This webpage updated 31 January 2010
Sir William Courteen and the struggle for control of Barbados:
The Earl of Carlisle and proprietary rights to the Caribbean:
The capitalist settler of Barbados, Sir William Courteen Senior, has been regarded as "an Anglo-Dutch financier finally bankrupted by his involvements with the Dutch East India Company", which helps any story little, as we shall see.
Titles generally useful for the preparation of this chapter included: Griffiths, A Licence to Trade; Furber, Rival; Brenner, Merchants and Revolution; Ian B. Watson, Foundation. W. K. Hinton, ‘The Mercantile System in the Time of Thomas Mun’, Economic History Review, Second Series, VII, 1955., pp. 277. D. C. Coleman, ‘Naval Dockyards under the Later Stuarts’, Economic History Review, Second Series, VI, 1953-1954., p. 134. S. A. Khan, The East India Trade in the Seventeenth Century. London, 1923. P. J. Thomas, Mercantilism and the East India Trade. London, 1926. W. H. Moreland, From Akbar to Aurangzeb. London, 1923. K. N. Chaudhuri, The English East India Company: The Study of an Early Joint-Stock Company, 1600-1640. London, Frank Cass, 1965. The Courteen genealogy is imperfect. At Cologne was an unmarried Peter Courteen, merchant (1581-1631), but it is uncertain where to place him in the family.
At this point in the narrative must be entered information on two more careers not well-detailed in history books... those of Hay, first Earl of Carlisle, and Sir William Courteen Senior. The Carlisle genealogy is surprisingly short. Sir James Hay of Kingask, wife unknown, had a son, James Hay (1580-1636), first Earl of Carlisle, who married first Honora Denny (died 1614) who had a fortune; and secondly Lucy Percy (1599-1660) the daughter of the anti-Spanish Henry Percy, third Earl Northumberland.
Henry Percy, third Earl Northumberland (1564-1632); GEC, Peerage, Halifax, p. 243; Northumberland, p. 734 and Note H; Romney, p. 83; Percy, p . 465.
Honora Denny had a son, James (1605-1660), second Earl of Carlisle who married Margaret Russell (died 1676). The second earl's title became extinct.
GEC, Peerage, Carlisle, p. 32; Denny, p. 187; Norwich, pp. 768-769; Manchester, p. 371. On Lucy Percy" Strickland, Lives of the Queens Of England, Vol. 5, p. 284. Lucy's sister Dorothy (died 1659) married the second Earl of Leicester, Robert Sydney (1595-1677). Robert's father was a member of the Virginia Company, the East India Company and the North West Passage Company. ) Who’s Who of /Shakespeare's England, p. 39. Margaret Russell was daughter of Francis Russell (1593-1641), fourth Earl of Bedford, and Catherine Brydges (died 1656).
James, first Earl Carlisle, became a favourite of Buckingham. It has been said that the Rich family (Earls Warwick) and the Hay/Carlisle family had bad blood due to a feud between family members in Paris in 1624, and long squabbles over proprietary rights in the Caribbean do seem to bear out the existence of some such enmity - as they otherwise seem baseless.
News in July 2006: The history websites on this domain now have a companion website, and an updating website as well, on a new domain, at Merchant Networks Project, produced by Dan Byrnes and Ken Cozens (of London).
This new website (it is hoped) will become a major exercise in economic and maritime history, with much attention to London/British Empire and some attention to Sydney, Australia.
Sir William Courteen Senior (1572-1636) was the son of an émigré tailor, William, who had married Margaret Casiere. William's sister was Margaret, who married John, first Earl of Bridgwater. Another of Margaret Casiere's sons was Sir Charles Courteen. Sir William, a financier, married firstly a Dutchwoman with a fortune, named Cromling; and secondly, Hester Tryon. Tryon's son Sir Peter, Baronet (active 1623) married Jane Stanhope (died 1683) the daughter of Sir John Stanhope
Jane Stanhope married as second wife to Francis Annesley, first Viscount Valentia. GEC, Peerage, Valentia, p. 207.
Sir Peter's brother was the financier Sir William II Courteen, (died 1666), who married Catherine Egerton, daughter of John Egerton (1646-1701 and a First Lord of Trade, 1695-1699) the third Earl of Bridgewater.
The third earl married as second wife, Jane Paulet, daughter of Charles Paulet, sixth Marquis Winchester. GEC, Peerage, Egerton of Tatton, p. 16 and note A; Bridgwater, p. 313.
As noted in an earlier chapter, a daughter Anna of Hester Tryon married Sir Richard Knightley; and another daughter Mary (died 1643) married the MP, Henry Grey, Earl of Kent.
GEC, Peerage, Kent, p. 176.
Furber writes, Courteen had married a wealthy Dutch woman, Cromling (presumably a widow?).
Arthur Percival Newton, The European Nations in the West Indies, p. 157. Andrews, Ships, Money and Politics, p. 43, 51, pp. 200-201. Griffiths, A Licence to Trade, pp. 82ff.
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Sir John Coke, as it happened in April 1625, set out a program for privately financed (£361,200) anti-Spanish piracy in the West Indies. Coke's plan seemed to be a project backed by the Earl of Warwick. Secretary Heath had a similar idea for attacking the West Indies by April 1625. Courteen was probably aware of such stirrings. It was at about this point that Warner "discovered" Barbados. But firstly…
Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 257. See also, Cornelis CH. Goslinga, The Dutch in the Caribbean and on the Wild Coast, 1580-1680. Assen, The Netherlands, Van Gorcum and Co., Dr., H. J. Prakke and H. M. G. Prakke, 1971. Goslinga is invaluable re Sir William Courteen, as he has information which seems to be unavailable elsewhere in the English language.
... It is possible that Courteens in the City of London had perhaps been given some expansionist inspiration after 1615-1617, since about 1617, the king allowed "the Cokayne project", promoted by George Cokayne, a plan which was protested in parliament as a pocket-liner. The project collapsed. (Cockayne's project is noted in an earlier chapter.) One source says the crown extracted £20,000 per year for granting a charter for the Merchant Adventurers, but treasurer Cranfield instead accepted a lump sum of £80,000 plus bribes and gifts to courtiers. By 1620, trade was in doldrums and calls for free trade (as from Sir Edwin Sandys) were growing. There were strong attacks on merchant privileges. Parliament in 1621 blasted all merchant companies. The issue, of course, was the promotion of royal monopolies and their restricting affect on traders with less respectable backing; monopoly versus free trade.
Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 211.
