Page images
PDF
EPUB

was certainly a very heavy burden for so small a community. The squadron was under the command of Sir Francis Wheeler, with fifteen hundred troops from England under Colonel Foulk. Besides the two regiments from the island, four hundred volunteers offered their services and joined the expedition. The squadron anchored on the 1st of April in the Cul de Sac Marine at Martinico: fifteen hundred men under Colonel Foulk were landed, and re-embarked the next day after burning a few houses. On the 9th, Colonel Codrington, with Lloyd's regiment and a body of troops from Antigua and the other Leeward islands, joined the fleet. An attack was made upon St. Pierre on the 17th, in which the Barbadians distinguished themselves, and when success appeared to be certain the troops received orders to re-embark. Disease (or, as it is called by Sir Francis Wheeler, the spotted fever), which prevailed to a fearful extent among the troops, was given as a reason of the ill success; but it was conjectured that, many of the officers being Irish Roman Catholics, disaffection among the commanders was really the chief cause of the failure. Colonel Foulk died of fever when off St. Christopher's'. Sir Francis Wheeler accuses, in a letter, the Barbados colonels of being the cause that nothing was undertaken against Guadaloupe, as they refused to go, although Sir Francis considers it very fortunate that the expedition was not resolved upon, the spotted fever breaking out to such an extent that it would have caused the total loss of the expedition. He bestows the greatest praise upon the exertions of Governor Kendal to promote the expedition, and observes of General Codrington that "he was always at the head of his men at Martinique with all the cheerfulness, without picking at Colonel Foulk commanding3."

After the failure of this expedition, the Assembly earnestly pressed the Governor, and desired their agents in England, to petition the Lords of the Committee to garrison a regiment of soldiers in Barbados; this was not acceded to until Colonel Russel assumed the government.

1 Oldmixon's British Empire in America, vol. ii. p. 64.

2

Phillipps' MSS., No. 8544, State papers, West Indies.

3 Oldmixon observes, "had the officers who came from England done their duty as well as those that came from Barbados, we might probably have given a better account of it."-Volume ii. p. 63.

CHAPTER V.

EVENTS FROM THE APPOINTMENT OF COLONEL RUSSEL AS GOVERNOR IN 1694 TO THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT BARWICK IN 1733.

GOVERNOR KENDAL was recalled in 1694, and Colonel Russel, brother to the Earl of Orford, was appointed to succeed him. He received a commission for a regiment of soldiers, which were to accompany him to Barbados to form a garrison, the island providing for their accommodation. On the arrival of Colonel Kendal in England his Majesty was pleased to make him one of the Lords of the Admiralty.

The Legislature voted Colonel Russel on his arrival a present of two thousand pounds, and in 1695, in addition to the other two thousand pounds, three hundred pounds were voted for replenishing his cellars. The disease not having abated, the Legislature was obliged to pass an act for the speedy supply of men for the Tiger and Mermaid, two of his Majesty's ships lying in Carlisle Bay, the crews of which had nearly died off. Colonel Russel was accompanied to Barbados by his lady, the relict of the Lord North and Grey, and her daughter, both of whom died while there of the prevailing fever1. The Legislature was obliged to fit out the Marigold brig at the expense of the island, to bring home part of the troops which were employed under Sir Francis Wheeler, and who had been left in Antigua. They further granted the sum of fourteen hundred and eightyfour pounds sterling for victualling and manning the Bristol frigate and the Playfair prize, to cruize against the enemy; and the Child's Play man-of-war was manned and provisioned at their expense, to escort their trade to Europe. Yet so carelessly were matters conducted in the island, that when Admiral de Pointis came in sight of Barbados with the French squadron on his way to Carthagena, there were not seven rounds of powder in the forts.

Colonel Russel died of fever in 1696; and Francis Bond, the senior member of the Council resident on the island, assumed the administration. The Legislature voted him neither present nor salary. Several salutary laws were passed during his government, among which one chiefly deserves mention, entitled an Act "to keep inviolate and preserve the freedom of elections, and appointing who shall be deemed freeholders," &c. A militia-bill passed the Legislature, and an Act" for laying a duty on shipping for the public building of piers and clearing the bar in Carlisle Roads." With regard to the latter act, the Assembly assumed 1 Oldmixon, vol. ii. p. 64.

for the first time the right of annually appointing a storekeeper of the magazine, allowing to the Governor and Council merely the power of confirming or rejecting their choice. This assumed power is considered an encroachment on the prerogative of the Crown; custom however has sanctioned it to this day.

The Honourable Ralph Grey, brother to the Earl of Tankerville, was appointed Governor, and embarking in England on board the Soldado's Prize on the 1st of June, arrived in Carlisle Bay on the 26th of July 1698. In the beginning of that year information of the signing of the treaty of Ryswick reached the West Indies, to the great joy of the Barbadians, who had suffered severely under the heavy taxation which the defence of their island entailed,—a burden which short crops, the ravages of epidemic diseases, and the injury suffered from the hurricane in 1694 materially augmented. Above forty sugar-estates had been abandoned, and a great extent of land lay waste for want of labour. Under these distressing circumstances, it is rather astonishing that the Legislature should have again lavished considerable presents on their new Governor. They voted him on the 16th of August 1698 five hundred pounds currency for his habitation, the residence at Fontabelle being out of repair1, and on the 7th of September two thousand pounds currency for the charges of his voyage. A similar sum of two thousand pounds was voted him each successive year of his administration; although Mr. Grey had been directed in his instructions not to suffer any money or value of money to be granted to any Governor or Commander-in-chief without the special permission of the King. The Governor was also directed not to suffer any public money to be disposed of otherwise than by warrant under his hand, by and with the advice and consent of the Council.

