RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoFP XV
TitleVOLUME XV: General Correspondence
1-3. Plea for increased allowance for Captain George Phenney, appointed governor of Providence in July 1721. Says that he has restored the fortifications partly at his own expense. Table attached shows allowance for maintaining a company in South Carolina to be almost twice that for the Bahamas.
4. List of persons baptized by Thomas Curphey, in 1721, 'When 'tis feard he had no Ordination'.
5-6. Thomas Parr to Thomas Curfey (in Jamaica), Berry St., St. James, Oct. 23, 1721. Says that he cannot secure a licence for him from the Bishop of London because the bishop would require a certificate of ordination. Extract from a letter of Sir Nicholas Lawes, Governor of Jamaica to (Governor Phennie), Jamaica, May 11, 1722. As requested, he has caused inquiries to be made concerning Curphey in Jamaica and finds no record of any such clergyman there. Encloses letter from W. May, Kingston, Apr. 26, 1722, who made the inquiry on his instructions. All three copies certified by Fr. Goudet.
7-8. G. Phenney to Bishop Robinson, New Providence, Mar. 2, 1722/3. Recommends Curphey for appointment as minister in the Bahamas provided it turns out to be true that he was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Sodor and Man and is the son of a clergyman in the Isle of Man. Whoever is appointed, the governor hopes that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel will grant him an allowance. --- Carrington has falsely pretended to represent the governor in seeking a minister.
9-10. Copy of (7-8).
11-12. Extract from a letter from William May to Commissary Bull of South Carolina, Kingston, Sept. 7, 1723. Gives the same information as (5-6). A note in the same hand says that Curphey, who officiated as deacon in New Providence in 1721, said that his father was a clergyman in the Isle of Man and that he had been educated at the University of Dublin and ordained in Ireland. Writer thinks he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Gloucester at the request of Bishop Robinson, in 1722.
13-14. Thomas Curphey to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Dec. 17, 1723. Encloses a list of christenings, marriages, and burials to the end of the year (21-22). Praises Governor Phenney.
15-16. Affidavit of Thomas Petty, commander of brigantine Hanover, before Governor Phenney, New Providence, Dec. 21, 1723.--- Garcia, designed as minister for Harbor Island, came on the Hanover at Gravesend, when it was under charter to Mrs. Phenney, but left it at Cork, after being charged with the theft of a chalice from a Roman Catholic church where he had formerly officiated. He had removed his luggage, including a box of books donated by Bishop Gibson for a library at Harbor Island, but later complained that Petty had sailed without him, whereupon Mrs. Phenney called him before the magistrates and offered to pay his passage and advance money for extra provisions if he would sail. He claimed to be a friend of Dean Norcourt and to hope for preferment from him.
17-18. Magistrates, officers of the militia company, and leading citizens of Harbor Island to Bishop Gibson, Dec. 24, 1723. Thank him for sending Garcia, whom they refer to as having been detained by the magistrates of Cork. Hope he will send someone else.
19-20. G. Phenney to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Dec. 24, 1723. Thanks him for his interest in the islands and encloses (15-16). Phenney has advanced the frame and materials for a church building, which he hopes to see completed in a few months. Asks the bishop to provide furnishings.
21-22. Baptisms, marriages, and burials performed by Thomas Curphey from Aug. 1 to Dec. 30, 1723.
23-24. Thomas Curphey to Thomas Bray, New Providence, Dec. 10, 1724. Encloses (21-22 and 25-28) with a request that they be forwarded to the bishop, and requests a stipend from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
25-28. Baptisms, marriages, and burials performed by Thomas Curphey, Jan. 1 to Dec. 4, 1724.
29-30. Thomas Curphey to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Dec. 10, 1724. Encloses (25-28). He has visited every island. Vestry in New Providence levied an assessment to pay him a salary of £60 a year, but he has only received about £30.
31-32. Thomas Curphey to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Jan. 22, 1725. Acknowledges a letter from the bishop. Is afraid that unfavourable reports may have been sent home about him. Asks the bishop to secure him several months leave so that he can come home to vindicate himself and collect his salary as chaplain, which is in arrears. He was appointed chaplain Dec. 10, 1722.
33-34. G. Phenney to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Apr. 14, 1725. Encloses some documents relating to Curphey, probably including (4-6). He still doubts that Curphey was ordained at his first coming, and is troubled about the state of the children baptized by him. He wrote Doctor Bray for advice, but received no answer.--- Flavell, a lay reader, officiates regularly on Harbor Island.
35-38. List of baptisms, marriages, and burials in the islands, 1723-5. Probably included with (33-34). Last date is Apr. 7, 1725.
39-40. Joseph Gegg to Bishop Gibson, Gloucester, Sept. 20, 1725. On searching the records he finds that Curphey was ordained deacon, Nov. 14, 1722, and priest Mar. 9, 1723, by the Bishop of Gloucester at the request of Bishop Robinson.
41-42. Baptisms, marriages, and burials in the Bahamas during 1725.
43-44. G. Phenney to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Feb. 1, 1725/6. Church is completed and has been in use about a year. They are building a slave gallery, as Phenney has been impressed by Doctor Bray with the duty of seeking to convert the slaves.
45-46. G. Phenney to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Apr. 20, 1727. As Curphey is planning to leave, Phenney asks the bishop to appoint a successor.
47-48. Certificate, signed by various residents, Harbour Island, Oct. 20, 1727, that Thomas Curphey baptized Joseph (age 19) and Anne Force (age 21), children of Nathan and Sarah Force, a Negro and a Mulatto, both free.
49-51. Certificate by members of the council, Dec. 2, 1727, describing repairs to the fortifications made by Governor Phenney. Memorial of Governor Phenney, undated and probably later, but attached to the foregoing by a seal. While governor, having no power to call an assembly, he collected tonnage duties by an order of the council. Since Governor Rogers arrived, an assembly has been held, which forced him to give surety for the funds thus raised before leaving the island. He prays relief from King in Council.
