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1666.] LORD FRANCIS WILLOUGHBY LOST IN A HURRICANE.
Lord Willoughby, observing symptoms of an approaching hurricane, was extremely anxious for the return of the ships, but the ship of the officer in command having received some damage, it could not be refitted before night. At six o'clock in the afternoon the gale commenced from the north and blew until midnight, when after a short calm it shifted suddenly to the east-south-east, and continued with the greatest fury. Every vessel and boat upon the coast of Guadaloupe and in the Saints was driven ashore, and of the whole of Lord Willoughby's fleet only two were ever heard of afterwards. The whole coast in Guadaloupe was covered with the wrecks of masts and yards, and a figure from the stern of Lord Willoughby's ship was recognised among the wrecks1. During the administration of the deputy-governors, commissioners were appointed to revise and compile all the laws and statutes then in force. They made an attempt to relieve the island from the four-and-half per cent. duty, by declaring that the Assembly which consented to that act was not legally constituted. Lord Willoughby, on the dissolution of the proprietary government, had neglected to summon a new Assembly under the royal authority, and the Act which imposed this burden was passed by an Assembly convened in President Walrond's time. This objection was however overruled.
On the arrival of the news of Lord Willoughby's death, the King issued a commission to Lord William Willoughby, brother of Lord Francis, to be Governor for three years3.
1 Du Tertre, who gives a detailed account of this disaster, says (vol. iv. p. 98.) that when the people of Guadaloupe heard of the design of Lord Willoughby to chastise their countrymen in St. Christopher's for their cruelties to the English, the inhabitants of Guadaloupe running along shore as the fleet passed by, implored the Almighty to destroy the English squadron by a hurricane. Du Tertre, referring to their vows, says, "et faisant cette prière avec tant d'instance qu'il y a quelque apparence qu'ils furent exaucés." That vengeance proved however equally destructive to them, as houses and trees were blown down, and a great number of cattle killed. * See ante, p. 201.
The preamble of that commission is as follows:-"Charles the Second by the grace of God, &c. To all to whom these presents shall come greeting: Whereas we have been informed that our right trusty and well-beloved Francis Lord Willoughby of Parham, Captain-General and Governor-in-chief of our Islands, Colonies, and Plantations in America, called the Caribbee Islands, is lately deceased, but cannot yet be certainly advertized thereof; and being desirous to provide for the defence and government of those islands in case the same be void, as there is great cause to doubt by his decease; and we, reposing especial trust and confidence in the prudence, industry, fortitude and circumspection of William Willoughby, brother of the said Francis Lord Willoughby to whom his honor and dignity of Lord Willoughby of Parham is descended, in case he be deceased; and for divers other good causes and considerations as thereunto moving of our especial grace, certain knowledge and meer motion, have assigned, ordained, constituted and appointed, and by these presents, do assign, ordain, constitute and appoint the said William Willoughby to be our Captain-General and Governor-in-chief, in and over all and every the said Islands, Colonies,
The commission is dated Westminster, the third day of January, and in the eighteenth year of the King's reign. Lord Willoughby arrived on the 3rd of June 1667, accompanied by a regiment of troops under Sir Tobias Bridge. The continuance of the Dutch war and the recent attempt of De Ruyter on Barbados, were doubtless the cause of this measure, and not any mistrust of the loyalty of the inhabitants. The soldiers were provided for at a considerable expense to the colony, and were afterwards employed in making a descent on Tobago, which they took and plundered, carrying off four hundred prisoners, besides a large number of negroes1.
The Assembly empowered the Governor of the island for the time being, to appoint a Provost-Marshal, and passed an Act directing how the clerks and marshals for the several Courts of Common Pleas within the island should be appointed, and what they were to receive. The office of Provost-Marshal became soon afterwards a patent office; it is mentioned as such in Sir Richard Dutton's report.
