William Byams Journal of Guiana 1665 to 1667
British Library Mss No.3662, Fol. 27-37
An exact Narrative of the State of Guiana as it stood Anno 1665 particular of the English Colony in Surynam, Beginning of the War and of its Actions during the war, And the taking the of by a fleet from Zealand.
In Anno 1665 there were seven Colonies settled on the Coast of Guiana, one of the English two of the French and four of the Dutch, at Approwaco a River seven League from Chyan a small Dutch colony at Chyan was the Grand settlement of French at Sinamare ten Leagues toward off it they had another Colony distinct from that of Chyan. In the Province of Willoughby land which Contains the Rivers of Marracomo, Surynam, Saramica, and Componham was the English Colony at Barbish above 50 Leagues toward of Surynam, the Dutch had a strong Fort and some settlements at Desseceeb 30 Leagues from Berbua the Antient Colony strongly sortified.
But there greatest of all they ever had in America was Borom and Moroco; Alias now Zealand almost flourishing Colony 16 Leagues seaward of Dissecabo.
In the same year in the month of may was the Colony Willoughby Land in its meridian and after this month had its decline and went over Retrograde at this time we had near 1500 men, but not Half Armoured nor half the arms fixed and serviceable, no Magazines, nor a gun mounted.
His Excellenz Francis Lord Willoughby of Parham and Genll and one of our Lord Proprietors was then here and sailed hence the 9 th. of this month with whom and in other Ships a little after (out of discontent) went about 200 able men and upon his Ex. Arrival a sickness began at the Town of Torarica and spread itself in the Plantations Adjoining swept many away.
At his Excellencies departure I received orders for making a platform at the Town and mounted six guns which was Accordingly done.
No sooner was his Excellency gone but some Jealousies possess the Inhabitants which brake out into great discontents, the Coll. Implied and Capt. John Parker to Barbados to his Excellence whose prudent and judicious Management returned him a satisfactory declaration which stopped many then upon the wing, ready to depart the Colony to some place where they might not be Tenants at will.
In November here arrived from his Excellence his Sargent Mayor John Scott after his victory at Tobago with a small fleet and a regiment of floote under the Carrot of Matj. Colonel of Guiana, Cheise Comission and Commander in choice by Land and Sea in few months his great fortune and gallantry prudent and Industrious Conduct made him Master of all the great provinces now Zealand and Desseceeb settled a peace with the Arrowayes left both Colonies in a flourishing Condition and well garrisoned for the King of England now Zealand under the Conduct of one Capitaine Boxlion and Desseceeb under the Command of one Capt. Renn both old soldiers and sober Gentleman.
About two months after his arrival at Barbados the Indians understanding he was not returned withdraw all Commerce with the English in the forts many the Dutch French and Jews were soon upon the wing to the French Islands Martinique and St. Christopher's and those that remained grow discontent. I would be more particular but that I have written latterly of this Gentle voyage to his Excellence which I hope will not be lost. In August following one Copo was sent with Supplies for the Realise of these Colonies and one yerin her Hounded a Swifts to still the Indians that greatly destroyed our Colonies with run Restregrads and only for want of supplies (not withstanding I did my endeavour) after many brave defences were forced to submit themselves many to the moralist French And in April following the whole Colony to the Dutch. The loss of such a Jewell cannot be sufficiently lamented.
In the month of March 1666 before the loss of those Colonies in persuaded of my Commission from my Lord Willoughby I Comissionated one Capt. Peeter Wroth with a considerable party of men and vessels to attack the Dutch Colony of Approwaco which was undertook with success, their Armour, Slaves, and Goods Ingenious to make sugar and were brought to Surynam and the Colony destroyed.
