Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Romance of the sea venture
 The first settlers
 Colony under the crown
 The war of 1812 and after
 Bermuda's part in the Civil...
 Origin of the islands - Climate...
 Literary associations
 Points of interest
 Bermuda diversions
 Methods of government
 Useful facts for the traveller

Group Title: Bermuda past and present : a descriptive and historical account of the Somers islands
Title: Bermuda past and present
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074075/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bermuda past and present a descriptive and historical account of the Somers islands
Physical Description: xii, 239 p. : map, plates ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hayward, Walter Brownell, 1877-
Publisher: Dodd, Mead
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1910
Subject: History -- Bermuda Islands   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Bermuda Islands   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Walter Brownell Hayward.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074075
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000139619
oclc - 23763922
notis - AAQ5733

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
    List of Illustrations
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 4a
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Romance of the sea venture
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    The first settlers
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 28a
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Colony under the crown
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 42a
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    The war of 1812 and after
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 62a
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 68a
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    Bermuda's part in the Civil War
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    Origin of the islands - Climate and characteristics
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 104a
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 110a
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 114a
        Page 115
    Literary associations
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 128a
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
    Points of interest
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 136a
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 140a
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 144a
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 148a
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 158a
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 162a
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 166a
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 170a
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 178a
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 182a
        Page 183
        Page 184
    Bermuda diversions
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 192a
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
    Methods of government
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 210a
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 226a
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 230a
    Useful facts for the traveller
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
Full Text







Ap /) 3


No, ne'er did the wave in its element steep
An island of lovelier charms.
TaoxMA Mooau


Copyright, 1910

Published September, 1910




IT is believed that this book is sufficiently com-
prehensive to serve as a valuable guide to the
Bermudas, now such a popular resort for Ameri-
can travellers who desire to exchange the rigours
of our northern winter for blue skies and a balmy
atmosphere. All points of interest, picturesque,
historical, legendary, have received ample atten-
tion, while the reader is brought into contact with
the characteristic pleasures of Bermuda life, the
government and resources. In narrating the story
of Bermuda's development from a proprietary set-
tlement founded by the Virginia Company to a
progressive colony with sound institutions, self-
government and strong individuality, emphasis
has been laid upon events which reveal the close
historical bond existing between the islands and
the United States. Heretofore this community
of interest has received scant treatment from
writers, much to the regret of American visitors;
indeed, all the dramatic incidents of Bermuda's
part in the Civil War have been totally neglected,
possibly because they are hidden in long-forgotten
documents and personal narratives. It is hoped
that repetition of some of these historic events


will stimulate interest among Bermudians with re-
gard to matters which were stern realities to the
fathers and grandfathers of the present generation.
The author has freely consulted Lefroy's "Me-
morials "; Williams's "History of Bermuda ";
"The Bermuda Islands," by Addison E. Verrill
of Yale University; George Watson Cole's Ber-
muda in Periodical Literature," a bibliography;
"Official Records of the Union and Confederate
Navies in the War of the Rebellion," diplomatic
correspondence of the period, and other docu-
ments issued by the governments of the United
States and Bermuda. To many Bermudians,
notably the Honourable Joseph Ming Hayward
of St. George's, and Mr. Thomas M. Dill, M.C.P.
of Devonshire, is the author indebted for valuable
facts and the elucidation of obscure points. The
photographs are by Weiss & Co. and N. E.
Lusher & Sun of Bermuda, and Mr. George M.
Boardman of New York.


Introduction .................. 1

Discovery in 1515-Islands reputed to be an abode of evil
spirits-Their neglect by mariners-Wreck of Henry
May . .. ..... .... 6

Wreck of Sir George Somers and the Virginia colonists-
They build two ships and continue their journey after a
sojourn of nine months-They find the settlement at
Jamestown starving Somers returns to Bermuda for pro-
visions and dies there . . . .... 11

First settlers sent out by the Virginia Company They find
the "three kings" in charge Bermuda Company assumes
control Tobacco the only medium of exchange Political
and ecclesiastical struggles Rebellion against the Com-
monwealth- Witchcraft The company dissolved 21

Colony under the Crown Bermudians neglect agriculture
and engage in the salt trade at Turk's Island, becoming the
principal carriers for the American provinces Outbreak of
American Revolution causes prohibition of trade People
face starvation and appeal to the Continental Congress for
aid-Their powder magazine depleted by an American ex-
pedition Correspondence of George Washington-His
address to the Bermudians-Congress rewards them-
American plans for capture of the Islands ...... 2

Bermuda as a naval base in the War of 181- Islanders lose
many vessels Prizes brought in Shipping trade re-
vives, then declines Slavery abolished Convicts sent
out from England to build fortifications . ... 58


Bermuda's part in the Civil War Colony swarms with seces-
sionists and becomes an entrepot for those who ran the
blockade Differences between the Governor and Ad-
miral Wilkes, U. S. N.-Latter blockades the islands--
Types of blockade runners and the way the business was
conducted- British naval officers in the business- Ex-
ploits of the Confederate Wilkinson- Beginning of the
end Braine and the oanoke The yellow fever cloth-
ing episode ..................... 72
Origin of the Bermuda group Climate and characteristics -
The opalescent water, the sea gardens and their denizens -
A country of flowers and sub-tropical vegetation Lily
fields and oleander hedges . . . .. 103
Literary associations- The "still-vexed Bermoothes" of
Shakespeare's "Tempest" -Waller and Andrew Marvel
--Tom Moore a resident-His descriptive verses and
romance -Anthony Trollope's visit--Visits of Mark
Twain, William Dean Howells and Charles Dudley Warner
Father Tabb a blockade runner . . .. 116

Detailed description of Bermuda by parishes, including his-
toric points, towns, caves, etc. . . . 15
Sports and recreations described under the title "Bermuda
Diversions" .................. ... 184
Method of government- Electoral qualifications and the
Colonial Parliament A country that exists without gen-
eral taxation Development of the judicial system 204

Resources of the colony- Agriculture the sole industry-
The tourist traffic Possibilities of the coaling trade 217


INDEx ....................... 387


Royal Palms at Hamilton ... Fromt~piew
White Sand and Limpid Water . 4
Ribbon of Road near the Causeway .. 4
A Bermuda Cottage . ... 28
Natural Arch at Tucker's Town .... 42
St. Peter's Churchyard . . 62
Churning Breakers on the South Shore 68
Town of St. George's. . 80
Boilers or Coral Atolls . .104
A Field of Easter Lilies. . 110
A Stone Quarry . . 114
Walsingham House . . 128
Cathedral or Temple Rocks. . 186
View from Gibb's Hill Lighthouse . 140
City of Hamilton . ... 144
The Cathedral, Hamilton . 148
Old Devonshire Church . .. 158
Fishes in the Devil's Hole . .162
Stalactites in the Crystal Cave ...... .166
Street in St. George's. . 170

View from St. David's Lighthouse . 178
Ruined Fortifications on Castle Island .. 182
A Bermuda Dinghy . .. .192
Road Cut through a Hill . ... .210
Screw Pine, Public Garden, St. George's 226
Map of Bermuda . ... Page 280



You sail from New York in a southeasterly direc-
tion, traverse the warm and restless Gulf Stream,
and in two days reach that spot in the North
Atlantic where

"The remote Bermudas ride
In Ocean's bosom unespied."
You are prepared for a creation in miniature
if by chance some one has told you that the Ber-
mudas were reared by coral insects and the winds
upon the peak of a submarine mountain, and in
truth you find a tiny oasis, a clump of refreshing
green, in a waste of shimmering water. And it
seems, after due reflection, that Nature in her
infinite goodness must have set these islands apart
as a way-station for distressed mariners and
clothed them in pleasing garb for the benefit
of the traveller whose mind and eyes seek new
Andrew Marvel chose a singularly appropriate
phrase when he wrote in bygone days of the re-
mote Bermudas." Seven hundred nautical miles
separate them from their chief neighbour, New


York; five hundred and sixty-eight miles they lie
from Cape Hatteras, the nearest point of the
North American continent. Few islands are more
supremely isolated, but their remoteness from
other land is counterbalanced by their proximity
to important trade routes, and so they constitute
in the scheme of geographical distribution a haven
of refuge, a place for ships to refit and coal, and
for men to rest, after a struggle in heavy weather.
Bermuda, to use the shorter term, calls to the
deep, and its call extends also to shores whence
men sail for pleasure. It has much that is quaint
and beautiful to offer them. An archipelago of
a hundred odd islands and rocks less than
twenty square miles in all standing amid clear
water of exquisite hues; a place of fair skies and
sunshine and flowers, blessed with an equable and
salubrious climate, untouched by fog or frost,
and wholly free from tropical fevers such in
brief is Bermuda. On shore fairy-like scenery,
caves of crystal, limestone roads white as bleached
linen, curious trees and shrubs; in the water,
gardens as luxuriant as those which take their
life from the soil, and a host of fishes, all coloured
to correspond with the submarine growth which
gives them food and a home.
Nature has given Bermuda a wealth of varied
pictures and enhanced their charm by a setting


of repose. One cannot fail to be impressed by this
distinctive characteristic. You leave ice, snow,
dirt, noise, bustle, the glitter of wealth, the sor-
didness of poverty, all the elements that combine
to make the fascinating yet wearisome turmoil of
New York, the Western metropolis, and in forty-
eight hours find yourself in a pure and balmy
atmosphere, a silent restful land, where modern
progress has yet to remove the rust of antiquity
and obliterate ideas of old-fashioned simplicity.
The contrast does not end here. In Bermuda
the effort to live is not hurried; you eat, drink,
take your pleasure and perform your daily task
in a normal manner. No factory whistles awaken
you each morning, no chimneys pollute the air
with pungent smoke; you do not run to catch
trains or street cars for the reason that Bermuda
has not adopted these symbols of high civilisa-
tion. Therefore you are bound to move delib-
erately, however rebellious your northern blood
may be at first; but in the warm sunlight there
are seductive germs of indolence, and to these
you succumb. And it is better so, for, hav-
ing succumbed, you assimilate Bermuda's worth
and, incidentally, let its reposeful atmosphere as-
similate you.
It is therefore not difficult to understand why
the colony is recommended especially to the person


who is tired and nervous, run down in body and
mind. Its tranquillity is soothing, and further-
more it is remarkably free from repellent blem-
ishes. That is to say, Bermuda does not offend
the senses. It looks prosperous, -well groomed,
so to speak, and its people seem contented. You
may travel through each of the nine parishes and
fail to observe a single case of distressing pov-
erty; neither will evidence of great wealth be
apparent. Extremes rarely meet in Bermuda. Let
it be said to the credit of this British colony, now
three centuries old, that its poorest children are
not ill-fed; that its humblest inhabitants do not
live in filth and degradation, such as we of the
cities know; and that even in homes where the
absence of money is felt most keenly, the hand of
hospitality is extended to the stranger.
Because it is genuine, native hospitality is per-
haps the colony's most wholesome social asset.
The American visitor especially feels its influ-
ence, but let him not gain the impression that
the welcome he receives is actuated by the dollars
which will fall from his pocket. No, his welcome
has a deeper significance, to understand which he
must turn back the pages of history and read
of the days when Bermudians and Americans
alike, all of the same blood, were struggling for
a foothold on unfamiliar soil.




When one co-ordinates and balances Bermuda's
enchantments he finds them sufficient for all. To
the health-seeker are given bright surroundings
and a genial climate; to the holiday maker the
pleasures of life in the open; the artist lives among
a wealth of suggestive material; botanist, zoolo-
gist, and biologist in a natural treasure house;
while before the geologist lies an open book of
rock, telling its tale in stratification and fossilised
remains. And even the philosopher will find in-
terest in tracing reasons for the spirit of content-
ment which distinguishes this little community.


