to harken to what we say for we regret to tell you your Island is almost ruined. Without your encouragement in general we can have no hopes for if we are not plentifully supplied with stores so we may be able to put your Laws in execution those two most articles of Fencing and Planting should they prove abortive there is an end of it, for a great many Planters which are very poor and much indebted to your care not which end goes foremost, and even challenge us to send them where we will for it cannot be say they to a worse place for here they neither get Cloathes to their back nor a Dram to drink.
Jany. 9, 1711.—The Governor offers a project which in few years will yield twice the Revenues of the whole Island and that is to take the whole Run of Water out of Plantation Valley and carry it upon a hill which leads to a plane—[i.e. since called New Ground] being an extreme hot place nothing but water is wanting to make it fruitful. We then command at least 200 acres and all the plain between Plantation Valley and Breakneck Valley about 150 acres. There will be at least 50 acres of yam ground which at 30,000 to an acre is 150,000. We shall be certain of our grain for there it wont be subject to those intolerable worms that as soon as corn and beans are planted eats them up. The whole plain will bear Sugar Canes. I am of opinion that 20 or 30 acres of Sugar Canes will maintain this Island in Sugar. They will yield as well here as in the West Indies having as good and as large growing as I have seen there. I have heard the planters say in the West Indies that it was an ordinary acre of Cane that did not yield 6 hogsheads of Sugar. We also may plant 50 60 or 70 acres of Indian Corn which is a very material article and a much more wholesome food than yams—and as for Vineyards we may have as much as we please on the sides of the hills clear of Foggs so that we may be sure of a Vintage besides Plantain trees, &c. All this within view of our own Plantation house where one Black under Eye does more work than fear out of sight and because in the dry season the Run will not be sufficient to maintain so vast a piece of ground tis necessary during the Rains to over flow it and to preserve it in the dry season I propose at the top of the Rill to make a Pond or Tank that shall hold 1000 tunns of Water and so in convenient places to make several of the same sort bigger or less as we see occasion.
Capt. Mashborne is of opinion—It is the greatest improvement that ever was proposed at St. Helena and all this Council is of opinion it will be such an improvement that ever was proposed at St. Helena and all this Council is of opinion it will be such an improvement that never was thought of nor heard before.
Jan. 16.—The Governor reports that the high seas which began the 13th of this Instant and continued the 14th and 15th has done a great deal of damage. It has entirely washt away the lower fort of two guns at Bankses and had like to wash the guns away for we had enough to do to save them. The same high seas has also broke the middle angle of the Trench in James Valley for a matter of 110 foot and has damaged the angle there where the round Tower is of one gun insomuch that it was like to tumble down. We were forced to remove all the powder into the great magazine for it filled that place full of water and has damaged the Trench in several other places and has thrown up a vast quantity of beech stones into the Breech of the Trench. Those high seas sunk the punt and broke her loose also the yawl and he offered Ten pounds to five soldiers that could swim well if they would swim off to save them. They threw themselves into the Sea and recovered the yawl but could not bring in the punt for they say she was tore all to pieces by the seas—however for the hazarding of their lives and bringing in the yawl the Governor gave them some punch and victual and ten dollars after they came ashoar the next day for they could not get ashoar that day by reason of the high seas. The seas had like to wash down the crane the place where shipping waters [i.e. now the Upper Crane].
March 29.—William Coales prays that his title may be established to 20 acres of free laud that did formerly belong to Black Oliver and afterwards to John Worral from whom Henry Coales bought it for his son William 14 years ago. Mrs. Grace Coulson being examined declares that Black Oliver was her slave and also his wife and when the Dutch took the Island in 1672 they went to Brazil and there sold the said Oliver to an English merchant one Mr Abram by name. Capt. Anthony Beale and Capt. Metford commander of the Humphrey and Elizabeth hired a sloop at Brazil to come And cruise to the windward of this Island to give notice to all merchantmen that the Island was taken by the Dutch and they persuaded Mr. Abram to let the said Oliver go in the aforesaid sloop because he knew the Island. Being upon her cruise to the windward of the Island they met with Sir Richard Munden to whom they gave notice as aforesaid and Black Oliver being well acquainted with the Island took him out of the sloop and ordered him to conduct his men into the country to retake the Island which he performed—for that good service Sir Richard Munden gave him his freedom and sent the money to his master to Brazil and five pound more than he paid for him. Mr. Coulson and his wife arriving in England with the said Black Oliver's wife the antient old Company bought her of them and sent her here to her husband and repaid Sir Richard Munden for Black Oliver who was made a free planter and bestowed this 20 acres of land upon him and all other encouragements that free planters then had as appears by the 33 para. of a letter from the antient old Company dated 19th Sept. 1673 as may appear.
Afterwards in the unhappy Rebellion 21st October 1684 the said Black Oliver in coming down to attempt the Fort was shot. After these unhappy commotions was over the antient old company did say that Estates of such as shall be convicted of the late rebellion will return to the Company's use. We find that seizure was made of several and only one that we can find refused which was John Luffkin as by Consultation 12th July 1690 "He wholly refused to make any agreement with us alledging his said Estate was not forfeited he being condemned by "Court Martial" to which consultation we can find no answer only an order in 1699 to repay Grace Coulson back the money she had paid her husband being one of the sufferers. Now since this poor planter William Coales has quietly possest the said Lott land of Black Oliver this 14 years and the money was paid to the son of the said Black Oliver William Coales is declared to be the lawful owner.
April 6.—This Island ever since it was retaken from the Dutch has layn unsettled and the inhabitants have not been establisht in their estates. The lands lye unfenced, no land marks or plans.
April 7.—The Churchwardens petition that whereas our Churchyard at the Fort is very small and hardly room to dig a grave for rocks and graves already digged also our yard wall is very bad and irregular we pray that we may inlarge our yard backwards by cutting the water in a new course near the hill and have liberty of ranging the front wall with the street.
The Petitioners are answered that its commendable in them to promote the putting that piece of rubbish called a church yard in order; its for the credit of the island, and we advise you to repair the Church or it will tumble down in a little time. People will be apt to say that at this island the old proverb is true about settlements, that where the English settle they first build a Punch House, the Dutch a fort and the Portuguese a Church.
April 7.—William Coales applies for a loan of £30 to buy a slave and is lectured for it and told "If you can't live here go where you can live better." Coales pleaded that it was very hard to go with his family from his native country. He was answered to be industrious and there would be no occasion, for no planter is fitt to live upon this island that cant keep himself out of debt, supply his family, and provide something of refreshment for the shipping.
April 9, 1711.—Governor Roberts proposes to turn a stream of water from the valley on to Prosperous Bay Plain. "It will command a great many acres of good land before you come to Prosperous Bay Plain, and after you brought it to that glorious Plain the finest that ever I saw in my life anywhere, I believe it is a matter of 200 acres of good ground better situated than this last we made, being more out of the wind and I can turn the water upon it in about two months time with a hundred blacks."
Gov. Roberts proposes to enclose an acre of ground with large styes to hold 150 or 200 hoggs to be fattened "then the pork will be extraordinary good and sweet and not as it is now fishy and nasty the worst that ever I tasted in my life, for it is a burning shame that for these seven or eight and thirty years the Company's Hog styes and Dary are hardly as good as the Planters, and not so much as a Wash House built."
May 29.—Capt. Mashborne reports that the hard winds on Sunday night blew down the Old Blacks house in the Country, but neither killed nor hurt any of the Blacks, they running out so soon as it began to crack.
July 3.—The Company's Stock consisted of 14 bulls, 30 bullocks, 113 cows, 41 heifers, 33 steers, 33 yearlings, 71 calves, total 335—sheep 52, goats 107, hogs 64.
Ensign Thomas Cason's land lyes between Plantation House and High Peak—by obtaining it we should, have all clear to the High Peak and his pastures being extraordinary good is exchanged for a grant of ground in Sandy Bay.
