Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library

Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library


Letter from Robert Hunter, Governor of Jamaica 1728-1734,
to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in London,
reporting on early progress during the first Maroon War

[NA, London, CO137.20, p.p. 71-74]

Jamaica  June 1st  1732
My Lords

By express from Port Antonio I am advis'd that our partys out in pursuit of the rebel slaves have been oblig'd by the violence of the rains to return back again, but the weather having set in fair for some days past, Allen with his guide Sambo and the party under his comand march'd out again in pursuit of those rebels on the 13th [May] since which time I have had no advice of him but expect good news, depending more on him and the little successfull party under his comand than of Peters, recommended by the Assembly, who at the head of a much stronger party, and contrary to his instructions, which were to pursue those rebel slaves, sat still in the Negro town and slipt the opportunity of immediately improving the first blow, but the intrest he had with the volunteers and Negroes under his command made it somewhat dangerous to remove him at that critical juncture least they should desert the service and his promising to make amends for his pass'd ill conduct, it was judged necessary to continue him in comand; and he is now marching out in pursuit of the rebels whilst Capt. Morrison with a party of the soldiery inlisted in the Country Service keeps possession of the Negro towns lately taken, and the detachment from the Independent Companys are post at the breast works to guard the provisions lodged there for the use of the partys and the town of Titchfield, from any surprize rebel attack.
By this conveyance I have the honour to transmit to your Lords duplicates of the Acts Journals of and minutes of the Council and Assembly of the session ending the 11th Feb. and as soon as those of our last session ending the 6th Inst. can be got ready they shall also be transmitted, and in the mean time have herewith inclosed your Lordships a list of the title of the Acts passed in it; the Act intitled an Act for the better settling the East and North East part of the island explaining some clauses in several Acts relating thereto & is a very good one and much better calculated for the effectual reduction of the rebels and settling those parts than any ones hitherto pass'd, which together with the Act intitled an Act for continuing part of two several Acts & which oblige the several parishes to send out their partys in pursuit of the rebel slaves dispers'd, or what we hope will soon be dispers'd, will probably enable us to extirpate those rebels or reduce them to so low a state as to free us from the apprehensions of any mischief from them, if we can fall upon any methods to prevent our own Negroes deserting the Service which on all occasions they are apt to do  and so impatient to visit their homes, and little plantations, that they are ready to risque any punishment the Legislature has hitherto thought fit to lay on them, as slaves, for such desertions; The other evil we labour under which has been, and I am afraid will be a great obstruction to this service is the want of money, our Treasury having been for some time quite exhausted, and the means for collecting the outstanding debts of our Publick Funds difficult, and will be (I doubt) tho' necessary somewhat grievous to the subject, taxes have fallen heavily of late, which however will be greatly lessen'd if the two Acts before mentioned answer our expectations.

My Lords
Your Lordships' most humble and obedient servt.

Ro Hunter

        Since I had the honor to write last to your Lordships I have rec'd an account that a gang of rebels since the defeat of those at their principal settlements have fallen upon the plantation of Mr Barclay kill'd six of his Negroes and carry'd of eight and a child which they dash'd against a rock and left for dead but was found alive though much wounded by the Country Party which pursu'd them but without success. Immediately after an other party of them fell in upon Mr Woodstock's Plantation in the same parish carry'd off eight of his Negroes and kill'd two. I have also rec'd advice that Allen with the party under his comand was after having pursu'd a body of the rebels for some days and taken one of them arriv'd at Plantain Garden River in his way to Morant where he will be with all speed recruited with fresh provisions and have orders to march out again.

[Duplicates of the Acts and Journals of the House of Assembly attached]

An Act for continuing part of two several Acts, Viz. such part of an Act intitled an Act for the better suppressing and reducing the rebellious and runaway Negroes, pass'd in the month of March in the year of Our Lord 1730 and ...impowering such Parishes as are omitted in the said Act to send parties in like manner and proportion as the said Act mentioned to ascertain the pay of the said parties and appointing other Commissioners, and for the payment of the several Votes of Credit, the ease of the inhabitants of Carpenters Mountains and other purposes, pass'd in July 1731, and for continuing such part of the last mentioned Act as in any wise relates to the fitting out and payment of parties, or the appointment of Commissioners for that purpose.

An Act for keeping a nightly watch in the Town of Kingston and for the prevention of damages that may arise by fire.

An Act for the better settling of the East and North East parts of the island, explaining some clauses in several Acts relating thereto, and for making satisfaction to John Lawrence Esq. for a Negro lost in the country's service.

An Act to prevent the landing or keeping of Negroes infected by the Small Pox in any of the three towns of St. Catherine, Port Royal and Kingston.

An Act to enable trustees to sell and dispose of several pieces and parcells of land in the Parish of Westmoreland and other Parishes in this island, late the estate of Thomas Tomlin Planter deceased, and to apply the moneys arising thereby towards payment and satisfaction of a mortgage given by him in his life time of a plantation or sugar work in the said Parish of Westmoreland with the slaves, cattle and stock thereon in order to preserve the plantation from sale and improve it for the said Tomlin's heir, a minor of tender years.

All passed 6th May 1732

[Received in London, September 1st 1732]

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