March 9th, 1725.—A fine beneficial rainy season which hath put the Island once more into a flourishing condition. There hath sprung up abundance of young Gumwood Plants from seeds in many parts of the Island.
May 19th.—Furze wood to be planted round the Fences by the Planters.
Oct. 19th.—Mr. Hawkes papers having been seized by order of the Governor amongst them was found a letter from Mrs. Tovey to him in which she speaks of Govr Smith as an old Rogue Partiall doating old Foole—Monster Brute, Beast, Serpent. She is committed to prison for it.
[She had been cohabiting with Mr. Hawkes, who in consequence had been prohibited by Gov. Smith from all further intercourse with her on pain of dismissal].
Oct. 20th.—Mr. Hawkes having at the last Sessions on 12th Oct. behaved himself with impudence affirming that his character and reputation was as free from stain and blemish as the Governor or any present it was thought proper to have his papers seized, among which there is found a copy book of letters directed to the Hon. Company in which he has with monstrous ingratitude, barbarity and impudence clandestinely attacked the Governor's fortune and reputation in sending them several false, scandalous, malicious, groundless complaints, and lying accounts both with relation to the number and pay of his Blacks and Goods pretended to be lodged in the Company's Store. Mr. Benjamin Hawkes was immediately committed and ordered that he be degraded and rendered infamous and incapable ever to serve the Honourable Company. That his Sword be broke over his head at the front of the Garrison as unworthy to wear a Sword or bear a Commission. That he afterward stand in the Pillory from the hour of 11 till 12 at noon and that Margaret Tovey widow be placed upon the Pillory by him, there to continue during the time aforesaid.
Letter from England 12th Feb. 1725.—Free Blacks are not to be allowed to have any Slaves and if any master enfranchize a Black for good conduct then such Black must be obliged to leave the Island by the first shipping.
Jan. 4th, 1726.—Hodgkinson Doctor's Mate and French gunner have industriously spread a rumour that Gov. Smith was discharged the Comps. Service and that Mr. Tovey was appointed to succeed him. Ordered that Hodgkinson stand in the Pillory one hour and a half as an example to other people and that John French gunner do stand at the outward gate next the Parade with a match round him without fire to it and cartridge cases with their mouth downwards.
March 1st.—Mr. Free placed in the pillory because three or four days before Mr. Hawkes departure from the Island he had allowed Mrs. Tovey to stay at his house where she had interviews with Mr. Hawkes.
Feb. 26th, 1727.—This morning arrived the Princess Anne from England Capt. Gough who brought the Hon. Compy packet on shoar but Mr. Smith being in the country the Govr. to shew his respect deferd to open it until he came down and it appearing that our Hon. Masters has been Pleased to appoint Mr. Byfield to succeed as Governor and to the end that all persons might have due notice thereof his commission was published by Beat of Drum in the usual manner.
Feb. 27.—Governor Byfield reports that by the accounts large quantities of Beef and Pork had been used for the Company's Blacks amounting from 1723 to 1726 to £3,202 and that he intended to save this charge by employing the Blacks constantly to catch fish.
May 9th.—Packet from England giving advice of apprehension of a speedy war between England and France, and Holland on one part and the Emperor of Spain on the other arising in great measure from the Emperor's seeming resolution to support the Ostend Trade.
July 26th.—Sessions. Inhabitants address Mr. Byfeld on change of Government, Tis to this happy and agreeable change that we owe the preservation of the small remains of our Liberty and Property which in many instances by the late violent and arbitrary proceedings was destroyed by Force and in others rendered uncertain and precarious.
Sept. 12th.—Inhabitants complain of incompetency of Dr. Gibson Flux, the distemper which is most dangerous to us, and with which the Island is chiefly afflicted. Instead of applying proper medicines to cheque the Flux at its first apperance, he declared he wanted to bring it to a head and to that purpose in a most preposterous manner laid Plaisters to their bellies by which gross stupidity the distemper was soon brought to a head and his patients to their graves—the Inhabitants therefore at their own request allowed to employ Mr. Hodgkinson.
Sept. 19th.—Sessions. There being a very good harmony and agreement among the inhabitants and no person having entered any action against his neighbour Sessions adjourned.
List of guns in the Batteries—(viz. on the line and before the Castle 79, Mundens 14, Banks 7, Ruperts 9, Lemon Valley 4, Crane 2, Prosperous Bay 4, Two Gun Hill 5, Total 124).
An extraordinary fine season 1727.
Oct. 7th.—There being several birds of a different species from those that frequent the Island lately come hither the bodies of which are as large as a Pheasant their legs long and black but their claws open and not webbed like Sea Fowl with long bills resembling those of a Snipe but thicker and longer in proportion to the bulk of their bodies.
Oct. 31st.—2nd survey of Plantations of wood showing 583 acres planted. 23 persons summoned for neglect, several fined and the rest excused upon promises to plant.
Nov. 14th.—Several fine trees cut at Flagstaff and Deadwood by trespassers who are fined and ordered that all persons going for wood should pass by the Great Gate and no other way.
Letters to England 29th May 1727.—We have had good luck with our Fish usually catching about 1400 lbs. a week Soldiers, Jacks or Bevis, Conger Eels, Cavally, Albicore and other fish.
If the fish in cold weather go a great way out into deep waters, we get coarse salt off the mountains and fit out our Long Boat and go after them and catch what we want and salt them up on the spot, and it often happens that she returns with a very great quantity of neat fish after their gutts are out and their heads off.
Wee believe Coffee would grow well here and in time produce great quantities. Wee therefore desire to send us yearly a number of young plants. Wee remember there was once a Coffee Tree which grew very well in the worst part of the country, but by the carelessness of those times it was lost.