Letter to Court of Directors 17th July, 1711.—We shall take leave to say something in relation to George Hoskison since if we are righly informed, we shall give your Honors the common report, that the Governor and Council of St. Helena are turned out for seizing of his lands and by a letter from him to his wife here which advises that Capt. Boucher is coming out Governor and himself Deputy and that the Company has made him sattisfaction for his lands. We have hardly faith to believe that by making such an example of the highest importance for the strengthening of this your Island where a man possesses near 1 10th part of it and without any regard to the Laws and Constitutions of it goes off without a Lycence and in the heat of Warr and leaves not so much as one man to defend it; however we shall show your Honours what fair play we gave him although examples of this nature are requisite to be made, yet to show how tender we are of ruining that man and his family we shall not trouble you with a Dialogue between the Governor and the Captains of the men of Warr and Merchantmen that sollicited in his behalf, only their saying that he was an honest Fellow &c., and it was a pity he should be rained, and repeating of his honesty so often the Governor's answer was, Gentlemen you talk so much of an honest Fellow meaning George Hoskison, there he is let him prove that ever he complied with one obligation even from under his band and seale and I will give him his land again and stand in the Gap between the Lords Proprietors and him. Upon a second application by the Captains the same answer was returned George Hoskison to his face, for the truth and testimony of this the Governor refers himself to the Captains of the Men of Warr as well as ourselves. This together with your Honours character of him in 20 para. by the Fleet Frigot where you are pleased to say, "There is one Hoskison a Vicious Fellow, &c., we leave upon record for him to read at his leisure hours, that whilst he is in being it may serve for a memento mori, that he may hereafter live a more Godly and righteous and sober life."
But after all when the Captains would not leave soliciting in his behalf and a tenderness we had for his family the Governor bid him go and take possession of his lands again, sitt down and mind his plantations and be accountable as other people were that hire land at 4s. per acre and petition the Lords Proprietors and we would intercede for him, this seemed to be pleasing on all sides, but the reason why he changed his mind afterwards and went off to England we must only guess at.
It has been our misfortune not to receive any instructions or directions in all those we think important affairs for the good of this your Island since Governor Roberts came, we can say no more this being the last letter we expect to signe to you.
Postscript. We come now to acquaint your Honours that about 6 in the morning allarm was made on 22nd May last. About 11 in the forenoon the shipp appeared on this side the Barn close to the shoar with Portugeeze Collours and a large Broad Pennant at the main topmast head. Immediately after the ship stood right off to sea with all her sailes set, only the larboard clugarnet of the main sail was hauled up which we suppose was done the better to view the Island and to see what ships were in the Road after she had run about 3 leagues out then clapt close upon a wind again and stemmed directly with Mundens point Castle, made a waife with his Jack and a little time after fired three guns by way of salute as we suppose and was answered with one from the Castle on Mundens point. Thus he kept on his way towards the Road but always inclining to keep out of Gun shott and immediately fired one of his Guns from his lower Tire which by the Report we are assured it could not be less than a Demi cannon. He was answered with a Demi cannon from this Line and afterwards came abreast of the Castle but at least six or seven miles out. We perceived him to be a Man of War built ship with three decks (such another ship as the Cumberland both the Head and Stem and the shear of the ship was altogether beautiful with very large sailes). As he lay off he made a waife with his Ensign and fired another gun, a signal to send a boat off to him, we made a waife with our Flag of the Castle and fired a Demi cannon from the Line for him to send his Boat ashoar. Thus the time was spent till between 4 and 5 when he hoisted out his boat and sent her ashoar with 12 rowers 2 setters and a coxswain and landed. at the Crane just as it was dark. Immediately an officer with six file of musqueteers secured the 13 seamen and brought the two officers to the Sessions House who declared themselves one to be Capt. Lieut. the other 2nd Lieut.—being separated were asked several questions but they not agreeing in their account as to the number of men or guns or burden of ship or indeed in anything but the name of the ship Nostra Seignora de Conception from Goa. One said she was a ship of 3000 tuns 120 guns the other 2000 tuns and 110 guns. It was between 8 and 9 at night before we had done the examination and concluded to send their Boat with a letter from the Lieut, to the Captain to send the commission ashoar—but when they came to the water side it blowed very fresh and it was very dark and the ship having no light out they could not tell where to find her. The next morning the ship was almost out of eight making the best of her way. The officers nor people would not venture to follow her and seeing their ship gone they were obliged to remain here.
July 17, 1711.—The Governor has had the Offer of the Captains of the Men of Warr to assist him with their men and what else they could spare to take fourteen Demi cannon off this line and place upon Munden's Point Castle but when we come to examine into Timber, Topmasts, &c., to make such purchases as are requisite we found the Men of Warr had both sprung their topmasts and so they became useless. We are very sorry that such an important Castle as that is for the preservation of your shipping should be built and lye without guns ever since the latter end of December last and so must remain until the arrival of the Store shipps. Had the Indent come in time which we expected in the year 1709 your Island would have been made impregnable, your Shipping been safe against the attempts of an Enemy and no ship could have rode to leeward but we should have had a shot to throw at him, your Island would have been defended by a handful of people and all these fortifications had been at an end long agoe.
Letter from Court of Directors 17th April 1711.—Appointment of Capt Benjamin Boucher as Governor Mr. George Hoskison 2nd Mr. John Pack 3rd Mr. Daniel Griffiths 4th and Mr. Matthew Bazett 6th of Council.
The style of the Company changed from that of "The Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading to the East Indies" to that of "The United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies."
"Fourteen ships had been taken up for all parts of India this season" from 180 to 500 tons each. When any of these vessels outward bound take stores to St. Helena we pay six weeks demorrage for their deviation to St. Helena and also for all the time they stay there above the working days.
We have been informed by Mr. Hoskison and assured by petition of several inhabitants that Mr. Mashborne and Mr. Marsden have been guilty of engrossing commodities on board. We do dismiss them our service from the arrival of this letter.
Our accounts have been kept little better than a Shop Book. Mr. Pack has been elected he being one of our accomptants office. Mr. Hoskison being well skilled in Plantation affairs he shall have the care of Plantation, House, &c.
The late Governor Roberts having desired to come home by the summer ships order the Captains to receive him and use him civilly.
We have read over the case of Mr. George Hoskison. There is a vein of resentment seems to run through the whole proceeding—proof of the ill offices some or other had done him with Capt. Roberts who carryed the matter too far—being now determined to make a new settlement of the Island we hope to the liking of all the industrious and honest inhabitants we are willing to set aside all the seizures of Mr. Hoskison's lands.
We are pleased with the account Gov. Roberts gives us that he effectually checked that lazy disposition of too many of the Planters to let all run to ruin and by removing some of the Drones and speaking well of the industrious has mended the temper of the rest that they are as busy bees.
Govr Roberts says we may be sure of Wine, Brandy, Oil, from the Physick Nut Sugar or Molasses and Rum, all which are noble additions to the imrovements of the Island.
The two samples of Minerals one which he thought gold the other copper have been tryed here and are only Marchasites as the Artists here call them, that is to say if there is any metal in them it cant be separated but flyes away in the Fire in Fumes.
Augt. 7th 1711.—Governor Benjamin Boucher arrived with Mr. George Hoskison as deputy Governor.
Sept. 24.—Governor Roberts letter to Governor Boucher and Council offering to assist with advice as to fortifications and reccomends the mounting of the biggest guns at Mundens. I am further to acquaint you that I have a long time waited with patience and avoided all manner of conversation being informed that George Hoskison was to sue me for damages about the seizure of his land. And likewise that the cause of John Alexander should have a rehearing and also the cause of the widow Alexander now the wife of Thomas Gargen as also the case of Humphrey Edwardes and a serjeant that was dismist. * * The sooner I say these matters are decided the better. * * For my part Gentlemen I am very desirous if you think it convenient that an order be published by beat of drum for any person that can prove I have wronged 'em to the vallue of a groat, I will make 'em a round satisfaction: the same I'll do to any person that can prove I have got a groat by 'em.
