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Feb. Major-general Hunter arrived, with full power as governor. - Having previously made himself acquainted with the state of the colony, he had urged its distresses upon the attention of his majesty's ministers, and was listened to with confidence and effect. The assembly to testify the estimation in which they held his said services, instantly increased his salary to £6000, and he fulfilled the last hope of the colony by reconciling it to the mother country.
March 21. An assembly met, and on the 18th April presented to the governor an act (1 Geo. II) for a permanent revenue, which being assented to, finally closed a subject of debate and irritation which had existed for nearly thirty years. "It completed an arrangement which was pure and permanent; satisfactory to the interest of the crown, and no charge upon the resources of Jamaica. Articles of foreign growth with the quit rents, fines, and forfeitures which had already been relinquished, supplied the required fund of £8000 per annum. And the act beneficial, wise, and liberal in itself, procured from the crown not only the royal conformation of all its laws, but that cardinal declaration which is recognized as the Magna Charta of Jamaica, viz: -- All such laws an statutes of England as have been at any time esteemed, introduced, read, and accepted, or received, as laws in this island, shall and are hereby declared to be and continue laws of this his Majesty's island of Jamaica for ever" -- Bridges. -- This Revenue forms what is now known by the name of council fund.
Coffee introduced by Sir Nicholas Lawes, and first planted on Tower Hill, now Temple-Hall, in St. Andrew's.
Conflagration of Port-Royal, which continued three days, and destroyed immense property; few of the inhabitants survived the calamity; but many hundreds of their mercantile dependents throughout the island were plunged into misery and ruin.
First appointment of an island agent
March 31. Governor Hunter died, to the regret of all ranks, who beheld with dismay the reinstatement of president Ayscough.
Sept. 31. President Ayscough died
John Gregory, esquire, succeeded to the government as president.
Dec. 29. Henry Cunningham, esquire, arrived as captain general and governor-in-chief.
Feb. 12. Governor Cunningham died, and the government again devolved on president Gregory.
May. Edward Trelawny, esquire, (afterwards colonel of the 40th regiment) arrived as captain general and governor in chief.
Maroons, the descendants of negroes left by the Spaniards, increased by runaways had hitherto caused great annoyance to the settlers, frequently murdering them, and destroying the plantations. Many fruitless attempts had been made against them, until captain Sadler, at a head of a strong party, well armed, sought and met the rebels in their haunts, shewed them unequivocal proofs of his strength, received signs of submission, exchanged hats with their chiefs, in taken [sic] of fidelity, and negotiated a peace to the satisfaction of all parties. Governor Trelawny subsequently entered into a treaty with them, by which they were settled in separate townships throughout the island.
Nov. 21. Porto Bello taken by admiral Vernon.
The extended lines on Mosquitto Shore, now Fort-Augusta, projected by the skill and experience of captain Knowles.
Carthagena attacked by the force under Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth, and the formidable Boca Chico and the Castello Grande stormed and taken. The complete success of the expedition was frustrated by the dissensions between the two commanders. The strong defences of Fort de St. Lazare were assaulted, but when the assailants reached the foot of the ramparts, they found no scaling ladders provided, and under a rolling fire of musketry met their inevitable fate. Colonel Grant, one of Jamaica's bravest sons, gained a footing, but was quickly hurled from the battlements, and the increasing light of the morning enabled the Spaniards to effect the total destruction of his intrepid followers.
Governor Trelawny, at the head of a chosen regiment, whose ranks were filled with the flower of the Jamaica youth, joined as a colonel and a volunteer the forces destined against Panama. The expedition returned without attempting a descent, which had been delayed until the Spaniards were too well prepared to afford a prospect of success.
Oct. 20. Tremendous hurricane. The greater part of Port-Royal again destroyed, and the formidable lines of Fort-Augusta rent in a thousand pieces. A pestilence succeeded, which raged for may weeks, sweeping a way a large proportion of the population.
Guinea grass introduced from the following circumstance. A cage of African birds had bee presented to chief justice Ellis, and with them was sent a small bag of their native food, the wild grass seed of the coast of Guinea. The birds died and the seeds carelessly thrown into a hedge, which quickly grew and spread, and the eagerness of the cattle to reach it, called attention to its vegetation, which has since become one of the most valuable productions of the colony.
A conspiracy formed with unusual art by the slaves, discovered within a few hours of its development, by the confession of a negro girl, who implored one of the conspirators to spare the infant of her mistress which she had nursed, but who refused her request.
