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VIEW of the KINGS CASTLE. BERMUDA taken from SOUTHAMPTON FORT.
Fen wihtgruk is allay ELA Patua a les Tut
MEMORIALS OF THE
DISCOVERY AND EARLY SETTLEMENT
BERMUDAS OR SOMERS ISLANDS
COMPILED FROM THE COLONIAL RECORDS
LIEUT.-GEN. SIR J. H. LEFROY, C.B., K.C.M.G., F.R.S.
HON. MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY
SOMETIME GOVERNOR OF THE BERMUDAS
WITH MAP AND FACSIMILE OF A BERMUDA MS.
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
All rights reserved
THE SECOND VOLUME.
THE materials furnished by the Colony have been largely supplemented in this volume by documents preserved in the Public Record Office in London; and it is entirely due to them, and to the courteous assistance of the officers of that department, especially of Mr. Noel Sainsbury, that the Editor has been enabled to trace out the proceedings of the Crown against the Bermuda Company, and the commencement of the Royal Government.
The principle followed in Volume I. of adhering very closely to the MS. in orthography, &c., has been slightly departed from in the present volume, to the extent of correcting many obvious mistakes, and of using capital letters in moderation, instead of emphasizing nearly every clause, and beginning a large proportion of the words with them, as became the fashion. Characteristic as it is of the period, it is very unpleasant to the modern eye in type.
With a few exceptions that have escaped correction, proper names have also been distinguished by capitals, which is very frequently disregarded in the originals.
The reign of Charles II. was characterised in Bermuda, as elsewhere, by a great social deterioration, evinced not only in morals but in education,' and public spirit. The original letters of W. Milbourne, W. Righton, and W. Peniston (who was proposed for the office of Governor by the revolutionary faction in 16842), are illiterate to
1 See p. 207.
2 p. 542.
an extraordinary degree; and there appears to have been at that period a rudeness, violence, and disorder in the community, which faithfully reflects the age of piracy and buccaneering in the West Indies, of plots and factions at home.
In printing the trials for witchcraft as a contribution to the literature of that subject, the Editor must guard against any supposition that the Bermudians were more ignorant or more superstitious than their contemporaries in the mother-country; and they certainly were not so brutal. The Act of James I. stood on the Statute-book down to 1736; and among the national sins annually confessed by one body of Seceders from the Kirk of Scotland, at least so late as 1785, was that the penal statutes against witches have been repealed by Parliament contrary to the express law of God (Exod. xxii. 18).' No one who has not read the details of witch trials can have any idea of the revolting cruelties habitually practised against persons, chiefly women, charged with this imaginary offence, down to an advanced period in the last century. Locke had written upon government, Fletcher had been a patriot statesman, Bolingbroke had been a minister in the Augustan age of Queen Anne, ere this system of legal murder and torture was abolished.'1 It is to the honour of the English settlers in Bermuda that this delusion in its active form had a short and, comparatively speaking, not very cruel course among them; in a passive form it is not entirely extinct to this day. There was a reputed witch in 1872: Pensioner . . . Top of the Hill, Hamilton, will find her,' was the mysterious direction given to one enquirer. Many an old negress passes for
Tricky,' in which is meant more than is expressed. About twenty persons were prosecuted for this offence, and five of them executed.
Perhaps one of the strangest episodes in the religious struggles of the 17th century is the attempt to found a settlement on the Island of Cigatio, in 1646: a name Hugo Arnot, Criminal Trials in Scotland, from 1536 to 1784.' Edinburgh, 1785, p. 369.