The peace between the English, French and Dutch was signed at Breda, on the 21st of July 1667: some time however passed before it took effect in the West Indies. Lord Willoughby sailed with three lineof-battle ships for Nevis, where he arrived on the 28th of December to claim the English prisoners from M. Barre the French commander. They were delivered up with the exception of Mr. Thomas Warner, the late Governor of Dominica2; whereupon he sent Colonel Stapleton ashore to claim his release likewise, which was obtained with some difficulty. Lord Willoughby appears to have been most active in his government. In the beginning of February in the following year he sailed from Barbados with a great number of colonists, to re-establish the colonies of Antigua and Montserrat, which had been quite desolated during the war. In passing St. Vincent and Dominica he concluded a peace with the
and Plantations, called the Caribbee Islands, and all other our islands, colonies, and plantations lying betwixt ten and twenty degrees of north latitude, and extending from the Isle of St. John de Porto Rico easterly to three hundred twenty and seven degrees, and every part and number of them, and every of them by what name or names soever they or any of them are, or be called, known, reputed or distinguished.” Lansdowne MS., No. 767. This warrant is very voluminous; the above has been given to show the Governor's title and the extent of his government, and at the same time the caution with which it was issued in case Francis Lord Willoughby should be still alive.
1 This occurred only in 1672. Bryan Edwards's History of the West Indies, vol. iv. p. 278. Lord Willoughby no doubt availed himself of the troops when making his expedition to the Leeward Islands.
* Thomas Warner was the natural son of Sir Thomas Warner by a Carib woman. He is described as a man of good appearance and undaunted courage, and Lord Willoughby, who patronized him, appointed him Governor of Dominica. He was taken by the French in an English privateer.
Caribs through the mediation of Thomas Warner, and reinstated him as Governor of Dominica. The House of Assembly showed a great piece of gallantry to Lady Willoughby by appropriating a considerable part of the excise duty to the purchase of a set of jewels, as a testimony of their respect for her, and the pleasure which her residence among them conferred upon the island.
LORD WILLIAM WILLOUGHBY GOVERNOR-IN-CHIEF.
Bridgetown was seriously injured by fire in 1668: it was however rebuilt in a more substantial manner.
The term for which Lord Willoughby was appointed was nearly at an end, and in order to obtain a renewal of it his Lordship proceeded in November 1668 to England, and commissioned at his departure Colonel Christopher Codrington to administer the government in his absence. He had greatly endeared himself to the inhabitants by his administration, and many important and beneficial laws which were passed during that period proved him an effective and upright governor. The term of Lord Willoughby's appointment, in virtue of Lord Carlisle's patent, having elapsed without his Lordship's return or the government transmitting any orders, the Legislature met on the 23rd of December 1669, and declared themselves to be governor, council and assembly, until his Majesty's pleasure should be known'. Lord Willoughby arrived shortly afterwards with a new commission, appointing him Governor-in-chief of Barbados and the Caribbee islands to windward of Guadaloupe. The Leeward islands were now constituted into a separate government under Sir William Stapleton.
The inhabitants of the Leeward Islands had petitioned the Lords' Committee for Trade and Plantations to separate the government of their islands from that of Barbados. Lord Willoughby, Sir Peter Colleton, and Mr. Drax were heard in reference to this petition on the 25th of October 16702, and his Lordship desired that copies of the reasons for such a request should be communicated to him, which was complied with. The memorialists were however successful, and the governments were separated.
The following year is remarkable for the treaty of alliance and commerce between Great Britain and Spain3. Previous to this treaty the Spaniards considered as an enemy every European nation who attempted to make settlements in America.
Lord Willoughby remained only a short time in Barbados, and at his
1 Memoirs of Barbados, p. 42.
2 See Minutes of the Committee for Trade and Plantations, Phillipps's MS., No. 8539, vol. i. entry of 25th October 1670.
3 The treaty is entitled "Tractatus et Amica Compositio inter Carolum Secundum, Regem Magnæ Britanniæ, et Carolum Secundum, Regem Hispaniæ, ad bonam correspondentiam in America interruptam rursus instaurandam, et deprædationes injuriasque omnes coërcendas. Actum Madriti, die 18 Julii 1670.”
departure he appointed Colonel Codrington a second time his deputy. Oldmixon enumerates a long list of valuable and important measures which were carried during his government, which testify to his great energy and untiring attention to the duties of his exalted station. Two of the most important acts for a young colony he signed in October 1670, namely "an Act to prevent the abuse of lawyers and the multiplicity of lawsuits," and "an Act for establishing the courts of Common Pleas within the island."