52-53. List of baptisms, marriages, and burials, 1727. Signed by W. Fairfax, Secretary.
54-55. Affidavits of Edward Lease, bricklayer, and Thomas Sackersen before W. Fairfax, Jan. 9, 1727/8. Former employees of Samuel Lawford, merchant, they testify to seeing Curphey in improper situations with Mrs. Lawford on various occasions when Lawford was absent.
56. Samuel Lawford to Bishop Gibson, South Carolina, Jan. 27, 1727. Encloses (54-55). Says his wife has confessed and believes herself with child by Curphey. Plans to come to London and present the original affidavits.
57. Samuel Lawford to (Governor Phenney?), undated but related to (54-55). Says that, when he pursued Curphey to South Carolina, he confessed the truth and begged forgiveness in private, but denied the charge in the presence of Commissary Garden. Asks the governor to forward the affidavits to the bishop.
58-59. G. Phenney to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Mar. 16, 1727/8. Encloses (52-57) or similar documents.
60-61. Thomas Curphey to Bishop Gibson, undated, but related to (54-57). Says the charge was only brought against him after he left the islands, expecting to obtain a parish in South Carolina, and that Lawford, whom he accuses of being a pirate, tried to blackmail him and assaulted him. He asserts that both Lease and Sackersen have been punished for numerous offences, one of them for perjury.
62-63. List of baptisms, marriages, and burials in 1728, signed by W. Fairfax, Secretary. There was no minister this year, but burials and clinical baptisms by Samuel Flavell and marriages by justices are listed.
64-65. G. Phenney to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Jan. 18, 1728/9. Refers to unspecified charges that have been brought against him in England. Possibly related to (49-51).
66-67. G. Phenney to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Mar. 10, 1728/9. Encloses (62-63).
68-69. Alexander Garden to Bishop Gibson, Charlestown, South Carolina, Apr. 28, 1730. The returning governor of the Bahamas (Phenney) who will deliver this can give the bishop an account of conditions there. The population outside the garrison is small and the people poor. The best that the retiring governor could raise by subscription was £80, which is insufficient for a clergyman with a family, and precarious, because voluntary. Garden has written the present governor to suggest that what the people can afford should be settled by law. He urges the bishop to find some means of supplementing it.
70-71. Woods Rogers to Bishop Gibson, New Providence, Oct. 13, 1730. He hoped to get a clergyman from South Carolina but is now convinced that he is not coming. He is pressing for the appointment of a chaplain to the garrison and thinks that the 140 civilian families would raise a substantial subscription to supplement a chaplain's salary, or an Society for the Propagation of the Gospel stipend. Lack of regular services is discouraging desirable settlers. He thinks that the Curphey-Lawford affair (cf. 54-61) may have been an 'abuse to' (deception of?) both Curphey and Lawford, who is now living comfortably with his wife.
72-73. Woods Rogers to Bishop Gibson, Charles Town, South Carolina, Apr. 1, 1731. Having visited Charleston for his health, he is shortly returning to the Bahamas, taking with him William Guy, who has obtained leave from his parish to visit the Bahamas for a few months. Governor Rogers believes that a comfortable support could be supplied by a combination of chaplain's salary, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel stipend, and subscription.
74-75. Alexander Garden to Bishop Gibson, Charlestown, South Carolina, July 24, 1731. Guy was in the Bahamas from Apr. 12 to June 10. He preached every Sunday, read prayers every Wednesday and Friday, visited most of the families, distributed the bishop's pastorals, married two or three couples, buried one woman, and baptized about 130 children. He reports that the people all profess the Church of England and desire a minister, but there are certain obstacles. The people (about 100 families on New Providence and 30 each on Eleuthera and Harbor Island) are poor and indolent, subsisting mostly on salvage from wrecks. Political tension between Governor Rogers and the people is so intense that no law can be passed and no subscription agreed upon. Governor Rogers requires anyone who would be his friend to quarrel with all his enemies. As these include most of the leading inhabitants, the position of a clergyman would be difficult. The government of South Carolina has decided to give Winteley (cf. ix. 233-6) another chance by appointing him chaplain to the garrison at Savannah on condition of good behaviour. Goose Creek parish has been vacant for three years. (Lewis) Jones has finally decided not to accept the call there.
76-77. William Smith to Bishop Gibson, Nassau, July 3, 1734. He fears that the bishop was displeased with him for tarrying so long in England before bringing his family from Ireland and sailing for the Bahamas, but he acted on the governor's advice. He is now settled in the islands.
78-79. Thomas Lyttelton to Bishop Porteus, Wanstead, Sept. 30, 1788. He knows nothing of Theophilus Nugent who has applied for a licence for some colony, and was unable to obtain any information from Nugent's agent, --- Neave of Broad St. Encloses a letter from Lord Dunmore relative to the Bahamas. Many of the planters there have come from the continent, bringing a considerable number of Negroes with them. As they are persons of small fortunes, the slaves are used in domestic service to a greater extent than they are in the sugar colonies. The establishment of schools for them might be beneficial. The little island of Anquitta, near Tortita, is inhabited by poor people with a few domestic slaves.