Red Wood trees excellent Timber of a colour and fine scent and much resembles a Red Cedar. Yet it was nearly lost to the Island, but about five years ago the Govr got a couple of young plants neither of them above an inch high set them in his garden, took great care of them and they now produce seed in great abundance.
1728.—Expenses of Island under Mr. Byfeld £5,218 less than it was during the time Mr. Smith was Governor. The Inhabitants have lived amicably together for the last quarter. Plantation House and Garden enclosed by a stone wall.
Seven slaves in a fit of despair one day last week seized a boat belonging to Capt. Goodwin and put off to sea, and not having being heard of since we suppose are drowned.
Death of George I. and Proclamation of George II. (Long Boat upset and five Blacks drowned. About 7 in the Evening the boat was going to Sandy Bay for lime with a gentle gale in smooth water near the shore a sudden gale of wind descended perpendicularly with so much speed and violence the sight of which was intercepted by the height of the mountains that before they could have time to say let go the Boat overset. Boatswain and 1 man swam ashore to Manattee Bay Beach—5 men clung to the bottom of the boat but next morning on search neither boat nor men could be seen.)
April 1st.—Report on Chubbs Spring. We find several Springs of Water each of them very sweet wholesome and well tasted and very near as good as any upon the Island, all which springs may very easily be brought into one stream and will afford a sufficient quantity of water to be carried in spouts to the Crane for the supply of all the Hon. Company shipping at all times of the year in all seasons wet or dry. Several of us having taken particular notice of these springs in the dry time of the year and never perceived the stream to be lessened not even in the dryest weather wee ever remember to have happened which was in the year 1713. Mr. Jessey at that time having occasion almost daily to pass by these springs at which he then frequently drank and always found the water sweet and good and remembers very well that the water flowed in the same great quantity then as it does now.
Nov. 9th.—Ensign Slaughter accused of slandering the Governor saying he had spoken treason and said—that King George was a scrubb fellow.
Pleaded guilty. The Governor desired the jury to allot the punishment who sentenced him to receive very severe corporal punishment by whipping, to stand in the pillory on the next muster day and continue till then close prisoner moderately ironed.
Nov. 29th.—Expenses of the Island under Governor Byfeld's administration had been reduced £5,000 a year. He is granted therefore £100 year additional, £100 in plate and £400 in cash for his services. Mocha Coffee Plants sent for propagation in the Island.
Jan. 30th 1730.—Goats. At a Vestry meeting 40 out of 50 inhabitants present a petition for the destruction of goats for ten years in order that the Island might in that time return to its primitive covering of wood. Two years allowed for the destruction of goats and after ten years the Ranges to be resumed.
April 11th.—A slave named Peter of Charles Stewards having most impudently given the name of the Governor and Mr. Crispe to a fellow of Mr. Powells named Jack and to other fellow slaves and they having impudently called one another by these names and nick named other Blacks with the names of other people Peter ordered to be Whipt and imprisoned six weeks and again Whipped every fortnight and the rest to be each Whipped. And this being done by the privity and connivance of the said Steward he too ought to suffer but his purse and his head being both empty we spared him, he having promised to behave better for the future.
Dec. 15th.—Agnes a free black who had bound herself to Francis Funge for a certain time, in which she had two children, is on Funge's request compulsorily bound to serve Funge till her youngest child be 21.
Council Proceedings March 15th, 1731.—Governor Isaac Pyke reappointed to succeed Governor Byfeld, and arrived in the Endfield from England on 15th March but did not assume the Government until 24th March, on which day Gov. Byfeld embarked for England.
Feb. 10th, 1732.—Coffee. The Houghton arrived from Mocha and sailed for England on the 11th, the Supar Cargoes told us that they could not get us any Coffee plants but brought us a good quantity of the berries for seed which wee will plant as fast as the season will permit us.
July 26th.—A late slip of 7 or 8 acres of land had fallen in Lemon Valley and altered the taste and colour of the water there. The slip was 600 yards long by 91 deep.
Sept. 30th.—Churches. Churchwardens letter to Governor. Vestry meeting concerning ruinous condition both of the Chapple in the Country and the Chapple at the Fort the former of which has laid level with the ground for two or three years past, and the latter is so much out of repair that its shameful a place set apart for the celebration of divine service and in the open view of all strangers especially of foreign nations.
Nov. 7th.—Mr. Goodwin acquainted us that he observed several of the top branches of the Trees in the little grove of Gumwood Trees behind the Plantation House were barked and killed by the Ratts which are now grown very numerous in most parts of the country, Mr. Crispe also acquainted us that at the Great Wood he hath frequently seen nests like Birds nests built by the Ratts at the topps of the trees, each nest near two feet long and that it is common to find 6 or 7 young Ratts in each nest and that the country thereabouts is overrun with them.
We have also heard that in the year 1700 the Ratts were grown so exceedingly numerous that after they had destroyed everything else they at last fell upon one another and devoured themselves and the Island at that time was quite clear of them.
One of the Company's blacks for breaking into a Storehouse to be ironed and set to work and exchanged when any Black ship arrives, "It being very much better than severe corporal punishment as we find by experience among the Planters who are most of them very severe to their slaves but we cant perceive that it does them any good, it rather makes them worse, always sullen, often desperate and in their despair they sometimes hang, drown or run away."
Cesar for stealing Surplice, &c. out of the Church to be led by George Beard (who was concerned in concealing the two rings) in a haltar from the Church Gate to the White Stone and back again with the stolen goods in a wheelbarrow—and Cesar being stript from the middle shall be whipt by the Marshall all the way. That Meg a black wench whom Cesar had falsely accused with stealing the said rings should give him six stripes with the whip before the Marshall begins with him.