The May following (viz.) 1666 (before the loss of these Colony) two of our Shallops from the Manatee Coast roars the great river Aricahones touched at Chyan in their return to Surynam; By whom I received news of the eruption of war between the two Crowns from monsieur de Loyfiz Governor of Chyan with his formally Compliment that thought he might have forced the two vessels yet to evidenced how great a fervent he was this Colony he had let them go in peace and ear nosily Solicited that not withstanding the war in Europe and the Caribee Leeward Islands yet we might Continue fronds as the English and French had done in former wars in the Leeward Island the same did Monsieur de Noel Governor of Synnemarrce request in several Letters. The Colony was not at that time in a Condition to offend nor well to defend itself. And glad I was that Address for Neutrality came from him to me to whom I returned this answer; That it lay not in my power to Conclude an absolute Neutrality for I was most strictly to observe the Commands of my King and his Governor of Guiana, and till his orders command the Contrary I should continue neutral; And since he had showed himself so Extraordinary Covill to the Colony, In ease orders should Arrive to break the Neutrality, I should like agree to full and noble one my give advice there of before. I acted any hostility but Monsignor de Neoll who had not been so obliging, I call God to witness I never promised any such thing though he hath very Ignobly Reported the Contrary.
Before this I had presented the naked state of those Provinces to his Excellence and seriously solicited for a large supply of Armour and Ammunition but no ship arriving and finding our Condition very sad and exposed. I advised with the Council and summered the Assembly which passed an Act for every tenth working Agree throughout the Colony to be sent to Pramorabo to prepare materials for a fort. And I ordered five files with a Comisus officer out of the other Companies to attend Constantly there to reinforce the Company at Pramorabo and monthly to be relived out of which I ordered a Match at the Rivers mouth to give notice of the enemies approach.
I find last the Guard was fixed and the Negroes began to work at which time a vessel arrived from Barbados with the sad news of the loss of St. Christopher and brought me orders from his Excellenz to erect a fort at Pramorabo and to send a party against Synamarro and Chyan whereupon I issued forth a Declaration to be read at the head of any Company inviting all volunteers with great Encouragement and ordering them to appear in Complete Armours at Pramorabo on the 24th of July and that which increased their number was so forward prefer of Sergt. Major James Banister to Conduct them in case he could raise two hundred men well Armed. In the mean time I took all possible care for Indians able Poriagoos, provisions for the fleet at the place and time and fixed many appeared, but of volunteers short of the number of 200 and many ill Armed, at this time the assembly presented to me and the Council the great danger of sending so many of our best men to windward while we lay exposed to the threatened invasion of Borganasy governor of Barboto and the Arwacas from Leeward and therefore for the prevention of the suspected danger I ordered about 90 men against the French under the Conduct of Capt. William Cowoss and about 80 more Leeward against the Dutch and Arwacas and to relieve our own Country men at Dissecabo and Bawroonsa who we feared were in Distress under the Command of Capt. Christopher Rondan, And that Capt. Cowoss might be rightly informed of the strength and power of the enemy and that I might punctually perform my parole with Monsieur Delesio. I gave him a letter to Monsieur de Neell with another Inclosed to Monsieur De Lesio Governor of Chyan importing that I had received positive orders from his Exll the Lord General. That I should have now Neutrality with them this late was delivered about 3 of the Clock on Saturday in the afternoon and about 4 on Sunday morning Capt. Cowell with great Courage and resolution fell on the fort and took it and flowing to their Shallops and brought away there Governor and about 50 more prisoners utterly Destroying the whole Colony and that without the Loss of one man nor was Capt. Rondar unsuccessful at Leeward having stormed two warehouses of the Arwacas and had other Rickornings with them wherein he show about 30 men and took 70 Captives. But for the release of our men at Dissekebo he came to late who about 3 weeks before thorough want of ammunition and Irresistible hunger were forced to surrender themselves and 12 hundred Slaves which they had taken to Burgunas a Dutch General who besieged them. But on good articles which those Complain he afterwards broke, And as for our poor men at Bawrooma they were also for want of timely supplies destroyed by the French who most inhumanly (after they were starved out of the fort delivered them to the cruelty of the Arwacas at the mouth of that River to be massacred. This was informed me by one of that fort who was absent when it was taken who learned it from the Indians. But since I understood the main fort was not taken until the coming of the fleet from Zealand 1667.