80-82. Thomas Robertson to Bishop Porteus, Harbor Island, June 17, 1790. In answer to inquiries sent by the bishop through William Gordon, the missionary on Exuma, he gives an account of his parish, which includes Harbor Island and Eleuthera. He was appointed Society for the Propagation of the Gospel missionary in 1786 and inducted into St. John's parish by Governor John Brown. He found a church built on Harbor Island, but unseated. He persuaded the inhabitants to seat it. He built a parsonage at his own expense (more than 300 guineas, as all materials had to be brought from the continent). He receives £70 from the British government, £50 from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and a local allowance of £24 for a vessel with which to visit the settlements on Eleuthera. Inhabitants are too poor to pay the fees allowed by law. He reads service once a Sunday and holds communion three times a year, to congregations of from 150-200. Population of Harbor Island, 600 whites and 250 Negroes; Eleuthera, 658 whites and 300 Negroes. People of Harbor Island all live in one town. Those of Eleuthera are scattered among several settlements. They are all native to the islands and unacquainted with any religious doctrines except those taught by Robertson's predecessor, who was a disciple of Wesley. The people will not allow their slaves to be instructed. He approves the bishop's plan for Sunday schools.
83-86. William Gordon to Bishop Porteus, Exuma, June 18, 1792. There are only two regular parishes in the Bahamas: Christ Church, on the island of New Providence and St. John's, including Harbor Island and Eleuthera. The other islands were largely uninhabited until the arrival of refugees from the United States following the Revolution. New Providence was settled because its fine harbour provided a convenient base for raiding the Spanish colonies. The other two were inhabited because they were near it. His mission covers the southern Bahamas, which he lists as Cat, Wattins, Exuma (Great and Little), Long, Crooked, Meguana, Heneagua, Caicos, and Turks Islands. He gives some statistics of their present population.
87-93. William Gordon to Bishop Porteus, Sept. 7, 1792 (dated in Notation). Gives a review of the moral and spiritual condition of the Negroes. From his former teacher, Doctor Beatie, he derived an opposition to slavery, which he retains, but somewhat abated, as he thinks the Negroes in the colonies better off than those in Africa. Those who have been in the colonies some time show intelligence equal to that of illiterate whites, but the intelligence of recent arrivals seems lower. Many masters obstruct their religious instruction. An exception is Denys Rolle, father to a member of Parliament, who requires his agents to hold daily family worship on his plantation. Some of the Negroes brought from the United States, especially New England, are Methodists, and there are several Negro preachers of this persuasion. Though opposed to the slave trade, he thinks it might be better to use the threat of abolishing it as a means of forcing the colonies to pass laws protecting the Negroes among them.
94-99. An Act for Establishing Schools in the Several Islands. Published Dec. 23, 1795. Attested by W. Baylis. (John, Earl of Dunmore, governor.) Provides for building of schools and paying schoolmasters from public funds.
100-17. An Act for the erecting and repairing of Churches for the Maintenance of the Ministers of the Gospel and the Support of the Poor. Passed the assembly, Dec. 23, 1795, council, Dec. 11, 1795. Approved by Governor Dunmore, Dec. 24, 1795. Copy attested by Adam Chrystie, Secretary. Erects a number of parishes in addition to the two already existing (Christ Church and St. John), provides for election of twelve-member vestries by voters qualified to vote for representatives in the assembly and of two wardens by the vestrymen, from among their own number. Churches to be erected and pews sold. Two assessments levied: three shillings per poll for the poor and a land tax to support the clergy, at salaries varying from £120 to £300 (for Christ Church). The Bishop of London is authorized to exercise jurisdiction over the clergy only, for the time being. It is specifically stated that there has been no previous legal recognition of his jurisdiction.
118-19. George Chalmers, Colonial Agent, to Bishop Porteus, Whitehall, Feb. 16, 1796. Enclosing (94-117).
120-1. W. Scott to Bishop Porteus, Feb. 19, 1796. He interprets (100-17) as granting the bishop no more than the trouble and expense of prosecuting offending clergy. He doubts the wisdom of accepting this power.
122. Undated memorandum containing brief notes concerning some persons connected with the Curphey case (cf. 54-61) and some others.
123-4. Undated description of the Bahamas, possibly at the time of Governor Phenney (cf. 1-6). Gives the cutting of dye wood as the chief industry, but says that some salt, oil, turtles, and fruits are exported to neighbouring colonies.
125-6. Bishop Compton to William Gordon, Nov. 28 (1703). Approves some plan of Gordon's to encourage clergy in the colony and hopes that Commissary Cryer is not guilty of raising a faction against the governor. He may have over-estimated the extent of his jurisdiction which only extends to inspecting the behaviour of the clergy and censuring notorious scandals among the laity.
127-8. Extract from instructions to Governor Lowther, Feb. 23, 1714. Not to prefer any minister to a benefice without a certificate from the Bishop of London. To inquire if any unordained minister officiates in any orthodox church or chapel and to give an account of his investigation to the Bishop of London. To support the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London except in respect to collating to benefices, licensing marriages, and probate of wills. Schoolmasters henceforth to be licensed by the Bishop of London.
129-32. William Gordon to Governor Robert Lowther, Aug. 1715. Defending himself against charges brought against the clergy in general and himself in particular in a presentation of the grand jury under Thomas Maxwell and later in an address of the assembly to the governor. The general charge was that the prevalence of vice in the colony was due to the ill example of the clergy. The specific charges against Gordon are that he had engaged in trade, that he had once played at dice and once participated in a serenade with fiddles. He points out that these particulars, even if true, which he denies (but cf. 133-4), do not involve actual immorality and appeals to an unblemished reputation since he came to the colony in 1701. Resentment really begins with the fact that, in 1704, under Governor Bevil Granville, he secured passage of a bill fixing ministerial salaries at £150. They had previously been fixed at will by the vestries. It was aggravated in 1712 when a request of the clergy made in a joint letter to Colonel Clelland, who was going to England, to do something about obtaining glebes and rectories, was misrepresented as an attempt to secure tithes. He encloses a testimonial from his vestry (137-8).
133-4. William Gordon to Bishop Robinson, Barbados, Sept. 30, 1715. Defends himself against foregoing charges. Admits to having engaged in trade when he first arrived, before his marriage. Refers to extensive correspondence with Bishop Compton and encloses (125-6) as a sample. Urges appointment of a commissary. Is seeking a curate in his parish. Reports death of --- Brown, 'the Society's' (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel?) chaplain.