However, a Dutch historian, Goslinga, has done much to straighten the records. By 1613, the Dutch were making extra efforts to control their imports from the Guianas and to colonize there, but were destroyed by Spaniards arriving from Trinidad. By 1615, the Dutch returned to Cayenne on the Wiapoco River and also to the Amazon River. Theodore Claessen of Amsterdam placed 280 colonists at Cayenne, but many of these later went to Surinam.
Of these people, Goslinga writes, Capt Aert Adriaenszoon Groenewegen (who had been in the service of the Anglo-Dutch house of Sir William Courteen Senior) became rather "romantically mysterious". His story is still not well-known...
Groenewegen later served the Spaniards as a factor on the Orinoco, but then went to Zeeland, and met promoter-burgomaster Jan de Moor of Flushing. De Moor found the official support of the States of Holland and recruited Pieter Lodewijksz and his son Jan Pietersz, just returned from the Guianas planting tobacco, for work on the Wild Coast/Amazon area. Plus a fleet of three ships under Michiel Geleynsse, to make a colony on the Wiapoco. These were not the only Dutch endeavours about now. Groenewegen's work from 1616 was funded by Jan de Moor "in co-operation" with William Courteen.
Goslinga, The Dutch in the Caribbean and on the Wild Coast, 1580-1680, pp. 79ff.
Groenewegen left Flushing in 1616 with three ships, and founded a settlement 20 miles up the Essequibo River, using an abandoned Portuguese fort. He married the daughter of an Indian chief, spoke Carib and Arawak fluently, continued to enjoy the friendship of indigenous people in most of his endeavours, and remained a genuine terror to the Spanish. He ruled his colony for nearly 50, dying in 1664 aged 83, a wealthy man. Groenewegen continued a semi-official function as factor of the De Moor-Courteen House till the death in 1644 of Jan de Moor, then Groenewegen became a servant of the Dutch West India Company. (There is no information on whether Groenewegen thus became a mainstay of any slave trades.)
It rather seems that long term, Groenewegen would have returned more profit to Courteen and Jan de Moor than they gained from their Barbados adventure.
Goslinga, The Dutch in the Caribbean and on the Wild Coast, 1580-1680, pp. 79ff.
On the Anglo-Dutch merchant, Sir William Courteen (1572-1636). Goslinga writes: "The De Moor-Courteen House was an Anglo-Dutch company begun by William Courteen, a Fleming, who had lived in Zeeland before going to live in England. In London he developed a thriving trade which maintained connection in Zeeland. He became a great merchant, and his company soon enjoyed a remarkable position in the commercial world of the early seventeenth century. ... The Dutch were the preponderant partners in the company, and the books were kept at Middelburg." ... Goslinga continues, "Despite its association with the Groenewegen settlement in the Caribbean, the De Moor-Courteen House was to become far better known as the sponsor (with largely Dutch money) of the 1625 expedition to Barbados under Captain John Powell... who was a personal friend of Groenewegen...
We know from English historians that by 1628, Barbados was already a thriving English colony, planting tobacco. And in 1628 the Courteen House sent out more settlers, expanding the colony to 1600 people, "too strong for the Spaniards to challenge". Goslinga however finds that the history of the colonization of the Lesser Antilles is quite obscure, which it is, "compounded by the fact that James I made his grants to rights to the Caribbean orally (my emphasis). Charles I later confirmed such grants with written documents, but was confused in designations to the Earl of Carlisle and the Earl of Pembroke."
Goslinga writes, (p. 259): "The Dutch firm of the Courteens also appears to have played a part in the general intrigue that renders inscrutable this entire episode". Inscrutable is the word... the action can only be unfolded like a fan... in small sections.
Goslinga, The Dutch in the Caribbean and on the Wild Coast, 1580-1680, pp. 212ff, p. 259.
By 1625, Sir Charles Courteen, brother of Sir William, had noted that an English ship had touched at Barbados, found it uninhabited, and possessed it in the King's name. Courteens sent out ships and soon had up to 1800 people on the island, maintained by their employer. Courteen began cotton and tobacco plantations. the proprietorship of the island went into dispute, though English historians remain unclear about it all. The slowness of Courteen's supplies threatened famine, but the island survived, and by 1640 was exporting profitably, tobacco, cotton and indigo.
Thomas Warner is establishing Barbados in 1625: see C. P. Lucas, Historical Geography of the British Colonies. Vol. 2, The West Indies, Second Edn, Oxford. 1905, cited in Penson, Colonial Agents, p. 8. G. Davies, Early Stuarts, p. 337.
It appears that Charles I made an arrangement with the Earl of Carlisle (family name Hay) concerning proprietorship of certain Caribbean Islands including Barbados. The reverberations were to mean many years of political conflict (as to English arrangements that is) in the Caribbean Islands. His father James I had an earlier role, as Goslinga says, making merely an "oral arrangement" about English proprietorships in the Caribbean.
Early on, the Courteens had traded to Portugal; and with Spain in the salt trade, bulk salt then being a high priority for Dutch sea captains. Courteens were creditors of the English king, and they also had many connections with illicit trade of the time. On reflection, it is not impossible that the scale of the commercial adventures of Courteen-de Moor, over such a variety of regions, from the Amazon, across the Caribbean, to Africa and North American, and including the East, gave some inspiration to the Earls of Warwick and their business manager, Maurice Thomson.
Peter (died 1631) the brother of Sir William Courteen Senior is named in Andrews, The Spanish Caribbean, pp. 233-244ff. Peter at Cologne apparently co-managed the European departments of Courteens as Anglo-Dutch merchants.
Goslinga says that the Dutch capital of the De Moor-Courteen merchant house was always the stronger, and presumably, part of that funding came from the successful work of Groenewegen and others based in the Caribbean. Courteens' training was in "contemporary commerce", possibly in the cloth trade, in Haarlem. In time, on the English side, Courteen's body of "adventurers" included influential personalities at the English court. These "influentials" tend never to be named, but it appears that through them, Courteen developed an association with the king, James I.
By 1621, the East India Company was again criticized for exporting bullion. On 3 May, 1621 James I forbade the various company charters from being examined by parliament. A trade crisis peaked in 1622. Parliament did not dent the merchant companies till 1624, especially not the Merchant Adventurers. Some free-trade leaders were Sir Edward Sandys, Sir Edward Coke, Sir Dudley Digges and Sir Robert Phelips (sic), who also opposed the crown on issues of foreign policy and free speech. They entered into alliance with the Duke of Buckingham and Prince Charles (that is, the later Charles II), and they wanted a new (anti) Spanish foreign policy. Buckingham helped turn the tide. The Merchant Adventurers was opened up to new, fee-paying wholesalers. It seems unlikely such men would have ventured an anti-Spanish policy unless such a prejudice had not been heightened by the "Rich faction".
