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atives for the Society india colony of all the the Desetleg
The e having with the
Caledonia,” and petitioned King William for protection, as he had granted them letters patent for establishing their company. The scheme was so popular in Scotland, that £400,000 were subscribed to carry it on. The names of the company were Lord Bellhaven, William Patterson, David Nairne, James Smith, James Cheisly, William Sheppard, Robert Blackwood, James Balfeur, James Fowlis, Thomas Coutts, Abraham Wilmer, Daniel Van Mildert, Robert Williamson, Anthony Merry, Paul Docminique, Robert Douglas, Thomas Skinner, Hugh Frazier, James Bateman, Walter Stewart, and Joseph Cohen d’Azevedo, incorporated under the firm of the African Company. Both the Spanish and French kings protested against the settlement as an invasion of the Spanish dominions. In answer to this, the colonists alleged, that the Spaniards had abandoned the country, because they could not subdue the natives; and that the natives being left to themselves, it was lawful for the Scots to treat with them.
But the East India Company and the West India colonies were jealous of the new colony; and King William is accused of having sent secret orders to all the islands, to forbid all commerce with the Scots at Darien. The Dutch East India company also pressed the King to prevent the settlement.
The scheme was originally proposed by Mr. William Patterson, who had examined the country himself, and was well acquainted with Dampier, Mr. Wafer, and several old buccaneers. All the land carriage necessary for communicating between the two seas might be performed with ease, along the ridge of mountains, by mules, or even carriages, in one day. Mr. Fletcher of Salton was the first person who patronized Patterson, and introduced him to the Marquis of Tweeddale, Lord Stair, and the other patrons of the undertaking. In the original articles of the Company, it had been agreed that Patterson should get two per cent. on the stock, and three per cent. upon the profits; but when he saw the amount of the subscriptions (for, in addition to the Scotch, the English subscribed £300,000, and the Dutch and Hamburghers £200,000 more), he gave a discharge of both claims to the Company. “ It was not,” he said, “ suspicion of the justice or gratitude of the Company, nor a consciousness that my services could ever become useless to them, but the ingratitude of some individuals experienced in life, which made it a matter of common prudence in me to ask a retribution for six years of my time, and £10,000
the King proposed baimself, and wild buc
Tindal's Continuation of Rapin, p. 309.
Great Britain and Ireland, vol, ii.
spent in promoting the establishment of the Company. - But, now that I see it standing upon the authority of Parliament, and supported by so many great and good men, I release all claim to retribution, happy in the noble concession made to me, but happier in the return which I now make for it.” The Dutch, Hamburgh, and London merchants were frightened by King William's conduct, and withdrew their subscriptions.
Upon the 26th of July, the expedition sailed from Leith, 1200 men, among whom were younger sons of many of the most noble and most ancient families in Scotland, and sixty officers who had been disbanded at the peace, and carried with them private men, generally raised on their own or the estates of their. relations, in five large ships. They arrived at Darien in two months, with the loss of only fifteen of their people, and fixed their station at Acta, calling it St. Andrew. One of the sides of the harbour being formed by a long narrow neck of land which ran into the sea, they cut it across, so as to join the ocean and the harbour. Within this defence they erected a fort, planting upon it fifty pieces of cannon. On the other side of the harbour there was a mountain a mile high, on which they placed a watch-house: and this was a favourite spot of the highlanders.
The Scots, trusting to being supplied from the colonies, had not brought provisions enough with them: want of these brought on diseases. “ But the savages, by hunting and fishing for them, gave them that relief which fellow Britons refused.” They lingered eight months, expecting assistance from Scotland, during which time almost all of them either died or quitted the settlement. Patterson, who had been the first that entered the ship at Leith, was the last who went on board at Darien.
A second supply of men and provisions were sent from Scotland to “ New Edinburgh,” but one of the ships was burnt, and by this accident losing most of the provisions, these also left the place. A third reinforcement was sent, stronger and better supplied : these split into factions, were attacked by a feeble party of Spaniards, and surrendered by capitulation : some escaped to Jamaica, where a proclamation had been issued forbidding their being assisted. Thus the whole plan was abandoned.
Sir William Beeston, governor of Jamaica, died upon the
Tindal's Continuation of Rapin, p. 394.
Long's Jamaica, vol i. p. 296.
island. The assembly in that island passed “ an act to oblige patentees of offices to reside in the island.”
By the Statute 11 & 12 W. III. c. 12. “ If any governor, deputy-governor, or commander-in-chief of any plantation or colony within his Majesty's dominion beyond the seas, shall oppress any of his Majesty's subjects within their respective governments, or be guilty of any other crime or misdemeanor, contrary to the laws of this realm, or those in force within their governments ; such oppressions shall be inquired of, heard, and determined in the Court of King's Bench in England, or before such commissioners, and in such county of this realm as the King shall appoint, and by good and lawful men of such county; and the like punishments shall be inflicted as are usual for such offences here in England.”
The population of Grenada was estimated at 251 Whites, fifty-three free people of colour, and 525 Negro slaves. The whole culture consisted of three plantations of sugar, and fiftytwo of indigo; and there were but sixty-four horses, and 569 head of horned cattle, upon the island.
The population of Guadaloupe consisted of 3825 Whites, 325 savages and free people of colour, and 6725 slaves. There were sixty small plantations of sugar, sixty-six of indigo, and a small quantity of cocoa and cotton. The cattle amounted to 1620 horses, and 3699 horned beasts.
Elias Hasket, Esquire, succeeded Mr. Webb in the government of the Bahamas; but soon after his arrival, the inhabitants put him in irons and sent him off the island, and by their own authority appointed Mr. Lightwood in his place.
Major General Selwyn arrived at Jamaica, as governor, to succeed Sir William Beeston.
A French squadron of three sail of the line, under the command of Captain de Modene, was fired at by the English at Nevis, and a boat sent off to request him to salute the English flag ; to which he replied, that as the thing appeared to him reasonable, his squadron should all salute. With this answer the English officer returned to Nevis, and the shot were taken out of all the guns in the batteries, to return the expected salute.
Haskend 369999 and
Univ. Hist. vol. xxxvi, pp. 320. 290. 320.
Long's Jamaica, vol. i. p. 80. Jacob's Law Dict. Plantations. Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. pp. 53. 387.
Labai, tom, vii, p. 3.
Commodore Modene having placed his own ship near the largest battery, and the two others close to the town, all three opened a heavy fire upon the place; and as most of the inhabitants were collected near the spot to see the expected salute, several of them were killed and wounded, and a great number of the houses damaged. Some merchant vessels in the road fired at the French, but received themselves more injury than they occasioned. This transaction Labat terms a “ correction fraternelle !”
Labat, tom. vii. p. 3.