The Councils answer. Tis doubtful to us whether it was the opinion of all the Commanders of last and this summers shipping that demi-cannon be mounted at Munden's fort since we can no where find any minutes taken by you and Councill of such opinions—and it appearing to us (upon very good reasons we shall shortly have the honour to transmit to our Masters) that less guns will answer the same end shall mount but few if any demi-cannon at that fort—and as to the manner of mounting them shall take the quickest and cheapest method we are capable of which though it may be different from any projected scheme of your's we hope will not (for that reason) be displeasing to our Masters. That work being in good forwardness hope by the time you may be goeing off they may be most of them mounted. By the way beg you to take notice that fort is not in a condition to receive guns.
We shall upon all occasions readily accept your assistance and advice for the interest of the Honourable Company but beg you will never offer either but with sincerity. * * As to the several cases mentioned in your's to be yet undecided as Hoskinsons Alexanders Edwards &c., we have and shall strictly follow the directions of the Honourable Court of Directors—but must take notice by the bye that it was not possible for you to know we had any instructions relating to the above mentioned but by some of our Council which remark we must transmit to our Masters. * * * You conclude with your offer of restitution and reparation for all injuries done in your Government and we are willing to have the whole Island know it by beat of drum.
Tis the opinion of the Honorabel Court of Directors that in the seizure of Hoskisons lands you went too far and we are sure that you went yet further than they ever knew—and if seizure of land be deemed lawful in his case which was the extent of the penalty you could have no just excuse for destroying all his cattle and permitting his wife to be insulted—and further had he incurred the forfeiture of land (which according to proof in England and he is much better able to prove it here he did not) how comes orphans lands to be equally liable which he had but in trust. This we humbly presume is against the laws of England—but we hope Since you have offered it you'l make ample satisfaction to both—and this being done we shall have reason to believe you'l do the same wherever any further complaints may be made.
December 1st.—Governor Roberts and Mr. Marsden sailed for England in the Mead frigott
Dec. 20th.—Half way Tree common about three miles in circumference to be reserved for Company's Cattle Hogs and Goats—there being no plantations or houses between the Great Plantation and the Fort Valley.
Extravagant prices having been given for Blacks as £45 a head ordered that no slave from ships shall be purchased at a higher rate than £20 for a man and £15 for a woman. Island Blacks being more docile and useful may be sold at £24 a man and £18 a woman—any breach of this to involve the forfeiture of the Slave sold and one years labor of the the slave will be allowed to any informer.
Jan. 9th 1712.—The Governor proposed a pathway from Peak Gutt to Sandy Bay for conveying cut stone, but finding a better stone in Sandy Bay had abandoned the idea. A Lime Kiln built at Sandy Bay close to the Beach which will burn near 1000 bushels at oncethe Govr recommends a 20 tun vessel should be obtained for water conveyance to save labor of Blacks.
Feby. 5th.—The Governor having ordered the colours to be half-masted on 30th January being King Charles Martyrdom, Capt. Hoskison further caused eight guns to be fired, for doing which the Govr requires an explanation in writing.
March 7th.—Capt. Hoskison died at Plantation last night about 12 o'clock.
April 8th.—Lycence for retailing strong Liquors to be put up to Auction at an upset price of four hundred dollars.
July 25th.—Severer prohibitions against the unlicensed destruction of Game, Partridges, Guiney Hens, Pigeons, Turtle Doves, &c. except within enclosed lands.
Sept. 26th.—Governor Boucher being in a declining state of health Capt. John Pack ill at Plantation, Capt. Hoskison and Griffith dead, the Company's affairs without additional help will certainly suffer—resolved to appoint Thomas Cason a sober honest and industrious man and John French overseer of Fortifications and indefatigable in that troublesome business to assist in Council.
Oct. 2nd.—Antony a Maccausa man had been on the Island for some years sent here from Madras for some fault which he denies—he is a poor quiet fellow now old, and having been civily used by all Governors is allowed to return to see his brother (who he says is Sultan, he being too old to do the Company any service here, or harm to 'em at Bencoolen.)
Lime to be sold at the Lime Kiln at 1s. 6d. a bushel and at the Castle at 2s 6d.
Letter from the Directors 30th March, 1712.—We were desirous to quiett the minds of the people by receding from our just demands and passing a kind of general amnesty. We were in great hopes the same temper would have prevailed on you all to second our intentions but instead thereof it appears to us that the people of St. Helena have been spirited up to greater heats and animositys. By the whole of your carriage towards the late Governor and Council and the reflections made on their management we would have thought you would have far exceeded them in yours. * * * This we must say, we expect these things be mended as we hope they will when your heads grow cool and that passion and heat which seems to run through all your proceedings is evaporated now he that furnished you with so much Fewel is removed. Mr. Hoskison is dead who by all accounts did not deserve the favour we showed him in advancing him to be second of the Council. We are sorry the Council complain to us one against the other in their private letters—such animositys and heart burnings portend no good to us * * * * Is this the surpassing your Predecessors or the way to recommend you to us. If these things are not mended we shall be necessitated to shift hands. We have been informed whilst Mr. Hoskison lived he affected so much pomp that he had always three or four of our blacks to wait upon him. We are extremely concerned Mr. Pack should have been almost twelve months on the Island and yet has sent home no books although he is an accomptant, whereas we have never wanted our books before. As to Mrs. Hoskison's letter of complaint we cant see any reason to take notice of it because having examined Captain Roberts on every the articles she complains against him for, he referred us to the letter he wrote you the 30th October wherein he denyed the then charge on this score, which was much of the same nature with her letter, and challenged you to disprove him in any one article; and by what appears to us you never did though Mr. Hoskison was then living himself and sat as judge as well as accuser and Capt. Roberts stayed on the Island above a month after; so that it appears to us to be an artful calumny with plausible colours put upon it—this we say for the sake of the penman who wrote her letter, and who also sent us what he called an answer to that letter wherein is no want of hard reflections but not a word of accusation of Mr. Hoskison which if true would have afforded sufficient matter for him to have harangued upon with his pen dipt in vinegar and gall.
Governor and Council to the Directors 19th July 1712.—Our first to your Honours was near four months after our arrival but its too hard to accuse of idleness till that time. If your Honours will please to consider the nature of the work we hope you'll allow that making a causeway over the Rocks and out of the Rocks for above half a mile, broad enough for a file of muskets to march abreast; to finish Munden's battery; to mount the guns and build a house for the guard was tollerable well employing four months. The Middle Bastion of the line of Guns washed down the inside of the Trench and the Bastion made good. The curtain of the Front of the Castle paved, a Quarry of stone found in Sandy Bay, a Lime Kiln built which will draw 600 bushels of Lime, &c., so that though your Honours are pleased to say nothing appears to be done by the Consultation book yet there was business done and more than had been done in many months before besides the recriminating letters which past between the two Governors and Council, we hope and we are sure that the world that sees it will allow something has been mended, and if Consultations are not so frequent as formerly tis that there are less animosities among the people and more business done than talked of.
On Friday 8th early in the morning an allarm was made for three ships—about 11 they came too with English and one with Dutch collours within a league of land to leeward of Bankses and brought too—their boats wee could see rowing aboard each other, but none towards the shear. We sent a fishing boat on board to know what ships they were, who returned with the account that they were two Frenchmen of warr and the third a Dutch Prize—La Paix and Le Diligence. They were in expectation of a peace, but being told we knew of none on shear about one they hoisted their French collours and bore away with this remark to our People that we lookt very Snapish.
Letter to Directors 9th April, 1713.—Our last was by the Lenox on 20th July last. The 2nd instant arrived the Abingdon with stores and a very angry letter from your Honours. We are concerned extreamly that you could so much as think we deserved so harsh a style, however as Imployers have a privilege to find fault, servants have a just right to make their defence which we shall endeavour with truth and sincerity. We are sensible that you were desirous to quiet the minds of the people by receding from your own just demands and passing a kind of general amnesty for all former Transgressions and we assure your Honours we came here with the very same temper, but hard, it is indeed if we must be charged with stirring up the people of St. Helena to greater heats and animosities who when we arrived were as high as could be.