135-6. Vestry of St. Michael's testimonial to Gordon. Undated, but enclosed in (127-32).
137-8. Commission issued by Bishop Robinson appointing William Gordon Commissary for Barbados, Mar. 7, 1715(16). (In Latin.) Notation: 'Copy of ye Bp. of London's Commission appointing a Commissary which was very disingenuously misinterpreted by the Board of Trade in their strange report.'
139-40. Correspondence committee to colonial agents, May 17, 1717. As Gordon has attempted to set up an ecclesiastical court on the strength of his commission, the agents are urged to petition to Board of Trade to have the bishop's authority restricted (copy).
141-2. Petition of the agents to the King against the bishop's jurisdiction. Referred to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, Sept. 3, 1717. Reference signed by J. Addison (copy.) The agents also complain of Dominick Langton, lately sent over by the bishop, who, they say, is a former friar who was once cited by a court in Ireland for impeding the conversion of Roman Catholics to Protestantism.
143-8. William Gordon to Governor Robert Lowther, Apr. 26, 1717, with attestation by Edward Rundell, Dec. 14, 1717, that when he attempted to deliver this letter to the governor at Gordon's request, the governor refused to receive it. Gordon defends his and the bishop's jurisdiction, pointing out that the bishop's jurisdiction is affirmed in the same instruction that gives the governor power to collate, probate, and issue marriage licences. Says that his predecessors, Cryer and Walker, both held ecclesiastical courts.
149-50. Charles Cuninghame to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, Sept. 20, 1717. Charges, with some detail of specification, that the society is being cheated by the agent who manages the Coddrington [Codrington] plantation and by the workmen employed in building the college. Refers to a previous letter on the same theme.
151-2. Charles Cuninghame to Bishop Robinson, Sept. 20, 1717. Encloses (149-50), as he fears that those on the board who are interested in promoting the college will conceal the original from the bishop.
153. George Forster to Richard Carter, Apr. 11, 1721. Has doubts, as a justice of the peace, of the legality of the present practice, whereby persons charged with adultery or fornication are bound over to the quarter sessions and, if convicted there, sentenced to fine or whipping. He thinks that the English statutes cited in justification of this practice, apply only if there is likelihood that the bastards born of such illicit unions will become public charges. He asks the opinion of Carter, attorney-general for the colony. (Copy.)
Richard Carter to George Forster, Apr. 15, 1721. He agrees with Forster's argument. Illicit relations, as such, are only punishable by ecclesiastical courts. Not wanting any such courts in the colony, he proposes a law providing civil penalties for some of the offences normally tried in such courts. (Copy.)
154. Special meeting of the general assembly at the house of Mrs. Mary Beresford, Bridgetown, Dec. 5, 1721. They repeal a resolution against William Gordon adopted Jan. 21-26, 1719, on the ground that the charges on which it was based were supported only by ex parte depositions obtained under the influence of former governor Robert Lowther. They resolve that Gordon 'is a Gentleman of known Probity and Honour and well worthy of the Station he bears'.
155-8. An Act to regulate the Punishment of Such Crimes and Vices as are Cognizable in the Ecclesiastical Courts and for Suppressing Vice and Profaneness. Dated 1722 in Notation. As the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London has been restrained by previous law, this act gives the commissary authority to proceed against offending clergy, but forbids any ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the laity. It makes moral offences, normally tried by ecclesiastical courts in England, punishable by the magistrate (cf. 186-7).
159-62. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Oct. 15, 1723. After thanking him, on behalf of the Countess of Granville and Lady Carteret for some preferment conferred on Doctor Herbert, and congratulating him on his translation, the governor complains of the low character and capacity of the island clergy, in spite of the fact that stipends range from £200 upwards. --- Porter fled the island after the governor started proceedings against him for frequent sexual lapses. --- Acourt, who was sent home mad a few years ago, has returned without any testimonial from the bishop. Hotchkiss, a recent arrival, also lacks such testimonial.
163-4. W. Gordon to Governor Worsley, Feb. 10, 1723/4. He has received some queries from the Bishop of London and, being unwilling to do anything without the governor's approval, he is submitting them to him for direction.
165-6. Duplicate of (163-4).
167. John Acourt to Bishop Gibson, Feb. 14, 1723(4). He asks the bishop for a licence, saying that he had received one from Bishop Robinson, Jan. 22, 1715, but that it was lost during his five years absence. He suggests an increase in the royal bounty to migrating clergymen and then rambles into a vague charge that his confinement as a lunatic was due to persecution by other clergy.
168-9. Governor H. Worsley to William Gordon, Feb. 15, 1723/4. From the bishop's letter to Gordon he concludes that the bishop is in doubt as to his own jurisdiction in the island. As he cannot authorize any jurisdiction without knowing its basis, he suggests that the queries be regarded as private communications to be treated with the respect due to the bishop's personal character.
170-1. Duplicate of (168-9).
172-3. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Mar. 3, 1723/4. Formally congratulating him on his translation.
174-7. Governor Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Mar. 3, 1723/4. He fears that the ship, Pink Eleanor, Captain Hawkins, by which he sent (159-62) and a pipe of Madeira, has been lost. He repeats the account of his action against Porter. In answer to a question of the bishop's concerning the advisability of appointing a commissary for the island, he encloses (180-1) and some other documents, but does not give a definite answer. Noting that one of the printed queries asks the number of families in each parish, he says that that is an official secret in the colony, as they are unwilling to show their strength.
178-9. Copy of (174-7) more closely written.