Dec. 24th.—Heavy Rollers on 24th Dec.—destroyed the crane at Lemon Valley, many great Rocks 4 or 5 feet in diameter and others 13 and 14 feet long and 5 or 6 feet thick not less than 27 tons were forced into the sea by the prodigious violence of the waves.
Jan. 17th, 1733.—Wood wantonly destroyed. Within the two last years 10000 young trees have been cut down and carried off one single spot of your own land, and in our late travels through the country the Governor and wee observed that the same fatal destruction has spread itself everywhere. Propose to let all the Commons for cultivation of Wood.
June 17.—The Powells have now in their possession the habitations of above 25 families and have let the houses thereon fall to ruin. Some hold above 200 or 300 acres and by this means lay aside their usual industry and only graze cattle thereon,
Jan. 25th, 1734.—The Rains of the season usually set in at the end of December or beginning of January.
June 11th.—Water in tubs breeds such swarms of Muskittoes that the Castle and every house in the valley are filled with them.
June 30th.—Cocoa Nutts are likely to thrive well here, 4 Casks full of Nutts received from Bombay to be planted.
From a Report on the defences of the Island, May 1st, 1734.—The old Battery in Sandy Bay was built so near the water that in bad weather it was washed away and the four guns and their carriages. Some of the guns in calm weather are still to be seen under water but we think that as they have lain in the sea 25 years among rocks it is not worth the charge of getting them up.
Prosperous Bay.—There hath never been any guns here and the ascent of the hills is so difficult that Jonathan Highan who is now living among us who was one of the men that formerly retook this country from the Dutch and was then a soldier has often affirmed that though they landed 200 men there yet if 20 men with fire arms had opposed them they should not have been able to have got up the Hills and there are many people of this country that cannot go up or down in that place now.
King William's Fort.—But in the draft of the Island called Bankses Platform the Platform was first built there and retained the Builders name. But at Bankses Platform they could not call to any ship and the Men of War that came here in King William's war contrived the Fort upon the Hill above Bankses which they called King Williams Fort and it is this place that all ships that intend for the Island, go as near as they can so that we usually hale them from this Place and they hear well what is said to them, but the wind there coming always off the shore we can not so well hear what they answer—but if they are heard a messenger is always despatched thence to the Governor and they run along the side of the Hill in a dangerous path which all strangers usually admire to see.
Ruperts Bay.—Here Prince Rupert son of the King of Bohemia and nephew to King Charles the First on his return from India came to an anchor and stayed here to refresh his ships company which gave to this place the name of Ruperts Valley.
Chubbs Rock.—called because a man of that name fell from the mountain above it and broke his neck here.
Main Fort.—Within the Line the Main Fort is defended by two large curtains and two half Bastions. On the East half Bastion there are 23 small guns called Falcons, Falconets, and Rabinets, which guns being small are kept only for salutes to save expense of powder.
"On the Mount" or front of the Main Fort are six very good demi Culverins.
Break Neck Valley—difficult of access—for instance. This summer one of Capt. Lyalls sailors in the ship Wyndham having been in the country and lost his companions thought to go down to the seaside a nearer way than he came up. He straggled down in the night time to some of these Rocks next the sea and when daylight came on could get no further neither dared he by Daylight go back where he had wandered in the Dark. In the forenoon he called to a Shipping Boat and begged of them to shew him the way down. None of our people knew how to get at him but at length being directed by a Boat they lowered down a Rope which the man made himself fast to and he was hauled up to the top of the mountain by it. He lost a china bowl there and a catty of tea which none of our people not even the Blacks have ventured to go there and fetch it.
Lemon Valley.—Some of the Dutch landed here formerly but by throwing large stones down the Hill they were beat off again. The guns much flamed and honey-combed—wee have taken them away thence as useless and placed them on the West Rocks as shoar fasts for any ship that has occasion to warp in there. Wee have place an anchor and several guns there for that purpose yet nobody has made any use of them.
Old Womans Valley.—Here the Dutch did land, and the party from hence found their way into the country and did take the Island.
1734.—Capt. Cason exercises all the people according to Colonel Blunt's method who is Colonel of the King's Guards and we are told by all people that go home that no soldiers in India exercise so well as our men here and they are most of them so much our Superiors that there is no room to think they flatter us.
The people on the Line are the Planters which is always the Governor's own Post.
Captain Cason was in the army all King William's war and great part of Queen Anne's. He has been chief Military Officer here with the seven last Governors and was esteemed by all the Governors and is beloved by the people.
Corydon—Company's Chief Fisherman going to Ruperts and carrying a small bag of fish for his wife who lives there, it is thought the bag hit against an overhanging Rock in a narrow part so that he fell 150 feet into a place called Downings Cove. Capt. Alexander says that he remembers that one Rowley carrying a small keg in the same path it hit against one of the Rocks and hove him down and smashed him to pieces.
Memo 31st January, 1734. Strength of Garrison.
|No.||of Officers and effective men||134||white.|
|Blacks belonging to Garrison||75||blacks.|
|" " to Planters||102|
Aug. 6th.—Turk's Cap Valley—fortification commenced by inhabitants.
Oct. 1st.—Wind and seas very stormy last month, palisades blown down, Castle Long Boat lost at Sandy Bay, and three men washed from the rocks of whom one was drowned.
1735.—Nathaniel Cressener's punishment for expressing his sympathy with Eleanor Isaac saying "to save her being whipt he would be willing to lye two hours neck and heels to save her each lash." Since he is so desirous to bear some punishment in favour of his wench he was ordered to be tied neck and heels in the usual manner an hour and if he likes it and continues in the same mind the Governor will make a bargain with him and to excuse the wench one lash for every two he will be tied neck and heels if she shall hereafter deserve punishment.
April 8th.—Governor reports that the Poultry in all parts of the Island has been lately seized with a strange distemper that kills multitudes—their head first begins to swell, soon after they become blind and they are presently taken with a giddiness of which they die.