We know not what account might be given by the Mead, but it had been just and kind to have charged as with some particular persons whom we had spirited that we might know with whom to use the Exorcism having that remedy in such cases always ready.
Whoever has informed you that the dissent of two of the Council was ever denyed to be entered in Consultation or the general letter is an utter Enemy to truth.
We were not of opinion nor are we now that Demy-cannon are improper guns for Mundens battery but to draw all of those cannon from the Line where they are, to mount them at Mundens that we we were against and are still and we dare affirm it never was any one Captains opinion.
That there has been great heart burnings and animositys amongst our Council is too true. God Almighty has in part cured them by removing the most violent.
We think one great means for cool debate is for the Council to keep their heads so.
We cant by no means omit informing your Honours that this Island is now in a very deplorable condition for want of Rain these ten months past which hath occasioned the death of abundance of Cattle besides Hoggs and Goats and reduced most of the Inhabitants stock very low. Your Honours since 25th March last having lost nigh 60 head of Cattle and likely to lose a great many more which out of 292 head (your whole stock in December last) is a great loss.
As to what Governor Roberts says in his letter that the Goats destroy all the Trees and the Island speedily ruined if they were not killed we dont think this feasible or beneficial either for that goats ranges generally in the out parts of the Island next the sea where nothing else can, or few Trees grow except Shrubs which is of no use, and they live with lesser care than anything else and is very ready meat and saves the killing of Cattle.
Its impossible to fence the Great Wood and had we never so many hands the charge of doing it would be more than the advantage and as to those Trees being barked for tanning leather they never grew in or near the Great Wood but under the Main Ridge called Redwood Trees the best and most proper for building houses of which there's but very few now the nature of those Trees seldom producing young ones although enclosed whereas Gumwood doth.
Please to supply us with a few drinking glasses, there being not so much as one belong to the Company. As also a few handsome Looking Glasses. We have not a Clock for the Workmen or do we know the hour of the day but by Glasses a very uncertain instrument if not tended. Your Honours request draughts of the works begun or completed. The Governor sends a small draught and prospect of the whole when finished and which he drew for his own amusement. It has occasion for many excuses from the difficulty of taking Prospects in a little poppling boat and tumbling sea.
10000 deals very much wanted for the people are about fitting their houses very handsomely in the Fort Valley.
April 3, 1713.—Capt. John Pack deputy Governor died.
May 12.—No rain for ten months—meat very scarce. As a relief the inhabitants allowed the use of the Company's yawl to catch fish under regulations.
June 4.—This Island to our great grief being at present in a very bad and deplorable condition for want of rain these ten months. Most or all Plantations being meerly burnt and scorcht up and little of any sort to be seen above ground, besides the great death and consumption of Cattle which has reduced most of the Inhabitants stocks very low.
July 8.—Yesterday the Governor received information at the Plantation House by a letter from Mr. Bazett that he was informed by Robt. Wallington soldier that several of the Garrison did design to rise under pretence of wanting victuals. The Govr immediately wrote a note to Mr. Bazett then in James Valley to take great care of the Castle—to place honest centinels—and to order all flints to be taken out of all the small arms except those at centry. In the night he would send privately to Prosperous Bay to order an alarm to be made at break of day and upon hearing it to give out that the ship was supposed to be a man of Warr or advice boat from England to bring news of Peace and as the freeman came down to draw them all into the Castle and deliver 'em arms which will keep the soldiers in awe and when he came down he would examine them—on examination Serj. Southen states—He was at the Castle Gate and heard Gore say twas better to be hanged than to starve to death, Griffiths answered 'twas better to die like men than dogs.
Brogden one of the accused states. That most of the soldiers were very dissatisfied and ready to starve for want of victuals and that rather than that they would die for want they designed to seize the Governor and Council without spilling any blood.
Wilson the Gunner states—On the alarm being given he repaired to his post at Munden's point. After priming the guns Brogden said what makes you prime the guns, which way do you look for the ship. Surely says deponent to windward, she is not to leeward. No replied Brogden you must look for her this way, and pointed towards the Fort Valley. Why so says this deponent I hope the Blacks are not rising. No answered Brogden, they took our flints out of our pieces last night upon suspetion of a Mutiny but what we do we will do by daylight and not by night and if you was the first man we come to and would not condescend to us you would be a dead man.
Other evidence was taken and eight soldiers were imprisoned and were kept in confinement but not otherwise punished.
Governor Boucher to the Directors 31st March 1714.—In answer to your letter by the Susannah your complaint in the 1st paragraph is general and you express your disappointment that you had from a new Governor and Council. We say that there was a new Governor but we hope yourselves confess that was two old Council and two new and your affairs here have suffered by your patch work. You charge some of us with promises made and if you had said by whom we could give you a particular answer. Capt. Boucher being the only one surviving that came from England answers for himself that he has done more since he has been upon this island than ever he promised and (if Capt. Pennels information be true) more than he has been paid for, and he supposes a breach of contract a greater piece of injustice than a breach of verbal promise, had there been any such.
We despatched this ship in ten working days and since you are pleased to twitt us so often with our predecessors performances we cant find he did ever unliver one ship in the time we did two. As to your trying other hands Capt. Boucher desires for his part you'l send a pair of hands in exchange for his as soon as possible and he offers it as his humble advice that when you are about changing you'l change all for he has seen the ill consequences of patching an old coat with a new piece of cloth.
You are pleased to remark that your mercantile business is much worse managed now than formerly. Capt. Boucher thinks it his very great unhappiness that most of the charges brought against him by his employers have risen from the mismanagements and neglects of others their servants under him.
As to our surpassing our Predecessors and meriting the gratuity mentioned, Capt. Boucher takes it as directed to himself since he knows nobody else stands upon the footing of gratuity, and he is resolved with himself never to make such precarious bargains with any part of mankind hereafter—he is well assured you have not proceeded with him according to the merits of the cause but upon the information of Villanes here and in London. But he hopes to find that Justice if ever he lives to see England that he has much better deserved a gratuity than any of his Predecessors both on account of doing and suffering. As to secret ill designs or underhand dealings he wishes to God all mankind were as free of them as he is, and in this case he takes suspicion itself to be an act of high injustice. You are pleased in your 16th paragraph to carry your censures of Capt. Boucher joyned with the then Storekeeper a great length—the words suggest to any man on earth at first sight a contrivance in both to defraud you in your Stores. As to your Storekeeper Mr. Pack he has answered at a much greater tribunal if he ever did defraud you, though the Governor does not know or believe that he willingly ever did. You are pleased to say you are informed that neither the Governor or Mr. Pack did care Mr. Bazett should have any thing to do in the Store and you are pleased to suppose you had found the evil of that viz. that they might with greater security carry on their before mentioned Plott of defrauding you there. Whoever gave you that information tis much more likely wants honesty than either of the other two. If those villanous suggestions were the product of St. Helena one would have imagined for the discretion of an Honourable Court of Directors they could not be authentic enough of themselves for a charge of Robbing them, for the falsity and villany of these kind of informations have been so often detected that tis a great surprize to Captain Boucher they are in any manner encouraged in England. He does not mean that he would not have the Court informed of any injustice be committed in their service—the least fraud he wishes from his soul they may always know, but there is something previous to a charge which in natural justice seems necessary to be considered—as the character of the Informer, his motives to the information—his grounds for such information. Then the character of the person informed against and many more of such kinds. He has much more and better reason to suspect none of these have been considered and rightly weighed. Your 23rd paragraph charges the Governor that he overawes Mr. Bazett by threatening to turn him out. Mr. Bazett should as justly have told you what he was to be turned out for, and have left you to be judge whether it was right or wrong—or Mr. Bazett should have been as fair with the Governor as the Governor was with him who never wrote anything against him to the Court of Directors but what he told him of before, and after what he has wrote or shall write concerning me let him look to the truth of his information when that shall be tryed, else wherefore I shall away to put him upon a chargeable voyage, let who will bare the cost—my reputation shall not be used like a Shuttle Cock and Battledore with Inuendoes from St, Helena to London and back from thence to St. Helena whilst I live.