ONE cannot fail to observe in Bermuda a wider
reflection of English life than is presented in the
average British colony, and one does not seek
far for the reason. Of pure English stock, the
first settlers were obliged only to accommodate
themselves to strange conditions and climate.
Neither they nor their descendants were com-
pelled by force of circumstance to depart from
English ideals and customs, or to share their
island home with alien races. Bermuda, in fact,
has always been under British rule; never for a
day has another flag waved over its fortifications
as an emblem of dominance.
Though England's control proved irksome and
often tyrannical, particularly when the islands
were exploited by a company of adventurers, only
a few of the colonists found it desirable to seek
a more congenial land. So the Bermuda of
to-day is composed largely of families bearing the
pioneer names, and each has its traditions, which
form a part of the colony's history.
Because Bermuda never passed from flag to
flag, like many islands of the West Indies, its


history can offer no tales of the old sea-fighters
who roved the Caribbean in a malevolent manner
and never lost an opportunity to loose their guns.
Nevertheless, there is a certain element of romance
in the discovery of the islands and their subse-
quent neglect by the superstitious mariners who
constantly passed and repassed them yet failed
to land.
Bermuda's name is taken from Juan de Ber-
mudez, a Spaniard, who anchored his ship, La
Garza (the Heron), within gunshot of the land
in the year 1515. It is possible that he may have
discovered the islands on a previous voyage, for
they appear on a map published by Peter Martyr
in 1511. Bermudez was carrying home to Spain
Gonzales Ferdinando d' Oviedo, a distinguished
historian, who wrote a brief account of his visit,
the earliest description extant. He speaks of the
" Island Bermuda, otherwise called Garza," as the
furthest of all that are found at this day in the
world," but fails to indicate whether Bermudez
had touched there before. Foul weather pre-
vented Oviedo from landing hogs and exploring
the islands as he had intended, and he sailed away
with vivid recollections of the strange antics of
myriads of seabirds, which found pleasure and
food in the chase of flying fishes.
Not until 1527 was a plan evolved for the


settlement of the islands. In that year Her-
nando Camelo, a Portuguese, received a commis-
sion from King Philip of Spain to found a colony,
but there is no evidence to show that he made use
of his grant. Possibly Camelo was deterred by
imaginary tales of evil which even then may have
circulated regarding the islands. It is certain that
such sailor's yarns- they were nothing more -
passed from mouth to mouth in later years. In
substance, they depicted Bermuda as an enchanted
place, inhabited only by the spirits of darkness;
a land visited frequently by tempests, thunder,
and lightning, and bordered by hidden rocks, to
approach which invited destruction. Thus it was
that commanders of homeward-bound Spanish gal-
leons gave the islands a wide berth, even though
they followed the Gulf Stream to their latitude
before laying an easterly course.
These fables of supernatural inhabitants may
have been concocted by buccaneers who possibly
desired an undisturbed retreat on the Isles of the
Devil, as Bermuda was popularly called, or they
may have originated on account of disasters.
At all events, the remnants of wrecks were ob-
served when man settled in Bermuda, and there
remains one mute token of an ancient inhabitant
- probably a castaway in Smith's Parish, on
the south shore, where, graven on Spanish Rock,


are the mutilated initials F. T., followed by a
cross and the date 1543. Local historians have
attempted without success to connect this mono-
gram with Camelo's name, but there is no reason
to doubt the antiquity of the relic.
The cross on Spanish Rock-a warning against
evil spirits it appears to have been- illustrates
the terror which had sunk into the hearts of sea-
farers. Years passed, and although the Spaniards
appreciated the value of Bermuda, the old super-
stitions held them at a distance. They did not
fear to cross arms with men, but unseen wraiths
were dangerous enemies. None cared to penetrate
the veil of mystery which enshrouded the islands,
and they remained in obscurity until Henry May,
an Englishman, was cast away upon the reefs in
May was a passenger on board a French ves-
sel commanded by M. de la Barbotiire, who left
Laguna, in Hispaniola, on November 30. Seven-
teen days later the pilots congratulated them-
selves on being out of danger, so far as Bermuda
was concerned, and demanded their "wine of
height a tipple given when a safe latitude was
reached. They drank long and deep, discipline
was relaxed, and at midnight the ship struck.
Out of a company of fifty-odd men only twenty-
six reached shore by boat and raft, May and the
captain being among the survivors.


The future activities of these men furnish an
example of the ingenuity of sailors of their day.
They saved carpenter's tools and tackle from the
wreck, cut down cedar trees, sawed out planks,
and built a seaworthy craft of eighteen tons,
caulking her seams with a mixture of lime and
turtle's oil, which hardened like cement. Fish,
birds, turtles, and rain water sustained them, and
they might have taken wild hogs had they so de-
sired, for they saw many during their sojourn.
On May 11, 1594, the party set sail, arriving
at Cape Breton in nine days. About two months
later May landed in England to recount his ex-
periences. By a singular coincidence the feat in
which he participated was to be duplicated several
years afterward by a party of his own country-
men; in the meantime Bermuda was to remain
a habitation for seabirds and swine.



CRoss the Market Square of quaint old St. George's
Town and turn the corner into Kent Street- it
is merely a step to the Public Gardens. Just
within the gate, on the left wall, is affixed a tablet
commemorating a man described by Fuller as a
lamb on land, so patient that few could anger
him, and (as if entering a ship he had assumed
a new nature) a lion at sea so passionate that
few could please him." The inscription reads:

SHIPWRECK or 1609,



Such is the brief record of an unselfish deed.
It is a becoming memorial, for the Admiral was
a modest sailor. His personal narrative is a
straightforward statement of fact without colour
or suggestion of vainglory, but others have pre-
served what Sir George Somers suppressed, and
for detailed accounts of his resourcefulness in
time of danger and after one must turn to the
writings of William Strachy, Silvanus Jordan,
and the famous John Smith, early historian of
Virginia and Bermuda.
It was on June 2, 1609, that seven ships and
two pinnaces, each having on board a goodly
company of adventurers, sailed out of Plymouth
Sound and laid a course for Virginia, the "infant
plantation." The ship Sea Venture flew the flag
of Sir George Somers, or Summers, as William
Strachy, one of the members of the party, calls
him, "a gentleman of approved assuredness and

The late Major General J. H. Lefroy, R.A., C.B., F.R.S.,
honorary member of the New York Historical Society, whose
"Memorials of the Bermudas" and other works are a monu-
ment to his devotion to the colony's interests and to his ability
as a conscientious historian.


ready knowledge in seafaring actions," and with the
Admiral were Captain Newport and Sir Thomas
Gates, the latter to act as Deputy Governor under
Lord De La Warr. The fleet kept together until
the twenty-third of July, when a gale sprang up
and the pinnace which the Sea Venture had in tow
was cast loose. By morning, a Monday, the ships
had scattered, and the Sea Venture was fighting
her lonely way through a West Indian hurricane.
Winds and seas were as mad as fury and rage
could make them," writes Strachy. "Our clamours
were drowned in the winds and the winds in thun-
der. The sea swelled above the clouds and gave
battle unto heaven. It could not be said to rain;
the waters like whole rivers did flood the air."
The working of the seas caused the Sea Venture
to leak seriously, and soon she had nine feet of
water in her hold. Sir George Somers took his
station on the poop to advise the steersman and
hold the vessel true to her course, while Sir
Thomas Gates directed the efforts of passengers
and crew. They thrust pieces of beef into the
open seams in a vain attempt to check the inrush
of water; they bailed, pumped, jettisoned cargo,
ordnance, and luggage. Their galley fires went
out; their water casks were awash; for three
days and three nights the men laboured incessantly
without food or sleep, the Sea Venture plunging


forward under bare spars and always settling
deeper. Once a huge wave swept her decks and
she faltered, apparently about to founder, but,
recovering, she laboured onward, a battered wraith
of a ship, with timbers strained beyond measure.
On the night of Thursday St. Elmo's Fire
made its appearance, "like a faint star," says
Strachy, trembling and streaming along with
a sparkling blaze, half the height upon the main-
mast, and shooting sometimes from shroud to
shroud. At which, Sir George Somers called
divers about him and showed them the same, who
observed it with much wonder and carefulness;
but upon a sudden, towards the morning, they
lost sight of it and knew not what way it made."
That was their last night of suffering. Early
next day, July 28, when the end seemed only a
matter of hours, Sir George Somers, who had
never left his post, described land a few miles
distant. The ship was worked into shallow
water and lodged between two shoals, her re-
puted resting-place appearing on the charts of
to-day as Sea Venture Flat. Sunset saw the
whole company of one hundred and forty men
and women on the shores of the thickly-wooded
island that was subsequently to bear the name
St. George's. Speaking of this event, an anony-
mous writer says:


"These islands of the Bermudas have ever been
accounted an enchanted pile of rocks, and a desert
habitation for devils; but all the fairies of the
rocks were but flocks of birds, and all the devils
that haunted the woods were but herds of swine.
Our people in the Bermudas found such abun-
dance of hogs that for nine months' space they
plentifully sufficed, and yet the number seemed not
Tools, sails, arms, cables, boats, and stores
were recovered from the Sea Venture, and the
castaways dug wells and built cabins, which they
thatched with palmetto leaves. The palmetto
and cedar furnished them with berries, and in
addition to hogs the islands provided an un-
limited supply of fish, turtles, water birds, and
prickly pears. After a time it was decided to
communicate, if possible, with Virginia. To this

These animals may have been the offspring of hogs that
escaped from wrecked vessels, but it is possible that the islands
were stocked by far-seeing pirates. When the Bermudas came
under control of the company organised for their settlement,
the memory of the abundance of hogs was perpetuated by the
issuing of what the proprietors called a "base coyne." This is
known to numismatists as "hog money." It was a crude and
imperfectly stamped piece. On the obverse side were the words
"Sommer Islands" and a wild boar, with the Roman numerals
over it, and on the reverse appeared a ship under sail, having
the Cross of St. George at each masthead. The number of coins
was limited. Only a few are in the possession of Bermudian
families and foreign collectors. All are held at high figures.


end the long boat was fitted with a deck made
from the ship's hatches and provided with sails
and oars. Carrying a crew of seven men in com-
mand of Henry Raven, this little craft cleared
the reefs on September 1 and reached the open
sea, to pursue her perilous voyage. Raven prom-
ised to return as quickly as possible, and by pre-
arrangement beacon fires were lighted on the
headlands so that he might be guided to a safe
anchorage. But the plucky sailors went to an
unknown death, and after two months elapsed the
adventurers lost hope of receiving help from the
The construction of a vessel was begun by
Richard Frubbusher, a shipwright, probably at
the little cove called Buildings Bay, within a
short distance of the Town Cut Channel, at the
eastern end of -St. George's Island; but Sir
George Somers, knowing that this craft would not
be of sufficient size to accommodate all hands,
decided to build a pinnace, and asked Sir Thomas
Gates for workmen. His request was readily
granted, but the spirit of discontent manifested
itself, and the Governor faced three successive
conspiracies against his rule, the last being so
serious that he summarily shot one of the plotters.
The remainder fled to the woods, but all save two
- Christopher Carter and Edward Waters re-


turned upon receiving a promise of immunity
from punishment, and thereafter the work pro-
ceeded without interruption. Both vessels were
constructed largely of native cedar and caulked
with oakum, pitch, and tar, and lime and turtle's
Frubbusher's craft was launched on March 80,
1610, and named the Deliverance. She was forty
feet by the keel, nineteen feet in breadth, and of
about eighty tons' burden. A month later Somers
launched the Patience, a pinnace of thirty tons,
nine and twenty feet long and fifteen and a half
feet at the beam. The location of the Admiral's
shipyard is unknown, although it may have been
at a bay in St. George's Harbour.
"Before we quitted our old quarter," writes
Strachy, and dislodged to the fresh water with
our pinnace, our governor set up in Sir George
Somers's garden a fair Mnemosynon in figure of
a cross, made of some of the timber of our ruined
ship, which was screwed in with strong and great
trunnels to a mighty cedar, which grew in the
midst of the said garden, and whose top and upper
branches he caused to be lopped, that the violence
of the wind and weather might have the less power
over her.
In the midst of the cross our governor fastened
the picture of his majesty in a piece of silver of


twelve pence, and on each side of the cross he set
an inscription graven in copper, in the Latin and
English, to this purpose:' In memory of our great
Deliuerance, both from a mightie storme and leake:
wee have set up this to the honour of God. It is
the spoyle of an English ship of three hundred
tunne, called the Sea Venture, bound with seuen
ships more (from which the storme diuided us)
to Virginia, or Noua Britania, in America. In
it were two Knights, Sir Thomas Gates, Knight,
Gouvernour of the English Forces and Colonie
there: and Sir George Summers, Knight, Admirall
of the Seas. Her Captaine was Christopher New-
port, Passengers and Mariners, shee had beside
(which came all safe to Land) one hundred and
fiftie. We were forced to runne her ashore (by
reason of her lake) under a Point that bore
Southeast from the Northerne Point of the Island,
which wee discovered first the eight and twentieth
of July 1609.'"'
Having spent nine months in Bermuda, the
expedition continued its voyage on May 10, 1610,
arriving at Jamestown on the twenty-fourth. The
tiny settlement was on the verge of starvation,
and although the newcomers were able to relieve
Other accounts say the fleet consisted of nine vessels, and
that the Sea Venture had but one hundred and forty souls on
board. Two children were born in the course of the sojourn
and five of the company were buried.