1735.—"Old Will aged 100 years and hath faithfully served the Company ever since the English had this Island under the command of 21 Governors and when he came to this Island he brought 3 Yams, 9 head of Cattle and 2 Turtle Doves from Madagascar."
(Note.—Mr. Brooke in his history supposes from this that Old Will had come to the Island a free man. If he did so he must have fallen among thieves who not only robbed him of his Yams, Cattle and Doves but of his freedom as well, for in all of the Old Returns he is numbered amongst the Company's Slaves.)
March 17.—Capt. Polly of the Drake at the distance of 150 leagues from land took up a Boat with ten Blacks of the Maldive Islands who were drove out to Sea and near perishing—three died on board, 5 Men, 1 woman and 1 boy landed here.
[Note.—The Maldivia Gardens, then a Government Plantation, derived their name from the employment of these men therein.]
July 24.—Mons. Gausherie the Engineer we look upon as a useless person. Even tho he had as much skill as he pretends to in Fortifications his way of designing them will do the place no good for he does not care to go by land and when we supplied him with a good boat he did not venture to go nearer than within half a mile of the place as he did at Turk's Cap Valley and Prosperous Bay which will not do here. The Battery for 8 guns; Guard House and Powder Room are near finished at Turk's Cap Valley. If attacked it must be by boats for being directly to Windward no ship durst venture near enough to throw their shot on shore for besides the danger of a Lee shore there is a Ledge of Rocks about half a mile off hardly 15 foot under water and the ground all over this Bay is very foul. In a box we have sent several parcels of Earth upon which the foundations of the Battery at Turk's Cap Valley is built and its as firm as rock.
On 25th June part of the Mountain near the Sea Gate fell down in such a prodigious quantity that it has filled up the path and will take up all the hands that we are able to muster for 18 or 20 days to clear it.
July 29th.—Bates complains of his Black for poisoning him by charms by burying a Phial under his chair and produced Capt. Hamilton's book of Voyages in which there are many fabulous stories of charms spells Talismans and frighted out of his wits about it. If he troubles us or his neighbours with any more of these idle fancies wee will dose him with hellebore and furnish him with a dark room and some clean straw.
In the appraisement of Widow Powell's Estate, The Executors desired to be informed whether the children of a free Wench begotten by a Slave Man should be accounted as free children. To this they were answered that as it was Law in His Majesty's Colonies in the West Indies and confirmed by the King that all children begotten of a free woman should be deemed and taken as Slaves the Executors were directed to have the children valued, viz. three Girls and two Boys amounting to £33.
March 16th 1736.—The Governor reports in the last two weeks we had such great cataracts of water fallen from the Skies that it hath drove away great part of "Cow Path." On Ladder Hill there was such breaches as was never observed before. In some places great heaps of Rubbish drove down. In other places many large Rocks removed—large pieces of the Wall thrown down so that it is very difficult to go up or down by those who carried loads.
John Long—(prisoner) complains of having Flux and prays to be excused work at the fortifications till he is better. Alexander and Goodwin think he ought to be allowed time to get better. Mr. Crispe is of opinion that the most effectual way to cure him is to hang him.
April 16.—The Island has suffered much for want of Rain altho it began well and set in early it soon broke up and we had The hottest summer that has happened for many years. What chiefly distresses the Inhabitants is the state of their Yam Plantations especially on the East side of the Country as it is naturally the most barren so it is unfortunately the most populous. But your own Plantations being watered lands are all in good condition.
June 24th.—Francis Everest Governor of Bencoolen died at St. Helena on his homeward passage.
August.—Bates accused of coining counterfeit Pagodas. Bates asserts he had found a gold mine. Governor Pyke notes that some of the Ore from this mine he had sent to the Company in 1715 to be assayed and were only Marchasites—that is to say if there is any metal in them it cant be separated but flys away in Fire in fumes.
Bates accused of saying that he believed it was no sin to shoot the Governor. He is ordered to be whipped with 30 stripes at the common whipping post.
Pledger for stealing some salt on the highway from Blacks ordered according to Moses law to pay fourfold for the salt taken.
Aug. 31st.—Fourteen Blacks conspire to run away with the Long Boat. After examination all those Blacks who readily confessed were pardoned—the rest severely whipt and after they were all made sensible of the certainty of being drowned if they had proceeded they were returned to their masters and this wee hope will be an effectual cheque to all future attempts.
Nov. 16th.—Elizabeth Edwards mother of a child born 16th March is examined and states that Beale the late husband of her deceased sister is father and had promised her marriage—being told that such marriage would be illegal she referred to Deut. xxv., 5.
This fault seeming to us to be in some sort the effect of ignorance wee are willing to be as favourable as we can—ordered ten lashes at the Common Whipping post.
This young woman being very ignorant and having grossly misapplied the 5th verse of 25 Deut. the Governor sent for Mr. Fordyce the Chaplain to explain this matter to her, but after he had heard the examination and the 5th verse aforesaid read, he said there were some places of Scripture that seemed to favour that opinion and as to the Crime of it he could say nothing. This answer surprised us expecting to hear something more decent from him, but indeed he himself seems as ignorant of these matters as any body who is permitted to wear such a gown. After this the Governor cleared up the matter and told them that this was an extraordinary case and in King Henry the 8th time the Reformation of Religion from Popery depended on it and our Laws made this offence Incest. Beale was also ordered to be whipt, but on his request a fine of £10 was imposed instead.
Thomas Swindle a soldier for having a child by a free black wench ordered to ride the wooden horse two hours with his face blacked all over. The wench, as soon as she is out of the straw, is to be publicly whipped and herself and child made slaves to the Company.