And now in August Gods Justice most sharply visited our Transgressions the sickness spreading throughout the whole Colonie with that violence and Continuance that it cut of about 200 of our men, and very many women and children and so universal and raining was the Contagion at one time, that we could not make a hundred sound men in the Country to oppose an enemy and not a family that I know escapes it, miserable were the cries and disordered where the Spirits of all, few or none brow the nature or cure of the Disease nor were those any Cordial means or medicines proper for it in the whole Country, it was a most strange violent fever, burning within and yet * (at the same time the hands and foot exceeding cold but) it had not the same appearance on all, never was these like sad affliction soon in the Colony most of all of our maroons and many Negroes which were at work on the fort were most sadly visited the which with the difficulty of cutting our stones from under the ground with Axes very much retarded the work. In this month Capt. John Shues arrived from Barbados and brought as from his Exell. 6 Barrels of Powder and some match which was exceeding mostly for we very greatly wanted it.
At the return of Shoves I shipped off most of the Choicest of the French prisoners for Barbados and also sent of Capt. Ennis the provost Marshall to present to his Exell. The sad and dangerous Condition of the Colony to solicit for some Ammunition & c.
In November I was advised by one of our men which came from Amazonah at Chyan he saw 7 sail of ships, I was then weake and exceeding came and has been so for two Months flare whereupon sent Capt. Nathaniel Clarke a Gentleman of the Council whom I well know to be vigilant careful and Active & gave him a Commission to be Deputy Governor and then ordered six Poriagoos to be a guard at the Rivers mouth till the gates of the fort were set up, and we in a better posture of defence.
About the latter end of December Capt. Ennis returned but unfortunately fell Leeward to Saramica and brought with him what possible. The Governor of Barbados could procure for me, but no powder for none was then to be had, and presented us with the dismal news of the burning of London and of the lost of his Excell. And his fleet, and that we might daily expect a French fleet from Leeward who were Victorious there to attack us. I was then weak and so insufferable Lame with the Gout and I was not able to stand, yet to forward of Defence I came to the Fort in the beginning of January, where I found the Gates of it then set up, but the wall in some places not six foot high, I then commended the Council and aswinbly about many businesses of great importance, and amongst other things there past an Act for the pay support of a Standing Company of fifty men besides officers to be constant in the Fort during the war under the Command of Capt. Wm. Cowell about the middle of Feb. The Company was completed with volunteers we then also resolved to fit up a Shallop that was on the stocks and send her with speed to Barbados for Ammunition and Intelligent; I then disports orders to all officers in the Colony with they should do upon the arrival of ye enemy and ordered all settlers to build private houses over Swamps and in remote parts, and to carry part of their provisions thither, and to remove all their cattle and provisions out of their Plantations. That their wives Children and Slaves upon an Alarm might retire to them, And also ordered all able boats to be fitted up and every man to be ready and well fixed and provided Constantly with 12 days victuals before hand; The Creeks of Para and Serene I ordered to be damed up with great Trees to be fallen into it; And ordered all about premonition to prepare themselves Huts in remote parts in the wood, or where women & Children might upon occasion fly to.
On the 15th of Feb. I rewind the Alarm of the arrival of eight sails who we verily believed to be French upon which I presently sent orders into the Country, and pulled down and fired all the hours with musquett shot of the Fort.
Our Fort or rather half a Fort was on a plain close by the River side of a Pendigonical for me, Consisting of five Bastions where of only one Curtain one Bastion & half another were palisaded and perfected the other were on foot high exempting one Curtain and bastion which faced the River, the which by reason of the inequality of the ground was but eight or nine foot in height, the bastion and Curtain was then finished which were also to the face of the River, lying very much higher then all the Rest, became so exposed to the Land that from thence the enemy could without danger boat our men from of them, I had twelve guns mounted where of one a whole Culvering a domy Culverine a sacker the rest Minion and falcon besides those there were nine other small Guns for which Carriages were preparing soul of which now brought from Aparawacka and Sinnamarro, I had about a hundred men and sixty Negroes part of those which were on the work, and all my Stock of powder exceeded not four barrels, And for Calls for the whole Culverine which was the most serviceable gun. I had not one that would fit all being to high and the wall about the platform where she stood was so low that it secured not the height of a mans knees, nor had we sufficient earth brought in for our men to stand upon to fix over the Parapet, but in stead there of raised planks on retorting stones, on which on which by reason of their height and for want of breadth our men could not possible oppose with the waste Convonioney.