180-1. Extracts from the Instructions to Governor Worsley, enclosed with (174-7). He is to see that services, according to the Book of Common Prayer, are regularly read, and that a competent maintenance is provided for orthodox ministers; not to prefer any minister without a licence from the Bishop of London; to order that every orthodox minister be a member of the vestry; to report to the bishop if any unordained minister officiates in any orthodox church; to support the bishop's jurisdiction except in respect to collation, probating of wills, and licences to marry; no schoolmaster to come from England and teach school without a licence from the bishop; to see that a table of marriages is posted in each church; to punish moral offences; to report the present number of inhabitants and to send the Lords Commissioners a yearly abstract of vital statistics.
182-3. Clergy of Barbados to Bishop Gibson, May 5, 1724. Acknowledge his letter and promise respect.
184-5. A list of laws of Barbados relating to Church and clergy. Signed by W. Gordon, May 5, 1724. The acts are listed by title, ten of them with reference to a published edition of the laws, 1721. They include provisions for the support of the clergy, acts forbidding Quakers from bringing Negroes to their meetings, an act restraining the power of vestries in disposing of parish funds, which Gordon says was aimed at him, and an act to quiet the alarm of inhabitants at the prospect of an ecclesiastical court.
186-7. George Forster to Bishop Gibson, May 8, 1724. Encloses (155-8), which he says was drawn up with the assistance of Gordon, to whom he is related, and presented to the assembly Oct. 9, 1722, but never acted upon.
188-9. W. Gordon to Bishop Gibson, June 30, 1724. Encloses answers to bishop's queries. He had to go to England to defend himself against the charges brought against him in connexion with his work as commissary under Bishop Robinson.
190-1. W. Gordon to Bishop Gibson, July 1, 1724. Acourt, since his return, has lived next door to Gordon and behaved prudently. He recommends granting him a licence.
192. A list of all the clergy that have come to Barbados since 1710. Dated July 16, 1724. Surnames only.
193-4. John Acourt to Bishop Gibson, July 17, 1724. Encloses (190-2). Thanks bishop for mentioning him in letters to Governor Worsley.
195-8. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Nov. 12, 1724. Refers to an unspecified demand that may be made on the Coddrington [Codrington] estate. Has received testimonials to Hotchkiss from the bishop.
199-200. Governor Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Dec. 6, 1724. Acknowledges letter introducing --- Holt, whom he will prefer to a benefice as soon as one becomes available.
201-2. Gordon's answers to the queries addressed to commissaries. His predecessors, Walker, appointed in 1691, and Cryer held frequent visitations, but he held only two. One was to vacate a licence issued by Governor Lowther to marry a woman whose husband was living. On the governor's objecting to this, he agreed not to act again until the bishop's jurisdiction was settled. Lowther subsequently lodged a charge against him in England which he had difficulty in getting dismissed. During the vacancy in the governorship, at the request of President Cox, he started proceedings against Porter, but was unable to do anything until Governor Worsley arrived and cited Porter before himself. Porter then fled and is since reported to have died on the island of Sainto Guardo or Spanish Town in the Leewards. Some of the clergy have licences to other colonies. No vacant parishes. Under the law, no revenue is raised unless there is an officiating minister, but during a vacancy the governor usually directs a neighbouring minister to officiate, and he receives the revenues. Prices of necessities average 50 per cent. higher than in London. Stipends for clergy are probably the best in America, but three parishes lack glebes and rectories. He urges that some jurisdiction, ecclesiastical or civil, be set up to punish moral offences and neglect of public worship, as about half the population never attend any church and there are many unbaptized adults, though there are no professed dissenters, except a few Quakers. He also asks that something be done to promote the instruction of the slaves. He recommends that ministers should be allowed to officiate only in the colonies for which they are specifically licensed. Porter, licensed for the Leewards, was preferred by Governor Lowther ahead of Napleton and Acourt, licensed for Barbados.
203-14. Answers to queries addressed to the clergy. See Introduction (p. xxiii) for numbered questions to which answers are keyed.
203. John Acourt. No parish: 1. Arrived Apr. 1, 1716. 2. No church, but supplied St. Michael's as curate for a while. 3. Yes. 4. Not inducted. Remaining questions unanswered.
204. Edward Brice, St. Lucie's: 1. Seventeen years. 2. No previous parish. 3. Yes. 4. Seventeen years. 5. Yes. 6.872 A., 200 families. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Every Sunday. Less than one-fifth of parish attend. 9. On the three great festivals, or monthly if there are communicants. About 15 communicate. 10. Every Friday in Lent. 11. Yes. 12. £115. 13 and 14. No house, no glebe. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
205. Alexander Deuchar, St. Thomas: 1. Six years. 2. No. 3. Yes. 4. Inducted July 24, 1723. 5. Yes. 6. 8,500 A., 260 families. 7. Does not think that he can do anything for the conversion of slaves without consent of civil authority. 8. Every Sunday and some holy days. 60-120 attend. 9. The first Sunday of every month and other festivals. 12-20 communicants. 10. No catechizing. 11. Yes. 12. £115. 13. House and glebe. Glebe rented. 14. Repaired by parish. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
206. W. Gordon, St. Michael's: 1. Since 1701. 2. Served several parishes in Barbados before coming to St. Michael's. 3. Yes. 4. Ten years. 5. Yes. 6. 9,580 A., about 500 families. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Every morning. Two sermons on Sunday, and one every Wednesday and Friday in Lent. 9. Monthly and on great festivals. About 50 communicants. 10. Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent. 11. Yes. 12. £500. 13 and 14. Glebe but no house. £55 house allowance. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