[The above Extracts are given at some length because Govr Boucher has been severely handled in Brooke's history, but the Records fairly sifted and weighed would leave a better impression of his character, which if it had nothing great had certainly nothing bad about it. The completion of Munden's battery and road, the erection of the Castle Terrace and the Limekilns of Sandy Bay were some of his works. There is an absence of any of those acts of harshness too common in the Governments of those days. No open complaints were ever made against him and in his letter above he forcibly shows how unjust and impolitic it is to listen to secret slanderers.
He was unhappy in having a very ill selected Council, but the selection had been made by the Directors, not by himself, and it was his misfortune that during his Government the Is. land was visited by the severest drought which had ever been experienced here attended with great losses to the planters—aggravated by a delay in sending the usual necessary supplies from England. Suspecting who the writer of the secret slander was he questioned Mr. Bazett in open Council on 1st April 1714, and the latter declared that he did not know of any underhand dealings between the Governor and the late storekeeper Mr. Pack, and denied that the Company had received any information of that sort from him; but unfortunately for Mr. Bazett's veracity he has left behind him a copy of one of his private letters to his friend in the directory at Leadenhall Street alluding to Capt. Boucher's threats to dismiss him and ending "Capt. Pack died five days agoe and has left the store in confusion. The store has been an inaccessible place to me during all Mr. Pack's time and I am certain I should have found abundance of intrigues acted there had I had access, but I could not obtain it, and they countenanced by the Governor."]
Council, 24th June, 1714.—Governor Boucher says "I have stayed till this time with hopes that a ship might arrive from England which might well have been expected considering our employers must have been long since acquainted with the necessitous state of this Island for want of provisions to subsist the people, and also the want of proper persons to supply the loss of their more immediate servants who have left office vacant by death—my very ill state of health making it unreasonable I should put myself on a winter passage to England I now acquaint you that I purpose God willing to take my passage for England in one of the two ships now in the road. If you have any exceptions to make that can be a just cause to stop my going I desire they may be now mentioned since I think this will be the last consultation I shall make use of during my stay here. The Council doth unanimously say they have no objections or exceptions to make.
Governor Boucher sailed 28th June in the Recovery.
[Mr. Bazett was then the senior officer, but there is no minute that he had assumed the administration of the Government nor any further meeting of Council called till 8th July, on which day Governor Pyke arrived.]
Letter from Directors, 5th March, 1713.—Appointing Capt. Isaac Pyke Governor. We cant find that our late Govr Boucher and Councill gave any tollerable heed to our instructions or so much as read them with attention which has necessitated us to shift hands in hope of better management.
The Consultations are extremely jejune and contain a very slight and trifling account of the management; Governor Boucher did whatever his own passion or spleen prompted.
Salaries fixed.—Governor £200, Council 2nd £95, 3rd £95, 4th £70, 5th £50 being much larger than ever was formerly allowed.
Excessive drinking of Arrack has grown upon all the people strangely of late and shews that their oppression or some other discontent made them careless how matters went for such Excess necessarily tends to beggary.
Fowls, &c. diminished by Gov. Boucher buying up so many fowls chickens and Eggs. He kills many of the calves because Beef is not delicate eno. We are told there never was such confusion at the Plantation house where the Govr keeps a magnificent table for Captains and our Servants are not admitted to his Table. He has built a shed 400 feet long for no other use than that he may ride therein on his asses and be covered from the weather.
We have a complaint that since the Guns have been mounted at Mundens Point the Battery at Ruperts Valley hath been demolisht—they say an Enemy if resolute might land at that valley the Beach being commodious and that Mundens Point cannot sufficiently command it and if the Enemy comes ashore they have liberty to range and nothing to oppose them.
Govr Boucher has desired leave to come home but he must first settle with you. When this is done order the Captain of any ship in the Road to receive him on board and treat him with civility.
July 8, 1714.—The Rochester arrived from England in 104 days and the new Governor Isaac Pyke Esq. with Council went on shoar and being received by Mr. Matthew Bazett in the United Castle the Governor shewed his Commission and being informed the late Governor Boucher had bin gone off the Island ten days past in the Recovery, the then Governor and Council were received with a general sattisfaction of the Inhabitants who all unanimously profest their joy for the change declaring in what a desolate condition the late Governor had left this country. Clouds of complaints were made of the late ill management and the Conncil were publicly told if the other Governor had stayed longer the whole Island had been in a famishing condition. Mr. Bazett whom we found as chief, Mr. Cason and Mr. French that were his Assistants in Council declared he had destroyed all the Company's live Stock except about 60 head of Cattle for he had left behind him neither deers nor goats nor sheep nor hoggs turkeys nor geese nor any other kind of poultry. The House we found stript of all that was portable even the Locks and Keys taken from many of the doors and every thing else that might be serviceable to him in his voyage home. We are also informed that Plantation House is very much out of repair and nothing in the garden but plantain trees and pasturedge for his Asses. In short the complaints of matter of fact alledged by the People in general are so, many and so great we scarce think it possible though it may be very bad, it should all be true and hope to find things much better than they have been represented to us.
[Note.—Governor Pyke probably remembered the shrewd proverb "The Absent are always wrong."]
The new Council consisted of Capt. George Haswell deputy Governor—Edward Mashborne, Matthew Bazett and Antipas Tovey.
There is added to the Castle two wings being a large broad wall on each side on which there are planted thirty one guns. This is a very great weakening to the Castle because it makes a bridge to enter the top of it by any inland Enemy. These walls certainly make the Castle look very beautiful towards the Sea and are ornamental enough—[i.e. alluding to what is now called the Terrace.]
July 20.—Ordered that until the Stock is encreased we have two days a week salt provision and two days fish. Stock now in all 60 cattle 24 swine 3 sheep 26 fowls.
Augt. 10—The Governor observed a very great neglect of devotion in this Island by several persons absenting the public worship of the Church on the Lord's Day few or none appearing there but the Governor and Council—ordered, That all persons in the Company's service that are in the valley do come to Church on the Lord's Day.
August 17.—Martin Norman a planter in the late calamitous drought had been visited with the entire loss of his whole stock being 20 head of Cattle besides goats and hoggs.
Several persons for their own pleasure and to catch fish have gone on shore on the Egg Islands and made fires and caused the Egg fowls to settle and lay on the Main Land in dangerous places.
Nov. 20.—Three men flogged and sent to do duty at Bankses for riotous conduct in the Castle last night and saying There is a new Governor who dont understand the laws and they would give him instruction to do as Governor Boucher did.
December 2.—Mr. Tovey excuses his arrears of work for the want of ink. The Govr says, This is only his pretence and friendly advises him to be more careful.
Jan. 4, 1715.—Three soldiers drowned by the upsetting of a Boat going to Egg Island—two others saved. Richard Beale and John Crosby were upon Horse Pasture mountain going after their goats and by accident they espied the boat under sail and looking steadily on it saw it overset. Then they went forthwith a very dangerous way a mile and a half and took Mr Carnes boat at Lemon Valley and went off to them who had by that time drove out two leagues to sea and took them into the boat after they had been five hours in the water.
Jan. 18.—In the great dearth lately there dyed above 2500 cattle.
Jan. 29—A French ship arrived and allowed supplies but no beef for the above reason. Her people not admitted to the country and ordered that "any foreigners patrolling into the country are to be apprehended as Spyes."
Feb. 7.—Governor Pyke in his charge to the Jury at Sessions notices the intention of the Company to discontinue their buildings at the Fortifications for a time, having a settled peace, so that you the planters may have time to improve your plantations. Desires the people to lay aside their animosities and differences for which you have been too remarkable. Thieves and Sloths, the Riotous and Slanderer which are the weeds of this place must be rooted out.
Thomas Bevian tried for stealing a silver headed cane—being a white man the Gov. directs the Jury to a lenient verdict—found guilty to the value of ten pence and whipped with 39 lashes.
