America and West Indies: Miscellaneous, 1713

Pages 279-283

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 27, 1712-1714. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.

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Miscellaneous, 1713

[1713.] 532. The case of the Inhabitants of the Leeward Islands against Governor Parke. The unhappy inhabitants of H.M. Charribbee Islands (especially those of Antego) labour's under variety of oppressions during the whole course of Col. Park's government, and in perticular, to the utter subversion of all law and justice, he in person, and with an armed force of soldiers, without any title or colour of process of law entered upon the freehold of Elizabeth Hastings, and maintained the possession afterwards by the said soldiers who declared they had orders to fire the house if Mrs. Hastings opposed 'em, and in most other cases he caused common warrants and civil processes to be executed by soldiers instead of civil officers to ye great terrour of the inhabitants who saw their country lie under arbitary government and military execution. That to terrify part of the inhabitants and to make others subservient to his wicked designs he engrossed to himself in Chancery the whole judicature of the Island, and thereby the sole disposition of the propertys of the Islanders, that he declared oftentimes in Court that there was no need of a Cheif Justice of the Common Pleas, that there was never a law or statute of said Island in force, that was worth a farthing, that he would have regard to none of them, and that he was resolved to determine everything according to his own opinion, which was well known to be allways sway'd by corruption or resentment, and that by these methods having drawn all causes into Chancery before himself he decreed against all suiters who durst complain of his tyranny, took evidence without bill and granted generall and perpetuall injunctions without bill filed to the assistants and accomplices of his iniquities, and afterwards purchased the debts from those whom he had soe injoin'd. That to revenge himself of Mr. Chester (who upon a strong suspicion of a lewd conversation with his wife) forbid him his house, he appear'd in person upon a sabbath day at a Coroner's inquest setting upon the body of one Sawyer, that he labour'd the jury, and even put words into the mouth of the evidences against Mr. Chester, and brow [? beat] the wittnesses on the behalf of Chester, and that when the jury found that Sawyer died a naturall death, and some Justices of the Peace had bailed Chester, Parks showed his resentment for his being bail'd, as before he had expressed his sattisfaction to have had him in his power. That he came to Mr. Chester's house with a party of soldiers where some Gentlemen were making merry and drinking the Queen's health, that he kickt one of the Gentlemen, imprisoned nine of them in a dungeon, two of them for only offering to the bail for the others, that he sent for some justices of the peace, (whom he had made for such purposes), and convicted all the Gentlemen of a riot upon the view, tho' some of them were sent to jail before the justices came and fined one of them 600l., which was much more then the person was worth, and the whole summe of the fines amounted to 2,900l. That Mr. Chester found Col. Parks lurking in a little conveniency of his wife's bed-chamber, upon which he drew his sword upon Mr. Chester, who was going naked into bed, drove him down stairs and purused him out into the streets to murder him, and that when he turn'd his wife out of doors, the Governor came up to him and swore that if he would not take her again, he'd ruin him, challeng'd him to fight, and then whistled upon which two genadiers came up, that then he bragg'd how well prepar'd he allways went, soe scandalously were H.M. troops imploy'd, and her authority abused. That afterwards he came himself with a party of soldiers, and upon pretence seiz'd some cocoa, and other goods of Mr. Chester's to the value of 800l., and that when by an order of the Admiralty Court he should have had his goods again, Col. Parks kept them for a seperate maintenance of Mrs. Chester, tho' she never applied to any Court of Justice for it, and upon severall other pretences seiz'd effects of Mr. Chester's to the value of 4,000l. That when upon unjust seizures the parties brought replevins, he took the writts from the officers, to leave the persons without any remedy at law. That he said, if any person without any him he would clap him in a dungeon, and that there were more ways than one to kill a dog, that had he been served as Sir Bevil Granvil was in Barbados, he would have drove the people into rebellion, and seiz'd their estates, and that if the people of Antego gott him turn'd out of his government, he would have their Island in a flame. That to have every man's person and estate intirely in his power, he swore he would have no Marshall that would not return such juries as he directed him, and that he appointed Michael Ayon to be provost marshall, who declar'd that he would shoot any man in the Island through the head upon Col. Park's verbal order, tho' John Perry then did, and still does hold the said office by H.M. letters patents. His unparalleld lesdness was carried on by his authority, and was equally fatal to the relacons of the partis both w[h] his lust found success, and w[h]ere it was disappointed. Where their chastity resisted, he attempted to ravish them, found means to deprive their husbands of their imployments harrassed them by warrants, imprisonments, and excessive bail, till they were forced to betake themselves to the mountains, and this was the case of Mr. Desowsey, who thro despair turn'd to privatering, and died a beggar leaving a wife and three children, whose wife was tempted with great promises by the said Generall to make no complaints. That the inhabitants observed with great grief that the Governor for three years past refused to convene the Assembly, and that he declar'd that whenever they should meet he would thro such rubs in their way that they should doe no business, which he did effectually at their meeting, and prevented their entering upon business by severall artifices, that the Island of Antego was in no posture of defence, that in the mean time they discovered that he corresponded with the enemy at Martineco, and that under pretence of sending flaggs of truce under the command of known Irish papists, he supplied the enemy with provisions for want of which our Islands were allmost famished, that by a willfull neglect of the fortifications, that by disarming the platforms which only could oppose the landing of the enemy, who were then