Penal slave code revised, and the murder of a slave declared a capital offence.
Reduction of rate of interest from eight to six per cent.
Commission of nisi prius appointed for recovery of small debts.
Sept. 2. Storm.
Nov. Governor Trelawny retired, and was succeeded as captain-general by vice-admiral Chas. Knowles, (afterwards baronet.)
Introduction of emigrants, consisting of 108 families, with fifteen artificers.
The British cabinet ventured on a change in the constitutional privileges of the assembly, through the artful representations of governor Knowles, who had refused his assent to a money bill, in which the house had appointed an officer of its own to administer the duties of the public treasury. The altercations between the governor and the assembly rose to a great height, and the house was dissolved.
Governor Knowles commanded the next assembly to meet him in Kingston.
Three assemblies met, and were dissolved in three months, for not consenting to an act for the removal of the seat of government and the courts of justice from Spanish-Town to Kingston, but a fourth, less scrupulous, passed the act in May. The king was addressed by the assembly to confirm the law, and was petitioned by the whole island to annul it.
Governor Knowles retired, and the government devolved on Henry Moore, esq., (afterwards baronet) lieut.-governor.
The royal disallowance of the act of removal proclaimed on the 3rd October, and lieutenant-governor Moore empowered to hold the courts when and where he considered most convenient. Thirty waggons, loaded with the public records, and escorted by a large body of military, were met at the Ferry by a detachment from the garrison of St. Jago, and restored to their ancient depository.
Oct. 21. The island divided into judiciary districts, and Kingston, Savanna-la-Mar, Montego-Bay, and Port Antonio declared free ports.
The public buildings in Spanish-Town commenced, and the church enlarged and adorned.
Two attempts made by the assembly -- one to refuse the elective franchise to the members of the council, the other, a claim made by the house to the exclusive franking of letters, which had nearly produced civil discord, but the judicious management of governor Moore allayed the tumult.
July. Brigadier-general George Haldane arrived as captain-general and governor in chief. He lived only a few weeks, and Henry Moore, esq., again became lieutenant-governor.
A conspiracy projected by two Coromantees of the name of Tackey and Jamaica in St. Mary's, St. James's, and Westmoreland. The life of governor Moore was once exposed in suppressing this insurrection by his intrepidity in exploring a secret and unguarded path; he was surrounded by the conspirators, and invigorously spurring his horse down a steep and slippery descent, the animal fell, and but for his consummate skill as a marksman, his pistols would scarcely have saved him from three athletic slaves, who rushed upon him. At length his troops came up; the rebels were driven into a narrow part; their chieftains fell by the first discharge of a small field piece; many prisoners were captured, and the survivors dispersed. They again rallied, and with increased numbers, but were met in the vale of Bagnals, and again defeated with a great loss; about 600 of the captured rebels were transported to the Bay of Honduras.
Arrival of governor Lyttleton, who brought intelligence of the seizure of British shipping in all the ports of Spain, and the immediate neighbourhood of a Spanish squadron, which menaced Jamaica with invasion, and the town of Kingston with a siege.
Success of the British arms, under the earl of Lauderdale and sir George Pocock, in the reduction of the Havanna, announced by governor Lyttleton.
Five French frigates captured on the coast of Hispaniola brought into Port Royal.
The formica omnivora, the native ant of Cuba, brought by Thomas Raffles, under the impression that it would devour its lesser species, and free the island from the innumerable insects which infest it; instead of which, it became one of the greatest scourges.
The king's house in Spanish-Town completed and furnished at an expense of £30,000.
A public lottery proposed and adopted, under the authority of the assembly, and the management of the receiver-general.
The magazine at Fort-Augusta containing 3000 barrels of powder struck by lightning; three hundred human beings lost their lives, and the buildings, bastion, and even the guns, were blown to atoms. The damage estimated at £43,000 sterling.
A breach of the privileges of the assembly committed by governor Lyttleton, by cancelling the speaker's warrant for the commitment of an offender against one of its rules. Thomas Wilson, a marshal's deputy, having levied on the carriage of John Oliphant, esq. a member, the chancellor released the offender by habeas corpus. He was again taken and again released. the governor shewed the royal instruction, that no protection from suits of law should be allowed to any member of the senate otherwise than to their person. The house remonstrated , and it was instantly dissolved; again it remonstrated, and it was again dissolved.
