America and West Indies: October 1731, 11-15

Pages 296-298

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 38, 1731. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1938.

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October 1731, 11-15

Oct. 11.
437. Same to Mr. Popple. Encloses answers to the Board's queries "from the best accounts I've yet gotten" etc. (v. No. 439.) Refers to his son who will wait on him, and has resided for nearly three years in the Bahamas etc. Signed, Woodes Rogers. Enclosed, Recd. 13th Jan., 1731/2. Holograph. 1 p. [C.O. 23, 3. ff. 84, 85v.]
Oct. 14.
438. Governor Rogers to the Duke of Newcastle. I had the honor to transmit to your Grace the trial of Mr. Colebrooke at large on 2nd Aug. etc. Refers his Grace to his son for further information (cf. No. 436.). Encloses proceedings of Council and Assembly, by which it will appear what obstructions he has met with and what methods have been made use of to prevent the concurrence of the Assembly for the repair of the fortifications, thro' the single influence of Mr. Colebrooke. Continues: Which still continuing over those ignorant people who compos'd the late Assembly, I find myself oblig'd to suspend the convening any other till I have the honor of hearing from your Grace etc. being convine'd nothing can be done either for H.M. service, or the benefit of this poor Colony, whilst they are amus'd as they have hitherto been. As nothing has yet been done towards the repair of the fortifications, more than my building convenient lodgements for the officers and soldiers, which I found absolutely necessary on my arrival, my son will have the honor to represent to your Grace how much they are in want thereof, and unless I can have the assistance of the inhabitants therein, or some other measures taken to put us in some defencible condition, I greatly apprehend we must unavoidably become an easy prey to those potent neighbours who are so near us, should a warr happen etc. Signed, Woodes Rogers. 2 pp. Enclosed,
438. i. Minutes of Council and Assembly of the Bahama Islands, Aug. 9, 1730—Sept. 8th, 1731. Endorsed, R. 21st Jan. 45 pp. [C.O. 23, 14. ff. 197, 197v., 198v.–221, 222v.]
Oct. 14.
439. Governor Rogers to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Begins as preceding letter. Encloses proceedings of the Council and Assembly and answers to the Board's Queries, "together with an account of every family on this island" etc. Continues: Having since advis'd with H.M. Council on the most proper methods to encourage inhabitants from other parts to settle on this island, it is the unanimous opinion of that Board, that nothing will so much contribute thereto as H.M. goodness in taking the same under his royal protection, frequent contentions having arisen with the agents to the Proprietors of copartners and the inhabitants concerning the property of the lands, which have greatly discourag'd such as have receiv'd titles from either, and I am much of opinion next to the disputes occasion'd by the abovemention'd Mr. Colebrooke have also impeded the increase of inhabitants in this Government. Repeats part of preceding. Continues:— The frequent ill health of most of the soldiers of the Garrison here has render'd it impossible for me to effect anything more than the building a convenient guard room and lodgements for the officers and soldiers which on my arrival I found absolutely necessary, not having as yet had the least assistance from the inhabitants towards the repair of the fortifications, which gives me reason to apprehend that should a war happen before we are in a more defensive condition we shall avoidably become a prey to either the French or Spaniards near us, who, I doubt not are too sensible of the advantage of our scituation not to make this first attempt on this island. I hope soon to visit Columba alias Cat Island, which being esteem'd the most fertil of any in this Government shall transmit to your Lordships a particular account thereof, which I should have effected with the other quœrys, but was disappointed in my expectation of seeing Capt. Gascoigne this way last spring whom I propos'd to have join'd in making that survey, etc. Signed, Woodes Rogers. Endorsed, Recd. 13th Jan.; Read 3rd Feb., 1731/2. Enclosed,
439. i. A particular account of all the inhabitants of the Bahama Islands. Names given.
(1) On Providence, White men, 190, women, 135, children, 308. Able negroes, 237, negroe children, 172. (2) Harbour Island, White men, 31, women, 27, children, 102. Negroes, 8, children, 1. Islathera, White men, 25, women, 28, children, 79. Negroes, 30, children, 5. Endorsed as preceding. 7¾ pp.
439. ii. Account of duties received Jan. 1729—1730. 958. ps. 8/8. Paid on the public account, 86 ps. 8/8. Signed, John White. 5 pp.
439. iii. Account of same, 12th Feb.—20th Sept., 1731. 409 ps. 8/8. 4½r. Paid, 867 ps. 8/8. Same endorsement. 2 pp.
439. iv. Account and description of the Bahama Islands. Replies to Queries of Board of Trade. The islands of most note are Providence, Harbour Island and Islathera because they only have any inhabitants on them etc. Latitudes and longitudes given. Harbour Island so called from the harbour it makes between that and Islathera etc. The uninhabited islands are first the Grand Bahama, next to it Abacoa, Cat Island, als. Columba, Watlings Island etc., the Buninies etc. Described. Cf. former reports. Concludes:—Fort Nassau on Providence has 30 guns mounted and wants much repair. Heavy guns for a battery under the walls to defend the harbour's mouth will be mounted this winter. A large guard-room was built last year for the officers and soldiers, their shelter having been blown down by a hurricane etc. The Revenue these two years past, though more than it was, has been very inconsiderable, an easy duty being laid on liquors and other imported goods, as well as on vessels built in this Colony. There are not 800 acres of land cultivated on Providence, and great part of that dispersed in patches up and down etc. As the inhabitants will inclose no ground, the cattle do very much damage to the little plantations they have made. In Harbour Island and Islathera there is more land cultivated than on Providence, but as they also plant in patches here and there throughout the islands as they think fit and change them so often 'tis impossible to make a just computation of the whole till they can be brought to inclose their ground and clear it from the wood etc. Same endorsement. 13½ pp. [C.O. 23, 3. ff. 1–4, 5–8v., 10–12, 13v.–14v., 15v., 16, 17v.–24v., 25v.]