207. Joseph Holt, St. Joseph's: 1. Thirty-one years, 20 on the continent and 11 on Barbados. 2. Mentions previous cures on the island, but not those on the continent. 3. Yes. 4. Nine years. 5. Yes. 6. 9X9 miles, does not know number of families. 7. Free Negroes are baptized and some native-born slaves, but ignorance of the language prevents teaching new arrivals. 8. Sundays and holy days. Well attended. 9. Monthly and on great festivals. About 30 communicants. 10. During Lent. 11. No. Lack altar-piece and cloth and cushion for pulpit and communion table. 12. About £150. 13 and 14. No glebe, but house rented by vestry. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
208. Richard Hotchkiss, St. Andrew's: 1. Since Apr., 1721. 2. Formerly curate of St. Michael's. 3. Yes. 4. Not inducted. 5. Compelled to reside outside parish because no house is available in it. 6. 8,000 A., about 200 families. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Sundays and holy days. 70-80 attend. 9. Monthly. 5-6 communicants. 10. No catechizing. 11. Yes. 12. £116. 13 and 14. No house, no glebe. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
209. Charles Irvine, St. Philip's: 1. Since 1692. 2. Formerly in St. James. 3. Yes. 4. Twenty years. 5. Yes. 6. 15,000 A., maybe about 500 families. 7.Nothing done for slaves. 8. Sundays and holy days. Well attended. 9. Monthly, and on great festivals. 30-60 communicants. 10. On some holy days. 11. Yes. 12. £150. 13. Yes. 14. Repaired by parish. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
210. Adam Justice, St. Peter's and All Saints': 1. Twenty-three years. 2. Previous cures in Barbados. 3. Yes. 4. Eleven years. 5. Yes. 6. 8,000 A., about 400 families. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Once a Sunday in each church, St. Peter's in Spaight's Town and All Saints' in the country. Daily in St. Peters. Well attended. 9. Three times a year in All Saints' to 12 communicants; monthly in St. Peter's to 30. 10. On Tuesdays. 11. Yes. 12. £250. 13. Yes, but there is some complication about which he proposes to write. 14. Repaired at his expense. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
211. Joseph Napleton, St. Michael's, curate: 1. Seven years. 2. No. 3. Yes. 4. Not inducted. 5. Yes. 6. Unanswered. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Same as in Gordon's answers (206). 9. Same as Gordon's. 10. Every Wednesday and Friday in Lent. 15. No. Other questions unanswered.
212. John Plasgow [Glasgow], St. James: 1. Since 1707. 2. Previous cures in Barbados. 3. Yes. 4. Thirteen years. 5. Yes. 6. 7,800 A., about 170 families. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Sundays and holidays. About one-third of parish attend. 9. Monthly and on great festivals. 12-20 communicants. 10. Every Sunday except when there is communion. 11. Yes. 12. £105. 13 and 14. Glebe but no house. 15. No. 16. A school, but not endowed. James Cocke is master. 17. No.
213. Gilbert Ramsey, Christ Church: 1. Came to Antigua in 1686. 2. Served St. Paul's, Antigua, until 1692, when he came to Barbados. 3. No. 4. Inducted in 1692. 5. Yes. 6. 14,310 A. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Sundays and holidays. 9. Monthly and on great festivals. 10. In Lent. 11. Yes. 12. No sterling estimate. £150 currency. 13. House and glebe. 14. Repaired by parish. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
214. Gilbert Wharton, St. George's: 1. Twenty-seven years. 2. Two previous cures in Barbados. 3. Yes. 4. Nine years. 5. Yes. 6. 10,000 A., 300 families. 7. Nothing done for slaves. 8. Sundays and holy days. 9. Monthly, if there are enough communicants. Communicants on great festivals may number 20. 10. Children catechized twice weekly in school kept by parish clerk. 11. Yes. 12. About £100. 13. House and glebe. 14. House in disrepair, but repairs promised by parish. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No.
215-16. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, St. Michael's, Apr. 30, 1725. Thanks bishop for recommending him to the governor, whom he praises. Comments unfavourably on morals of islanders, particularly as reflected in number of mulattoes. Slaves, after working six days a week for their masters, 'merchandise' on Sundays, with the aid of Jews and of some professed Christians.
217-22. Printed record of action of William Gordon against Gelasius MacMahon as agent of former governor Robert Lowther. Record attested by Benjamin Sullivant, Clerk, before Governor Henry Worsley, Sept. 10, 1725. Gordon charged Lowther with an act of trespass, jeopardizing Gordon's employment as rector and commissary, in writing a letter to Bishop Robinson charging Gordon with being disaffected and in spending his time in 'Gaming, Trading, Caballing, and Mischief-making'. The only proof of his disaffection is an unsupported statement that, in a sermon on a fast day occasioned by a Jacobite revolt, he tried to fix the blame on the Whigs. Lowther's answer does not seek to prove the personal charges but justifies the letter as part of the dispute over the bishop's jurisdiction. While the main issue was the ecclesiastical court, Lowther challenged Bishop Robinson to show that he had any jurisdiction at all. He maintained that the reference to it in his instructions (127-8) did not confer jurisdiction on the bishop but merely referred to it as something either existing or intended to be granted, and only required the governor to observe as far as convenient. The reply also makes it evident that the Whig-Tory controversy underlay the dispute. In a quotation from a letter of Lowther to Bishop Robinson, not in the present collection, he excuses himself for not appointing Acourt and Dominick Langton to benefices on the ground that they are notorious Tories. A local island controversy was also involved, as Gordon was associated with William Sharpe and William Walker, leaders of the opposition to Lowther. Gordon's action was dismissed by the court of first instance and the judgment maintained by Governor Worsley and the council. An appeal to England was pending when the record was printed. Joseph Pilgrim was judge at the original trial.
223-6. William Gordon to Bishop Gibson, Oct. 8, 1725. Porter (cf. 159-62) first went to Antigua but was obliged to leave because of scandal. Gordon's opposition was probably one reason why Governor Lowther appointed him to St. Andrew's. Acourt has recently been raving mad, but is now somewhat calmer. A fund could be raised to send him to England, if there was any guarantee that he would not return.
