THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 28.
Letter from William Stapleton, Governor of the Leeward Islands,
to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations.
i gth January, 1678, from St. Christopher.
Public Record Office. State Papers Colonial, C.O. 42. Published
by the courtesy of the Master of the Rolls and the Deputy
Keeper of the Public Records.
MY RIGHT HONOURABLE LORDS :
The 57 soldiers are arrived as I have given information
to My Lord Craven by whose order they were shipped as
the Sergeant Conductor told me.
But My Lords, in that condition that never soldiers were
sent, without arms, ammunition or money to subsist withal,
not as much as a sword nor an ammunition loafe to a place
where there is no magazine nor any stores to be purchased.
The two companies which they have now completed have
hardly any themselves ; arms do decay here more than
I submit it to Your Lordships' serious consideration to
examine how dishonourable it is to the King and the nation
to send soldiers so far to a garrison where French and Dutch
are spectators of such, their naked condition.
I have four frontiers to guard with two companies besides
platforms on the seaside ; this careless provision fcr soldicis
gave me of the greatest confusion that ever I had and could
I have procured arms and ammunition and had no more in
the world than what might purchase them, I had left them
on Nevis and not landed them upon St. Xprs (St. Kitts)
until they were armed.
When I sent the greater ketch, Captain Haddock
Commander to Tobago I gave him and my Lt. bill of exchange
for 600 Ibs. to purchase from the French and Dutch firelocks
or musquets but the Island being deserted by both nations
missed the opportunity.
In lieu whereof came unto them some negroes, men and
women and children (70 or 80 negroes men, women and
children) which five or six periagoes of Indians were carrying
away. They brought them thither and as I know whatever
pretence either nation may make, they can have no right
but only the King and the captor for salvage, which right of
His Majesty I beseech Your Lordships to obtain for me
(having never met with anything which might advance the
settlement of a plantation) allowing the Captain what
His Majesty or Your Lordships may think convenient. It is
what I would not conceal though hardly worth your
By the ship Abraham one Tery commander, I wrote last
and sent Your Lordships an account of how the Dutch officer
and 250 souls were blown up by an unhappy shot out of
a mortar piece as they were dining over the powder room
in which the shell fell.
Your Lordships' most obedient and most