On the 30th of December still never there was set forth by the States of Zealand a fleet of seven Sayle viz. four Frigates a victualler a Doggar boat and a Galley in all which were about a Thousand men Soldiers and seamen under the Command of Myne Heere Abraham Crynsens in the bay of Biscay they lost their Gally at the Canaries they took a small Irish man they roucht at Chyan where they understood that Monsieur La Barr was daily expected from the Leeward Islands with a Fleet designed for this place, the Governor earnestly deferred them not to putt in here The Dutch concealing their Intention took feave and on the Coast for windward of this part meet with a small New England betch one Enans Master who supposing he had been Leeward of Surinam Kept five days boating up to windward till he became a prize to the Fleet.
On the 15th of February they arrived in the River eight Sayle in all, and on the 16th came to Anchor about half a League below the fort and then sent in their Summons in Dutch and French.
Sir Boing came hither by the Command of the High & puissant Lords the States my Masters to incorporate the Fort with your Command this is the reason I send you this Drama with this letter to the end you may render it promising you that in such case, your softer and all the Inhabitants property and possession of which they have without loss of least thing, but in case you refuse it, I am resolved to attack you by Sea and Land with the Designee of Killing all that shall oppose not giving quarter to any one you may regulate your self hereupon whilst I attend Anshare to this letter within one quarter of an hour without any delay dated in the Ship Zealand the 26th of February 1667.
To whom I returned this answer Sir. I have received your promontory Summons. And as you are Commanded by your Masters to take this Fort so am I Commanded by my King and his Governor of Guiana to keep it which I shall endeavour to do against all opposers and so you may Act your hostilities as soon as you please Willoughby Fort February the 16th 1667. William Byam
This was done on Saturday in the afternoon, about 7 or 8 of the clock on Sunday morning near high water they all weighed and came all fewer Frigates to an Anchor just before the Fort which we never suspected and then we mutually played our Guns as fast as we could, which continued for the space of 2 or 3 hours and then the enemy sent their Doggar boat a Ketch and a Shallop as full of men as possible they could hold and ran ashore in a bay above the Fort & to welcome them I had Commanded an Ensign with fewer Files, out of my small number to attend their arrival.
That part of the Fort which was Imperfect towards the river being very low the Enemy shoot over and Commanded from their Decks a quarter Deck, above half the inside of the Fort scowling two of the Curtains where our men were to stand to oppose in one of our Bastions where we thought our men secure they shivered two of our men's logs and thighs & placed some of their shot within 3 foot of the Foundation of the wall with inside; besides the Fort being High where the Curtain and Bastion were Completed and low towards the Land but ten foot; the Enemies shoot would not permit a man to stand on them, our negroes whom I had armed with Lances to oppose an assault lay flat on their bellies, two of our Guns were dismounted our powder began to be very low, but a barrel of fifty and a quarter left.