Here, some Merchant Adventurers of the old school were Sir John Savile, plus Sir Humphrey May, steward of the Duchy of Lancaster, Sir Francis Nethersole, diplomat to Germany, Sir Heneage Finch the recorder of London and a royal appointee, Sir Henry Mildmay the master of the Jewel House. The general hope rose of freeing up the Guinea and Muscovy companies, plus the Eastland Company with its monopoly on importing naval stores. (In time, American traders would become interested in naval stores.)
Robert G. Albion, Forests and Sea Power: The Timber Problems of the Royal Navy, 1652-1862. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1926. Incidentally, the sign used in North American colonies to designate timber set aside for British naval purposes in the eighteenth century was a broad arrow, meaning, naval property. This is the genesis of the "broad arrow" seen on the clothes of convicts around Sydney after 1788.
There were to consider, the New England Company's newly-granted monopoly of fishing offshore England, and free fishing on the North American coast. The Commons upheld Sir Edwin Sandys, and Sandys' gentry party conducted its bitter fight with some of the City's great merchant leaders in the East India and Virginia companies. Sandys quarrelled with the Virginia trader Sir Thomas Smythe from 1618.
Oddly enough, by 1626, relatively early in colonisation business, Sir Francis Bacon (dedicating to George Villiers, Lord High Admiral, First Duke of Buckingham), in his essay On Plantations vainly emphasised the shame of taking "scum of people" to plantations, which they only spoiled.
Coldham, Emigrants in Chains, pp. 45-47. Davies, Early Stuarts, p. 340.
It was an interesting remark, an objection to what became an English tradition lasting centuries, of using colonies as genealogical sumps. Davies records, about 60,000 people left England, one third for New England, and between 1630 and 1643, nearly 200 ships carried 20,000 men women and children at an estimated cost of £200,000 - many emigrants being unwilling to submit to a "hateful government".
Coldham, Emigrants in Chains, pp. 45-47. On the "pouring" of lower-class Englishmen onto Caribbean Islands by the Earl of Carlisle, see A. P. Newton, The European Nations in the West Indies, pp. 156-157. Davies, Early Stuarts, p. 340. Villiers (1592-1628, assassinated), Lord High Admiral, anti-Spanish, first honorary governor of the Guiana Company, married Katherine Manners, daughter of the sixth earl of Rutland. Roger Lockyer, Buckingham: The Life and Political Career of George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham, 1592-1628. London, Longmans, 1981. Joyce Lorimer, (Ed.), Amazon, p. 85. GEC, Peerage, Chichester, p. 194; Denbigh, p. 178; Grandison, p. 76; Ros, p. 111; Buckingham, pp. 392ff. The sixth Earl of Rutland, Admiralty Lord Francis Manners (died 1632) was an investor in the East India Company and also took part in the 1620 Amazon adventure. GEC, Peerage, Rutland, pp. 261ff; Lennox, p. 610; Antrim, p. 175; Suffolk, p. 465.
Buckingham and Charles wanted to resurrect the careers of the anti-Spanish Earl of Southampton and the Earl of Oxford, lately imprisoned by James I.
Thomas Wriothesley, fourth Earl Southampton (1607-1667) had three wives. He helped promote the Courteen plan to settle Mauritius. GEC, Peerage, Bedford, p. 81; Carbery, p. 8; Chichester, p. 194; Devonshire, p. 344; Digby, p. 354; Gainsborough, p. 599; Somerset, p. 78; Northumberland, p. 739; Molyneux, pp. 44ff; Holderness, p. 536; Southampton, p. 131.
They welcomed William Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele (probably first Viscount Say and Sele), and also the Earl of Warwick.
William Fiennes (1582-1662) first Viscount Saye and Sele is "semi-forgotten": His own DNB entry. GEC, Peerage, Saye and Sele, pp. 486ff; Wimbledon, p. 743, Hibbert, Cavaliers and Roundheads, pp. 300-310, lists. John Kenyon, The Civil Wars in England. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988., p. 261. Newton, Colonising Puritans, pp. 36ff, pp. 65ff. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, pp. 261ff. Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 12.
(Republican-minded and anti-Spanish, Fiennes was eager for the settlement of Providence Island in the Caribbean, a Puritan plan. He was a Presbyterian enemy of James I and Charles I, and was interested in colonisation from about 1629. He led the Oxfordshire resistance to paying ship money, and once obtained land on the Connecticut River from the second Earl of Warwick; John Winthrop later helped govern that area.)
Also part of a newly-growing network was the great Puritan minister, John Preston, linked to Calvinist ministry, who had tutored the Earl of Warwick's son, and who also had ties to Lord Saye and to the puritan, Richard Knightley. Buckingham even managed to recruit the "mighty earl of Pembroke", who had hated Buckingham. A secretary of state and a Buckingham protégé was Sir Edward Conway, who attempted to turn James to an anti-Spanish position and to recover the Palatinate. A joint Anglo-Dutch move against Spain in the Caribbean was also mooted, although oddly enough, it is uncertain if Courteen was part of this. Certainly, the second Earl of Warwick was in an anti-Spanish mood.
Merchants and Terra Australis Incognita:
Attention however now needs to be diverted further to a little known twist in the story of English interest in Terra Australis Incognita, which might have been settled by "the Courteen Association" headed by Sir William Courteen Senior. What is extraordinary is that Courteen (or he and his association, maybe also with Jan de Moor) had sufficient capital after they met Thomas Warner, the "discoverer" of Barbados, to sink £10,000 onto the island from 1625, and to also manage shipping to the East in a way that remained a thorn in the side of the English East India Company - prior to the spectacular Courteen bankruptcy.
Here, Brenner is helpful: "The program of trade and colonization launched by the new merchants' East Indian interloping association found its origin in Sir William Courteen's interloping and colonial projects of the 1630s, as well as those of Arundel, [Prince] Rupert and Southampton." They wanted to pursue Courteen's plans for the Far East, and also settle areas off Eastern Africa, or, Madagascar. So, in 1645, they sent Capt. John Smart to Madagascar. Some of these projecters were Maurice Thomson and his relatives, plus some of Courteen Senior's associates.