The Jury present the bad condition of "Cow path" which leads to the West and "Slaunt path" which goes directly to the Eastern parts of the Island.
Feb. 8.—A French ship the Jason arrived—did not send her boat to Bankses when hailed to do so. Complained that their salute of seven guns had been answered with only five. That they were a royal ship 700 tons, 250 men, 40 guns, and took it ill that one of the King of France's men of warr should not be answered gun for gun. When questioned said they were hyred by merchants to goe for India but had the King's lycence. Gov. told them if they had sent a boat as was ordered and customary and certified she was a man of warr we should have answered gun for gun. On applying for provisions Gov. said "Since our Gracious Queen has thought fit to grant Peace to France you shall be treated as friends, &c." Provisions allowed excepting fresh Beef. Mr. Carne fined £10 for sending off two Bullocks privately. Another French ship arrived 19th February. A Kings ship and traded by His Lycence which was given as an honourable reward to several of the Captains who had behaved themselves well in the Warrs. Expected the salute to be returned gun for gun without which they would not salute, but would fill his water casks according to the Treaty of Peace. Upon which the Governor sent a couple of nimble men up the side of the mountain and turned off the water. So next morning they sent word they would salute according to the English method and he fired seven guns and was answered with five. Then he fired one for thanks. Upon which the Governor invited him and his Lieutenant on shore and they dined at the Fort and they went off well satisfied.
Account of Families for 1714—Whites 405, officers and soldiers 125, total 530 of which 91 women and 247 children—Blacks 302 exclusive of Companies slaves—Cattle total 964—owned by 71 planters. The largest proprietors Powell, Carne, Coales and Doveton—89—46—43 and 40 head respectively—26 families had no cattle. The Blacks owned by 65 persons, the largest proprietors Powell and Carne 17 each.
Plantations and pastures private, 3089 acres. The greatest landowners Powell, Carne and Doveton—owning 255—111—and 151 acres respectively.
31st March 1715.—Capt. Mashborne 3rd in Council died.
5th April.—A ship of 200 tuns arriving here about Christmas cannot possibly be dispatched in less than a month because of the very great surfs about that time of the year. The latter end of March and beginning of April also a time when abundance of high seas do usually happen. The Company's Long Boat which brought Cutt stone from Sandy Bay is still unladen 5th April after nine days at a grapling in this Road but the surf is so high and violent that we dare not discharge her. Also in the month of July tis tempestuous wheather.
[Note.—the Lower Wharf was not erected till many years subsequently. (The landing of the same amount of cargo now requires only a few hours even during the night time when Mail Steamers arrive after Sunset).]
12th April.—The Long Boat discharged with great difficulty, the high seas having held for nineteen days.
Lycences for a victualling house to Latour to provide a dinner every day in time of shipping at the hour of 12 for at least six men who shall pay no more than 12d. Every bowl of Punch three pints to contain one pint of arrack and no more than two shillings for it.
19th April.—John Batavia and Murdoe two runaway Blacks to be worked in Irons chained together with a six foot chain as is the custom of the Dutch at Batavia.
26th April.—A petition delivered against the building of "Blinds" in the Main Street to hinder the dust from being blown into the windows which would be better prevented by glazing the windows.
[Note.—These were walls 7ft. high and 6 wide projecting into the street at the upper or windward end of the house. Two or three of them still remain in the upper street.]
26th April.—John Gibb a freeman who had served as a soldier and had been discharged prayed for leave to depart in the first homeward ship. Resolved—it had been a sickly time and many men dying, tis best to keep what good men we have upon the island—cannot give leave for Gibb's departure till more are sent out.
10th May.—Deputy Govr. Capt. Haswell on 28th April brought down to the Fort a black slave named Toby with his hands tied behind him and a rope round his neck charging him with having broken open his house in Sandy Bay and taken several goods. The Governor finding it a trifling case and little evidence urged Capt. Haswell to be content with having the slave whipt by the Slave laws, but he in great passion prest he should be tryed and hung. The Prosecution was conducted with a great deal of eagerness and ill will, but the Jury seemed to take it ill that a man though a Black should be tried for his life by so vexatious and malicious a prosecution and found a verdict of not guilty. Upon which Capt. Haswell inveighed very much against the Court and Jury and said it was a packt Jury and chose on purpose to vindicate a Rogue. Since they were such fellows he would go out of the Court and have nothing to do with it now but he would remember it.
May 17.—Mr. Edward Byfield chosen 6th in Council he being a sober young man of great industry and diligence.
June 11.—Having certain news from England of the Queen's death we sumond down the country to proclaim King George on this 11th June being resolved to do it in the most solemn manner—they went first to Church with all the gentlemen of the two shipps in the road—then with the Company of soldiers and all the Engineers or Gunners crew they walked from the Castle to mile end where the Company's Tent and Pavilion were sett up and the King was proclaimed there and at Clapadore and the Castle gate. Then the Governor made a treat in the garden for all the Company and in the evening they drank the Kings health at a Bond fire.
June 29.—Arrival of the Eagle galley and complaint by four of her crew to the Governor of their want of Arrack and provisions. On a hearing of the case they are remanded to Prison as dangerous men.
[Note.—The Eagle's visit to St. Helena is found in the interesting account published last century of Captain Beckman's voyage. The punishment of the seamen was however subsequently censured by the Court of Directors as being illegal.]
August 13.—Jepthah Fowler complained of his wife that she and Andrew Berg the cooper had beaten him. The Cooper was ordered to pay 20s. and to ride the wooden horse for two hours and Mary Fowler to ride the wooden horse one hour before the Cooper and then to be duct.
Sept. 12.—The Inhabitants are consulted about the continuance of the Company's Public Stores. The Governor says I know twill be presently answered we desire the Hon. Company may keep their Store House but to that I say the Hon. Company have been such great losers by their Store. house and the way of making transfers that it is not for their interest to continue it any longer unless we put down several exacting and indeed unreasonable under storehouses that are kept up among us.
Oct. 5.—On trial of Simon a slave for stealing a Turkey Gabriel Powell one of the Jury stood up in vindication of the prisoner and said no man ought to be indicted for anything he did not confess. At the end of the trial a note is made "that neither the Governor nor any of us believe that Mr. Powell had any design to favour the thief notwithstanding all his objections he being a man above all others more severe than ordinary in the case of stealing and that disposition bordering upon cruelty for tis currently reported here by every body that he hath destroyed two slaves by his cruel manner of punishing them—one of them a female slave he whipt to death—and at another time when he whipt a boy very immoderately he caused him to be rolled naked in nettles upon which he presently died—we believe he has been too busy in taking a cup too much.
Oct. 4.—"Hoggs Pant."—Capt. Bazett is informed the Pant is a swelling of the Lights which are spotted and corrupted— remedy—Brine and milk or chamber lye and milk.
Oct. 5.—The Company has expended above £26000 in three years upon this place—not the poorest of their ships that come here but the Island is more than £100 the better.
Oct. 17.—The Hill above the landing place is full of loose stones and very dangerous—many people have been hurt and three men formerly killed. The best place for the New Crane we all agree is Downings Cove on this side Mundens point because goods may be landed there at any time but the way to it is bad being full of large Rocks and it is a great distance viz. 650 yards from the Castle and 270 yards further than the old Crane—and to make a good way to it and set up the Crane will cost at least £1000 so that we cannot think of that place.
[Note.—This extension of the wharf was not undertaken until June 1787.]
Oct. 18.—Gabriel Powell having married the widow of the late Deputy Governor Hoskison prays that sattisfaction may be allowed for injury done to his wife's property by Governor Roberts' seizure of it. In reply he is referred to Governor Roberts wish "that an order be published by beat of drum for any person that can prove that I have wronged them to the vallue of a groat" and his petition is rejected because we are further of opinion that if the said Hoskison did suffer any detriment by his land being in the Hon. Company's possession they made him a great amends by appointing him a Deputy Governor though he made them but a bad return in his management of their affairs.