the distress, their stock of provisions was suffi-
cient only for two weeks. Accordingly, the Ad-
miral and Governor decided to abandon the colony
and take the people to Newfoundland. They had
actually embarked and were sailing down the river
when Lord De La Warr arrived with three ships.
Jamestown was again peopled, and Sir George
Somers volunteered to return to Bermuda for a
supply of hogs and fishes. On the nineteenth of
June he set sail in his own cedar pinnace, in com-
pany with a vessel commanded by Captain Argall.
They met fog and rough weather, were driven out
of their course, and Argall returned to Virginia.
Somers continued and reached Bermuda in safety.
But the Admiral's strength did not answer to
this last gallant effort, and he died at the age
of fifty-six in the town which bears his name.
Irreverent persons have said that "a surfeit of
roast pig" caused his death; nevertheless, his
last thoughts were of the suffering plantation.
He counselled his followers to return to Virginia,
but instead of heeding his dying injunction the
Admiral's nephew, Captain Matthew Somers, who
had assumed command, embalmed the body and
sailed for England, leaving the heart buried at
St. George's. The grave was marked by a wooden
cross, which Governor Butler replaced in 1619
by a marble slab bearing this inscription:


" IN THE YEAR 1611
Whose well-tried worth that held him still imploid
Gave him the knowledge of the world so wide;
Hence 't was by Heaven's decree that to this place
He brought new guests and name to mutual grace;
At last his soul and body being to part,
He here bequeathed his entrails and his heart."

The Admiral died in 1610, and poetic license
was invoked to meet the rhyme. Butler's tablet
disappeared long ago, and the exact location of
the grave is unknown, although it was probably
not far from the spot where the memorial of 1876
stands. The Admiral was buried with military
honours at Whitechurch, Dorsetshire, where in the
ancient Church of St. Candida and Holy Cross
his long-neglected grave was marked in 1908 by
a tablet engraved with these words:

Erected by public subscription, 1908.
Butler's tablet may have been stolen and built into one of
the numerous brick ovens in the town.


CAPTAIN SOMEaS's return aroused so much in-
terest with respect to the Bermudas that the
Virginia Company determined to colonise them,
although its charter did not extend to islands
more than one hundred miles from the shores of
its plantation. By an amendment in 1612 the
limit was increased to three hundred leagues, and,
says Lefroy, "in spite of remonstrances from the
Spaniards that they only had by Papal bull the
inheritance of the Indies, the merchants of Lon-
don proceeded to appropriate the forsaken dis-
covery of Juan Bermudez with as little hesitation
as they showed in advancing their plantations in
Florida and Virginia."
The new plantation was first called Virginiola,
but the name Somers Islands (it is still retained
on official documents) was finally selected for the
two-fold purpose of paying respect to the Ad-
miral's memory and annunciating Bermuda's cli-
mate. Richard Moore, a ship's carpenter, headed
the first band of settlers, fifty in number, who
sailed in the Plough, and arrived at the islands
on July 11, 1612. To their surprise they were


greeted by three forlorn and ragged men,--
Christopher Carter, Edward Waters, and Edward
Chard, the "three kings" as they are called
by Washington Irving. Carter and Waters were
the recalcitrants who remained in hiding when the
wrecked adventurers took their departure for Vir-
ginia, and Chard, one of Captain Somers's crew,
joined them in voluntary exile at the time the
Captain sailed for home. The three kings act-
ually represented British sovereignty, and they
lived peacefully as farmers and fishermen until
they discovered a quantity of ambergris. This
sudden acquisition of wealth created such dissen-
sion that Chard and Waters agreed to fight a
duel. But they reckoned without Carter,' who
surreptitiously hid their arms, preferring two
living enemies instead of none. For two full years
the men dragged out a lonely existence, and they
had resolved to build a boat and embark for Vir-
ginia when the Plough appeared in the offing.
Moore quartered his company at Smith's Island,
soon moving across the harbour to St. George's,
where he laid the foundations of the town. By
successful diplomacy and a show of authority
he acquired most of the ambergris, and he was
Samuel Carter. a fisherman, and a direct descendant of
Christopher, died at St. George's in 1858. His fishing tackle,
the old man's only possession, was placed in his coffin by the
author's father for use at a happier hunting ground.


shrewd enough to realise that in this valuable
commodity he had a loadstonee," as John Smith
aptly expresses it, which would draw ships, sup-
plies, and additional settlers from England. De-
spite the proprietors' orders, he shipped the am-
bergris in separate consignments, thereby exciting
their avarice and compelling them to reinforce
him several times. Moore's explicit instructions
to erect fortifications retarded the development of
agriculture to such an extent that many of the
colonists were ill-fed and suffered from a disease
called by John Smith "the feagues."
The Bermudas remained under the Virginia
Company's 1 jurisdiction but a few months, for
they were transferred on November 25, 1612, to
a new company composed of members of the old
one. These owners assigned their rights to the
Crown on November 28, 1614, and on June 29,
1615, James I granted a charter to one hundred
and seventeen adventurers under the title of The
Governor and Company of the City of London
for the Plantacon of the Somers Islands." About
this time Moore2 became dissatisfied with the
1 In consideration of the small area of Bermuda the Virginia
Company agreed to make a grant of land in Virginia toward the
support of the islands, and the arrangement, Lefroy says, is
commemorated by the name Bermuda Hundred, Chesterfield
County, Va.
Governor Moore retired to the Streights or Bermudas, in
London, to escape his creditors. These obscure courts and alleys


manner in which those at home had treated him,
and he departed, leaving the administration in
the hands of six commissioners who, in turn, were
superseded by Daniell Tucker, a Virginia planter,
the first Governor under the Bermuda Company.
Tucker sought to develop good husbandry, but
he was thwarted by an overwhelming plague of
rats, which destroyed the crops and fruits and
ravaged the islands for two years, leaving desti-
tution in their path. The rats were supposed to
have been imported with a cargo of meal.
In 1618 Richard Norwood began his survey
of the islands, dividing them into eight tribes,
and assigning to each adventurer his share or
proportion of land a proceeding which enabled
the orderly disposition of property. The public
lands, which were devoted to the maintenance of
the Governor, sheriff, clergy, and commanders of
forts, included St. George's, St. David's, Long-
bird, Smith's, Cooper's, Coney, and Nonsuch
Islands, part of the Main, and other islets at the
eastern end,- nearly one seventh part of all the
land in the colony.
Each tribe contained fifty parts or shares, and
they were called Bedford's, now Hamilton, Parish;
Smith's, Cavendish, now Devonshire; Pembroke,
were frequented by debtors, bullies, and others of their ilk, whose
"very trade is borrowing," says Ben Jonson in "Bartholomew


Paget, Mansil's, now Warwick; Southampton and
It would be impossible to relate within a small
compass the detailed history of the plantation
under proprietary rule. The colonists were
granted a measure of self-government almost
from the outset. A General Assembly met at
St. George's on August 1, 1620, and there was
another body called the General Sessions. Twice
every year each tribe sent six men, chosen by
themselves, to the General Sessions," says Lefroy
in his Constitutional History of the Bermudas,"
"and every alternate year they sent four men to
the General Assembly; it is difficult to say which
of the two bodies had the more important influ-
ence. The General Assembly 'had the making of
Laws and Orders for the particular necessities
and occasions of the Islands,' but upon the grand
jury devolved the tremendous power of present-
ment without indictment for any matters or of-
fences within their knowledge or observation; and
it is easy to see what an opening for scandals and
petty persecutions was afforded by it." All acts
passed by the Assembly were subject to ratifica-
tion by the company, but, as Lefroy further re-
marks, "if the colonists had in some sense repre-
sentative institutions from the first, they were such
as afforded no security against fiscal exactions."


Indeed, the proprietors conducted an oppressive
monopoly. A few of them emigrated to Bermuda
and lived on their shares, but the majority re-
mained in England and permitted the colonists,
their tenants, to cultivate tobacco, the staple crop,
as halvers; that is, half of their products paid
the rent of the land they tilled.

"Tobacco is the worst of things, which they
To English landlords, as their tribute, pay.
Such is the mould that the blest tenant feeds
On precious fruits, and pays his rent in weeds."

By the terms of the company's charter the
colonists were to be freed from taxation for seven
years, and for fourteen years their products were
to enter the ports of England under a duty of
only five per cent, and, "after the expiration of
twenty-one years, were to be charged only accord-
ing to the books of rates and according to the
ancient trade of merchants." In practice these
conditions were openly disregarded, and long be-
fore the seven years elapsed the inhabitants had
petitioned the King for relief from excessive
rates of goods yearly sent over by them," the
proprietors, who compelled the purchase of neces-
sities from the company's depot at exorbitant
prices. Tobacco being the only medium of ex-
change, this system of polite extortion, combined


with impositions of fines and taxes, furnished the
means by which the company kept its servants in
poverty. Moreover, the inhabitants were per-
mitted to trade only with vessels sent out by the
company,-a rule combated by several of its
members, and they were forbidden to have com-
mercial intercourse with other American colonies;
neither were they allowed to build ships. Denial
of the right to engage in whaling, except by special
commission, was another source of grievance.
Those glowing tales of Bermuda's resources
which were accepted without question in England
before the process of colonisation began proved
to be largely fictitious. "Ambergris," as Lefroy
explains, "was not 'driven ashore by every storm
where the wind bloweth.' The abundance of turtle,
fish, and fowl came to an end." And what was
even worse, tobacco never realized the profit ex-
pected of it. The Virginia article was far supe-
rior in quality, and what competition failed to do
in the way of crushing the Bermuda grower was
accomplished by the heavy imposts levied in Lon-
don on his output. Tobacco never brought him
more than two shillings and sixpence a pound,
and its value finally declined to a point where the
profit was inappreciable.
The position of the various governors, who
came and went frequently, was uncomfortable, to