And so an argument presents itself, that English interest shown in Terra Australis from 1625 was part of a grand commercial vision perceived by Sir William Courteen, or, the inheritors of his visions. These inheritors tended to be East India "interlopers". Australians have never wondered about the De Moor-Courteen connections, if De Moor also considered an adventure to Terra Australis, and what this might have meant, if it went ahead, for competing Anglo-Dutch claims to parts of the Australian coast or continent. Perhaps the scheme did not go ahead since despite some Courteen enthusiasm, De Moor felt it unwise, or destined to be unprofitable. If so, Jan De Moor has long had an unacknowledged role on Australian history - by delaying commercial interest and closer exploration.
(And if memory of any this persisted in London’s commercial circles, it also perhaps helps explain why the East India Company of 1786 was so negative to ideas of colonizing eastern Australia!)
Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 176. Goslinga, The Dutch in the Caribbean, variously.
The English find Barbados:
In contrast with Virginia, Barbados in the West Indies, 166 square miles in size, had a "soft" founding, or origin, partly as it was originally uninhabited. Barbados' settlement is oddly similar to the founding of Britain's convict colony in Australia in 1788, respecting the number of people involved at least. Some 1420-1530 people were initially part of the First Fleet complement to Australia. English historians have never acknowledged the kind of debt that Goslinga indicates, that Powell and the Barbados settlers owed much to the help of Groenewegen, a Dutch terror of the Spanish.
Figures for the First Fleet to Australia vary. See Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1989. Furber, Rival, pp. 69ff. A London researcher, Gillian Hughes, has advised me thus: Calendar of State XC9452, Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles I. 1625-1626, State Paper Dept., PRO, Edited by John Bruce, London, 1858., p. 206.
Courteens involved a similar number of people in developing Barbados as were sent to New South Wales on the First Fleet!
It is written.. In London, Courteen, was informed that an English ship had touched at Barbados, which was found to be uninhabited, and so had been claimed in the king's name. It is not yet clear when or why Courteen Senior first began to seem influential in London. Furber provides this... Sir William Courteen Senior was the son of an emigre Protestant clothier, and brother of an even lesser-known Sir Charles Courteen. There were three men named William Courteen, grandfather father and son, and it is not impossible that some historians have confused the biography of the son with that of the grandson. Sir William Senior died in 1636; Sir William Courteen the younger died in 1666.
By the mid-1620s, Courteen had many interests in Amsterdam and "along the wild coast of South America". Between 1610-1620, the Courteens of Middleburg (Middelburg) used Trinidad for "illicit trade" in tobacco and were attempting to build a network of trade routes to the interior of South America. In 1619 Courteen Senior was involved in proceedings in the Star Chamber, accused of transporting "secretly seven millions of gold" from England. He was discharged about July 1620 with a fine of 20,000 l. for the "unlawful transporting of coin", with a general pardon of past offences.
Letter from Gillian Hughes, 27 September, 1993, after she had searched information from 1619 to 1636 for the present writer.
By 1625, "Sir Wm. freely lends his money for supply of the King’s instant occasions, and that without interest of the old debt". Courteen's Terra Australis aspirations may not have been unrelated to the money Courteen had loaned to Charles I in 1625?. (While Courteen's links, if any, to the Dutch East India Company are never mentioned in detail.)
In 1625? We find, Item 33: Petition of Sir Wm. Courteen to the King:
"the lands in the South part of the world called Terra Australis Incognita, are not yet traded to by the King’s subjects. The petitioner desires to discover the same and plant colonies therein. He prays therefore for a grant of all such lands with power to discover the same and erect colonies."
On the same original page as this is also mention of a case of concern over enriching the Kingdom, increasing shipping and employing the idle... (Employing the idle was to be a long-standing English pre-occupation, but it should be noted, "idle" came to mean not slothful, but insubordinate). Courteen had first wanted to settle "Australia", but could not, so he settled Barbados. We also find he invested in the Dutch East India Company, which "finally sent him bankrupt".
Griffiths, A Licence to Trade, pp. 82ff. Furber, Rival, variously. Goslinga unfortunately has ceased to mention the Courteen House before the death of Jan de Moor in 1644, and does not mention their various adventures in English commerce. Incidentally, I have found Courteens mentioned briefly on a website on history of Tobago.
We find, Courteen had been intriguing against the English East India Company since the late 1620s. But it is generally unheard in Australia that Courteen wanted to settle Terra Australis Incognita. Where this is mentioned, the information is hedged about with various other entertaining controversies about the discovery of Australia.
Kenneth Gordon McIntyre, The Secret Discovery of Australia: Portuguese Ventures 250 Years before Capt. Cook. Revised. Sydney, Pan, 1977. For a modern view here on the origin of the "Papal Line", Oskar H. K. Spate, The Spanish Lake. Vol. 1 of The Pacific Since Magellan. Canberra, Australian National University Press. 1979-1988. [Vol. 2, Monopolists and Freebooters; Vol. 3.
Thomas Warner and Barbados:
Various stories are told about Barbados and Warner. In one story, in 1622, Warner became interested in establishing a West Indies colony. He found capital from London merchant, Ralph Merrifield, and became interested in "undercover" West Indian trade. Warner got to St. Kitts by 1624.
Arthur Percival Newton, The European Nations in the West Indies, 1493-1688. London, A&C Black, 1933., p. 143 on Warner and Courteen, p. 155.
Some reports have it that Warner established Barbados from 1625, with little mention made of Powell. But another story has it that Capt. John Powell, (as Goslinga says, a personal friend of Courteen's factor, Groenewegen) sailing for Courteens, chanced on Barbados, uninhabited, and found that the island was rich in dye woods (known as logwood) used in the English textile trades. Powell claimed Barbados for James I and England, and then called at St Christopher (a haven for freebooters) to visit Thomas Warner, who had earlier been involved in Amazon adventures.
C. P. Lucas, Historical Geography of the British Colonies. The West Indies. Vol. Two. Second Edn., Oxford, 1905., as cited in Penson, Colonial Agents, p. 8.
By 1624, anyway, the founding father of St Kitt's (St Christopher's) became Sir Thomas Warner, a Suffolk Man and a friend of John Winthrop (the founder of Massachusetts).
Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, pp. 50-51.
One early Courteen arrival on Barbados was Henry Winthrop, about 1630, a "scapegrace second son" of the founder of Massachusetts John Winthrop, for £100 a year, but Winthrop's father became very suspicious of such poor tobaccos coming from Barbados. Winthrop at one point switched loyalty from Courteen to Carlisle and he became one of 12 magistrates on island, but he ended back in England. (One of Winthrop's motives for founding Massachusetts was to find better opportunities for his children; Winthrop had links in London with influential people such as some of the family of Emmanuel Downing - the Downings intermarried with the Winthrops.)