Nov. 1.—The Governor has been to see the Fort at Bankses. The Fort is not large containing but four guns but we think it sufficient with ten men to keep off 500 or more from landing and that being the first Fort any shipp makes and lying so in the tract that all shipps must come within hearing of the centrey who usually calls to them, and also the place appointed for ships to send their boats ashore to, the Governor thinks it is very necessary it should be put into tolerable order.
The Company's Stock 145 Cattle 242 Hoggs 291 Goats 69 Sheep 12 Asses.
The Hutts Plantation is the chief and best plantation the Company have and producing the greatest quantity there being now above 300,000 yams planted. The ground is very bleak but it would be mightily improved by planting trees round by the Fences to windward. It is the chief Place for feeding Hoggs because of conveniency of a good outlet.
60 Jackets and Breeches to be made for the Company's Blacks and ordered that 8 of the principal Blacks be allowed Coats according to the antient customs of this place.
Nov. 15.—Wm. Bates coxswain Flurcus, Shoales, and Poulter have run away in the night time with the Long boat and one mouth's provisions.
[Note.—It was afterwards ascertained that they reached the West Indies in safety.]
Soldiers pouches often destroyed by Ratts who have sometimes eat great holes in them while the soldiers who wore them were asleep.
The Union Flag eight indented for to be used at the following stations. The Fort—Bankses—Ruperts—Munden's point—Prosperous Bay—Two gun ridge and Flagstaff Hill.
Nov 15.—One whole ton of Chinese money called Peteese would be of great advantage here, They may pass very well here for farthings, or if six for a penny there would be 100 per cent profit. If not we should be glad to have copper farthings every farthing pass for a half penny and every half penny for a penny as in some parts of the West Indies. The pice you have been pleased to order from Madras are not so acceptable to our people because of their bad shape and yet three of them are worth a penny which makes them too weighty to be commonly carried in the slight pockets here.
List of Persons dyetted at the Company's Table in Governor Poiriers time 64. Governor Roberts time 51 Governor Bouchiers time 77. Sometimes the Governor dined in his chamber and then only the women or whom he called in dined with him and the rest dined in the Hall. All the Councils wives and some of the planters and their wives, (if any at the Church). Then the Governor with whom he thought fitt dined in the Parlour. These had always Punch as they thought fitt there being never any allowance at the Upper table. In the present Governor's time 40 persons.
From Directors 4th Feb., 1714.—We send you a copy of the Susannahs letter which you say cannot be found and hear was carried away by the late Governor.
Govr Bouchers answer to that letter by the Susannah contains in it so much insolence as deserves no answer nor is it fit to be taken notice of but with the utmost indignation and that the Penman may possibly be informed of in due time though we have never seen him but once since he came to England for he left the ship in the Channell and did not come to London till months after.
We are positively assured that Gov. Boucher traded very much and sold the goods as if they had been ours that is to say out of our store rooms, and till his were gone ours must not be disposed of—that Mr. Alexander sold Palm Wines brought out in our ships for him at 2/6 the pint—this explains how Alexander came to be so much in favour.
We find Mr. Cason and Mr. French were the late Governors Assist.Councillors to give some countenance to his actions. We bear but a mean charrecter of them. If you find neither of them did us any injury while they were so and that Mr. Cason is a good officer let him continue Lieutenant. If Mr. French is fitt to be Gunner continue him so.
The late Governor said he thought it below him to have any mechanick dyett at our table when we ordered Clove the carpenter that favour to encourage his care of our timber.
Mr. Thomlison sent us a subscription of £150 to be paid towards erection of a New Church. Wee are very willing to contribute handsomely—let him continue his subscriptions as ships come in.
From Directors 14th March 1715.—Your care to prevent the French sounding about the Island and to hinder their attempting it on pretence of Fishing or rambling too far about the countrey was commendable.
The punishment of the Eagle's men was very shocking to our English ears and too grievous. They are about seeking their remedy at Law.
A Long Boat may be bought to fetch Lime and Stone from Sandy Bay.
We are surprized at the large demand of Arrack. The people are grown sottish. The place is less healthfull than formerly and diseases more rife.
Mr. Bazett has made an ill return for our kindness to him in first approving his being put into Council and afterwards continuing him therein a stranger.
We dont understand your reason for making Mr. Byfeld of Council—you had no authority from us for it, nor doth it appear necessary—however because we have no complaint against him we have paid his mother here his £5 gratuity.
We have told you what sticks upon Mr. Alexander. We observe he is of a litigious ungovernable temper. But we don't absolutely forbid your employing him when you have urgent occasion.
We observe Gov. Boucher's riding shed cost us £181—that he converted to his own use of our live Provision £156. That he made an utter destruction of most of our live stock—Stript the house and let Plantation run to ruin. Strange that Mr. Bazett, Mr. Cason, Mr. French, Mr. Alexander and Mr. Free, will not give you the account of other particulars of all other Mr. Boucher's extraordinary proceedings to our prejudice.
We have some complaints of our Governor's arbitrary temper. We expect he give no cause for it. We have heard as if one or other of you have even promoted quarrels for the sake of the Fees or some other private advantage which is so base we would not willingly believe it.
Gabriel Powell's being bound over in £200 was too severe.
Serjeant Southens' wife is daily troubling us for some allowance and hath brought people of credit to evidence the falsity of his allegations.
We have a letter from Mr. Cleve advising that the Govrs. ill treatment of him made him quit our service.
The Inhabitants of St. Helena have greatly decreased of late years some alleging the hardships of the Governor's drove thorn away.
We understand a sloop from Antigua last August came to your Island to trade and did get goods but you never told us one word of it. If we find any do get goods, for we shall know it one way or another we will not continue any of you in our service.
Letter to Directors 1714.—The Blacks that came by Mr. Sitwells vessel came from Calabar—four of the Men and three of the Women are of the people called Cannibals who eat one another, three of them have died and we have had much to do to hinder those we call Cannibals from eating them who died and as for Dead Carrion of any kind or Gutts of Beasts or Fishes if they find them on a Dunghill they eat them with greediness.
The seeds of Trees came well out. The furr to all appearance will be of extraordinary service, that being come up in several places.
[Note.—First introduction of the Pineaster and Governor Pyke's quick perception of its suitability for St. Helena.]
Ruperts Valley is the largest valley here and contains more than 200 acres of good land which has never been occupied but the whole valley wants water. From the Eastermost Waterfall at the head of James Valley there may be carried without much charge a water course or channel by which a sufficient quantity of water may be conveyed into Ruperts Valley over the Ridge of that Hill whereon the Road called the Slaunt Path [i e. Side Path now] lies which is the high land that parts James Valley from Ruperts Valley.
[Note.—Another instance of Governor Pyke's shrewd judgment. Governor Colonel Gore Browne in 1852 carried out this useful work, but it was not then known that buried in the Records might be found an exact anticipation of the idea.]
Letter to Directors, 19th Feb. 1715.—We have had a sickly season lately here but we hear that a general sickness has ranged both at the Cape of Good Hope and all these Coasts.
We hear that the fruitful Island called Mauritius that was lately left by the Dutch is yett uninhabited and has not had any dearth upon it but abounds plentifully. There is Deer and other Cattle both of the Indian and European kinds with fruit of every sort and plenty of many sorts of Timber with commodious harbours for ships and a fine temperate air which usually preserved the former inhabitants to a very great age. But now tis wild, the land unoccupied and almost overgrown with wood as well as overstocked with cattle—be pleased to pardon us for this freedom who had not troubled your Honours with such accounts as this but Capt. Litten making this report and our Governor having formerly been in several parts of this Island from the flatts about the North and N. W. down to Black River which is above sixty miles and being able of his own knowledge to confirm all that Capt. Litton has said about the Mauritos was desirous of writing to your Honours concerning this place for the following reasons:
First that we have several young people here more than we can supply with plantations that because of their way of living here would be very proper Inhabitants to settle in that place, and because that place is naturally so well supplied that it would maintain a very great Collony without any charge to their Patrons more than sending them out and the place lies in the Root or Tract of all the homeward bound shipping. But our great and principal reason is the Government and people of Don Mascarenas say they have sent to France for libertie to transplant themselves to this neighbouring Island which is not only more commodious than Mascarenas in regard to shipping but it exceeds it so much in fertility that it is a Paradise to the other. The consideration of keeping out the French or the Indian Pyrates from an Island of such consequence as the Isle Mauritos may be to us will we hope excuse us to your Honrs for making this disgression because we believe ourselves bound by the Tyes of gratitude and duty to acquaint your Honrs with whatsoever has an appearance of yours and our countrey's interest.