say the least. Dependent themselves upon the
uncertain products of the public lands, and urged
constantly to show results, financial results, from
the colony as a whole, they threw the oppressive
burden upon the people. Many of the colonists
were sturdy and industrious, but others, men and
women alike, came from London slums and jails.
Lazy, shiftless, and morally depraved, these worth-
less inhabitants had ample opportunity to satisfy
their desire for intoxicants, thanks to the regular
supplies brought out by the company's ships.
Under the circumstances, harsh measures on the
part of the governors were inevitable. Men were
executed for minor offences, and the stocks, the
branding iron, and the lash found victims innu-
merable. The company's laws spared not even
the innocent. Children of parents who had died
in debt were sold into bondage, apprentices were
virtually slaves, and there are records of adult
colonists who lived in servitude.
As the colony grew older, it passed through the
same social, political, and ecclesiastical struggles
which beset England in the seventeenth century.
Its population included many elements and faiths.
Scotch and Irish prisoners of war were sent thither
as convicts at large; Anglicans, Royalists, Round-
heads, Independents, Quakers, Brownists, Ana-
baptists, and Presbyterians were represented in




varying numbers, and each sect and political fac-
tion had its dissensions and feuds. Secessions from
the Established Church took place early in the
colony's history, and though freedom of religious
worship was frequently demanded, this laudable
desire did not deter the Independents and others
from persecuting their weaker brethren, particu-
larly the Quakers, whose attempts to educate the
negro slaves met with holy disapproval.
A dramatic episode occurred when news reached
Bermuda, in 1649, of the execution of Charles I,
and the establishment by Oliver Cromwell of the
Commonwealth of England. The native Royalists
not only acknowledged Charles II to be their sov-
ereign, but they rose in arms, elected one John
Trimingham to the office of governor, and banished
the more influential Independents, sending these
so-called followers of the Commonwealth to the
island of Eleutheria, where, in 1646, Captain
William Sayle of Bermuda had founded a utopian
plantation in which every man might enjoy his
own opinion or religion without control or ques-
tion." In 1650 Parliament declared Bermuda to
be in a state of rebellion, but as no attempt was
made to reduce the colony to submission the in-
habitants did not swear allegiance to the Common-
wealth until after the surrender of Barbadoes-
another rebellious colony in 1652.


Coincident with the rise of Puritanism came a
change in the personnel of the company, which,
however, lost none of its privileges. Amnesty was
granted to the native Royalists, and the banished
Independents were recalled from Eleutheria, that
colony having proved such a failure as to call forth
the sympathy of the Massachusetts churches, whose
congregations collected some 800 to supply its
A marked deterioration in the social and public
life of Bermuda had its origin under Puritan rule
with the sudden manifestation of a belief in witch-
craft. Indiscreet actions and utterances of simple-
minded men and women were enough to provoke
indictments for sorcery, and several unfortunate
persons suffered the penalty of death after notably
unfair trials. Such persecution- in which, by
the way, the clergy took no part, as they did in
New England continued at intervals for a period
of forty-odd years. Social demoralisation became
more pronounced during the reign of Charles II,
and extended to the negro slaves, whose number
had greatly increased since their advent in 1616.
It is worthy of note that the Indians who were
captured in the Pequod and Sachem Philip wars
in New England and sold in Bermuda, as well as
those brought from the West Indies, gave little or
no trouble, but the negroes organised several


formidable conspiracies, which resulted in severe
measures against their lawlessness.
In justice to the proprietors it must be said that
they established schools and endeavoured to pro-
mote the moral welfare of the colonists, in so far as
it was compatible with their interests. Some of
their laws, especially those designed to conserve the
cedar, contained much wisdom, but avarice and
the ignorance of tyranny were the most conspicu-
ous features of administration, and the logical
result came to pass. While the colony was demon-
strating itself to be an unprofitable venture, the
planters were enabled to purchase the acres they
tilled, and gradually the company's property, ex-
cepting the public lands, was alienated. As the
tenants became freemen, they openly defied the
company and refused to obey its laws, taking ad-
vantage at the same time of its declining influence
to press their claims for relief in England. Their
side of the case was conducted with irresistible
vigour, and at last, in 1684, the Court of King's
Bench abolished the company through quo war-
ranto proceedings, Bermuda entering upon a new
era as a colony of the Crown.


DuRING the last ten years of the Bermuda Com-
pany's existence the Assembly was not permitted
to meet, owing to its opposition to the high-handed
method of government, but the Crown re-established
this representative body and sessions were resumed
on June 6, 1687. Some of the oppressive restric-
tions were thereupon removed; in fact, the colo-
nists were left to develop their resources without
surveillance, the home government going so far
as to neglect to send out gunpowder or ordnance
in the period between 1701 and 1788. The Ber-
mudians were not slow to desert their unprofitable
farms and take a living from the sea, building
small ships of cedar and finding employment for
them. As early as 1678 some of the more enter-
prising inhabitants carried their slaves to Turk's
Island and engaged in the manufacture of salt.
This lucrative trade was conducted in the winter
months, the salt rakers storing their product in
Bermuda and later, when the weather was fa-
vourable, taking it to Virginia, Maryland, Pennsyl-
vania, New York, and New England, receiving in
changee corn, bread, flour, pork, and lumber.


Before the salt season opened it was customary
for the traders to carry quantities of cabbages and
onions to the West Indies, returning with rum,
molasses, and cotton, the last-named product fur-
nishing them with the greater part of their apparel.
The salt trade continued without interference
until the rakers were driven away by Spaniards in
1710. By force of arms the Bermudians regained
possession of the ponds, and thereafter they main-
tained armed vessels for the protection of their
industry. In the reign of George II the French
landed and declared their right to Turk's Island,
but were induced to withdraw peacefully; and
again in 1764 they descended on the salt rakers,
destroyed their buildings and effects, and took a
number of them captive to Cape Frangois. The
French, however, were compelled to give up the
ponds and pay an indemnity, and the trade was
From men of their own blood, too, the Ber-
mudians suffered indignities and losses. In 1768
Captain Robert Gregory of H. M. S. Scarborough
seized the cargoes of some twenty Bermuda vessels
at Tortugas, where Bermudians had been making
salt for fifty years. There was no warrant for
Gregory's act; apparently he was paid for his
work by captains of merchant ships under convoy
of his own; but the Bermudians obtained little or


no redress in this instance. At that time some
seven hundred and fifty Bermudians were employed
at Turk's Island, and they desired the annexation
of the colony to their own, owing to their fear
that the trade might be lost, as well as the atti-
tude of the government of the Bahamas, which was
imposing heavy taxes and undue restrictions upon
the salt rakers under pretence of superior juris-
diction. Strong representations were made to
the Lords of Trades. and Plantations on this
point, the Bermudians asserting their rights as
colonisers and recalling a former decision which
had given them the freedom of the ponds.
For thirty years the matter was held in abey-
ance, then Turk's Island was granted to the Ba-
hamas; but long before that event the Bermudians
had established themselves as the principal carriers
in the coastwise and West Indian trade of the
North American provinces. They were the origi-
nal colonisers under the British government of the
Bahamas, and in 1701 endeavoured to obtain legal
control of them, pointing to the fact that five hun-
dred "lusty young fellows," natives of Bermuda,
who had gone to the West Indies to earn a living,
would speedily repair to the new possession and
settle it permanently. Not receiving a favourable
reply and being annoyed by a nest of pirates who
Made the Bahamas their rendezvous, the Bermuda


government sent out an expedition in 1713 and
cleared the islands of these worthies.
At home also the people had to fight for the
protection of their shipping. In 1720 Captain
Joell in the sloop Devonshire attacked and dis-
abled a large Spanish ship, heavily armed, and in
1741 a Spanish privateer, which had boldly landed
prisoners on one of the islands, was pursued by
two native sloops. At this time Bermuda priva-
teers brought in many French prisoners, the
number of which increased to such an extent in
1745 that they proved a burdensome expense to
the colony, and measures were adopted for their
transportation. The people were so much con-
cerned by the appearance of two French privateers
in 1761 that the ship Royal Ann and brigantine
Sally were hastily fitted to drive them away, an
embargo being laid on shipping until the outcome
of the cruise was learned. Though the expedition
was successful, the enemy returned after a time
and made many captures almost in sight of land,
the government being too poor to keep armed
vessels constantly in commission.
So engrossed were the people in maritime pur-
suits that little or no attention was paid to agricul-
ture. The whites actually looked upon farming
as a degrading occupation; they trained their
active men slaves to be mechanics and sailors, leav-


ing the tillage of land to incompetent negroes and
aged women, whose implements were of the crudest
type. This short-sighted policy made the people
dependent upon America for three quarters of
the supplies necessary for their subsistence, and
brought about its punishment in due time. Twice
in 1756 Gov. William Popple petitioned the Pro-
vincial Congress of Pennsylvania for permission
to import foodstuffs, and when the outbreak of the
American Revolution led to the prohibition of trade
and intercourse with the mainland after Septem-
ber 10, 1775, the Bermudians faced extremities
which afforded a severe test of their loyalty to the
Crown. The Assembly passed a law to prevent
the exportation of corn, wheat, barley, rice, beans,
flour, etc., and fixed prices for these commodities,
but this was insufficient to stave off the prospects
of famine. Provisions could not be obtained from
Great Britain because the people had no staple
with which to purchase them; productions of the
unprohibited colonies were sufficient only for them-
selves; the one alternative was an appeal to the
magnanimity of the Americans in revolt.
Exigencies of the situation naturally influenced
the islanders. Members and friends of Bermuda
families living in America had joined the cause of
freedom in the field, the colony's commerce was in
danger of annihilation; and a third consideration


was the urgent necessity for food. To quote
from an address of the Legislature to the Crown:
Self preservation gave the alarm, and in such
an exigency there was no alternative but an appli-
cation to the American Congress, setting forth
the situation of the island and requesting a dis-
pensation of that resolve in favour of a people
who without their aid must inevitably perish, or a
submission to all the horrors of famine and general
distress. When such motives (and such alone) in-
fluenced their conduct, the inhabitants of Bermuda
assured themselves that the Father of His People
would not take umbrage at a measure dictated by
the most powerful and irresistible law of nature.
The people therefore imprest with those sentiments
deputed some persons from the several parishes
to make application for that purpose in May,
1775. At that time we scarcely knew of the dawn-
ing of civil war and cherished hopes that it might
still be prevented from breaking out by an amicable
and honourable reconciliation. Altho' this pleas-
ing hope has been blasted by the event, yet we
flatter ourselves that your Majesty will regard
with a favourable eye a measure which if repro-
bated by the malevolence of some, or the misinfor-
mation and ignorance of others, was yet dictated
by necessity, the most urgent of human incentives."
Congress replied to the petition by intimating


that the Bermudians would receive supplies if
they brought firearms and ammunition to America.
Logical reasons prompted this answer. The Revo-
lutionary army was in immediate need of powder,
and General Washington had been apprised of the
existence of a magazine in Bermuda, the contents
of which he naturally coveted. Accordingly, on
August 4, 1775, when in camp at Cambridge,
Mass., the General wrote a letter to Governor
Cooke of Rhode Island in which he said:
Our necessities in the articles of powder and
lead are so great as to require an immediate sup-
ply. I must earnestly entreat, you will fall upon
such measures to forward every pound of each in
the colony, which can possibly be spared. It is
not within the propriety or safety of such a cor-
respondence to say what I might upon this sub-
ject. It is sufficient, that the case calls loudly for
the most strenuous exertions of every friend of
his country, and does not admit of the least de-
lay. No quantity, however small, is beneath
notice, and should any arrive, I beg it may be
forwarded as soon as possible.
But a supply of this kind is so precarious, not
only from the danger of the enemy, but the oppor-
tunity of purchasing, that I have revolved in my
mind every other possible chance and listened to
every proposition on the subject, which could give