By about 1624, Joshua Downing was a Commissioner of the Navy. Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, pp. 50-51. On Winthrop connections, see entries in American Dictionary of Biography. An early Leeward sugar planter was Samuel Winthrop of the same New England family, arrived in the Caribee by 1647, aged 20, who settled at Antigua. He was ruined by the French in 1666.
Warner had tried and failed in Guiana, then tried again at St Kitts, which he occupied in 1624. Warner then returned to England (about a forty-day voyage) to find further merchant backing for a St Kitt's project; he returned to St Kitts by January 1624. When the French arrived there in 1625, Warner was so weak he agreed to share with them (large numbers of Caribbean Indians were massacred one night in their hammocks). All were attacked in 1629 by the Spanish - although some English held on. About then the Courteen Brothers, Sir William and Sir Charles of London and Middleburg were active. By 1624, before they decided on settling Barbados, Courteens had wanted to settle Terra Australis and promoted this Antipodean idea to James I.
(I am indebted to Edward Linn of Sydney for initial discussions about Courteen.)
Also interested here was Sir James Lancaster.
On Lancaster: Griffiths, A Licence to Trade, p. 73 on Ralph Fitch and variously; Furber, Rival, p. 39. Lancaster's first voyage was from 1591, before the East India Company was formed.
However, in yet another confusing story, the Earl of Carlisle, Lord Proprietor of the English Caribbean, made Warner governor of St Kitts. (There was later an Edward Warner a Lt.-Governor of Nevis.)
Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 119. Newton, Colonising Puritans, pp. 29ff. G. Davies, Early Stuarts, p. 337. 1631: Massachusetts Bay Colony was administered by Gov. Winthrop and Lt.-Gov. Thomas Dudley. Ver Steeg, The Formative Years, p. 13, p. 41.
Some say that before Warner had returned to St. Christopher by January 1624, having obtained financial support from Ralph Merrifield (who is heard of relatively little). Warner evidently did obtain the ear of the Courteen Brothers. By September 1625, Warner had again returned to England and with Ralph Merrifield obtained from the crown some letters Patent for the colony of St Christopher, and for the colonisation of Nevis, Barbados, and Montserrat. In 1625, Capt John Powell in William and John, with 30 settlers financed by Sir William Courteen, made the first permanent English settlement at Barbados, in which matter, it is said, one of Courteen's patrons was William Herbert, fourth Earl of Pembroke, (1584-1649/50). Merrifield and Warner meanwhile had gained the patronage of James Hay, first Earl of Carlisle. So in what looks like a doublecross, in 1626 Carlisle obtained a grant of rights (from Charles I) to the government of the whole of the Caribbean Isles. The Courteens, meantime, had begun cotton and tobacco plantations.
Courteen Senior will interest the historian of Barbados, of the Caribbean, or of slavery, since he was largely responsible for settling Barbados, the colonisation of which induced England to use, (rather than sell people into, as the Hawkins' did before 1600), the institution of chattel slavery.
On the Asiento or, a highly capitalistic European organisation for the regular supply of slaves, circa 1518 with King of Portugal for supply of black slaves, and later developments, see pp. 62ff and pp. 226ff. of Arthur Percival Newton, The European Nations in the West Indies, 1493-1688, 1933, and p. 197, p. 209. Not till the 1650s did English planters rely on London-based capital, not capital from Middleburg or France.
Courteen will interest the historian of the English East India Company since he interfered with the Company. And he will also interest the Australian historian, since Courteen Senior (and perhaps also, Sir James Lancaster), once with royal assistance from James I, planned to settle Terra Australis Incognita, in ways which raise the bogey of discussion of the very sovereignty of Australia. Australians usually ignore information about such matters. As noted earlier, the background to many scenarios here is "Amazonian".
Even earlier, there had been a proposal that Francis Drake settle Terra Australis and be made life governor there. However, one has no clear idea if those listening to the Drake proposal had any later-arising links to anyone associated with Courteens.
In yet another version of stories… Courteen had already gained experience in Caribbean trade, and he formed the syndicate sponsoring the first settlement of Barbados in 1627, sending two shiploads of colonists under the command of John and Henry Powell. The Courteen syndicate invested £10,000 in the venture, hoping for returns comparable to the returns made by the backers of the privateers of the 1590s.
Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 50. Note: In 1629, about the year that certain English aristocrats were first beginning to consider settling the Carolinas, the Dutch formed their West India Company. See W. Walton Claridge, A History of the Gold Coast and Ashanti: From the earliest times to the commencement of the Twentieth Century. London, John Murray, 1915., p. 89.
Historians have already consulted four lists of nearly 2000 people going to Barbados before 1640. The earliest list records 74 settlers with Capt John Powell in the ship Peter in 1627. Another count gives Courteens sending out Powell's brother, Henry, plus 80 colonists, from February 1627. There were no women in that party, and only six of this same party were still on Barbados eleven years later when there were 764 landholders. In contrast to the intentions of the Earl of Carlisle, who invested relatively less on Barbados, Sir William Courteen did not grant his original people any land; he had paid them wages and wanted to take all the results. By 1629, Courteens had up to 1800 people on Barbados.
Arthur P. Newton, (Ed.), The European Nations in the West Indies, 1493-1688. London, Black, 1933., on Barbados, and Sir William Courteen, pp. 142, 145, 155, 156.
In the period in question, further conflict had broken out in London as parliament sought to limit the power of the king, James 1. It had become convenient to seek the impeachment of George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham. James’ financial situation had not improved and he remained uneasy; by 1629 the royal debt was over £1 million. It was about then that James 1 backed a rival to the East India Company, the Courteen Association, which from about 1625 abandoned the idea of colonising Terra Australis in favour of settling Barbados. Meanwhile, it seems that due to the actions of the Earl of Carlisle, what Courteen finally actually obtained as a return from royalty was a bad title to Barbados.
It rather seems, that what the British government later did for Sydney and New South Wales, Australia, just one firm, Courteens, did for Barbados. What of Terra Australis Incognita in Courteen's day? This remains complicated. A proper view of the series of discoveries of Australia by European navigators entails discussion of the "Papal Line", which by fiat of Catholic or Vatican hegemony once divided the world into two spheres of interest subject to the Spanish and Portuguese; a proposition of course that England never accepted. So it might here be suggested, that an inability to fit the financial biography of Courteen Senior into nationalistic history, during an historical period involved with changes in English views of royal authority, goes hand in hand with an inability to fit Courteen's interest in Terra Australis into the Anglicized history of the discovery and settlement of Australasia. The people who might be most inclined to agree with this proposition might be cartographers?