Feb. 1st, 1737.—Old Will died last week aged about 104 and as he has been a very good servant, the Blacks paid their last devoirs to him in the best manner they could attending him to the grave in a body amounting to above 200.
March 24.—Governor Pyke unable to sign his name from a severe fit of Gout in the right hand.
May 3.—The Governor Pyke first formed the design for the Battery at Turk's Cap.
Since your Honours do not like the correction given to some lewd women of this place (i.e. flogging them) other methods shall be taken to keep them honest.
The Wench and child herein mentioned have been restored to freedom.
[Note.—Referring to the case of a free woman consigned to slavery in the preceding year for having a child by Swindle, a soldier.]
Great numbers of Cattle have died especially hoggs which is the chief food of the Inhabitants. If the drought continues it will be much worse with us than it was in the severe time of Governor Boucher. Many Springs some of which were as big as a man's thigh and run plentifully in the time of Gov Boucher are now quite dry and even the Main Watercourse in Sandy Bay as well as the Springs just mentioned neither of which were ever known to fail within the memory of man have become so totally dry and hardly yield any water now.
August.—54 head of cattle died in July for want of rain and pasture.
Nov. 12th.—A violent surf—a gun a large piece of Iron ordnance, a demi Culverin weighing 43 cwt. was washed off from the top of Chubb's Rock. Afterwards recovered in three fathoms.
Jan. 17th, 1738.—A failure of the springs. Water more scarce now than it was at the time of the Great Drought.
Mr. John Bazett son of Capt. Matthew Bazett who was formerly many years of Council appointed to Council in place of Capt. John Alexander deceased in July last.
April 14th.—Return of Rains but the young grass so much scouvers the Cattle that many of them die daily.
Governor Pyke died 28th July in violent convulsions which we imagine was occasioned by the morbid matter of the Gout lodging upon his Brain. Nature being much worn and decayed and not strong enough to throw it off.
On 29th September we had the misfortune also to lose our Chaplain Mr. Barlow. The most acceptable of his profession of any we have had among us for a great number of years past.
Wee have supplied his place with Archbishop Tillotson, Dr. South, Bishop Fleetwood, Dr. Calamy, and other eminent English Divines from whose discourses wee are sure we shall be much more improved than by the crude uncouth compositions wee have commonly met with for several years past, and such as were so far from edifying that often times they were not intelligible.
July 28th.—On Saturday last the late Governor Pyke complained that he was out of order. On Sunday he grew worse and kept his bed and continued to do so on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday without any visible alteration for better or worse. On Thursday he became very feeble. This morning a little after 8 he got up without help and set upon his bed and eat four small pieces of Toast and Butter and drank three dishes of tea for breakfast and then went into bed—but about 9 he fell into a most violent convulsion fit till near two, at which time he died.
July 29th.—Mr. Goodwin proclaimed as Governor.
Oct.—44 Planters offer their services with their Blacks at the Fortifications being greatly encouraged thereto by the good conduct and example of our present Governor. Turk's Cap Battery was erected by them about four years ago at their own charge.
[Note.—The remains of this battery are still visible at the base of "Turk's Cap." The battery has a very antiquated look and this may have given rise to the idea that it had been built prior to the occupation of the Island by the E. I. Company and hence the name it now bears of 'Portuguese Battery'. Even on Palmer's Map it is called Ruins of an old Dutch Battery, whereas it is certain that there were no fortifications except in James' Valley until after 1673.]
The Planters petition the Company to appoint Mr. Goodwin Governor who has served for near thirty years and is the son of that gentleman our Countryman who formerly filled the chair and whose memory is dear to us. That after enduring many years of bitterness and heavy oppressions we shall now have the happiness to see an end to our afflictions—several of our brethren having been often abused in their persons and injured in their fortunes by long and frequent imprisonment under false and frivolous pretences and many times without any at all, and savage cruelties have been practised among us. One of our Inhabitants having been tortured in an unheard of manner with wired whips and after his flesh was thus inhumanely torn and mangled was further prosecuted with a long and close imprisonment. [In allusion to the punishment of Slaughter for offending Governor Byfeld.]
But however careful the Planters were to protect their own persons and property from cruelty and injustice, the condition of Slaves and Free Blacks was in no way improved as shown by the following, passage in the first letter written by Gov. Goodwin to the Governor of Bencoolen:—
Wee have sent you some wenches who reckon themselves free born, and according to the custom of the place they have pretensions to freedom, but as this was a growing evil and its consequences likely to become mischievous and fatal to the Island we have been obliged to check its progress and nip it in the bud.
Feb. 26th, 1739.—George Gabriel Powell appointed 4th of Council. Rainy Seasons have failed for the last four or five years. Last year no less than 687 head of Cattle died for want of food.
Sept. 11th.—Nine of the Company's slaves men, women and children who we received this year from Bombay were enticed by a fellow named Drake to make their escape in the Long Boat which they effected by cutting her from her moorings in the dead of the night. Tis remarkable of this fellow Drake that he has before made several attempts to run away but has always been detected.
A Sea Cow killed upon Old Woman's Valley Beach as it was lying asleep by Worrall and Greentree.
An Inventory of the Company's batteries, plantations, Stock, &c., valued at a total of £28,489.
In this Inventory the Great Wood [i.e. now called Longwood and Deadwood] stands at £4,500, Plantation House £1000, "Bryers" £94. The last is abandoned as a Plantation.
July 9, 1740.—Our Guards are so divided they muster very thin at each place. We hold the Spaniards in such light as to be persuaded that the complement we now have is sufficient force to withstand any attempt that may be made from that quarter. But in case there should be a rupture with France be pleased to send us a reinforcement.
[Note.—From this date till May 9th 1741, there is a gap in the Consultations.