In this Condition foreseeing an Impossibility to keep the Fort from the Approaching Storm, I sent for all the Commission officers and one of the Council who was then with me and the Choice Gunner, who with the rest of the Gunners be have themselves exceeding well, and advised with them whither the place were to hold or not who all concluded it was not because we wanted Ammunition, and the Enemies shoot Commanded the inside of the Curtain where our men should stand to Defend, And therefore I thought it greater discretion to yield on honourable terms if to be had then to oppose to no purpose. But if Conditions of honourable were denied us we were resolved to Dye in the Fort with honour whereupon I caused a Flag of Truce to be hung out and a parley to be beaten and proposed my terms to the Admiral which he granted and they were those:
Willoughby Fort February 17th , 1667
It was this Day Concluded and agreed upon between Lt. General William Byam Governor of the Province of Willoughby land and Monsieur Abraham Crynsens Commander in choice of the Dutch Fleet now before the said Fort, That the said Lt. General Byam is to march forthwith out of the said Fort with all his officers and Soldiers with flying Colours, light Matches Drum beating ammunition for every Soldier viz. 12 Shot a piece with their Arms, and both they and all the poor people about the Fort to have Liberty to take away all that they have therein as soon as they can, and also to have free Liberty to go up into the Country or where they please; And these Fort with all the Ammunition & Artillery therein and all the provisions that were in for the use of the Soldiers to be delivered up to the said Monsieur Crynsens or order, but any thing else that is not here expressed besides the Artillery ammunition and those provisions, The said Monsieur Crynsens is not to expect in witness were of the said Lieut. General William Byam and the said Monsieur Crynsens have interchangeable set their hands and seals to two of these Articles of the same tenor and Date Abraham Crynsens.
The fort being surrendered the Commander who were appointed by the States for the Land, required the Arms of the Soldiers after they were March out, which I told them was contrary the Articles whereupon there arose a dispute to suppress which they published a Declaration at the head of the Company assuring all the Inhabitants in and about the Fort, that they should fairly enjoy their Estates and have all privileges if they would lay down their Arms, and swear fidelity to the States the which some for gain others for fear and so were dismiss. This day Capt. Goose arrived in the river and was taken.
Before night several of our men Inlisted themselves in the Dutch service and told them they would show them where our provisions, Cattle and Negroes were hid.
The sixty Negroes that were in the fort marched forth with me and I ordered a person to Launch a boat and carry them up into the Country which whilst he was doing the Soldiers by order stopped and put them into the Fort and Contrary to the Articles detained them.
That night I left the Fort and about 2 a Clock in the morning two Leagues from the Fort, I met Capt. Clark with 14 Poriagoos from above coming down to my assistance whom I informed the necessity of the Surrender and so we went up to the Town of Torarica where I expected several of my Soldiers which were in my Fort would have followed me, but the Enemy had put all the boats a drift that they could not come up, here I found our men divided some were for peace hearing the faire pentanes of the Enemies that they came not to destroy but to build and that all should enjoy their estates and others were for war and would stand it out still the last and go up the falls or break into the woods and destroy all before the enemy should enjoy it, and those that would clean to the enemy and refuse to Join with them should be the first whose houses and Caves they would burn, and whose plantations they would ruin, I was exceeding sorry to hear of those Divisions which abided no good, and to see that many has not observer my orders in bringing down with them 12 days provisions for they already called out for want, and would needs home whose dwellings were remote, I then took some care for there present supply and sent for the Council and Assembly to meet on Thursday following & immediately dispatched two men to remain at the mouth of Saramica to advise here things stood if any of our ships should fall in there for we were advised that Capt. Colleto and others would suddenly be on the Coast. The next day I was advised from Barra that the Ensign there when he healed the fleet were Dutch and not French striped his Colours and refused to Fight, and some of the Soldiers, others mutinied against there officers, others remained at home and would not stir. And of 90 men in the Creek but 40 appeared in arms several also of your Choicest Gentlemen who intended to stand it out forgoing the innumerable ruin and misery in case of long opposition and the French Fleet daily expected and how they must leave many of their Friends who lay exceeding sick as a pray to the enemy inclined to peace so it might be on very honourable terms and having received form overture from Enemy of his Compliance in honour.