227-32. William Gordon to Bishop Gibson, Nov. 3, 1725. Reviews the whole question of episcopal jurisdiction in the colony. Barbados was settled under a patent issued by Charles I to the Earl of Carlisle, which was repurchased by the Crown under Charles II. Conformity to the Church of England was required by an early law, reaffirmed in 1650 and still in force, though a note in the printed edition says it was repealed. Early laws (dates not given) also provided for the election of vestries and the support of the clergy by a tax of one pound of sugar an acre. As this was insufficient for decent support, the vestries granted an additional allowance to clergy who retained their favour. In 1704, with the aid of Governor Sir Bevil Granville, Gordon obtained a law providing more adequate support. He attempts to give an account of the origin of the bishop's jurisdiction, but it is based on recollection of hearsay evidence. He infers that an order in council was issued in the time of Bishop Compton, since the instruction to governors to respect the jurisdiction was first inserted then. Bishop Compton's first commissary was --- Kenney, but he was prevented from acting as a result of the bishop's suspension by James II. After the Revolution, --- Walker and then --- Cryer were appointed. Walker was supported by Governor Kendall, but Cryer's authority was curtailed by later governors. After his death, no commissary was appointed until Bishop Robinson named Gordon in 1717. Gordon suggests that Governor Lowther's attack on the bishop and him was partly motivated by a personal dispute over some property. When he presented his defence in England, the court did not examine the issue of the bishop's jurisdiction, but only Gordon's propriety in exercising his commission. On this he was vindicated. As a result of opposition in Barbados and some other colonies, Bishop Robinson presented a petition to the King. This was returned, through Gordon, by a 'Great Man' with the statement that 'they' had no wish to meddle with the bishop's jurisdiction, but would thank him to withdraw his memorial. Attached (232) are copies of an order in council, dated Oct. 27, 1686, consequent on James II's appointment of commissioners for the Diocese of London, providing that their jurisdiction shall extend to the plantations; and an undated letter of Bishop Compton to Howard, Lord Effingham, governor of Virginia, saying that his jurisdiction has been affirmed by an order in council of some years standing, and that he will send Lord Effingham a commission to name --- Clayton as commissary. Also attached are copies of (163-4, 168-9) and one of May 27, 1724, from Worsley to Gordon to the same purport as (168-9).
233-4. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Nov. 14, 1725. Porter has obtained one of the best livings in Jamaica. Worsley thinks he must have forged testimonials. Praises Holt. Acourt was dismissed from Bedlam as incurable. He has been raving twice since his return.
235. Sentence of excommunication against William Gordon by John Acourt, Presbyter, Jan. 6, 1725(6). (In Latin.)
236. John Acourt to Bishop Gibson, Jan. 6, 1725(6). Encloses (235). Gordon's offence is preaching, in the afternoon service, before prayers for the King. Acourt reserves judgement concerning Governor Worsley until he knows whether or not he is responsible for his confinement.
237-8. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, St. Michael's, Apr. 5, 1726. Gives some account of his work as assistant in St. Michael's, Bridgeton, and praises Governor Worsley.
239-40. Alured Popple to Bishop Gibson, Whitehall, July 12, 1726. The first governor to whom the instruction relating to the bishop's jurisdiction was issued was Governor Dongan of New York (1686). The first governor of Barbados to whom it was issued was Sir Bevil Granville, 1702.
241-2. Copy of report of Lords of the Privy Council to the King, July 14, 1726. Recommend continuing with the issuance of the commission to Bishop Gibson, in spite of opposition of the agents of Barbados.
243-4. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Nov. 12, 1726. He is opposed to the bishop's having any coercive jurisdiction in the island. He has raised a subscription in aid of Acourt.
245-6. Duplicate of (243-4).
247-8. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, St. John's, Feb. 10, 1726/7. He has been appointed to St. John's as the result of the bishop's recommendation to Governor Worsley. He asks the bishop to use his influence to have his father transferred to a better parish. His present one is the worst on the island, rocky, cavernous, subject to landslides, and so unhealthy that his mother has to live in England.
249-50. Thomas Wilkie to Bishop Gibson, Mar. 7, 1726/7. Employed as schoolmaster to the slaves on the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel plantation, he has had limited success, but has three adult converts. He has not received much support from the society's agent, --- Smalrige, who will not let him teach any of the poor white children. He hopes for help from Holt, who now has a neighbouring parish.
251-2. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Mar. 17, 1726/7. He anticipates a number of vacancies soon, as a number of the clergy are seriously ill. He wishes the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel would employ a clergyman as catechist on their plantation instead of the schoolmaster, of whom he does not have a very good opinion.
253-4. Clergy of Barbados to Bishop Gibson, May 5, 1727. Express satisfaction on learning that a royal commission has placed them under the bishop's jurisdiction. Praise Governor Worsley and provide a testimonial to --- Ramsey, who is returning to England for his health after thirty-four years as minister of Christ Church.
255-6. Gilbert Wharton to Bishop Gibson, St. George's, May 7, 1727. Being old, in poor health, and nearly blind, he asks the bishop to send him an assistant, for whom the vestry have agreed to make provision.
257-8. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Oct. 20, 1727. He is afraid that the bishop's jurisdiction will not be liked by the colonists, even though confined to the clergy. It would be better if an appeal were allowed from the commissary to the governor in council.
259. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, St. John's, Dec. 21, 1727. He has baptized one adult Negro, who has been subjected to some ignomy as a result, though protected by his master. He baptized infant slaves in his own and his clerk's household. He would like permission of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to work for the conversion of the slaves on Coddrington [Codrington] plantation, which is in his parish. Praises manager Smalridge.
260-1. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, May 15, 1728. He is appointing Holt to Ramsey's parish. --- Warren has arrived, with good testimonials, but no licence. The governor, pending advice from the bishop, is allowing him to serve as curate to Irvine, who has gone to England for his health. Acourt has been sent to England. There has been some sort of political disturbance in the island (now past), which he attributes to the unsettling of people's minds by an earthquake.