James Beek, or Captain James Beek as he is afterwards called, procured an act of Assembly empowering him to build a public wharf in the town of St. Michael's. This appears to have been the first structure of that description for public accommodation. Beek was one of the first settlers, and is mentioned in the list of proprietors in the 'Memoir of the First Settlement.'
Lord Willoughby returned on the 2nd of July 1672, with instructions that, in case of the death or absence of the Governor, the Council should exercise the executive authority; and this body was thenceforth honoured with the name of his Majesty's Council. The Governor was appointed Ordinary and Vice-Admiral, and his authority was greatly enlarged. It was however made imperative upon him to transmit to England all laws within three months of their passing the Legislature, for the royal approbation or rejection; and it was decreed that without the Sovereign's special assent no law was to continue in force longer than three years. Lord Willoughby's ill-health obliged him to resign in April 1673, and, having appointed Sir Peter Colleton the senior member of the Council to administer the government', he returned to England. His Lordship died in England in 1674, and was succeeded by Sir Jonathan Atkins on the 1st of November in that year.
Thus ended the reign of the Lords Willoughby in Barbados. It is observed in the Universal History,' that "notwithstanding the outcries against the tax of the four-and-half per cent. duty, and the unjustifiable proceeding against Farmer, it must be acknowledged that the administration of these two Lords was prudent, mild and equitable, and well-calculated for the prosperity of the island."
1 It is not known for what reason Colonel Codrington was removed from the Board. It is likely that he resigned of his free will as he removed in 1674 to Antigua, where he applied himself to the cultivation of sugar with great success, in which he was imitated by others. Some years afterwards he was nominated Captain-General and Commander-in-chief of all the Leeward Caribbee islands.
PERIOD FROM THE APPOINTMENT OF SIR JONATHAN ATKINS AS GOVERNOR IN 1674, TO THE RETURN OF THE BARBADOS REGIMENT.
On the appointment of Sir Jonathan Atkins, his salary from the Government was fixed at eight hundred pounds a-year, which, considering the responsibility of his office and the appearance he was obliged to keep up as his Majesty's representative, was a very moderate sum. The names of his Majesty's Council had been inserted in the Governor's instructions, and there is the following very remarkable entry in the minutes of the Committee for Trade and Plantations, under March 9th, 1674, which seems to explain the absence of Colonel Codrington from the Board :— "The Earl of Arlington acquainted the Council that several persons nominated in the draught of the commission and instructions to Sir Jonathan Atkins to be counsellors of Barbados are either dead, gone, or upon going from thence, viz. Samuel Barwick, John Knight, and Sir Peter Colleton; and it was therefore proposed that others might be nominated in their places, and particularly desired that Mr. Peirce and Colonel Codrington might be two of them; whereupon the Council agreed that Mr. Peirce should be one, but that Colonel Codrington, who is much in debt and who has no visible estate in the island, was no fit man to be a councillor. And Mr. Slingsby was desired against the next meeting of the Council to bring in the names of fit persons to be put into the Council of Barbados." If this objection is really well-founded, it proves in what a short period Colonel Codrington amassed his fortune in Antigua.
Sir Jonathan Atkins fixed his seat of government at Fontabelle. An awful hurricane desolated the island in the following year1; and, as if to increase the calamity, the colonies in New England, upon which Barbados depended for her supplies, were not in a state to furnish either provisions or timber in sufficient quantities. Credit failed, and numerous families who had formerly lived in opulence were obliged to retire in order to escape their creditors.
Among other plans for the relief of the island, the Legislature petitioned the King to remit the four-and-half per cent. duty, as the only means of saving the planters from ruin: this urgent prayer was refused.
The island had scarcely recovered from this calamity, when the British Government laid new shackles on her commerce. A charter for the exclusive supply of negroes to the West India Islands was granted to a 1 See ante, p. 45.