THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 84.
Letter from IWilliam Lord Willoughby, Governor of Barbados, to
29th January, 1666, from Barbados.
Source:--Public Record Office. State Papers Colonial, C.O. 0o.
Published by the courtesy of the Mhaster of the Rolls and
the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.
MY LORD :
In my last to Your Lordship I gave an account of some
privateers that belonged toJamaica that were come into these
parts commissioned by Sir Thomas Modyford against the Dutch
and of their taking two Islands near St. Christopher, the one
called Eustatia and the other Saba since which some of them
have rambled up as tar as Tobago for they are all masters and
betake themselves to what course and which way they please,
reckoning what they take, as well the Island as anything upon
it, to be all their own and themselves free princes to dispose
of it as they please.
They did so at the other two Islands, and when I demanded
them to be delivered up to me for the King's use being within
my commission, their answer was that they took it by
Sir Thomas Modyford's commission and would own no other
and do keep themselves possessed of both those Islands still and
disposed of the lands and plantations as they please.
I do thus desire you would do me the favour as to let me
know the King's pleasure and to get His Majesty's orders how
I should behave myself in tile like case for the future which
I do again earnestly entreat of Your Lordship and that I may
receive His Majesty's pleasure with tlie first.
Since that time the like case hatl happened by another
party of them who had rambled as high .t the Island of
Tobago which lies within 6o leagues of this Island. 1 had
fitted out a little fleet of about six sail of small vessels such as I
could gctl lere about the Island and did put about three or
four hllldred men on 1)(;aid them for to save that Island, it
being ilnhabited bv. tiht Duthli al(d d(oh lic just i ll t1 way
lo that part of t l Maii (called the (:ontinlcnt (f Guiana, so(
as it will 1)e very full and c,.nii dderable il once peopled. When
His Majesty shall think fit to make any impression upon that
part of the Indies, it lies near the Orinoque where
Sir Walter Rawley (Raleigh) was.
But I came too shoirl, tlhe jamaicans having got thither
some few days before and taken it. I did demand the Island
of them for tlie Kicig who at first gave me the same answer as
the others did lnut afterwards were more civil when they saw
themselves too weak to keep it and no neighbours near them
to come and purchase of them.
So as upon my pressing of them to it, they at length came
to terms of delivering it up to me for the King's service,
which was, they did ,ondescend to leave the fort standing
as it was and about four to five guns in it and a small house
undeimolished and a housc which was adjoining to it where
the Gmo ernor did li\e, upon condition that I would give them
liberty to come to harbour witl all their plunder and freely
sell it there which I did do because the place being considerable
I thought fit it should be preserved until 1 could know
His Majesty's pleasure concerning it which I shall earnestly
beg that you will let me know by the first. 1 have desired
my brother to wait upon you about it who likewise hath a
letter for the King wherein I have given His Majesty an
account of it.
Thc Island was pretty well settled, having many good
plantations upon it, well stocked with negroes and cattle and
pretty good horses, but because my purse could not reach to
purchase these of them, they did break up all things that were
portable and untiled the houses whereby they have left the
Island in as bad a condition almost as it was at first settling,
for hands being wanting, all the plantations must run to ruin,
for indeed they have eaten up and destroyed all that they
could not carry away, which hath been their cunstcn in all
places wherever they come.
I have put ioo men into the fort with a command to keep
the place until I shall know His Majesty's pleasure whether
he will have it kept and accordingly I shall apply myself to the
peopling of it or to quit it as His Majesty shall direct.
I shall desire that you will favour me with a quick
dispatch as you can in this business that I may know the
Kiig's pleasure because I am ;at very great charge with the
keepin- g and maintaining g ol the tio men. Our planters here
are in great quandary and begin to look \vei blue upon it
because few or no shipping come at us especially from England
which make them vcir doubtful all is not will, besides thcy
are a little frightened with some ncw s which hath crne to
this Island that the French are joined with the Dutch.
I did formerly mention to you that a frigate or two would
be of great use here and much conduce to the support and
advance of His Majesty's interests in these parts but if so be
the French shall take part with the Dutch, it will then be of
absolute necessity that some le sent if His Majesty intends to
preserve the interest he hath, for the Islands do lie so inter-
woven one among the other, the French being very strong
and daily strengthening themselves more and more, both with
men, ammunition and shipping-if they begin first, they will
carry all before them which I leave to your better consideration
Your most obedient and humble servant,