262-3. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Sept. 21, 1728. Clergy, under act of 1704, receive £150 currency. As Irvine died, Warren is now in charge of St. Philip's, to which the governor will present him when he has a licence.
264-5. Pat. Rose to Bishop Gibson, Nov. 19, 1728. Following the appointment of Holt to Christ Church on Ramsey's death, Rose became assistant to Gordon. He would like to have the bishop recommend him to the governor, so that he can hope for further preferment.
266-7. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, Christ Church, Mar. 7, 1728/9. He baptized two Negroes on the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel plantation and has baptized some others in his present parish. He has raised the number of communicants in Christ Church from seven to thirty. People of Barbados are not much in favour of the college, but would like to have a school. He wishes that something were done to restrain certain noisy rites that the Negroes perform over the graves of the dead to keep them from haunting them. His father has baptized twelve Negroes.
268-9. Daniel Kingston to Bishop Gibson, Apr. 2, 1729. Asks the bishop to support the appointment of Michael Conor to a vacancy in the council created by the death of 'my dear Bro'r Bond'.
270-1. Thomas Warren to Bishop Gibson, Sept. 30, 1729. A clergyman of the diocese of Norwich, he has been forced to leave England because of some unspecified act which he attributes to generosity on his part. He has been well received by the governor and asks the bishop's opinion, whether the acceptance of preferment in Barbados would annul his title in England.
272-3. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Oct. 12, 1729. --- Wharton, who came to Barbados to be assistant to his kinsman, Gilbert Wharton, arrived after his death. As there was no vacancy in Barbadoes, Worsley advised him to go to the Leewards, where he is now settled. He has found some unspecified employment for --- Warren, whose brother (Thomas) is curate at Bridgeton.
274-5. Pat. Rose to Bishop Gibson, St. Andrew's, Mar. 7, 1729/30. Governor Worsley presented him to this parish. He refers to himself as a relative to Lord Ross.
276-7. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, Christ Church, Mar. 18, 1729/30. Wilkie has become a little more diligent under Holt's rebuke, and prepared eleven Negroes for baptism. Holt has received power of attorney from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Placement of several clergymen mentioned. Marsden was once curate to Berrisford, Gordon's predecessor at St. Michael's.
278-9. Governor Henry Worsley to Bishop Gibson, Apr. 24, 1730. He is meeting resistance in collecting a tax granted by royal authority for the support of the government, which the assembly contends is not in effect. The agents for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel on the Coddrington [Codrington] plantation are among the resisters.
280-1. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, Christ Church, May 28, 1730. He has inspected Coddrington [Codrington] plantation with Mr. Osborn, but the other agents were not present. Two have returned to England. Wilkie has several catechumens ready for baptism. Holt has baptized seven Negroes in his own parish. Three were his own and four belonged to the Hon. George Gram. Postscript, July 6: Letter delayed for want of conveyance. He has still been unable to get two agents to make an official inspection with him.
282-3. William Johnson to Bishop Gibson, Bridg-Town, May 29, 1730. He has incurred the hostility of his vestry by supporting the tax referred to in (278-9).
284. Thomas Warren to Bishop Gibson, Bridge-Town, May 30, 1730. The bishop, through what he assumes to be a mistake, has recommended his younger brother instead of him to the governor. Reports rumour that Duke of Dorset is to succeed Lord Carteret in Ireland. Is sending the bishop a box of local beverages.
285-6. Thomas Warren to Bishop Gibson, Bridge-Town, June 24, 1730. Again explains the supposed confusion between him and his brother. Mentions that he is serving as curate in Bridgeton. Is sending the bishop another gift.
287. Receipt, signed by Robert Allen, chief mate, June 24, 1730, for a case received on the Elizabeth for delivery to Bishop Gibson. (Probably enclosed with 285-6.)
288-9. Thomas Warren to Bishop Gibson, Bridge-Town, July 7, 1730. Asks again for the bishop's recommendation and for his opinion whether accepting a living in Barbados would vacate his living in England.
290-1. Thomas Warren to Bishop Gibson, Bridge-Town, Aug. 6, 1730. He has received some sort of recommendation from the bishop, but the governor refuses to accept it as a valid licence. As he has permission of the Bishop of Norwich to live abroad, is an M.A., rector of Boxford in Sussex, and chaplain to the Duke of Dorset, he thinks that the bishop might dispense with the requirement of a personal appearance to obtain a licence.
292-3. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, Christ Church, Nov. 17, 1730. Smalridge, the manager at Coddrington [Codrington], is ill and not expected to live. Holt recommends his nephew, John Vaughton, who has been de facto manager for two or three years. John Alleyne, one of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel's agents, has died. Holt does not think highly of the others, who belong to the party opposed to the governor. Osborn is a self-made man, who came to the island as a servant and now controls several plantations. Bennet he charges with bribery in a recent election. He allows Abel Alleyne a good character, except for his politics. Holt is threatened with prosecution for refusing, on the governor's advice, to marry a couple two days before the election, as the purpose of the marriage was simply to make one more freeholder to vote against the governor. The marriage was performed by Warren, the new rector of St. Philip's, whom Holt accuses of frequently invading his parish.
294-5. Arthur Holt to Bishop Gibson, Christ Church, Dec. 2, 1732. Again recommends Vaughton to succeed his uncle. Recommends that management of the business affairs of the plantation be entrusted to the general manager, as the estate is usually cheated when the business is handled by merchants. One agent, now deceased, once told Holt that he expected that the estate would eventually have to be sold for rum, and hinted that he would like to buy it. Seventeen Negroes belonging to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and one belonging to Vaughton are ready for baptism, as the result of Wilkie's efforts.
CustodialHistoryAlso cited as FP 15
CopiesMicrofilm: Lambeth Palace Library MS Film 759

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