An Australian historian, George Collingridge, tried to discuss these cartographic issues after 1859, but his views were chewed up in a separate controversy about Capt. Cook and the creation of maps of New Holland, or, New South Wales.
Macintyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, pp. 3ff, p. 196. In his first volume of a trilogy, The Pacific Since Magellan. (Canberra, Australian National University Press, 1983.), Spate treats the "Spanish Lake" and (p. 56) illustrates the anti-meridian of the Papal line. Here, Spate, p. 27 discusses the Treaty of Tordesillas; and, p. 29, the Peak of Darien. On Balboa and "Darien", see Spate, Vol. 1, p. 32-34. In his second volume, Spate treats Dampier, pp. 160ff. In this second volume, Spate treats the Pacific Since Magellan, Monopolists and Freebooters, the Dutch, Priests and Pearlers, the Buccaneers, William Dampier; Anson sailing against Manila, Peru and California.
It is no accident that the present north-south eastern border of Western Australia coincides roughly with the "Papal Line", which, today, means these issues have vague connection to questions concerning sovereignty over Australia, and today's related issues of indigenous land rights. Macintyre in his Secret Discovery of Australia mentions that Joseph Banks tried in 1811 to refer to this matter as he was writing an introduction to Matthew Flinders' book on Flinders' circumnavigation of Australia. Banks alluded to Holland's once-existing (theoretical?) right to colonise Australia, or parts thereof. Probably because of the hegemony then in European affairs exercised by Napoleon, especially over Holland, Robert Peel suppressed Banks' views so effectively, Banks withdrew in disgust and forgot about introducing Flinders' book.
Whatever, a historians' dispute on cartographic matters began in 1859. George Collingridge produced The Discovery of Australia: A Critical, Documentary and Historic Investigation concerning the Priority of Discovery in Australasia by Europeans before the Arrival of Lt. James Cook in the "Endeavour" in the year 1770. (Sydney, Hayes Bros., 1895. Also by George Collingridge, ‘The Early Discovery of Australia’, Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Geographic Society of Australasia. Sydney, NSW, 1893.) Here, the preface makes reference to R. H. Major, Early Voyages to Terra Australis. London? 1859.)
A dissident historian, Major, had noted incorrectly, that Harley, the first Earl of Oxford and Mortimer (this might be Edward Russell, Lord High Admiral, Treasurer of the Navy, (1652-1727) Earl of Orford) when backing Dampier's voyage to Australia, had owned a copy of the Dauphin Map.
Collingridge, p. 167: Earl Orford: His own DNB entry. GEC, Peerage, Orford, p. 78.
Orford married his cousin, a daughter of William Russell, first Duke of Bedford and was second son of his father, and brother of the fifth Earl of Bedford and first Duke of Bedford.
Dampier on Jamaica worked for Helyars of Somerset, who were military compatriots of Modyford on Jamaica, who is mentioned variously in the essay. Collingridge's Discovery informs, (p. 270), in 1621 a treaty between the Dutch and English was signed, including provisions on trade to the Spice Islands. "It prevented war for a time, but did not put an end to the disputes or animosities of the rival English and Dutch Companies, which culminated in the well-known massacre of the English at Amboina (sic) in 1622." In all, Collingridge here seems confused between Earls Orford (Russell, then Walpoles), and Harley the first Earl of Oxford and Mortimer; not an earl of Oxford, as McIntyre states in his book, Secret Discovery of Australia. (This is discussed later in more detail.)
However, it might be reasonable all the same to suggest that when Courteen or his men were looking at existing maps, wondering where Terra Australis Incognita might be, they would have been aware of the existence of the Portuguese settlement at Timor (begun from 1514), rather south of the Spice Islands and the Straits of Malacca. Whether or not Dampier knew of a "Dauphin Map" or not, or cartographic arguments, it would be hardly surprising that Timor and nearby areas were on Dampier's itinerary.)
… The English notwithstanding continued to send out ships to [near?] the Australasian regions and in 1624 a petition for the ‘privilege of erecting colonies' in Terra Australis was presented to King James the First, by Sir William Courteen." (James 1 did not favour colonies or colonisation). But I can find no supportive information that Harley, even though he was a Whig, took any role in promoting Dampier's voyage!
Collingridge then quoted from E. A. Petherick's publication, The Torch, March 1888, page 89.
Collingridge, however, wrote further, (p. 270): "In the last year of his [James’] reign however, an eminent London merchant - probably the most enterprising English merchant of his time - Sir William Courteen, desiring to extend his trade to the Terra Australis, petitioned the king for the privilege of erecting colonies therein. Sir William, who was joint owner of more than twenty burden, employing four of five thousand seamen, already carried on an extensive trade on his own account to Portugal, Spain, Guinea, and the West Indies." The following is a copy of his petition now printed [by Collingridge?] for the first time:
’"... extract, (pp. 270-271) ..."that all the lands in ye South parts of ye world called Terra Australis, incognita, extending Eastwards and Westwards from ye Straights of LeMaire together with all ye adjacente Islands [etc] are yet undiscovered... Your petr ... humbly desires yr Maj to bee pleased to grante to him, his heirs and assigns all ye said lands, islands & territories, with power to discover ye same, to erecte Colonies & a plantation there..."
Petherick added the following:
"Having lent large sums of money to the King, Sir William Courteen had some claim upon His Majesty's consideration. But it does not appear that ‘All ye said lands & territories' were granted to him. He appears to have been satisfied with a bad title to the island of Barbados, where he sent (in 1626) fifty settlers, who built a fort (1627) and remained there till it was taken from them (1628). He then sent eighty men to the island and re-took it in the name of the [fourth] Earl of Pembroke. However, whichever story is attended to, it is still not clear, what interest the fourth Earl of Pembroke had in the Caribbean, except that Pembroke's interests were eclipsed by royalty's favouring of the courtier, the Earl of Carlisle. Sir William Courteen Junior died in 1666, having earlier inherited claim to his father's title to a Caribbean proprietorship. That proprietorship, as hinted at above, was not deemed a good one, and was apparently disallowed in 1660.
The following may be relevant. There is also a Hakluyt Society publication, Late Tudor and Early Stuart Geography. And a publication of 1644, being "The Association" [Courteen's?] The East India Trade Stated, Anon, 1644, embodying some notes by a Capt. of John Weddell's fleet and noting events about 1637. Courteen (Jnr.?) once also developed a case for trading to China, Canton.