In Consultation July 1740, the cash in Treasury is said to have been counted and the various coins specified amounting to £4303. No further Consultations are entered nor any entry made of Governor Goodwin's death which occurred in August 1740, nor of Mr. Crispe having assumed the Government, but from a petition sent to the Company in 1741 by Widow Goodwin it would appear that Governor Goodwin's death was a sudden one and that Mr. Crispe and the Council then made a claim on her for a large debt due by her husband to the Company].
May 9th 1741.—Governor Robert Jenkins arrived with Powell as deputy Governor—and Mr. Godfrey 3rd in Council. Agreeable to our Hon. Master's orders we immediately demanded of Messrs. Duke Crispe and Bazett the keys of the Castle. We found Cash in notes £94 7 6 and the Cash Book brought up to 31st March by which there appears to be due to the Company only £6 19 0.
Mr. Crispe and Bazett being told they were not to go hence until they have satisfied our just demands they answer the late Mr. Goodwin was cashere they therefore consider him to be wholly culpable with respect to the deficiency. Resolved, as they have refused to give the security asked that there be a guard upon their persons until the Dane ship now riding in the road was sailed.
May 14.—Mr. S. Doveton makes a return of the Company's Stock remarking I must in vindication of myself acquaint you that Mr. Crispe keeping two such grand tables over and above what ever was before has been a great occasion of the present scarcity.
The return being considered in Council they find that Mr. Crispe has indeed verified the old Proverb of making hay whilst the Sun shines, but for our parts we are very little obliged to him for leaving us so entirely destitute of every kind of provision.
June 3rd.—Agnes the free black having been bound by Governor Byfeld on 15 Dec 1730 to serve Funge until her infant daughter Agnes was 21 we look upon this as a grand breach of the liberty of the subject clandestinely to bind to servitude any free man or woman against the will of the party and therefore judge it altogether an illegal and arbitrary proceeding.
Letter from Gov. Jenkins to Directors, 11th May 1741.—Your Honours Estate here is in a worse condition than we expected. The Frauds are so errant and so open that Mr. Crispe and Mr. Bazett have confessed them only they scruple being made accountable. Mr. Goodwin we find (unhappily for him) was concerned with Mr. Crispe.
We would if we could point out who has been the chief actor therein but all that we are able to say is that it is evident that Mr. Crispe has been the wheel by which the other two have blindly moved—the total deficiency is £6284. The Estates of the late Mr. Goodwin and Mr. Bazett are more than sufficient to make good their proportions. Mr. Crispe gave an Inventory 1st of £1427, afterwards one of £2461—now we assure your Honours we know not what to say of this gentleman.
Council Proceedings 10th June.—Mr. Crispe owns to having burnt papers and letters which were taken by him from a file of Mr. Goodwin's a few hours after he died. Council agreed that Mr. Crispe appears to us in such colours as is not possible for us to paint.
26th August—Commodore Sir William Hewitt at St. Helena.
22nd March 1742—Major Thomas Lambert arrived and proclaimed Governor.
6th April—The property called " The Maldives" turned into a Hospital.
Governor Lambert reports the inconveniency arising from most of the non-Commissioned Officers now in the Troops being made from amongst the Planters likewise because several of the Soldiers being natives reside in the countrey.
Quarter Sessions to be held regularly hereafter.
June 1st.—Mr. Crispe in a letter to Gov. Lambert speaks of Governor Jenkins friendly feeling to him until 6th January. But on the next day 7th January there was a weding (Ensign Scott to Miss Martha Doveton) to which he (Mr. Jenkins) and Mr. Johnson's two daughters were invited. Everybody was very cheerful all the morning but after dinner somebody took it in their heads to lead up a kissing dance, so my ill fortune would have it, which although very common upon these occasions and at other times, gave Gov. Jenkins so much offence and disturbed him to so great a degree that he immediately called for his horse, broke up the company, took the young ladies with him and went away in great displeasure, and from that moment for several weeks after could not endure the sight of Mr. Bazett and Capt. Clarke, though before they both stood very high in his favour, yet one of them beside the misfortune of losing his favour was otherwise in danger and had like to have paid clear for his share of the kisses for he was very near being put under arrest for his presumption, and as these gentlemen were my friends I too (though not there) had my share of his anger for he never spoke kindly to me afterwards. We think Mr. Crispe's long letter seems calculated rather to fling dirt at Mr. Jenkins than to clear himself.
June 4th.—Mr. Crispe finds Bonds for £1145 and is allowed to leave by next ship.
July 20th.—Governor Lambert died. Ever since the departure of the last fleet Gov. Lambert's indisposition confined him to his chambers and at 9 o'clock in the evening of Tuesday last the 20th inst. he expired. George Gabriel Powell proclaimed Governor. Council, John Godfrey 2nd. Christopher Dixon 3rd.
Letter 6th April, 1743.—We have had abundance of mortality in this Island, The inhabitants has been seized with a violent distemper very little inferior to the Plague that hath carried off abundance of them. The Slaves have been alike subject to the disorder with their masters insomuch that with great difficulty we have got people to work at the Fortifications. Nor hath your Honours Slaves escaped although there has been the greatest care taken to prevent their going to the Planters houses where this distemper raged.
Council Proceedings.—They are seized with a violent oppression at their stomach and pain in the small of the back and bowells attended with a strong Fever and generally die in four or five days. Result of Postmortem on a couple of Slaves.—1st Harry. Pericardium. much extended with a greater quantity of water in it than usual. The right ventricle very large. On opening it extracted three distinct pieces of flesh about an inch and a quarter in length not adhering to any part of the ventricle with a large quantity of coagulated blood. Right lobe of Lungs adhering closely to Pleura a little imposthumated. 2nd. on Dick. The thorax full of extravasated water—the Heart larger than I ever saw—right ventricle I extracted a large brown viscous substance which almost filled the ventricle—those substances I take to be Polipuses. Right lobe of Lung entirely imposthumated. The disease chiefly amongst the Company's Slaves. What's worse of all they prove to be our very best working fellows that drop off.