the smallest hope. Among others, I have had one
mentioned, which has some weight with me, as well
as the general officers to whom I have proposed
it. One Harris has lately come from Bermuda,
where there is a very considerable magazine in a
remote part of the island; and the inhabitants
well disposed not only to our cause in general, but
to assist in this enterprise in particular. We un-
derstand there are two armed vessels in your
province, commanded by men of known activity
and spirit; one of which it is proposed to despatch
on this errand with such assistance as may be
requisite. Harris is to go along as the conductor
of the enterprise, and to avail ourselves of his
knowledge of the island; but without any com-
mand. I am very sensible, that at first view the
project may appear hazardous and its success
must depend on the concurrence of many circum-
stances, but we are in a situation which requires
us to run all risks. No danger is to be considered,
when put in competition with the magnitude of
the cause, and the absolute necessity of increasing
our stock. Enterprises which appear chimerical,
often prove successful from that very circum-
stance. Common sense and prudence will suggest
vigilance and care, where the danger is plain and
obvious; but, where little danger is apprehended,
the more the enemy will be unprepared, and con-


sequently there is the fairest prospect of
The plan was approved by Governor Cooke and
the Rhode Island Committee, and Captain Abra-
ham Whipple agreed to engage in the affair on
condition that General Washington gave written
assurance that he would use his influence with the
Continental Congress to permit the exportation of
supplies to Bermuda, providing the Bermudians
assisted the Captain. Another letter sent by Wash-
ington to Governor Cooke reveals the General's
intimate knowledge of the Bermudians' temper.
On August 14 Washington wrote that "our Ne-
cessity is great; the Expectation of being sup-
plied by the Inhabitants of the Islands under such
hazards as they must run are slender, so that the
only Chance of Success is by a sudden Strike.
There is a great difference between acquiescing in
the Measure and becoming Principals; the former
we have reason to expect, the latter is doubtful."
On September 6 Washington suggested to Cooke
the seizure of the mail packet from England and
said: "If the vessel proposed to go to Bermudas
should cruise for a few days off Sandy Hook, I
have no doubt she would fall in with her." The
same day this letter was written, Washington
penned the following address to the Inhabitants of
the Island of Bermuda:


GENTLEMEN, In the great conflict, which
agitates this continent, I cannot doubt but the as-
sertors of freedom and the right of the constitu-
tion are possessed of your most favourable regards
and wishes for success. As descendants of free-
men, and heirs with us of the same glorious in-
heritance, we flatter ourselves, that, though divided
by our situation, we are firmly united in sentiment.
The cause of virtue and liberty is confined to no
continent or climate. It comprehends, within its
capacious limits, the wise and good, however dis-
persed and separated in space and distance.
"You need not be informed, that the violence
and rapacity of a tyrannic ministry have forced
the citizens of America, your brother colonists into
arms. We equally detest and lament the prev-
alence of those counsels, which have led to the
effusion of so much human blood, and left us no
alternative but a civil war, or a base submission.
The wise Disposer of all events has hitherto smiled
upon our virtuous efforts. Those mercenary
troops, a few of whom lately boasted of subju-
gating this vast continent, have been checked in
their earliest ravages, and are now actually en-
circled in a small space, their arms disgraced, and
suffering all the calamities of a siege. The virtue,
spirit, and union of the provinces leave them nothing
to fear, but the want of ammunition. The appli-


cation of our enemies to foreign states, and their
vigilance upon our coasts, are the only efforts
they have made against us with success. Under
these circumstances, and with these sentiments, we
have turned our eyes to you, Gentlemen, for re-
lief. We are informed, there is a very large maga-
zine on your island under a very feeble guard.
We would not wish to involve you in an opposition,
in which, from your situation, we should be unable to
support you; we know not, therefore, to what ex-
tent to solicit your assistance in availing ourselves
of this supply; but, if your favour and friendship
to North America and its liberties have not been
misrepresented, I persuade myself you may, con-
sistently with your own safety, promote and
further the scheme, so as to give it the fairest pros-
pect of success. Be assured that in this case the
whole power and exertion of my influence will be
made with the honourable Continental Congress,
that your island may not only be supplied with
provisions, but experience every mark of affection
and friendship, which the grateful citizens of a
free country can bestow on its brethren and

Captain Whipple sailed on September 12 in the
larger of the Rhode Island vessels, having instruc-
tions to cruise off New York fourteen days with



the purpose of intercepting the English mail
packet. If the vessel did not appear in that time,
he was to proceed to Bermuda.
"But he had scarcely sailed from Providence
before an account appeared in the newspapers of
one hundred barrels of powder having been taken
from Bermuda by a vessel supposed to be from
Philadelphia, and another from South Carolina.
The facts were such as to make it in the highest
degree probable that this was the same powder
which Captain Whipple had gone to procure.
General Washington and Governor Cooke were
both of opinion that it was best to countermand
his instructions. The other armed vessel of Rhode
Island was immediately despatched in search of
the captain with orders, that, when he had fin-
ished the cruise in search of the packet, he should
return to Providence. But it was too late. Cap-
tain Whipple had heard of the arrival of the
packet at New York, and had proceeded on his
voyage to Bermuda.
He put in at the west end of the island. The
inhabitants were at first alarmed, supposing him
to command a King's armed vessel, and the women
and children fled into the country; but when he
showed his commission and instructions they
treated him with cordiality and friendship. They
had assisted in removing the powder, which was
made known to General Gage, and he had sent a


sloop of war to take away all superfluous provis-
ions from the island. They professed themselves
hearty friends to the American Cause, but as
Captain Whipple was defeated in the object of his
voyage he speedily returned to Providence."
(Governor Cooke's MS. letters, from "The
Writings of George Washington," vol. III, by
Worthington Chauncey Ford.)
By a singular coincidence, the magazine was
depleted on August 14, the date of one of Wash-
ington's communications to Cooke. Even now
many details of the incident are still to be eluci-
dated. George James Bruere, a man of unpleasant
disposition, to characterise him mildly, was then
Governor of the colony. His official residence oc-
cupied a site on Government Hill, an eminence over-
looking the town of St. George's, and the maga-
zine stood near by. According to the local version
of the seizure, the keys of the magazine were taken
from beneath the Governor's pillow, and the pow-
der kegs were rolled out of Government House
grounds and conveyed to a spot on the north shore,
now called the Naval Tanks. Here they were
loaded into whaleboats in charge of a Captain
Morgan,' and carried to two Bermuda sloops at
anchor outside the reefs near North Rock.
SA Bermuda tradition relates to a heavy raincloud which
hangs over the islands at a certain season and is known as "Old
Morgan," whose spirit cannot rest until the descendants of the
"powder stealers" are hung.


It is obvious that the affair was carefully
planned, and that the participants included un-
identified colonists of prominence, but it is cer-
tain that the powder was not shipped in Ber-
muda vessels. Bancroft says that George Ord in a
sloop despatched from Philadelphia by Robert
Morris under pretence of a trading voyage to New
Providence, took the magazine by surprise, and, in
conjunction with a schooner from South Carolina,
carried off more than one hundred barrels of pow-
der. The name of the South Carolina vessel does
not appear, but Mr. De Lancey Cleveland,1 a de-
scendant of Captain Ord, is authority for the state-
ment that his vessel was the brigantine Retaliation,
which anchored near Mangrove Bay, at the west
end of Bermuda, and received the powder from
sailboats that were sent to St. George's during the
night of August 14. In view of the distance of
the magazine from the point of loading and the
many miles of water covered by the boats in the
space of a few hours, the undertaking certainly
proves the efficiency of Captain Ord's men.
The affair created extraordinary excitement in
Bermuda. The Assembly offered a reward of 100
for the discovery of the offenders and said: "We
are deeply concerned to find that so flagitious an
act should have been committed at this time of uni-

1 New York Evening Post, February 4. 1904.


versal distress." Governor Bruere informed them
that one hundred barrels had been carried away
and called it a "most heinous and attrocious
crime." He also made wholesale accusations of
treason and strenuously endeavoured, but without
success, to discover the names of the delinquents.
So far as the Americans were concerned their act
conformed to the legitimate rules of war, but the
Bermudians were liable to severe penalties, and
they naturally held their tongues. On the other
hand, the Americans did not embarrass those who
had helped them by unwise disclosures; thus the
transaction is not illuminated to any extent by
official records.
Captain Ord is supposed to have landed the pow-
der at Philadelphia, and this is probably correct,
for in the minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee
of Safety, dated August 26, 1775, the following
entry appears: A letter was this day received
by Capt. Ord of the Lady Catherine, from Henry
Tucker, chairman of the Deputies of the several
Parishes of Bermuda, enclosing an account for
1182 lbs. of gunpowder shipped by him aboard
said vessel, amounting to 161. 14. 8., that cur-
rency, with an account of eight half bars. of pow-
der on board said vessel, the property of Captain
John Cowper of North Carolina, for which last
powder Mr. Tucker has engaged that this board


or Mr. Robert Morris will be accountable for."
The minutes for September 20 show this credit:
"August 26. By sundry casks of powder im-
ported in the Lady, Capt. Ord from Bermuda,
1800 lbs. N. B. There is upwards of 7 cwt. of
the powder imported from Bermuda that is unfit
for use."
It would appear that both entries refer to the
same consignment, and that the committee, of
which Robert Morris was a member, took charge
of all the powder. Captain Ord was the owner of
more than one vessel, and the evidence seems to
show that he used the Lady Catherine or Lady,
instead of the Retaliation in his successful expedi-
tion. A Captain Samuel Stiles of Georgia is an-
other who is supposed to have participated, while
a descendant of St. George Tucker asserts that
this gentleman, a Bermudian by birth but a Vir-
ginian by adoption, arranged the details of the
seizure when he visited the islands, for the osten-
sible purpose of obtaining a cargo of salt. That
the Bermuda branch of the Tucker family had
close connections with the American cause is ap-
parent from the Pennsylvania Committee Records,
as well as from the fact that American vessels,
in communicating with the islands, were supposed
SJ. Fairfax McLaughlin, Jr., in New York Evening 'Port,
March 5, 1904.


to stand in toward the west end and set signals,
which would bring a boat from a Mr. Tucker."
It remained for Washington to fulfil his promise
to Captain Whipple, and on October 29, 1775,
he wrote to Governor Cooke, saying: Capt.
Whipple's voyage has been unfortunate, but it
is not in our power to command success, though
it is always our duty to deserve it. I agree
with you, that the attachment of our Bermudian
brethren ought to recommend them to the favour-
able regards of their friends in America, and I
doubt not that it will. I shall certainly take a
proper opportunity to make their case known to
the honourable Continental Congress."
The Continental Congress showed its gratitude
by resolving, on November 22, 1775, to permit
yearly exports of provisions to Bermuda in ex-
change for cargoes of salt, a commodity which
was not plentiful in America. Shipments were ap-
portioned among the provinces as follows: South
Carolina was to send 300 tierces of rice; North
Carolina, 16,000 bushels of Indian corn and 468
bushels of peas or beans; Virginia, 36,000 bushels
of corn and 1050 bushels of peas or beans; Mary-
land, 20,000 bushels of corn and 582 bushels of
peas or beans; Pennsylvania, 1200 barrels of
flour or bread and 600 barrels of beef or pork;
New York, 800 barrels of flour or bread and 400


barrels of beef or pork. The colonists were also
to be furnished with lumber, soap, and candles as
necessity arose. In accordance with this resolu-
tion, the Pennsylvania Committee, on November 25,
granted permission to Edward Stiles to load the
Sea Nymph, Samuel Stobel, master, for Bermuda.
This was but one of several cargoes exported un-
der the terms of the resolve, the Secret and Marine
Committee being "charged with fitting out ves-
sels with cargoes to Bermuda."
On July 24, 1776, the Continental Congress
again extended aid to the Bermudians by permit-
ting their vessels to trade with American ports,
and in November, 1777, Bermuda ships were ex-
empted from capture by American privateers.
Notwithstanding these indulgences, the people
continually suffered for lack of food because they
had little or nothing of value to offer in return
for provisions. Only by illicit trading with their
salt vessels were they able to fulfil their urgent
wants, although the government occasionally per-
mitted ships to go in search of provisions. Some
of the skippers who had no official commission
went so far as to drive their craft among the reefs
and leave the unloading to small boats.
About the middle of 1777 two armed American
brigs from South Carolina put in at the west end
of the islands and remained a week without inter-


