America and West Indies: October 1656

Pages 448-450

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1860.

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October 1656

Oct. 2. Similar Orders. The two ketches provided for Jamaica to be sent thither with all speed; the victualling of the fleet and forces there to be considered. [Ibid., p. 421.]
Oct. 7. Similar Order. Upon report of Committee for America concerning proposals for transporting persons from Long Island to Jamaica; to confer with the Committee for Jamaica. [Ibid., p. 430.]
Oct. 7.
Treasury Chamber, Westminster.
14. Report of Committee for America to [the Council of State]. Upon the state of the Somers Islands in reference to their constitution, governing powers, fortifications, militia, &c. Recapitulate the patent granted by King James I. in 1615, and the commission superseding it, granted on 23 June 1653, by the Council of State, because of the misgovernment of the Company in England and the disposition of the governing power in the islands "to invite Charles Stuart's interest to take possession" thereof. The islands for the most part naturally fortified or otherwise secured by four forts, with 60 guns, and five companies; 1,500 men able to bear arms, and the commands in good hands. About 3,000 inhabitants with but one minister. The charges of government amount annually to 500l., and the duties from tobacco to 800l. per ann. Recommend that the government of the Company should be again vested by patent in certain select persons approved by his Highness and the Council of State; that the government remain at present in the hands of those in power; fitting ammunition be forthwith sent; and a duty of 1d. per pound levied upon all tobacco from thence.
14. I. Commission appointing Cornelius Holland, Colonel Owen Rowe, Sir Thomas Wroth, and 14 others a Company, by the name of the Governor and Company of the City of London for the plantation of the Somers Islands, to take into consideration the present condition of those plantations, many well affected persons there having been much oppressed and unjustly dealt with, in relation to matters of conscience. Whitehall, 1653, June 28. [Certified copy.]
[1656.] 15. Names of 25 persons who, "it is desired," may be appointed by his Highness and Council, a Company for the government of the Somers Islands. Gen. Disbrowe to be Governor, and Col. Owen Rowe, Deputy Governor, with power to choose officers for the government of those islands. No Court to be kept unless the Governor or Deputy Governor is present.
[1656.] 16. Colonel Owen Rowe to the Council of State. In 1653 the government of the Somers Islands was entrusted to certain persons by commission, which he delivered to the Committee for America, who thereupon chose a Governor and all other officers for the government of those islands. A commission was afterwards sent over to several men well affected to the Commonwealth, to examine into certain acts of rebellion, but the Government there, by virtue of King James' patent, refused absolutely to act upon any orders received from the Council of State. They met and declared they had heard that King Charles was put to death, "which act they abhorred as bloody, traitorous, and rebellious," proclaimed King Charles II., and agreed not to be governed but by the King's laws. They enforced the oath of supremacy, imprisoned those that refused to take it, and banished some of the Independents, who they affirmed were of that party that put the King to death. The old Company in England encouraged them in those transactions, but have done nothing "for relieving those poor suffering people," and have rejected the commission of the Council, and act wilfully against the Government of the Commonwealth, Hears that the old Company have had several hearings before the Committee for American Affairs, who have drawn up a report to the Council of State.
[Oct. 16.] 17. Petition of the Governor and Company of the Somers Islands to the Lord Protector. Having elected officers for the government of those islands, were about to send them over with several commodities and ammunition, when they received two orders from the Council of State, forbidding any alterations to be made in the government, and restraining the ship from proceeding in her intended voyage. Pray that they may be secured in their just rights, and have liberty to proceed according to their fundamental constitutions, and that certain complaints exhibited against the Company in 1650 and later, and the Company's answers, may be again brought before the Council of State. Subscribed by Thos. Marten, Secretary.