Governor Lyttleton resigned, and Roger Hope Elletson, esq. succeeded as lieut-governor.
July 4. By command of the king in council, lieutenant-governor Elletson, in presence of the council and assembly, caused a vacatur to be entered on the margin of the proceedings in the case of Wilson in the records of the court of chancery.
The assembly having attached to the law for the subsistence of the troops, a clause relating to the public lands or buildings in Clarendon, the council refused their assent to the act for raising the necessary supplies, and rejected nine other bills, which occasioned much discord between these branches of the legislature.
Oct. Sir William Trelawny, baronet, captain in the royal navy, arrived as captain-general and governor in chief. During his administration, the extensive district of St. James was divided, and the parish of Trelawny established. He died in 1722, and a thousand guineas were expended on his funeral.
The assembly having introduced a clause, applying the surplus money arising from the revenue act of 1728 in a money-bill, the council refused its assent; but the exigencies of the government obliged the executive to pass it, though not without a severe censure upon the motives which suggested the innovation. The assembly ventured to inquire with some asperity "under whose advice such censure had been passed, and received a mild and dignified reply from governor Trelawny, that the funds thus appropriated had once been the generous fruits of lawful prerogative, and that therefore in liberally relinquishing that prerogative, the crown reserved to itself, or its council, a voice in the appropriation of any surplus which might annually remain." He however convened a new assembly, which yielded to the just rights of the crown.
Colonel John Dalling (afterwards baronet and lieutenant-general) lieutenant-governor.
Arrival of Sir George Rodney, with a powerful squadron, which drew the attention of the Spaniards from the destruction of Jamaica to the safety of their own shores.
A horrible conspiracy among the slaves in Kingston, to massacre the white inhabitants and burn their dwellings, discovered by the fidelity of a negro girl, who afforded such information to her master as enabled him to secure his family from destruction. Three hundred armed ruffians were surprised by a military force.
The house of assembly petitioned his majesty in council on behalf of the North-American colonists, in their contest with Great-Britain.
Hutchinson, the assassin, apprehended by sir George Rodney, in attempting to escape to sea in an open boat from Old-Harbour. He was executed in Spanish-Town on the 16th March.
Jan. Sir Basil Keith, knight, captain in the royal navy, arrived as captain-general and governor in chief.
Thirty rebels executed, who had headed an extensive conspiracy in Hanover and Westmoreland.
June 15. Sir Basil Keith died, and lieutenant-governor Dalling assumed the government.
Lieut-governor Dalling appointed captain-general and governor in chief.
Nov. 25. Governor Dalling returning to England, major-general Archibald Campbell (afterwards K. B.) succeeded as lieutenant-governor.
Threatened invasion of the island by the combined fleets of France and Spain, under the command of Count D'Estaing. All plantation work for the time abandoned, and the agricultural strength of the island employed in the cultivation of provisions to supply the population employed in the works of defence.
May 16. Great conflagration in Kingston, which broke out about two o'clock in the morning, at the house of a Mr. Lewis, corner of Water-Lane and King-Street, and which continued its devastating course as far as Dr. Mackglashan's in Orange Street. It was not finally extinguished until five o'clock the following evening, causing the loss of property to the amount of £30,000.
Oct. 3. Destructive hurricane, storm, and earthquake, which laid waste the town of Savanna-la-Mar, and destroyed a great portion of the county of Cornwall. A liberal subscription was raised for the sufferers, the inhabitants of Kingston contributed £10,000, and the British parliament sent a donation of £40,000 in specie.
Feb. 17. A severe shock of an earthquake felt in Kingston. the inhabitants fled from their houses into the open air in the greatest consternation.
Aug. 1. Severe storm; ninety vessels went on shore from the east end of Kingston to Passage-Fort, and thirty of the fleet which was lying at Port-Royal; several dead bodies were washed ashore and buried on the palisadoes.
Nov. 24. A daring freebooter, named Bristol alias "Three-fingered Jack," the leader of a banditti, which had a settlement in the recesses of Four-Mile-Wood, in St. David's causing general consternation, and committing numerous excesses about that part of the county, was killed by a maroon named John Reeder. He was surprised by Reeder and his party near Mount-Lebanus; he desperately defended himself, and, although severely wounded, having received three bullets into his body, threw himself down a precipice forty feet deep, followed by Reeder, who soon overpowered him, struck off his head, and the hand wanting the two fingers, and carried them in triumph to Kingston. Reeder was rewarded, during the remainder of his life, with a pension.