making such great preparacons, that by ordering the troops to the town of St. Johns which was not defenceable, nor capabel of being fortify'd, instead of disputing the enemy's landing, against common sense and the generall opinion of the council of officers; by an affected ignorance in military matters, which sufficiently demonstrated his treacherous designs, they could not but beleive what he had often said, that if it were not for his own and some few friends' sake he would send the Islands to the Devil, and having declared he would fortify his own house only, they justly concluded that he designed to make terms for himself only, and surrender the inhabitants to salvery. That he gave the command of the flaggs of truce to one Bermingham, a traitor whom he knew to be such, and had inform'd the Assembly of his offering himself to assist ye french in landing upon the Island of Antego and who since has actually conducted the enemy to Barbuda, murdered the principal gentleman, and plundered the Island to the value of 10,000l. That he has since assisted in a design upon Antigua which was prevented by the Newcastle man of warr and upon that miscarriage he carried them to Mounserat. That he was heard to encourage the officers and soldiers and others his partisans who were allready too outragious, to use violence to the planters, by promiseing them pardon if they committed murder, and assuring them of revenge if they suffered in the cause. That the miserable inhabitants being terrify'd on all sides by the implacable rage of the Governor, by the insolence of his partisans and the soldiery, by ye defenceless state of the colony, the great preparacons of the enemy, and nothing but ruin and destruction in view; they most dutifully applied to Col. Parks to call an Assembly and submitted to what terms and condicons he pleas'd to impose. That tho he complied so farr as to call an Assembly, yett thro his artfull adjournments and prorogacons nothing could be concluded upon for the publick safety. The Assembly then resolved once more to wait upon the governor personally (for all addresses and messages in writing were unanswered torn and spurn'd upon by him before the Messengers and Council) to beseech him with their tears to take some care of the Island, to preserve H.M. dominions that he was intrusted with, and to secure their lives and estates, or else to visit some other Islands, and permitt them to defend themselves. And thereupon the Speaker attended him with ye whole Assembly, to give the more weight to the message, but to their great surprize, as they entered the passage to the Council chamber they perceived a party of granadiers with their arms cock't and presented, who told them they only wanted the word to fire upon them, that his Excellency flew into a rage, call'd their humble application for the preservation of the colony a piot, laid hand upon his sword, and threatned their Speker with irons, and soe prorogued 'em to a short day. That the day before the Assembly was to meet again, the generall betook himself to arms, drew the artillery, arms and ammunition out of H.M. magazine, and planted them agst. the town, intrench'd and garrison'd his house with the troops of the Island, and made it serve as a cittadell to overawe the town. These military preparacons soe alarm'd the whole Island that the inhabitants flockt together in arms to protect their representatives, but design'd not the least injury to the person of the governor, of which they assur'd him by a message carried by ye Speaker of the Assembly and Coll. Gamble and only insisted that for the safety of their lives he should dismiss his troops, and for the security of the Island he should retire out of it. To this they received in answer that he scorn'd to hearken to proposals, or to come to any accomodations, that he had sufficient force to drive all the men in the Island before him, that he resolved to fire that part of the town next him, that he had loaded his canon with cross barr and small shott, and soe disposed 'em as to clear the streets, and that he resolved neither to give nor take quarters. It was then too that to compleat ye measure of their misery they understood for certain that he had promised the plunder of the town to the soldiers, and the estates of the gentlemen they should kill, who thereupon behaved themselves as if they had been in an enemy's countrey. And to execute all these horrid designs, upon the first appearance of the multitude he caused the cannon and small shott to be fired upon them which wounded and killd severall persons. By these desperate proceedings and with these aggravating circumstances ye unhappy people were at last deprived of their reason and being wrought up by despair and revenge did an act for which they must for ever begg God's pardon and H.M. mercy. 3¼ large pp. [C.O. 152, 42. Nos. 105; and (duplicate) 106.]
[? 1713.] 533. Petition of Merchants trading to New England and thence to the West Indies to the Queen. There being no man of war in New England to guard their coast they are extreemly exposed to the insults of their enemies and merchants ships trading to and from those parts are dayly taken by the French for want of men of war to convoy and secure them. Your Majties. Amercian Islands are in a great measure subsisted by the provisions they receive form New England and they will be exposed to great hardships if the intercourse and trade between those places is obstructed for want of convoys. The Councill and Assembly of your Majesty's colony of the Massachusetts Bay in their Memorial lately delivered with their humble Addresse to your Majesty have desired two frigats for guarding their coast and secureing their trade. Petitioners humbly represent that less then one fourth and one fifth rate will not be sufficient for those ends, etc. 45 Signatures. 1 large p. [C.O. 5, 752. No. 6.]
[1713–1715.] 534. Treasurer's accounts of duties on wine, rum and European goods. New York, July 1st, 1713–1715. [C.O. 5, 1222. pp. 1–18.]
1713–1743. 535. List of Debentures of grant in aid issued to sufferers at Nevis and St. Christophers. [C.O. 243, 8. pp. 1–668.]
1713–1721. 536. Copies of powers of attorney, letters of administration etc. given by sufferers at Nevis for receiving the grant in aid. [C.O. 243, 5. pp. 1–502.]
1713. 537. Commission and Instructions from the Lords Proprietors for Charles Eden to be Governor of North Carolina. (v. 4th May, 1713). [C.O. 5, 291. pp. 1–28.]
[1713.] 538. Duplicates of C.S.P. 1705. Nos. 1230 i., iii.; and 1462 ii., v. [C.O. 5, 1085. Nos. 6–9.] These duplicates are copies supplied to Ministers when the question of New York Revenue Act was being prepared to be placed before Parliament (1713).