ference, although the British sloop-of-war Nau-
tilue lay at anchor in Castle Harbour. The
Assembly protested against the inactivity of the
sloop, but Governor Bruere explained that her
bottom was foul and the pilots could not take
her through the reefs. He said further that the
" rebel brigs were commanded by Bermuda cap-
tains, who were supposed to be well acquainted
with the rocks and coast."
Not all the Bermudians were friendly toward the
American cause, and American merchantmen suf-
fered at the hands of loyalists who embarked in
the business of privateering, with the approval
of Governor Bruere. Though the native priva-
teers captured a number of vessels, the Americans
in turn took their share of prizes, one of which
was a ship manned by eighty slaves, who were
liberated upon their arrival at Boston.
For the captured Americans no proper accom-
modations were provided in Bermuda. They were
fed on raw rice once a day, and their jail at St.
George's was such a loathsome place that on No-
vember 19, 1779, the Assembly complained to the
Governor, saying: Unhappy are we to find .
that men thrown among us by the calamities of
war alone should be suffered to remain in a situa-
tion shocking to every principle of humanity."
As a result of this treatment a malignant fever


originated in the jail and spread throughout the
islands, causing extreme mortality and interfering
with the sittings of the Assembly.
The Governor died in September, 1780, and
was succeeded by a man of the same name--
George Bruere- who never lost an opportunity
to accuse the Assembly and people of disloyalty.
He complained that the Bermudians were supply-
ing the rebels with that great essential, salt"
- a correct accusation without a doubt, for that
was the only way in which they could keep them-
selves alive. As far as I can," he said, "and it
constitutionally lays with me, I will make my ac-
tions outgo my words against the rebel trade.
Let us change our system! fit out your fine ves-
sels as privateers; the French and every enemy
constantly pass close by us, often in our very
sight. Conduct them in; riches and honour will
attend you."
It was the Governor's theory that the islanders
could easily supply themselves by capturing prizes,
and he persistently endeavoured to encourage priva-
teering, urging at the same time the building of
adequate fortifications. But the people paid little
attention to this advice, and again in June, 1781,
the Governor spoke about the "wicked, designing
men" who "had caused a misguided and deluded
people to do all they could to serve the Ameri-


cans." Finally, he was unmercifully castigated by
the Assembly and accused of prying into private
correspondence by intercepting London letters on
their return from Boston. These letters were
probably written to Henry Tucker, the Bermuda
agent at London, and it appears from the Gov-
ernor's reply that they were returned by I John
Hancock to Bermuda friends for the purpose of
inflaming the people.
Had the Continental Congress possessed a fleet
capable of holding Bermuda, the colony might have
been lost to England. The powder expedition not
only suggested the probable reception which an
invading force would have received, but it revealed
Bermuda's weakness in a military sense, a small
body of militia constituting its only protection.
All this was known to the Americans and their
allies, the French, who, realising the group's im-
portance as a base for naval operations, advanced
tentative plans for its capture. Silas Deane, a
secret agent of the Continental Congress, who
stopped at Bermuda in 1776, to purchase a swift
native sloop, which carried him to Bordeaux,
France, advised the seizure of Bermuda, while the
same subject was subsequently discussed in cor-
respondence which passed between the Comte de

SFrom 1775 to 1780 John Hancock was a delegate from
Massachusetts to the Continental Congress.


Vergennes, Brigadier Hopkins of the French ser-
vice, and the Marquis de Lafayette. The latter,
writing to the Comte on February 2, 1780, said
he would personally organise a "parti de la
liberty in Bermuda.
Another indication of the serious consideration
given to Bermuda is contained in the Treaties of
Commerce and Alliance between France and Amer-
ica. This document, which was signed on Feb-
ruary 6, 1778, provided that Bermuda should be
added to the American confederation in the event
of capture. Although the plans never materialised,
they had the effect of producing in England a
more intelligent recognition of Bermuda's value as
a naval and military station.
A contemporary account of the colony during
the eighteenth century is found in the Abbe Ray-
nal's work, "A Philosophical and Political History
of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in
the East and West Indies," published by Silvester
Doig, Edinburgh, 1792. It is probable that he
obtained his facts from travellers, as he did not
visit the islands. He tells of their settlement, and
The population increased considerably, be-
cause the advantages of the climate were greatly
exaggerated. People went there from the Lee-
ward Islands for the benefit of their health and


from the Northern Colonies to enjoy their fortune
in peace. Many royalists retired there in expec-
tation of the death of their oppressor, Cromwell,
Waller among the rest, that charming poet, who
as an enemy to that tyrannical deliverer, crossed
the seas, and celebrated those fortunate islands,
inspired by the influence of the air, and the
beauty of the prospects, which are always favour-
able to the poet. He imparted his enthusiasm to
the fair sex. The English ladies never thought
themselves fine or well dressed but in small Ber-
muda hats made with palm leaves.
But at last the charm was broken, and these
islands fell into the contempt which their insig-
nificance deserved. They are very numerous, and
their whole compass does not exceed six or seven
leagues. The soil is very indifferent, and has not
a single spring to water it. There is no water to
drink, but what is taken from wells and cisterns.
Maize, vegetables, and excellent fruits afford
plenty of excellent food, but they have no com-
modities for exportation; yet chance has collected
under this pure and temperate sky, four or five
thousand inhabitants, poor, but happy in being
unobserved. They have no outward connections
but by some ships passing from the northern to
the southern colonies, which sometimes stop to
make refreshments in these peaceful islands.


Some attempts have been made to improve the
circumstances of these people by industry. It has
been wished that they would try to raise silk, then
cochineal, and, lastly, that they would plant vine-
yards. But these schemes have only been thought
of. These islanders, consulting their own happi-
ness, have confined their sedentary arts to the
weaving of sails. This manufactory, so well
adapted to plain and moderate men, grows daily
more and more flourishing.
For upwards of a century past they have also
built ships at the Bermudas, that are not to be
equalled for swiftness and durability, and are in
great request, especially for privateers. They
are made of a kind of cedar, called by the French,
Acajon. They have endeavoured to imitate them
at Jamaica and in the Bahama Islands, where
they had plenty of materials which were grown
scarce and dear in the old docks, but these ships
are and must be far inferior to their models.
"The principal inhabitants of the Bermuda
Islands formed a society in 1765, the statutes of
which are perhaps the most respectable monument
that ever dignified humanity. These virtuous citi-
zens have engaged themselves to form a library
of all books of husbandry, in whatever language
they have been written; to procure all capable
persons, in both sexes, an employment suitable to


their disposition; to bestow a reward on every
man who has introduced into the colony any new
art, or contributed to the improvement of one
already known; to give a pension to every daily
workman, who after having assiduously continued
his labour and maintained a good character for
forty years, shall not have been able to lay up
stock sufficient to allow him to pass his latter days
in quiet, and, lastly, to indemnify every inhabitant
of Bermuda who shall have been oppressed either
by the minister or the magistrate.
May these advantages be preserved to these
industrious though indigent people, happy in their
labour and in their poverty, which keeps their
morals untainted. They enjoy the benefits of a
pure and serene sky, with health and with peace of
mind. The poison of luxury has never infected
them. They are not themselves addicted to envy
nor do they excite it in others. The rage and
ambition of war is extinguished upon their coasts,
as the storms of the ocean that surround them are
broken. The virtuous man would willingly cross
the seas to enjoy the sight of their frugality.
They are totally unacquainted with what passes
in the world we live in; and it will be happy for
them to remain in their ignorance."
This society, with its outlines of old-age pen-
sions, one hundred and forty years odd, before


they were adopted in England, may have been the
Somerset Bridge Club, according to Williams, in
his History of Bermuda," published in 1848;
" but," says he, if such extensive and philan-
thropical measures were ever contemplated, they
must have signally failed, as the club has long
since ceased to exist and its library has not been


A PARTIAL state of famine still existed in Ber-
muda when William Browne of Salem, Mass., ar-
rived in 1782 to fill the Governor's chair for a
term that lasted six years. Governor Browne had
held important judicial offices in Massachusetts,
but his adherence to Tory principles necessitated
his withdrawal from that province, although he
was highly esteemed even by those who differed
from him in opinion. Having an inherent knowl-
edge of the needs of colonials, he was soon able
to win the sympathies of the people, and, unlike
the majority of his predecessors, he was patient
and tactful in his dealings with the Assembly.
While he did not actually discourage privateer-
ing, the weight of his counsel was thrown against
what he termed the rude, desultory kind of life "
on which the Bermudians had embarked, and he
steadfastly endeavoured to promote a more whole-
some respect for civil authority and the pursuit
of milder occupations.
One of his first acts was to declare the whale
fishery free to all, for which the Assembly ex-
pressed its gratitude in florid language. Hitherto


whales had been considered "royal fishes," and
as the fishery could only be conducted under
licenses, fees for which were paid to the Governor,
the people had practically ceased to engage in
it. Another progressive step was the Assembly's
provision for the colony's first newspaper, the
Bermuda Gazette, which made its appearance on
January 17, 1784. Governor Browne also inau-
gurated a sounder financial policy, his adminis-
tration being marked throughout by intelligence
and a genuine desire to further the colony's
But he sometimes had great difficulty in enforc-
ing the laws. In 1782 and 1783, for instance,
small-pox spread over the islands to such an ex-
tent that many persons had recourse to a form
of inoculation which was illegal inasmuch as it
widened the area of infection, although the cases
were less virulent. Heavy penalties were imposed,
the chief justice and speaker of the Assembly were
even accused of transgressing the law, and the
Assembly decided it would be expedient to pass
a bill for the exemption of all fines if the
" Streams of Justice were to be preserved pure
and unpolluted."
At the conclusion of peace the regulation of
intercourse between the British West Indies and
the United States opened to the Bermudians the


prospect of enlarged commerce, Governor Browne
saying the new policy suggested fair and profit-
able employment, as the superiority of our ships
and sailors has long been universally acknowl-
edged." He was not mistaken. Shipbuilding1
received an impetus and the Bermudians resumed
their old position as carriers for the Americans,
having a fleet of more than one hundred and
seventy-five vessels in 1789. Depredations of
French privateers hampered shipping in 1793,
but a more serious injury was brought about by
the opening of the colony's ports to vessels of
foreign nations that were friendly to Great Britain.
For several years competition of foreigners was
keen, and then the islanders forged ahead again
until placed at a disadvantage by the War of
By an order in Council dated October 13, 1812,
it was permissible to export to the United States
in licensed foreign bottoms British plantation
sugar and coffee imported into Bermuda by British
vessels, and these foreign vessels might return with
certain American products without fear of moles-

SBermuda cedar is so close grained that the shipbuilders put
it into vessels' bottoms without seasoning. Their vessels were
noted for speed an essential quality in privateering days.
They constructed several ships of war with cedar, but it splintered
in action and proved so expensive that the practice was discon-
tinued. The colony owned a sloop-of-war and gunboat in 1795.


