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CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL,
First arrival of the English at this islaad.-Origin, pro
gress, and termination of the proprietary government. -Revenue granted to the crown of four and a half per centum on all produce exported-how obtained.
Origin of the act of navigation.--Situation and extent of the island.--Soil and produce..Population. Decline, and causes thereof.-Exports and imports. "HE island of Barbadoes, of which I now pro
pose to treat, was probably first discovered by the Portuguese in their voyages from Brasil; and from them it received the name which it still retains.*
* It is said not to have been noticed in any sea-chart before the
It was found without occupants or claimants. The Charaibes, for reasons altogether unknown to us, had deserted it, and the Portuguese, satisfied with the splendid regions they had acquired on the continent, seem to have considered it as of little value, Having furnished it with a breed of swine for the benefit of such of their countrymen as might navigate the same track, they left the island in all other respects as they found it.
Of the English the first who are known to have landed in this island, were the crew of a ship called the Olive Blossom, bound from London to Surinam, in 1605, and fitted out at the expense of Sir Olive Leigh, whom Purchas styles 'a worshipful knight of Kent.' Finding it without inhabitants, they took possession of the country, by fixing up a Cross on the spot where James-town was afterwards built, with this inscription, “ James King of England and this Island;" but they began no settlement, nor made any considerable stay in a country entirely uninhabited and overgrown with woods; yet it furnished them with fresh provisions. They found pigs, pigeons, and parrots, and the sea abounded with fish.
Some years after this, à ship of Sir William Courteen's, a merchant of London, returning from Brazil, was driven by stress of weather into this island, and finding refreshments on it, the master and seamen, on their arrival in England, made so favourable a report of the beauty and fertility of the
country, that lord Ley (afterwards earl of Marlborough, and lord high treasurer) immediately obtained from King James the First a grant of the island to himself and his heirs in perpteuity.
Courteen himself was a man of extensive views and magnificent projects. He immediately began (probably under the patronage of Marlborough) to form ideas of establishing a colony in the distant but promising territory. Having engaged about thirty persons to settle in the island, and furnished them with tools, provisions, and necessaries of all kinds for planting and fortifying the country, he appointed William Deane their governor, and sent them away in a ship called the William and John, commanded by John Powell. They arrived safe in the latter end of the year 1624, and laid the foundations of a town, which in honour of the sovereign they denominated JAMES-TOWN ; and thus began the first English settlement in the island of Barbadoes.
For some time previous to this, it had become fashionable in England, for men of high rank and distinction, to engage in sea adventures, proclaiming themselves the patrons of colonization and foreign commerce. In the list of those who contributed to the British settlements in Virginia, New England, the Bermuda islands, and other places in the New World, may be found the names of many of the first nobility and gentry of the kingdom. Among others who distinguished themselves in
such pursuits, at the time that Barbadoes was thus planted by a private merchant, was James Hay, earl of Carlisle. This nobleman was at that juncture engaged in the establishment of a colony in the island of St. Christopher, (as we shall hereafter have occasion more particularly to relate), and, either not knowing of the earl of Marlborough's patent, or conceiving that it interfered with his own pretensions,* he applied for and obtained, in the first year of Charles I. a warrant for a grant, by letters patent under the great seal of England, of all the Charaibean islands including Barbadoes; but when the grant came to be actually passed, the earl of Marlborough opposed it, on the ground of priority of right. The dispute between these noble lords continued for a considerable time; at length the contending parties thought it prudent to compromise the matter, and, on the earl of Carlisle's undertaking to pay the annual sum of £.300 to the earl of Marlborough and his heirs for ever, Marlborough waved his patent, and, in consequence of this arrangement, on the 2d of June 1627, the earl of Carlisle's patent passed the great seal, who thereupon became sole proprietor.t
* It is said that he had obtained from James I. a grant, or warrant for a grant, under the great seal, of all the Charaibean islands, which the king erected into a province by the name of Carliola, on the model of the palatinate of Durbam.
† Among other clauses in this grant are the following. “ Further know ye, that we, for us, our heirs, and sucessors, have authorized and appointed the said James earl of Carlisle, and his heirs, (of whose fidelity, prudence, justice, and wisdom, we have great confidence),
During this contest about the disposal of countries, most of which were at that time in the hands of their proper owners, the Charaibes; the man, who alone had the merit of annexing the plantation of Barbadoes to the crown of England, seems to have been shamefully neglected. The earl of Marlborough, having secured to himself and his posterity, the gratification I have mentioned, deserted him; and the lord Carlisle, having done him premeditated injury, became his irreconcileable enemy. Courteen, however, found a friend in William
for the good and happy government of the said province, whether for the public security of the said province, or the private utility of every man, to make, erect, and set forth, and under his or their signet to publish, such laws as he the said earl of Carlisle, or his heirs, with the consent, assent, and approbation of the free inbabitants of the said. province or the greater part of them, thereunto to be called, and in such form as he or they, in his or their discretion shall think fit and best. And these laws must all men for the time being, that do live within the limits of the said province, observe ; whether they be bound to sea, or from thence returning to England, or any other our dominions, or any other place appointed, upon such impositions, penalties, imprisonment, or restraint that it behoveth, and the quality of the offence requires h, either upon the body, or death itself, to be executed by the said James earl of Carlisle, and by his heirs, or by his or their deputy, judges, justices, magistrates, officers, and ministers, according to the tenor and true meaning of these presents, in what cause soever, and with such power as to him the said James earl of Carlisle, or his heirs, shall seem best: and to dispose of offences or riots whatsoever, either by sea or land, whether before judgment received, or after remitted, freed, pardoned or forgiven ; and to do and to perform all and every thing and things, which to the fulfilling of justice, courts or manner of proceeding in their tribunal, may or doth belong or appertain, although express mention of thein in these presents be nct made, yet we have granted full power by virtue of these