I thought it prudence to prevent the ruin of several of the most considerable plantations which lay exposed to their fury and rapine as they came up and before they had treated with us and therefore I sent the Marshall with a letter to your Admiral that if he intended the good of the Inhabitants as he prefect, I delivered him to forbear the Acting any hostility till we had reacted and in the mean time I advance towards him with our Perigee Fleet consisting of Fourteen, in which were Christians and Jews 168 men old and young sick lame and sound, besides Negroes and some Indians that paddled the boats. I had many Indians came into me with bundles of war Arrows but brought not a bit of bread, so that Hunger enforced them to return quickly, I cannot omit the Gallantry of the Inhabitants of Soreness who after they had Daniel their Creek with store of Unmoveable Trees they nobly sent unto me that they desired the Enemy (Knowing their habitations were inaccessible) and would readily come over into the River when ever I would Appoint them, who had no less then eight miles of sad way to travel over.
On Wednesday night I received a friendly answer of my letter from the Admiral who delivered two Gentleman for Hostages in lieu of two he would send us.
On Thursday as many of the Council as were able which were three, where of but one (viz.) Capt. Clarke was well, met to whom I imparted the reality of all transactions & sent for the Assembly and told them though I might none by force take from the Inhabitants with necessity required yet as I never yet Levied any thing without their Consent so neither would I none in time of war without their approbation so long as I could call them together, And earnestly desire now in this grand Necessity, they would speedily order sufficient provisions for the present supply of our Fleet from all the Neighbouring Plantations, and a store up higher in the River, where we might be furnished when we should be forced to retreat, the Gentlemen after Consultation returned with this answer, That their persons and estates were devoted to serve their King and for the Defence of their Country they desired that I would send officers to rake what I wanted & where I pleased but humbly desired yet I and the Council would seriously proof & consider of the paper with your presented, which continued this;
To the Honourable Lt. General William Byam & the rest of the Council to his Exell. Francis Lord Willoughby of Parham The humble address of representation of the Assembly being your representative body of the Colony of Surynam
That whereas we being deeply sensible as well of the trust reposed in us by the Inhabitants of this Colonie as of our present dangerous estate having so powerful an enemy in the midst of us whose Force we are neither able to resist or expel, And it being the earnest and Important desires of the Good People of this Colony, That this present Juncture of affairs even when we are Engaging into blood with so much disadvantage and in all probability so little hopes of success we should now represent onto your honour their Miserable & sad condition under the following Considerations which we humbly offer to the prudent Judgement and most serious thoughts.
That through the late heavy visitation of sickness one forth part of our ablest men are swept away and of those few of us which remain alive one third part are still sick weak unfit for service and unable to Contribute any thing of defence against an enemy so far surmounting us in Number equipage and all for war, And such of us as are healthy are divided and despaired at great distances which of necessity must be so otherwise they or their Families must suddenly strove, and pith provisions being at this time in so great Scarcity.
That both the Lieut. General by his infirmity and great distemper & also his Sergeant Major at present very dangerously sick are unable for Action and destitute of their Conduct in this our great necessity.
That if we stand out in opposition the enemy will daily burn ruin and destroy our habitations and settlements and we unable to check or hinder them, and our Slaves when once in distress if not sooner will fly away from us.
That from the French of whose merciless cruelty the English in the Neighbour Islands have lately had very sad experience a Fleet is hourly expected, and we also fear the invasion of the Arwaca Indians, who will effect such mischoice as will Consequently produce the inevitable ruining of us all.
That many of our men are already most Traitorously fallen to the enemy who will prove very pernicious to us in guiding them to all our Creeks and private places & discovering our provisions Cattle and Goods as also all or most part of our Christian Servants and proms dishonest and in doubt will undoubtedly very speedily distort us and repair to them,
And lastly Considering that as we have few or no medicines for wounded men, our whole store of ammunition exceeds not six barrels, & that expended we must surcease your Contest by war and be take our soldiers to the miserable refuge of Flying into the woods with our wives Children and Families for safety, and at last after a final ruining if we escape all other pills, the Necessities of nature will force us to a shameful yielding up our selves, for any relieve, as in all likelihood we can expect none from his Matie our most Gracious Sovereign so have we not so much hopes of any from our Proprietors who never yet assisted us but with six barrels of powder and a little match nor can we thoughts of any Kindness or Succour From Barbados who so lately were very unwilling to spare a little Limestone.