The entire matter has never been researched fully, but the implications of English dispute about the proprietorship of the Caribbean preoccupied matters from about 1630 to 1700, most of the century.
Discovering specific problems with the first Courteen title to Barbados is not easy. Some of the matters about which ignorance have reigned here may be due to any of the following:
(a) Some possible suppression in England of information on the struggle between Courteen versus the Earl of Carlisle for control of Barbados, with a little-known role for the Earl of Pembroke;
(b) An inability by scholars to accurately trace which explorers used or updated various maps, over various centuries, as Australia was "discovered";
(c) Secrecy of a national security nature which was endemic to all European nations with commercial fleets and an interest in improving navigation; (d) Distractions provided by the histories of pirates, the juvenile delinquents of maritime history;
(e) Losses of information by shipwreck;
(f) Perhaps, some suppression also of the history of the way England began using slavery in the Caribbean?
These are all linked questions.
Both Carlisle and Courteen had royal patents for Barbados and both sent out governors, settlers, supplies; both found their agents were banished or seized. One governor was executed. But when the Earl of Carlisle became "Lord Proprietor" of the Caribbean, he made Warner the governor of St Kitts.
Later, Charles I authorized a courtier, Endymion Porter, to fit out privateers for the Red Sea. There would be formed the Courteen Association, led by "a leading capitalist", Sir William Courteen Jnr., to trade in India where the East India Company had not gone. But this new company sent debased money to India and the East India Company suffered further loss of reputation. The king, in return for withdrawing the annoying patent, managed to extract a "loan" of £20,000 from the East India Company. Holden Furber, Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient, 1600-1800. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1976., p. 39.
Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 119. In about 1641 the profligate Hay, Earl of Carlisle, eloped with Lady Lucy Percy ("A Venus rising from a sea of jet"); Lady Percy was acting at the instigation of the infamous Countess of Somerset: Agnes Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England, Vol. 5, p. 284.
But as Dunn writes, unhappily for Courteen, the Earl of Carlisle challenged Courteen's control of the island (although Dunn does not say what the grounds for the challenge were). A. P. Newton in his European Nations, p. 156, writes of the "tortuous court intrigues" by which Warner's patron, James Hay, Earl of Carlisle, by 1629 had established his claims to a royal patent on Caribbean Islands, with the claims of Courteen and also the Earl of Pembroke entirely set aside. Carlisle's only interest was the easy profit of the absentee landlord, and otherwise he kept matters in the hands of his merchant associate, Marmaduke Roydon.
Carlisle did little to advertise the island, and expected merely to distribute land to settlers who paid to set themselves up. Up to nearly 40,000 acres went to 250 colonists from 1628 to 1630.
The granting of "the West Indies" to the Earl of Carlisle came under the terms of a proprietary patent of 1627. Here, one link with Carlisle was Thomas Littleton, who in turn linked with Edward Thomas via Anthony Hilton's syndicate for the Leeward Islands. Hilton had obtained a licence from Carlisle, and began on Nevis in 1628, there linked with Edward Thomson, who was possibly a relative of Maurice Thomson (of the Rich faction in London. One Edward Thomson, ex-St. Kitts, was often a partner with Maurice). In 1627, having established his proprietorship, of all Caribbean Isles, Carlisle compelled partners to re-purchase from him and to pay for the right to export tobacco customs-free for ten years. In 1628 Carlisle obtained a redrawn grant.
Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 92, p. 128.
The elite merchants and the Puritan colonising nobles were two groups both damaged when Charles in 1627 granted the West Indies proprietary colony to Buckingham's follower, the Earl of Carlisle.
Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, pp. 265-270.
On 17 April, 1627, Charles I meanwhile authorized the Earl of Warwick with a commission to plunder or colonize the king of Spain's possessions in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Buckingham via his spy Sir James Bagg tried to have Warwick's ship, intended to take the treasure fleet off Brazil, prevented from leaving Plymouth. The ship sailed, but Warwick was attacked by a superior Spanish force and barely escaped; this particular expedition was a complete failure. When, due to Carlisle's interventions, the proprietorship of Barbados came into dispute, the slowness of Courteen's supply lines threatened famine.
(In 1637, Peter and John Hay sailed to the Caribbean to help enforce the rights of the creditors of the Earl of Carlisle. But we are not told if any such creditors had any prior links with Courteen or Courteen associates.)
Bliss, Revolution and Empire, p. 33.
In the Caribbean, Peter Hay had kinsmen Sir James Hay and Sir Archibald Hay who helped shore up the influence of the earl of Carlisle island as rents were collected. The new governor, Henry Huncks, once threatened Peter Hay with physical violence. Interestingly, the Hays however did understand colonial reluctance to bear with trade regulation if there was no share in colonial government - of course, such issues flared dramatically with the later outbreak of the American Revolution. In 1636, a servant ship with Thomas Anthony as supercargo carried 56 Irishmen and women from Kinsale to Barbados. The ship was originally bound for Virginia, but the servants had heard wages were more liberal on Caribbean islands. There were two other ships that year from Kinsale. Servants fetched 500 pounds weight of tobacco each. Their employers were?
By 1636, Carlisle's men included Peter Hay and James Holdip, while the merchant syndicate backing Carlisle included Marmaduke Roydon, William Perkins and Alexander Bannister. One aspect of Carlisle's proprietorship (he died in 1636) was that he leased 10,000 acres of perhaps the best land in Barbados, in St. George's Valley, to his London syndicate - Roydon, Perkins, Bannister.
See Ligon's map of Barbados. Notes, Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 49, Note 10, p. 50, pp. 55-57.
Barbados' people however survived, and by 1640, after changing from diversified agriculture to mono-culture, using more-rationalized, larger holdings, plantation-style, Barbados was profitably exporting tobacco, cotton and indigo. By 1645, the Barbados settlers would buy 1000 slaves in a year.
Mintz, Sweetness, p. 53.
Here, certain that the contradictory complexities of the day have to be invoked, an Indian historian, Mukherjee, records Charles I as being in constant need of money, apparently the reason Charles backed the formation of Carlisle's association as a rival to Sir William Courteen. Mukherjee also suggests that a group led by William Courteen Junior also remained an irritant of the East India Company, if not a rival to it, with a result that the East India Company "fell into a state of disorganisation, from which it did not recover till 1657". But strangely, Mukherjee does not elaborate on this "disorganisation".