Governor Powels orders that all foals the property of the Company which cannot be sold shall be shot as one Horse eats as much as two Bullocks.
The Goat Pound Ranges confirmed to the Proprietors by order of the Company and the Proprietors allowed to sell their Ranges. Eleven Ranges as follows 1 Fryer Ridge to Horse Pasture, 2 Gurling's Fort to Old Woman's Valley, 3 Horse Pasture to Bennet's Point, 4 Shepherd's Hole plain to Castle Rock plain, 5 Castle Rock plain to Lot, 6 Sandy Bay Water to Powell's Valley Boxwood, 7 Deep Valley Boxwood to Horse Point, 8 Bay Plain to Turk's Cap Valley, 9 Turk's Cap Valley to Bank's Ridge, 10 Bank's Ridge to Rupert's Valley, 11 Cow Path to Mr. Powel's land on Peak Hill.
1743.—Frequent quarrels between Governor Powell and Mr. Dixon 3rd in Council who is suspended from office.
June 27th.—Governor Powell complains that Mr. Dixon insults him wherever he happens to meet him. That last Sunday in the Church Mr. Dixon who sat in the Pew took the liberty when the Governor's eyes and attention were otherwise employed than to mind his motions, to point at him sundry times, to sneer at him and then wink and smile to one of his acquaintances who sat at another part of the Church. That whenever he has passed Mr. Dixon in the street instead of paying the compliment of the hatt Mr. Dixon cocks his hatt upon his head staring him in the face, struts by in a more bullying insulting and rude manner that can possibly be expressed.
Letter April 7th, 1743.—Woolen manufactory established which will afford your slaves Blankets and cloathes without one farthing of expense. Heretofore the Wool was generally set aside as a thing of no sort of value but now the Planters are very careful of it. We send five yards of the first piece of cloth that was ever made on the Island.
April 26th.—The ship Crown Prince of Denmark arrived, she brings advice that His Majesty's Ship Saint Turian (Centurion) Commodore Anson had been at Macao and designed to refit at Batavia and would not be expected home this year. That H. M. Ship Gloster had foundered near the Ladrone Islands and the Tryal sloop was lost in the South Sea.
June 20th.—The Widow of the late Governor Goodwin allowed a pension of £60 per annum.
Our poor Inhabitants are we believe the poorest Housekeepers in the World, for their living is almost wholly upon Fish which the Masters of the family go to catch in little open Boats generally two nights and one day in each week. This they husband and spin out as near as possible and eat it with yam. The care of this Yam plantation takes up the Master and perhaps a Slave all the rest of their time.
March 10th 1744.—Ten men slaves run away with the Long Boat.
March 11th, 1744.—This Evening a little after 5 of clock the ship Cesar arrived with Colonel David Dunbar Governor. Captain Charles Hutchinson 2nd. Mr. John Goodwin, Dixon and Purling appointed of Council.
The Planters resolve to establish a Market.
Mr. Powell accused of having sent Brandy, Wine, Beef, Pork, &c., from the Company's stores to his own house and also of using a large quantity of Lime and sending the Company's Blacks to fetch it to his own house.
Mr. Powell challenges enquiry—said he would give no reply for he did not apprehend we had power to call him to account. He would answer everything to the Company.
Orchell.—The Directors have had samples of the Orchell sent from this Island. They offer 15s. a hundred for any quantity. Mr. John Goodwin will show the sort that is required which if clean gathered and picked is worth £40 or £50 a ton in England.
June 6.—Thomas Alcocks a soldier complained "that some time ago the late Governor Mr. Powell gave him some hair in order to make a wigg and being unfit for the purpose he Alcock made Mr. Powell a wigg of some hair which he had by him and when he carried it to Mr. Powell he fell into a passion and ordered Wm. Oakman a sergeant to take Alcock upon his back and ordered a Black boy called Grewer to give him 50 lashes upon his bare breech with Rushes which he accordingly did and Mr. Powell sat in the room and looked on.
Mr. Powell acknowledged he gave orders to the black boy Grewer to whip Alcock with Rushes, that he had not above 6 or 7 lashes in order to shame him.
Gov. reports that Peak Gutt hath heretofore produced great quantities of Ebony and would still produce the same but the goats bark the growing trees.
Oct. 23.—Messrs. Thomas and James Greentree refuse to impound the goats at Peak Gutt when ordered to do so for Mr. Dixon's inspection. To deter others from daring to offer the least contempt for the future ordered that each of the Greentrees should be fined £10. Thomas and James Greentree attend and pay their fines £10 each. We told them they ought to look upon this fine as a very mild punishment for soe great a Crime. That disobeying lawful authority was much the same as resisting it and resisting authority was the beginning of Rebellion which was a Capital crime
Jan 29, 1745.—Tailors charges for making clothes fixed by Govt. Tailors refusing to work to be fined 10s. each refusal. Ordered that no more than 3s. per day be paid to any Carpenter or other Artificer and 12d. labourers. All such artificers to be obliged to work on the penalty of 10s.
Feb 19.—On Sunday night last nine of the Planters Slaves run away with the Company's Boat though the Rudder, Sails and Oars were on shore.
Lease of 4 acres to Francis Wrangham in Sandy Bay adjoining Perkins.
Market hath been for some time on the decline—the Planters have withheld their Yams and the Garrison so distressed that above 30 had to be fed with the Company's Yams intended for their Slaves.