Governor Grey's administration was a happy one; his urbanity and disinterested conduct endeared him to the inhabitants, and his close application to the duties of his office proved that he had the welfare of the island at heart. The laws of the island were collected and printed, together with the acts which had been passed from 1648 to the 7th of September 1698: an Act to declare and ascertain the rights and power of the General Assembly of the island was one of the first which received his signature. During his administration Mr. Skeyne received his Majesty's letters patent appointing him Secretary of the island and private Secretary to the Governor2. The Governor considered the latter appointment an innovation,

1 Governor Grey took the dwelling-house at Hothersall's plantation for his residence.

2 Mr. Poyer, in his History, p. 171, alluding to Mr. Skeyne's appointment, states that the year 1698 was rendered particularly remarkable by the establishment of the first patent-office in Barbados. Patent-offices had been in existence long previous to this period, and Sir Jonathan Atkins complained to the Committee for

as former Governors had appointed their own private secretary, who received considerable fees as perquisites, a certain per-centage of which devolved upon the Governor. Mr. Skeyne, holding the appointment under the Crown, refused any share of these emoluments to the Governor, who appealed to the Crown, without the matter being brought to an issue. On the death of his brother the barony of Werke fell to Mr. Grey; and as his health was impaired, he resigned his authority into the hands of Mr. John Farmer, son of the patriot, who for his opposition to the four-and-half per cent. duty was sent prisoner to England. Soon after the departure of the Governor the President received information of the death of King William the Third, and of the accession of Queen Anne. Her Majesty was proclaimed on the 18th of May 1702, with the usual ceremonies on the parade-ground. The Legislature transmitted a loyal and dutiful address of condolence on the death of his late Majesty, and of congratulation on the accession of her Majesty, which were presented by Lord Grey, the late Governor of Barbados.

On the 4th of May 1702 the Queen declared war against France and Spain, and Commodore Walker was despatched to the West Indies with six ships of the line, having four regiments on board; the latter were billeted on the inhabitants. The island of Barbados entered into schemes of privateering, and a large number of vessels were fitted out to act against the French. Sixteen of them meeting together near Guadaloupe, the men landed on the island, burnt a great part of the west end of it, and carried off a large number of negroes'.

The slaves made another attempt this year to throw off their yoke. It was their intention to seize the forts, and to burn Bridgetown: the plot was however timely discovered, and many of the ringleaders were executed.

Upon the resignation of Mr. Ralph Grey (afterwards Lord Grey), the late King had appointed Mr. Mitford Crowe, an opulent London mer

Trade and Plantations of the inefficient manner in which the duties of these offices were executed. In Sir Richard Dutton's Report the following patent-offices are enumerated:

Barbados, 1683. Patent Offices by his Majesty's Letters Patent.

Richard Morley, Esq., Secretary.

Edwin Stede, Esq., his Deputy.

George Hannay, Gent., Provost-Marshal.

Henry Ball, Gent., Examiner of the Court of Chancery.

Charles Binks, Gent., his Deputy.

Thomas Gleave, Gent., Clerk of the Naval Office.

Thomas Robson, Gent., Clerk of the Market.

John Hunter, his Deputy.

See an Account of Barbados and the Government thereof, Sloane's MS., No. 2441,

or Phillipps' MS., No. 8797.

Oldmixon, vol. ii.

72.

p.

chant, as his successor: the King's death however prevented his departure, and Queen Anne nominated Major-General Sir Bevil Granville Governor of Barbados. This was rather a disappointment to the Barbadians, as they promised themselves a happy administration under Mr. Mitford Crowe, who had served his apprenticeship to Mr. Tillard a Barbados merchant, and had married the Lady Chamberlayne of that island.

Sir Bevil Granville arrived in Barbados in 1703. He was strictly prohibited by his instructions from receiving any gift or present from the Assembly, on pain of incurring her Majesty's displeasure, and of being recalled from the government. The Queen augmented his salary to two thousand pounds sterling, payable out of the four-and-half per cent. duty, which revenue the Queen otherwise promised should only be employed for the uses for which it had been granted, and that it should no longer be misapplied. The Assembly notwithstanding settled five hundred pounds per annum on the Governor. An elegant house was erected for his use on a small hill called Pilgrim, which continues the Governor's residence to this day1; and carrying their complaisance to an extreme, his Excellency's brother-in-law, Sir John Stanley, Secretary to the Lord Chamberlain, was appointed one of their agents. The good understanding between the Governor and the inhabitants did not last long; the island was divided into factions, and complaints were sent to England against his administration.

From an apprehension of an invasion the duty of the militia became very irksome, and it had been proposed that the Governor should be authorized to embody two companies at the public expense, to be employed in guarding the coast. A Bill had been introduced for this purpose into the House of Assembly, which was resisted by a minority; but to prevent its passing into a law that minority seceded, and the defection of nearly one-third of the members of Assembly impeded the proceedings of the Legislature, as fifteen members at that time constituted a quorum. The Governor was ultimately obliged to dissolve the Assembly, and the seceders were dismissed from all their civil and military employments. Similar disputes prevailed at the Council-board, and four of the most turbulent members, namely George Lillington, David Ramsay, Benjamin Cryer, and Michael Terril, were suspended.

A regular intercourse between Great Britain and the West India possessions was established about 1703. Upon the recommendation of

1 See ante, p. 249.

2 Oldmixon observes that in this measure "their conduct was courtly indeed, but not very politic; for how is it possible that any man should be able to serve the island, as an agent ought, who is not fully apprized of the concerns, who does not perfectly understand its true interest, and has other avocations of more importance to him at least, than this agency?"—Oldmixon, vol. ii. p. 73.

« PreviousContinue »