[Note.—This is another good instance of Governor Pyke's shrewd forecast. Mauritius was abandoned by the Dutch in 1710 and not colonized by the French East India Company until 1721. Governor Pyke's suggestion was therefore a timely one and could easily have been carried out. The subsequent history of that century proved how important would have been its early occupation by England and many disasters have been avoided. Daring subsequent wars it became increasingly such a source of great mischief to our Merchant vessels and Indiamen from the facility with which sorties were made from it by French Men of War and privateers that its capture became a necessity and was effected in 1810 by an expedition specially sent out by the British Government. How much would have been gained if Governor Pyke's hint had only reached the right Ear at that time.]
July 7.—If your Honours would please to send English farthings and halfe pence they would certainly doe much better than Pice and have been more agreeable to the English people, for all the St. Helenians account themselves so, though three quarters of them never saw England.
The ship Cardonnell arrived with stores from England. Two of the passengers Willy and Aylmer with others had been drinking Sacheverell's health. Aylmer said let us drink the Kings health to which Willy replied I'll drink no health but my own King and that is King James the third, which he did drink with such other scandalous reflections as came uppermost little less than treason.
The Reports of people in this place, who always bestow on each other the worst of characters are not always to be depended on, especially their accounts of an old Governor that is absent to a new one that is present for we found many of them so very ignorant as to think they recommended themselves by railing against the last Governor and yett many of those people who reproached Gov. Boucher' most, had been greatly obliged and not injured by him, [meaning the Planters in general] for he lett the Company's land lye neglected and not only bought all things of them but also, advanced the prices to near double of what they used to sell for—and to some of the Planters who did not want land he sold good plantations and not only trusted them for the payment but took it out in Yams at 4s. per 100 that were used to be sold for 2s. 6d.—and the soldiers were permitted to run into the Storehouse Debt for what they desired web they repaid with curses and some of them with contriving to sett the Store House on fire and thereby to end all your Accounts at once. Their character now of Govr Roberts is just contrary for they say he would have been an honest man and a good Governor if he had not lowered the prices of their Blacks labour from 2s. to 18d. per day which was such an injury to the place as they who suffered by it could not forgive.
The St. George wintered at Don Mascarine where a French ship called the St. Francis was broke up that could swim no longer by reason of damage she received in a storm beating about the Cape in company with another French, ship called the Grand Peace. We wish since that misfortune happened she had reached hither and been broke up here having great occasion for such sort of Timber.
The Long Boat will not contain more than three Tons and we always look on it as good work if three long boats land in a day, that is between Sun and Sun for tis dangerous landing goods here in the Dark.
The high surfe at the Crane [i.e. Upper Crane] is also another frequent occasion of delay and that can be no ways prevented for at the New and Full of the Moon we have always about three days of surfe which runs so high that a Long Boat cannot lye at the Crane to unload nor can at no time lye off at the Crane because there are two very large Rocks that lye about a boats length from the Crane which reach above low Water mark whereon a great many boats have been stoved. [Note—The Boadicea pulverized the last remains of one with a Torpedo in 1882.] Whenever it has blown hard to windward of the Island if that stormy weather is followed by a sudden calme and alsoe even in the fairest weather at any time of the Moon there are vast great surfes so that no boat can come near the Crane and sometimes not to the landing Rocks neither and then there is no going on board nor a shoar but by a very small Yawl that we keep on purpose that may carry people from their Pinnace which mast lye out beyond the Surfe into a place we call the Cove.
The Governor lends the Company's boat to Planters to fish receiving a sixth part—i.e. they have the entire benefit for five times and for the sixth or boats share they shall bring one boat load for the Company from Sandy Bay of such things as the Governor shall send for to the Fort. To this time no person has come to be a partaker of this great Benefit and we can imagine no other reason than their too great inclination to sloth and strong liquor.
As to Governor Boucher We have since been informed of several commendable things that he designed but left off all at once when he had built the East and West curtains to the Fort after his receipt of some letters from your Honours with which he was so dissatisfied that he swore he would never doe you any further service. This we had from Mr. Carne who was at that time intimate with him. He built two curtains—the East 190 long 18 feet high and 13 feet wide which fronts the garden to the Sea and contains 16 small Faulknett Guns to be employed in answering Salutes. The West curtain is 215 feet long 18 broad 1.8 high which contains a line of 15 guns in number but many of them very old and honey combed. This curtain fronts the street of the valley next the Sea. Each of them has a gateway through about the middle and do make a very good prospect to Ships lying in the road, but tis sometimes laughed at for want of the two half Bastions before mentioned and ridiculed by saying that it has got no ears.
He built a riding House in the Country of about 300 feet long with stables at the end for his Asses. He made alsoe a levell riding place of about 400 feet long and 12 foot wide in the garden at the Fort by raising it five foot with stone work at one end and by digging five foot into the ground at the other end that His Horses (for his Asses were ordered to be called so) might not tire by carrying him up and down the Hill. The rest of the garden at the Fort we found made into a field for these Horses to graze in, only some Plantain trees growing therein. He believed himself to be in a bad state of health and used the exercise of riding on plain ground to preserve his constitution in which exercise he spent most commonly six hours in every twenty-four—three in the forenoon then always dined at twelve and rode three more in the afternoon, which if any accident caused him to omitt he often if 'twas moonlight made up his stated hours of riding in the night time.
26th Dec.—The Mutineers your Honr are pleased to mention we gave account in our letter by the Susanna of sending those we found in prison from hence to Bencoolen. Their debts were so great in your Stores that they were never likely to get rid of but by such enterprize as might cause general confusion and therefore they resolved first to plunder your Store House and then sett it on fire, and we are now more fully convinced of the villaney of their designe because of a letter sent from one of them at Bencoolen named Mallard to one of your Slaves here called Welchee who was to have been carryed off.
With more labour we could carry a good run of water into Ruperts Valley which is almost a plain and though not very wide is above two miles long and with a good run of water might be turned into garden ground and as great improvements might be made of that large plain at Prosperous Bay; the Great Wood might then be fenced in &c.
Those who are brought up here are much better slaves than those we buy. Some of them, particularly the whole family of the man called Old Will have behaved themselves well—any of his children or grand children is valued here to be worth £10 more than one of the rest they being so remarkable for their honesty. Old Will being above seventy is now past his labour as to working, but yet very useful among the Blacks by deciding differences and quarrels among them and keeping them in good order so that he has obtained a general respect among them all and we therefore allow him Shoes Stockings a Hat & Coat more than to the common sort who has no more than a shirt a jacket and Breeches or if Women a wastcoat petticoat and Shift.
There was between the Crane and the Drawbridge a great Cove where the sea came in over where was built a bridge 40 foot long. We have hove down great quantities of large Rocks into the Sea to break the force of the water off and then built a Wall 23 feet high and 16 foot thick at the foundation of very large stones laid with lime mortar. This cove is filled up with earth and makes a very good passage and then to keep off the Sea that wall is continued and built in the same manner to the angle of the Trench before the first Bastion—[i.e. the present roadway between the Upper Crane and Glacis].
We have great need of a Church tho we have after an indifferent manner repaired this; yet it is a very scandalous place to look upon being worse in appearance than a poor man's Barn. There is one part of it ready to fall and the whole is too little being but 40 foot long and 21 feet wide. The Minister who is a very honest good man has been industrious in getting Subscriptions. He is a useful man and since our best Doctor dyed he has offered to prescribe in Physick for any of the Garrison gratis being always ready to do any good he can.