July 16th.—Gov. Dunbar read a report of censure on the Planters for not complying with his orders for the distribution of Cattle to the Shipping. I hear a complaint is gone home of the same order with some menaces, and to convince you that nobody does anything they are afraid to be complained of I will add this to the cause you already pretend to be agrieved at, that everyone of you shall be fined to the Company 20s. I came here with a desire to live well among you but I find it impossible except I do, as most of your Governors have done abuse their Masters and suffer you to do what you pleased.
Dec, 31.—Governor having quarrelled with Mr. Dixon and confined him, the Council agree that a Gov. although chief in the administration has but a single vote and cannot consequently have power in himself to confine any Gentleman of the Council.
Mr. Hutchinson Lieut. Governor wants his Parlour ceiled. Gov. does not think it reasonable. Dixon Goodwin and Purling think it reasonable and grant it.
Gov. objects to above because lime cannot be made fast enough for the fortifications "and if the Gentleman who so readily voted to make a ceiling for the Lieut. Governor meant that vote to be respected as an order I do tell them I shall shew no regard to it and that no ceiling shall be made: even in the Castle the Hall and our common eating room have never been ceiled to this day." The Council sign excepting to the Governor's remarks and objections to the Lieut. Governor's request, remarking "As you have in this case taken upon you to declare the majority of Councils determination void, you may consequently do the like in any other when you please which is directly contrary to the Company's orders."
Governor Dunbar complains of Mr. Dixon—that Mr. Dixon a year before had told him that Goodman and Purling had purposed that they should be united and out-vote the Governor.
The Council will give no opinion on Mr. Dixon till he has furnished his answer which he promised when time would permit.
The Governor therefore "as far as in him lies" suspended Mr. Dixon absolutely and fined Mr. Hutchinson, Goodwin and Purling each a quarter's salary. Governor thinks the refusal of the Council to give their opinion when demanded is a forfeiture of their office. Council answer that deferring to give an opinion is not a refusal to give it.
Goodwin and Purling make voluntary oath that they never proposed to Dixon to unite and out-vote the Governor.
Robert Wright appointed 6th of Council.
July 22, 1746.—Thomas Greentree charged with selling Arrack without lycence.
Sample declares Governor gave him leave to purchase it and on Governor's denial by consent of Council swears it.
Governor protests against receiving Samples oath and the proceedings of Council and on his own authority fines Greentree £10.
Mr. Hutchinson answers Governor's protest and attributes his charges against him to resentment rather than reason. Gov. resents the above answer by fining the Lt. Governor Captain Charles Hutchinson by name in one mouth's salary "and I now caution the Lt. Governor to be on his guard that he forbears his illtreatment of me and he may be assured that if he perseveres I will make myself easy by suspending him and perhaps by sending him home."
Letter from England—We do not approve of the expensive proposal to bring water from Chubb's Spring by leaden pipes. Lemon Valley is as good or rather better for watering.
Dec 23.—We direct that immediately on receipt hereof David Dunbar, Esq. do resign our service, and deliver over the Government to Charles Hutchinson, Esq.
Feb. 22, 1747.—Four Blacks of the Company, one of Powells, went off from Sandy Bay in the night in a small fishing yawl with a very small quantity of provisions so that in all probability they are perished.
Letters to England, Nov. 28, 1744.—By the ship Port Bello arrived here 22nd Sept. we received your letter with His Majesty's declaration of War against the French King.
A Well sunk in Ruperts near the Works where there is water sufficient to Wash and freshen the sand for Mortar.
July 9, 1745.—19 Soldiers petitioned to be discharged having served their contracted time. The Governor told them they must do their duty till the Storeship came—upon which some of them in a mutinous manner threw down their arms, and absolutely refused doing any duty.—Upon which the Governor ordered two of them to be punished.
We have repaid the two Messrs Greentrees their fines according to your orders, as you are of opinion that the Goats are of more use here than Ebony they shall not be destroyed for the future.
April 25, 1747.—The Swift arrived 13th March with a commission for the appointment of Mr. Hutchinson as Governor.
June 16.—Two of the Bencoolen slaves enticed several others and went away with a boat from Sandy Bay.
Mr. Dunbar hath together with his Niece and servants been entertained at your Hon. Table. He has had the whole Castle to himself and during his stay was treated with all possible respect; goes home in the Pelham.
The late Council return you thanks for the disapprobation you have been pleased to show to Mr. Dunbar's fining them.
A Distemper among the Poultry which has swept away so many of them that few are left upon the Island. Deaths on a moderate computation 1000 Turkeys, 2000 Fowls.
The Lemon Trees have been decaying for some time past and great numbers of them are now dead especially in the lower parts of the valley where they formerly throve best and there hath not been for some time a lemon fit for use in the Island.
The winter rains have failed us and the pastures everywhere bare. Several Springs are now dry which were never known to have been so within the memory of the oldest man living here.
Mr. Robert Wright died 19th February last.
The Cattle are lean and small—there is but little poultry in the Island and scarce any Yams fit to be eaten. We are reduced to three pound bread per week for each man at which small allowance there is not Flour and Bisket enough in the Stores for a month.
June 9, 1748.—Plantation House very bad and part likely to fall. If another be built the whole expence will not exceed £400.
Sept. 26, 1748.—A Slave woman killed from inhuman usage, blows and stripes inflicted on her two days before by Hawkins, Smith, Davis and her master Meacocks. The four were fined £6 10 0 in all.
Feb. 11, 1749.—Sunday arrived Admiral Boscawen and H. M. Squadron, Exeter, York, Chester, Deal Castle, Basilisk, Harwich and Young Eagle.
March.—A Flood by which various Military Stores are washed away in Sandy Bay and Lemon Valley.
July 27.—Failure if rain and Cattle dying.
Dec. 4.—Fifteen Slaves of Company run away with Long Boat.