Mukherjee, Rise and Fall, p. 79. More specifically (see John Bruce, Annals of the Honourable East India Company. London, Court of Directors of the East India Company, 1810. Vol. 1, p. 346), the Courteen Association wished to exploit a convention between Goa and Surat with a view to using Portuguese ports, an option not open to the English East India Company; pp. 337-362 on a royal licence for the Courteen Association, between 1636-1637 and later, as Courteen Senior died and his son inherited his projects. On the revocation for permissions given to the Courteen Association, see Bruce, Annals, Vol. 1, p. 362.
And in 1627, when the English arrived on Barbados with ten Negroes and 32 Indians, chattel slavery was still a strange idea to "the narrowly ethnocentric English". These English gathered various tropical plants and seeds, including sugar-cane, from a Dutch outpost at Surinam, and 32 Indians helped them plant and cultivate. Dating the arrival of sugar on Barbados remains difficult, but it was found over time that the Negro was a more tractable worker than the Caribs.
Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, pp. 61-71.
Control over Barbados and Providence Island:
Due to its location, control over Barbados was crucial in the strategic matter of exerting naval and commercial power in the Caribbean.
Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 92, p. 156.
A dramatically imaginative proposal, also arrogant, the Providence Island Company was founded in late 1629 as an offshoot of the Bermuda Company, with Capt Philip Bell under the patronage of the second Earl of Warwick; and it was the only major company chartered in or for the Americas after 1625. (Providence Island was off the Nicaraguan Coast.) In 1641, one Owen Rowe, a London silk merchant, became deputy-governor of the Bermuda Company; he was a relative of Susanna Rowe, the second wife of Earl of Warwick.
Susanna Rowe was daughter of London Lord Mayor Henry Rowe who was active by 1607. GEC, Peerage, Warwick, p. 411. There may have been a link to Lord Mayor in 1568, Sir Thomas Rowe. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 155. Merchant Owen Rowe was involved in Virginia trade and the Massachusetts Bay Company. In 1641 he became deputy-governor of the Bermuda Company. He was of the radical parish of St. Stephen's, Coleman Street. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, pp. 281, pp. 527-530.
Once told of the discovery of Providence Island, Warwick had formed a joint-stock company to exploit it, members being non-merchant nobles and godly gentry… Such as William Fiennes, (Lord Saye and Sele), Lord Brook (either Fulke Greville or Robert Greville, Fulke the first Baron Brooke, Robert his cousin, second Baron Brooke), and the radical John Pym. (In 1636 the Company made "a private war" on Spain and wanted to move from Providence Island to form a new settlement on a Central American mainland. Later, Maurice Thomson dealt with the Providence Island Company.)
Further anti-Spanish prejudice:
By an enlarged commission of April 1627 the second Earl Warwick was authorized to invade or possess any of the dominions of the king of Spain or the archdukes of Europe, Africa or America. The court party disapproved, and adventures were mostly allowed due to the preparation for the Rochell expedition. Warwick with help from some London merchants fitted a fleet of eight ships and tried to capture the Brazil fleet. This failed; the ships barely escaped capture and ended losing money. In 1628 and 1629 Warwick sent out more ships which did take prizes from Spaniards and Genoese, but legal disputes arose. Other ships Warwick despatched were Earl of Warwick and Somers Island.
(Cited in this context is a letter from Capt. Bell. Rich led his own clan plus a group of powerful London merchants (whom Newton does not name), with Brooke and Lord Say and Sele aiding unions forming between Puritan Lords and commercial men.)
On 28 April, 1629, Sir Nathaniel Rich, an active member of the Somers Isle Company got from Captain Bell a letter, describing difficulties and faction fights. Bell was being blamed and could not defend himself, but Bell mentioned two ships, Earl of Warwick Capt. Daniel Elfrith and Somers Islands, now returning home. Elfrith had not taken his own ship as he had no crew. Capt Cammock had been left with 30 men on an island, St Andreas; there was mention of an island Catalina and (a mythical island), Fonceta (sic), of which Elfrith knew, or, Bell had sent Elfrith to discover it. (Bell it seems was marrying Elfrith's daughter). Bell wanted the Earl of Warwick to get a patent for Fonceta.
Carlisle by 1629 meantime had the upper hand over Barbados and became recognized as lord proprietor of all the English Caribees, the Leewards Islands as well as Barbados. In 1629, in a move that might have been reported more forcefully in history, given its linkages between expansionism, trade and concerted aggression, a company of high-level English puritans including the Earl of Warwick, John Pym, first Lord Brooke, Fulke Greville and William Fiennes, first Viscount Saye and Sele sent colonists to occupy Providence Island, off the Nicaraguan Coast.
Fulke Greville (1554-1628), first Baron Brooke, naval treasurer, Chancellor of the Exchequer, published Sydney's radical book, Arcadia. He was murdered by a servant. GEC, Peerage, Brooke, pp. 331ff; Willoughby, p. 690. Who’s Who in Shakespeare's England, p. 98. There was also a Sir Fulke Greville (1575-1632) of Newton, of Thorpe Latimer who married Margaret or Mary Copley. He was a friend of Raleigh. Newton, Colonising Puritans; GEC, Peerage, Brooke, p. 333.
Providence Island was to be a staging ground for raids against the Isthmus of Panama (the area of the Peak of Darien). In 1631 this same company sponsored another privateering base at Tortuga, off the coast of Hispaniola. All this would have continued the earlier Elizabethan "war" with Spain with typical English-Puritan vehemence.
Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 12. That vehemence should not be underestimated. The "Five Knights case" prior to the Civil War involved Warwick, Saye, Rich, Pym, Rudyerd and Digges. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 265.
As Lord of the English Caribbean, Carlisle remained "an indolent absentee proprietor", interested only in collecting quit rents. He died in 1636 with a debt-entangled estate and his proprietary rights over Barbados came into dispute. In the 1630s, all effective government of Barbados went to Carlisle's governor, Henry Hawley, who levied poll taxes on the inhabitants. Hawley called a Barbados Assembly meeting in 1639, but remained basically a petty despot.
Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, pp. 49ff.
The murmurs of discontent expressed, and some of the issues raised, were of the kind which much later would fuel the American Revolution. For England, Barbados became an early-warning situation about many trends that were to be influential. (And in 1629, as Charles I made peace with France, England abandoned her efforts with Nova Scotia, where Scots enterprise had faltered).
Davies, Early Stuarts, p. 326. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 252.
It is from this point, however, that details in history books fade, and confusions set in. Broadly, it does appear that Charles I profited from Carlisle's interest, while Charles also owed money to Courteen.
Copyright © by Dan Byrnes, Australia, 2002
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