station by English men-of-war. This enabled the
colony's fleet to conduct trade between Bermuda
and the West Indies on the one hand and New-
foundland on the other. There was profit in this
when the Bermudians were successful in eluding
the enemy, but so many of their ships fell into the
hands of American privateers that the native mer-
chants were seriously crippled. The extent of
their losses is better realized when it is said that
thirty-nine vessels belonging to the port of Hamil-
!on alone, valued with their cargoes at a little
more than 200,000 x were taken or destroyed in
the course of the war.
Conversely, scores of merchantmen flying the
Swedish, Portuguese, and Spanish flags were sent
into Bermuda for adjudication in the prize court,
and the use of the islands as a naval base pro-
vided employment for the shipbuilders and sur-
plus sailors. Furthermore, the presence of a
large fleet naturally attracted all manner of sup-
plies, and not a few Americans engaged in the
business of supplying the British squadrons.
"We hear of frequent arrivals at Bermuda of
provisions from the United States," says Niles'
Weekly Register of Baltimore in its issue of
April 24, 1818. "The traitors may yet be
The colony's currency was at that period rated at twelve
killings sterling to the pound.


caught. It is a desperate game." One of the
traitors, who apparently had no respect for an
honoured name, brought the schooner George
Washington from New Haven with forty head
of cattle and offered to supply Admiral Warren
with fresh beef, deliverable either at Gardner's
Island in the Delaware or at Bermuda.
Commercial houses and the government were so
seriously embarrassed in 1814 by the scarcity of
currency that Admiral Warren endeavoured to
obtain supplies of cash from New London. He
planned to have money received on board His
Majesty's ship Victorious, and to her commander,
Captain Talbot, detailed instructions were for-
warded by the Spanish schooner Rosa. But the
fortune of war made the Rosa a prize to the Amer-
ican privateer Viper, and the Admiral's letter was
found in one of the Spanish skipper's boots.
Bermuda was never attacked or threatened with
attack, but one humourously audacious American
cruised off shore in the privateer Snap Dragon,
after sending an official" notice to the Governor
that he had laid the islands under a rigid blockade.
Two United States war vessels found their way
to Bermuda under British colours. The first was
the sloop Wasp, Captain Jones, which fought and
defeated the British sloop Frolic in a desperate
engagement off Albermarle Sound on October 13,



1812. Both vessels were disabled, and while effect-
ing repairs the British liner Poictiers came on the
scene and convoyed them to Bermuda.
The second capture was that of Commodore
Decatur's frigate President, which was taken in
a running fight with a British squadron off Long
Island on June 15, 1815, and lost heavily in offi-
cers and men. Among the wounded was Midship-
man Richard Sutherland Dale, a son of one of
John Paul Jones's officers. Dale was nursed in
a private family until his death and was buried in
St. Peter's churchyard at St. George's.
Journalistic enterprise in the case of the Presi-
dent brought the editor of the Bermuda Royal
Gazette, Edmund Ward, into high disfavour, and
cost him his position as King's Printer. His side
of the affair as personally related by him appears
in the Bermuda Almanack for 1900, from which
this quotation is taken:
During my residence in Bermuda the Ameri-
can war broke out, and just at its conclusion the
American frigate President, Commodore Decatur,
was captured by the Endymion, Capt. Hope.
Commodore Decatur was transferred to the ship
which captured his vessel, and sail was made for
Bermuda. All the ship's books had been thrown
overboard, and it was found impossible to ascer-
tain the number of the President's crew, which,


as was supposed, were subsequently distributed on
board the other ships, with the exception of some
thirty men and some junior officers, who were
left on board intentionally; and Lieut. Morgan
of the Endymion, and the Hon. Lieut. Perceval
of the Tenedos, with ninety-six men, were put
on board the prize for the purpose of bring-
ing her into port. On the following day the
ships separated in a gale, and towards evening
it was fortunately discovered that sixty-eight men
were concealed in the sail room, who were imme-
diately secured and put in irons, and the Presi-
dent narrowly escaped recapture by a treacherous
"Having been informed of this circumstance
by some gentlemen of St. George's who visited the
ship, I mentioned it in the next Royal Gazette,
and was directed by the Governor, Sir James
Cockburn, to contradict it, on his assurance that
it was not the case. Subsequently I found that
I had been misled, and Commodore Decatur, on
his arrival in the United States, having stated in
a supplemental letter to the Secretary of the Navy
that the contradiction had reference to his cap-
ture by the Endymion alone, I reiterated my as-
sertion as to the concealment of the men, which
I was immediately required by Sir James Cock-
burn to retract, and declining to do so, was


deprived of my commission as King's Printer. It
happened fortunately the ship having sailed for
England that Lieut. Perceval remained on the
station, who, on his arrival at Bermuda in the
Bulwark, corroborated my statement, his servant
having discovered the men. Sir James refused,
however, to restore me to my situation, and
I published the correspondence that had taken
place previous to my dismissal. .. ."
American newspapers of the period industriously
published statements to the effect that prisoners
of war were ill-treated in Bermuda, but Dale's
experience goes far to refute the assertions. The
prisons hulks were not luxurious quarters, and
individual cases of oppression existed without a
doubt, but there is little evidence to show that
the American sailors suffered more than the or-
dinary discomforts of captives.
One American, Henry King by name, escaped
in a truly remarkable manner in July, 1814. King
had been pressed into service on board the Poic-
tiers under pretext that he was an Englishman,
and later was transferred to the guard ship
Ruby. He purchased a pocket compass from a
shipmate, stole one of the Ruby's boats at night,
and set sail for America, having two loaves of
bread and a few quarts of water for provisions.
When inclined to sleep he lashed his arm to the


tiller, so that if the boat wore 'round he would
be aroused, and thus he sailed for nine days,
landing in the vicinity of Cape Henry.
The close of hostilities found the Bermudians
in possession of forty-three foreign-built vessels,
all prizes, which were added to their depleted ton-
nage, making a merchant marine of seventy-odd
ships. American vessels were excluded from the
British West Indies, but Bermuda ports were
opened to foreign vessels from the United States,
and once more the Bermudians developed a profit-
able commerce, carrying cargoes to and from the
Their activities continued until the West Indian
ports were thrown open to the United States in
1822; then the rapid increase of American and
Canadian ships, which were more cheaply built,
brought competition that could not be favourably
met, and the Bermuda fleet, so long in the ascen-
dancy, dwindled by degrees, the phrase salt, cedar,
and sailors" losing its significance as an expres-
sion of Bermudian superiority on the high seas.
One of the famous fleet, the Gleaner, a sloop of
twenty tons, still does duty as a freight boat.
She was built in 1820, and her stout timbers are
nearly as good as ever. The Gleaner carried
onions, packed in palmetto baskets, to the West
Indies, and now she carries them among the


A few of the shipping firms held out as long
as they could employ crews of slaves, but eman-
cipation, which was proclaimed on August 1, 1834,
necessitated the payment of good wages to sailors
and practically completed the dissolution of the
waning industry. The Bermuda slaves received
few religious or educational advantages. They
could contract legal marriages, but for a long
time were denied the office of baptism. One law
enacted in 1780 exempted a master from prose-
cution if he killed one of his slaves while punish-
ing him, but in the event of deliberate killing the
slayer could be fined and compelled to pay the
value of his victim, if he were the property of
another proprietor. Frequently, slaves were vol-
untarily freed when employment could not be
found for them, but free negroes were subject to
deportation under the law. Sometimes slaves who
had been condemned to death were reprieved if
they agreed to become executioners, and in at
least two cases the rule was applied to white
prisoners. At different periods the whites were
alarmed by conspiracies among the slaves, but on
the whole the races lived amicably, and in pro-
mulgating the emancipation act the Legislature
refused to take advantage of the six years' ap-
prenticeship it allowed.
The immediate extension of the rights of citi-


zenship to the coloured people and an incident
occurring in 1885, the year following emancipa-
tion, expressed the people's attitude toward
slavery. This incident concerned the American
brig Enterprise, which with seventy-eight slaves
on board called at the islands for provisions.
Representations by the newly-liberated race in-
duced the legal authorities to hold the vessel and
disembark her passengers in order that they might
have the privilege of personally deciding whether
they cared to proceed on the voyage. All but
a woman and her five children accepted freedom,
and the Enterprise left seventy-two of her pas-
sengers on shore.
Virtually every white family held slaves at the
time of abolition, and the compensation of 128,000
($640,000) awarded to Bermuda was generally
distributed. The system had made the whites indo-
lent, but it was unattended by the same variety
of demoralising evils which cropped out in large
slave-holding communities. There were no great
plantations, consequently no large colonies of
slaves under a single master; and the seafaring
life gave the coloured people a certain amount of
freedom and wider opportunities for improvement
than would have obtained had they been held
strictly to the land. The treatment accorded the
slaves is reflected in the present condition of the




race.1 The Bermuda coloured people are intelli-
gent, well-mannered, contented, and respected by
the whites. This respect is reciprocated. The
colour line is drawn, the races have separate
schools, but there is no race feeling, no race
problem, and the political and legal rights of the
coloured man are zealously guarded.
It is worthy of note that at the height of their
prosperity on the sea the Bermudians advocated
their island home as a "nursery," as they called
it, for seamen of the Royal Navy, and the War
of 1812 so emphasised Bermuda's advantages as
a naval station and fortress that ten years prior
to emancipation a draft of convicts was sent from
England to begin the development of the Gibral-
tar of the West." The convicts were employed in
building the dockyard at Ireland Island and in
the erection of fortifications and other imperial
works in various parts of the colony. None was
leased to private interests, neither were any dis-
charged in the colony.
The headquarters staff lived at Boaz Island,
and the greater number of prisoners were kept
in hulks anchored off the dockyard. Some lived
in vessels at St. George's. They were sent to
In a number of coloured families there is a strain of
Indian blood, due to intermarriage with Pequod and Carib
slaves, high cheek bones and straight hair indicating the


labour on shore only when the weather permitted;
were not exposed necessarily in the sun; and their
hours of employment never exceeded eight per
diem. With the idea of stimulating the prisoners
to behave themselves and so obtain commutation
of their sentences, they were classified as very
good, good, indifferent, suspicious, bad, very bad,
and were kept in separate compartments accord-
ing to the classification. Their liberal food allow-
ance included a gill of rum each day, and under
certain conditions they were paid for their labour.
One third of their weekly earnings they were per-
mitted to spend for "articles of comfort," exclu-
sive of meat, beer, and spirits; the remainder was
reserved until their discharge. Good convicts
were therefore able to carry home a tidy sum.
To unruly prisoners the cat-o'-nine-tails was ad-
ministered in the presence of their mates, for the
sake of example," the number of lashes depending
upon the state of the victim's health as prejudged
by an attending surgeon. Sometimes a man re-
ceived five hundred lashes, enough to keep him
in hospital for two weeks and scar him for life.
Yellow fever scourged the prison hulks, particu-
larly during one epidemic, and the records of the
service were darkened by several murders and
violent outbreaks. The last draft was sent home
in 1868, without regret on the part of the natives.


The immense sums of money expended in forti-
fications and the maintenance of the convict ser-
vice naturally benefited the people, who were slow
in adjusting themselves to the change in conditions
resulting from the decline of their maritime in-
dustry. Farming was their only alternative, but
for men trained to the sea it was a difficult pur-
suit, and the problem was further complicated by
the apathy of the Legislature, which had long
neglected the colony's internal welfare. But under
the intelligent direction of Gov. William Reid, the
good governor," who assumed his duties in 1839,
when but two ploughs were to be found in the
islands, the people seriously devoted their energies
to the soil, producing their far-famed arrowroot in
large quantities and increasing their output of
onions and green vegetables. Governor Reid's ad-
ministration of five years marked the beginning of
a more enlightened and progressive Bermuda, al-
though the colony existed mainly upon the British
taxpayer's gold until the outbreak of the Amer-
ican War of the Secession.