Disastrous expedition to San Juan, which consisted of a force of 1379 men.
April 12. Rear-admiral sir George Brydges Rodney, bart. off Dominica, obtained a complete victory over the French fleet, commanded by the count de Grasse. The fleet was on its way to form a junction with the Spanish fleet, which would have then amounted to sixty sail of the line, and their united forces would have been directed against this island. The battle commenced at seven in the morning till half past six in the afternoon, without one moment's intermission. The admiral, in the Formidable, by a masterly manoeuver, broke the French line between the second and third ships astern of De Grasse in the Ville de Paris, which after a vigorous but vain resistance, struck her colours to sir Samuel hood. The count De Grasse was one of only three unwounded in his upper deck. Five sail of the line struck their colours also; one was sunk. Admiral Rodney was raised to the peerage, and a marble statue erected in the square of Spanish-Town, perpetuated his name -- It was executed by Bacon, and cost 3000 guineas. A club, called "the European Club", to commemorate the anniversary of this great victory was instituted and kept up in Kingston for upwards of twenty years after.
A valuable collection of exotic plants, which a ship was bearing from Asia to St. Domingo, captured by admiral Rodney. The Mangifera Indica, or mango, was among the plants, and was then first introduced into this island.
Jan. Lieut-general Campbell appointed captain-general and governor in chief.
J uly 12. Governor Campbell returned to England, and colonel Alured Clarke succeeded as lieutenant governor.
July 30. Hurricane.
Aug. 27. Hurricane
Oct. 20. Storm.
March 17. Thomas earl of Effingham, arrived as captain-general and governor in chief.
Nov. 19. The earl of Effingham died, and the government devolved on major-general Adam Williamson as lieutenant-governor.
May 24. Lord Rodney died. He was born in December, 1718.
His Majesty's ship Providence, captain Bligh, which was dispatched to the south seas for the collection of exotics for this island by order of his majesty, arrived at Port-Royal, brought the bread fruit, china orange, and other valuable plants (in all 621). In return for this act of royal munificence, a collection of early six hundred plants was made in the vicinity of Kingston and the mountains of Liguanea, and presented to the gardens of Kew.
Bourbon cane introduced from St. Christopher and Antigua, whither it had been brought from the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius.
April 3. Lieutenant-governor Williamson having been appointed to command the forces of St. Domingo, major-general Alexander, earl of Balcarres, succeeded as lieutenant-governor.
July. Rebellion of the Trelawny Town Maroons.
Aug. 1. Martial law proclaimed.
----- 12. Lieut. colonel Sandford, quartermaster M'Bride, and six privates of the 20th, and eight privates of the 18th light dragoons, colonel Jarvis Gallimore, and a number of respectable gentlemen of the militia, killed in a defile near Maroon-Town.
Sept. 12. Colonel Fitch, one corporal, and seven privates of the 83rd regiment, captain Brissett, of Fort-Charlotte, and captains Reid and Badnedge, of the Accompong maroons, killed by the maroons in the cockpits near Cudjoe-Town; captains Lee and Jacob Burnt, one corporal, and six privates of the 83rd regiment, Mr. M'Farlane, superintendent of maroons, and three Accompong maroons, were wounded.
Jan. 12. the first party of maroons surrendered, consisting of upwards of forty.
March 18. The maroons having all surrendered, martial law ceased.
April 27. The maroons consisting of upwards of 500 men, women, and children, transported to Halifax. The assembly resolved that they should be provided with clothing and provisions for three years, at the expense of the island. A succession of difficulties opposing their settlement in Nova Scotia, they were finally removed to Sierra Leone.
June 1. Stamp act commenced.
The town of Montego-Bay suffered a conflagration, which involved two-thirds of it in ruins. The loss amounted to half a million of money.
To assist Great-Britain to carry on the war against revolutionary France, a voluntary subscription was entered into throughout the island, which amounted to near a million of money.
Dec. A conspiracy among the negroes who had come from St. Domingo was discovered; on the 23rd, Joseph Sas Portas, a spy, hanged on the Parade of Kingston. In consequence of his confession, upwards of 1000 of these negroes were shipped off the island.
Dec. 22. Martial law was proclaimed, and continued until the 5th February.