NEVER again, perhaps, will Bermuda experience
such a sudden transformation as that which fol-
lowed the American War of the Secession. A
year before the Southern States seceded the colony
was known only as a British military outpost. Its
trade was limited; its people were poor and con-
tent to eke out an humble existence, following as
best they might in the footsteps of their fore-
fathers. Communication with the outside world
was restricted, and Bermudians were but mildly
interested in fragmentary reports which told of
the mighty political contest that was to place
Abraham Lincoln in the White House.
The year 1860 passed, Lincoln was inaugurated,
the foundation of the Confederacy laid. Sumter
fell; on April 19, 1861, the President proclaimed
a blockade of the Southern States from South
Carolina to Texas. On April 27 the blockade was
extended to Virginia and North Carolina, and
within five months the Federal cruisers had be-
come numerous enough to close many of the larger
Southern ports to sailing vessels engaged in trade
with the enemy. In September Bermuda was re-


ported to Washington as swarming with secession-
ists, and the eyes of the United States government
were directed thither in the knowledge that the
islands were admirably situated for the operations
of steam blockade runners, which were already
beginning to make their appearance in Southern
October 21 witnessed the arrival of the first
American warship, the Connecticut, whose mission
was to intercept the rebel steamer Nashville, which
was supposed to be carrying the Confederate
agents, Mason and Slidell, and $2,000,000 for
the purchase of supplies in England. Hearing
nothing of his quarry, the Connecticut's comman-
der left to cruise south, and in so doing missed the
Nashville, which in the meantime had slipped out
of Charleston and laid a course for Bermuda. She
arrived there on October 26, but Mason and Slidell
were not among her passengers; they had gone
to Havana in another vessel. Taking six hundred
tons of coal at St. George's, the Nashville got
away on her voyage to Southampton before
Washington could send another cruiser after her.
It was obvious that Bermuda was to become an
entrepot for the Confederates, and its life quick-
ened in response to the tide of events. Cotton
was to furnish the sinews of war in the Confed-
eracy, and arrangements had already been made


in England for credit upon the faith of the crop
of 1860, and upon that proportion of subsequent
crops which the rebel government could reasonably
control. The situation was a simple one. Eng-
lish mills needed raw cotton, the Southerners
needed munitions of war, manufactured supplies
and food. There was plenty of cotton available
in Southern ports for the private speculator at
four cents and six cents a pound, and the Liver-
pool merchant foresaw great profits if he could
successfully market it in England, where the price
had risen to sixty cents in anticipation of a great
shortage. The question was one of transporta-
tion, but the difficulties were not insuperable.
Ships and men were quickly commandered, and
with so much energy did the Liverpool merchants
prosecute their plans that the United States gov-
ernment was moved, in the latter part of Novem-
ber, to order the Keystone State to cruise in the
vicinity of Bermuda for the purpose of interdict-
ing traffic with Confederate ports.
Her visit was unhappily timed on account of
the diplomatic friction which had arisen over the
seizure of Mason and Slidell on board the Royal
Mail steamship Trent, and her commander re-
ceived few civilities from the Bermuda authorities.
He was refused the privilege of taking government
coal, ostensibly because the supply was limited,


and the Quaker City, which followed the Keystone
State into port, suffered a similar experience. The
vessels, however, were not denied the right to avail
themselves of private supplies, as the Nashville
had done; nevertheless, the Washington authori-
ties considered the incident of sufficient importance
to quote it in their case dealing with the Alabama
Claims, as evidence of unfriendly feeling toward
the North.
There was no exaggeration in the statement that
Bermuda swarmed with secessionists. The winter
of 1861-62 revealed to the people the possibilities
of their newly-found trade, and their sympathies
were extended in no half-hearted manner to the
land whence it flowed. If commercial greed ruled
their actions, they at least had the excuse of fol-
lowing the example of England herself. At first
blockade running direct from England was at-
tempted, ships carrying papers which indicated
their destination to be either Bermuda or Nassau,
at which ports they might await a favourable op-
portunity for the dash to their real objective.
The Fingal, Captain Bulloch, C. S. N., Gladiator,
Bermuda, and Watson were four steamers loaded
in Great Britain with munitions of war and sent
out to Confederate ports in 1861 via Bermuda.
It was soon discovered, however, that direct
voyages would not be profitable, particularly as


the Supreme Court of the United States had con-
demned several captured vessels, and the plan of
transshipment was adopted. By this device the
trade between England and the points of trans-
shipment Bermuda, Havana, Nassau was con-
ducted in vessels of large capacity, while a class
of swift, light-draught steamers, especially de-
signed to meet the exigencies of blockade running,
were employed in the actual work of supplying
the Confederacy.
Nassau was a greater station than Bermuda,
though the Bermudians had no cause for jealousy.
The harbour of Hamilton saw a considerable num-
ber of vessels, but the principle centre of activity
was St. George's, because of its proximity to the
open sea. The older town completely lost its
lethargy. Its warehouses were crowded with mer-
chandise, its wharves with cotton and coal; often
a score or more of steamers lay at anchor in the
harbour. And there roamed about the streets a
cosmopolitan crowd of sailors, with whom were
mingled Northern and Southern spies and adven-
turers from the seven seas. There were not enough
houses to accommodate the motley crew. Men
slept wherever they could, -among the cotton
bales, under verandahs, in streets, vacant lots, pub-
lic houses. They were willing to do anything
almost, or suffer any inconvenience for the sake


of one thing money; that was the bait which
had drawn them to the hitherto neglected islands.
There was plenty of money. Tales whispered
in the ports of the world had not been embroi-
dered, as these adventurers discovered when they
came to Bermuda, and those who knew how could
feather their nests. Captains of blockade runners
received $5000 for the run in and out; chief
officers, $2500; chief engineers, $2500; second
and third officers, $1250; able seamen and fire-
men, $250; pilots, $3750. Pilots were so well
paid because, being Southerners, they were not
exchanged when captured.
These sums represented gold, not Confederate
currency, and in each instance half of the amount
was paid as a bounty before the voyage began.
Wages on shore were proportionately high, and
it was common knowledge that the labourer could
afford to live in luxury; but the money went as
it came, -freely and swiftly, like the liquor it
purchased in the nightly revels. These, too, were
days of prosperity for the local merchant. Into
his till flowed the capital of blockade skippers who
succumbed to the allurement of private ventures,
and though he called frequently upon New York
as well as England for goods, he had difficulty
in meeting the insistent demand. He also served
as banker for thrifty sailors, and sometimes in-


duced a friendly skipper to carry a small con-
signment of shoes or cloth on commission, to the
profit of both.
To return to the cruisers. The Nashville came
back to Bermuda on February 20, 1862, the day
after the American consul, Mr. C. M. Allen, had
been notified of instructions issued by the British
government which forbade men-of-war of either
belligerent to take a supply of coal in excess of
what would be necessary to carry them to the
nearest port in their respective countries, or to
some nearer destination. If, however, such vessels
had coaled at a British port within three months,
they were to be denied a further supply. As the
Nashville had been accommodated at Southampton
before sailing for Bermuda, Mr. Allen tried to
prevent her from filling her bunkers; but his pro-
test was disregarded because the instructions had
not been officially promulgated, and the cruiser
was sent to sea under escort of H. M. S. Spiteful.
This incident created a good deal of feeling,
which was further intensified by differences aris-
ing between the Governor of Bermuda, H. St.
George Ord, and Acting Rear-Admiral Charles
Wilkes, U. S. N., upon the arrival of the latter,
September 27, 1862, with the flagship Wachusett
and the Sonoma and Tioga, all of which were at-
tached to the West India Squadron. The Admiral


was the same impetuous Wilkes who as captain of
the San Jacinto had taken Mason and Slidell from
the Trent ten months before and nearly precipi-
tated war between Great Britain and the United
States. He came into St. George's Harbour with
the Wachusett and Tioga, leaving the Sonoma to
cruise outside for the purpose of intercepting
blockade runners. This annoyed Governor Ord,
and after two days he sent a naval lieutenant on
board to tell Stevens, her commander, that he
must either anchor inside the harbor or stand off
to sea. Stevens curtly refused to obey any person
save his superior officer, and some sharp corre-
spondence passed between Admiral and Governor.
Wilkes complained that in entering port no
national flag had been displayed at the staff on
shore; that the Queen's proclamation relative to
repairs and coaling had been handed to him by
a person in ordinary dress; and that only after
he had sent an officer on shore to tender a salute
was that formality carried out, gun for gun. The
Governor sent a verbal apology for the delay in
accepting the salute, and Wilkes brought the
Sonoma into port on October 1. Immediately a
misunderstanding arose over her right to take
coal, the Governor asserting that her supply had
been unnecessarily depleted while cruising outside.
Wilkes contended that the Governor had already


approved all his plans, and the point was settled
in the American's favour without delay. The
Tioga then went to sea, the Wachusett, whose
machinery had become disabled, and the Sonoma
following soon after.
Wilkes himself went direct to the rendezvous
in the New Providence Channel, but he had not
finished with Bermuda. His instructions to the
Tioga and Sonoma bade them remain in the vicinity
of the islands and suffer nothing to escape. He
had found, so he wrote Gideon Welles, Secretary
of the Navy, in his first report, that Bermuda was
the "principal depot of arms and munitions of
war" for those intending to run the blockade; and
he had seen at St. George's seven British steamers
preparing to make the run at the most favourable
opportunity. His desire to capture or at least to
bottle up these vessels led him to institute an ex-
traordinary "blockade," which was not justifiable
in view of the fact that England and the United
States were at peace.
The Sonoma and Tioga kept in touch with
Consul Allen by boats and signals, receiving in-
formation about the movements of blockade run-
ners. On the 5th Commander Rogers of the Tioga
heard that the little steamer Ouachita would try
to get away through Chub Cut, a passage in the
reefs at the west end, and succeeded in stopping



her. Two days afterward the Gladiator came out
from St. George's, convoyed by H. M. S. Desper-
ate. Stevens boarded her outside the marine limit,
and while doing so he observed the Harriet Pinck-
ney leaving the harbour. Finding the Gladiator's
papers to be correct, he permitted her to proceed,
and steered for the Pinckney, which promptly re-
turned to port. The same night a steamer ap-
peared in the offing, and the Sonoma prepared to
speak her. She ran for the harbour, with lights
extinguished, but was stopped by a shot across
the bows. She proved to be the Royal Mail steam-
ship Merlin.
That was the culminating incident of the
"blockade." The Governor's temper had reached
the breaking point. On October 10 he despatched
H. M. S. Plover to notify Rogers that he must
not communicate with shore except by special per-
mission. The warning made no great impression
on the two commanders, but they were obliged to
depart on October 12, having barely more than
enough coal to carry them to the New Providence
Channel, and the worries of the blockade runners
were lightened. In his final report to Secretary
Welles, Wilkes characterized the Bermuda officials
as "a pack of secessionists," who "were in hopes
to get rid of us, but notwithstanding we procured
all we wanted."


A strong remonstrance from the British govern-
ment followed these incidents. Writing to Wil-
liam H. Seward, Secretary of State, Lord Lyons,
British Ambassador at Washington, said: "I am
directed to express the regret of Her Majesty's
government that Rear-Admiral Wilkes, who treats
with contempt the lawful orders issued by the
duly instigated authorities of the British Crown,
should have been appointed to a command in which
he could not fail to be brought into contact with
those authorities."
It was asserted that Wilkes had offensively and
unlawfully placed sentinels on British territory;
that he had contemptuously evaded orders in re-
gard to coal supplies; and that he had anchored
his vessels in a position to control shipping, in
addition to cruising in neutral waters in excess of
his rights as a belligerent. Wilkes denied that he
had tried to control shipping and said he had
merely placed sentries at the foot of the gangway
while his cruisers were coaling, to prevent the
smuggling of liquor on board.
In one of his letters to Governor Ord, Wilkes,
referring to the expression, "I have to inform
you that the vessel (Tioga) cannot be permitted
to return within these waters," replied in the fol-
lowing terms: This I cannot permit; my gov-
ernment alone has the power of instructing me."

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