Nov. 1. The Hermione frigate brought into Port-Royal, having been cut out from under the guns of the fort at Puerto-Cabello, by the boats of the Surprise, commanded in person by captain Hamilton. the Hermione was formerly a British frigate; her crew mutinied, murdered her commander captain Pigot, and several of the officers; they carried the ship into La Guayra, and delivered her to the Spanish governor. Captain Hamilton was severely wounded in the action. He received the honour of knighthood for his spirited conduct. In the month of April, 1800, on returning home for the cure of his wounds, he was captured by a privateer and carried into a French port from whence he was sent to Paris, where he was taken particular notice of by Bonaparte, who at length agreed to his being exchanged for six midshipmen. Previously to his departure from Jamaica, the house of assembly, with its accustomed liberality, voted captain Hamilton a sword of 300 guineas value, and on his arrival in England after his exchange, the common council of London voted him the freedom of their city.
Aug. Lieut. Gen. George Nugent lieutenant-governor.
The royal assent having been given to the act for constituting Kingston a corporation, under the name of the mayor, aldermen, and commonality of the city and parish of Kingston, the first election took place November 15.
April 1. Martial law proclaimed in consequence of the arrival of the combined fleets of France and Spain at Martinique, their destination was the British colonies, and this island the principal object of their exertions; but being closely pursued by lord Nelson (who arrived at Barbados, with ten sail of the line and three frigates, on the 3rd June), they soon quitted these seas, after an attack on Dominica. Martial law ceased on the 22nd of the same month. This fleet was destroyed in the month of October following at Trafalgar by lord Nelson. His lordship received a mortal wound on board his favourite ship the Victory, which closed the life of a hero of unparalleled renown.
The African slave-trade abolished by an act of the imperial parliament.
Feb. 6. Vice-admiral Sir J. T. Duckworth, K. B. with six sail of line, one 64, two frigates, and two sloops, engaged off Santo Domingo the French squadron of rear-admiral Lesseigues , of five sail of the line, two frigates, and a corvette; L'Alexandre, of 80 guns, Le Jupiter, and Le Brave, of 74 each, were taken and brought into Port-Royal; L'Imperial, of 120, and Le Diomede, of 74, run on shore by the enemy; the frigates escaped.
Jan 1. Curacao taken by captain Charles Brisbane. It was occupied till 1815, when it was delivered to the Dutch admiral Kickhart by major-general Hull.
Feb. Lieutenant-general sir Eyre Coote, K. B. lieutenant-governor.
St. Ann's Bay made a free port, and Falmouth, Port-Maria, and Annotto-Bay ports of clearance.
March 26. William, duke of Manchester, arrived as captain-general and governor in chief.
March 27. Recruits of the 2nd West-India regiment stationed at Fort-Augusta mutinied; lieutenant and adjutant Ellis was killed, and major Darley died of the wounds he received. Nine of the mutineers were killed; one died of wounds; sixteen were tried by a court-martial, and found guilty, seven of whom were shot.
Nov. The house of assembly appointed a committee to inquire into the circumstances of the above mutiny. Major-general Carmichael, at this time senior officer of the troops, issued an order prohibiting such officers as might be called before the committee from answering any questions on the subject. The house, in consequence, directed the speaker to issue a warrant, requiring the major-general's appearance at the bar on the 1st December. Failing to appear, he was ordered to be taken into the custody of the sergeant-at-arms. The governor, however, immediately sent for the assembly to the council room and prorogued them.
April 25. The assembly having met, the governor in his speech informed the house that the officers would be directed to attend without restrictions; and on the same day the speaker was directed to issue a warrant for taking major-general Carmichael into custody. He appeared at the baron the following day in charge of the sergeant-at-arms and informed the house that, by his majesty's commands, he was now ready to attend its pleasure. The house satisfied with thus securing its privilege, discharged the major-general and proceeded to business.
A conspiracy discovered among the negroes of Kingston by the confession of George Burgess, a private in the 2nd West-India regiment, while under sentence of death for desertion. Two of the conspirators were tried, found guilty, and executed on the 1st April.
Great depreciation in the price of coffee in consequence of the continental system enforced by Bonaparte, which continued till the termination of the war in 1815. The article became of no value during that period, either to sell, barter, or pledge.
Sugar permitted to be used in the distilleries of England, which created an annual demand for about 50,000 hogsheads; but the permission was of short duration.
June 25. The duke of Manchester proceeding to England, the government devolved on lieutenant-general Edward Morrison.
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