For all which reasons we do as well in the behalf of ourselves as of the Inhabitants of the Colony in trusting us earnestly pray your honour as well for the removing of the before recited danger and sad inconveniences so for the preserving of those fortunes and estates which many of us brought hither and others by many years industry and the painful sweat of their brews have attained. That you will rather seek a speedy accommodation and embrace Composition upon safe and honourable terms then to perish in a war which we have no abilities to perform, and which must unavoidably procure the utter ruining of us all our Children and posterity.
But in respect that we suppose the enemy for their own Interest and out of their desire to settle the Trade of this Colonie in themselves which will undoubtedly much promote their advantage and game or we conceive in themselves much able to a treaty, and that we only for the causes aforesaid to prevent that Soudaine devastation which they will bring upon us have made this motion of peace we humbly desire that such Articles of treaty as shall be proposed may be such as may Certainly secure us in our estates and Liberties and have any Consequence of Abjuring that allegiance we owe to our natural Sovereign Siege Lord his Majesty of Great Britain.
And we also humbly desire for our selves and the people yet high favour of your honourable that the body of Articles you agree upon may be imparted to us before sent to the Enemy.
Robt. Collinson - Stephen Neale - Inbz. Whittaker - Angus Story - The Sergeant Ino. Ezpeth - Wm. Parker - Ino. Thorne
After a Considerable view of the paper we found the Representatives had fully and truly stated our Condition, and hearing the defection of many of our men flying to the enemies and of the Insolencies of our Negroes Killing our stock, breaking upon houses threatening our women and some flying into the woods in rebellion and finding the Generality inclining to a peace (the Enemy having sent Emissaries for our own men applauding their cruelty extolling their promises and assorting the assurance of supplies which we ever wanted, we sent Capt. Angus Story and Mr. Wm. Parker for hostages a board and in the mean time draw up these proposals.
Proposals to the Enemy
1. What ever Revenue guise or Land is or hath bone set a part for ye use of the church the maintenance of Ministers especially the rent of Allen's Estate given for that and by his Excellence Fran. Lord Willoughby of Parham be entirely reserved for that purpose.
2. That our present Minister W. Goo. Vernon be satisfied his profit out of the produce of the said estate.
3. That the English who shall remain here, have Ministers of their own Nation and Choosing and of the Church of England, and that their annual exhibition be paid them out of the produce of the said estate.
4. That all of what Nation so ever who are present inhabitants of this Colony whose tenants & practice are not inconsistent with Government have free Liberty of Conscience.
5. No others be imposed on the English that shall inhabit here which may in your least grate against their Allegiance to their King.
6. That the heiress of his Excellence Francis Lord Willoughby of Parham may and shall possess and enjoy and inherit all and over the Lands Plantations Slaves Servants Cattle's stocks Coppers, Stills, Boats & c. that did and do of right belong to his said Excellence as he is a planter here. And that the said heiress have free Liberty at any time by themselves or agents to transport their estates or part thereof from hence in Ships of what so ever without the least Let or Missestation or hindrance.
7. That all persons with so ever of what nation so ever whither English Jews & c. whither absent or present who have estates in this province in Lands, Slaves, Servants, Cattle stock, Coppers, Stills, Bark's, Boats, Commodities, Goods, Debts, & c. have them entirely reserved and Confirmed unto them their heiress & c. to possess enjoy and inherit for ever without the least Lot Molestation or hindrance.
8. That your persons aforesaid have full Freedom and Liberty to sell or Transport when or where they please all or part of their estates aforesaid, And that when sufficient freight presents the Governor for the time being order Shipping for the same at moderate rates.
9. That no Imposition or tax be laid on or exacted from any of the present Inhabitants, towards the erecting of Fortifications maintenance of Government or Garrisons.
10. That a Ship or two if needs require be provided to transport forth with, such as are unwilling to live under the Dutch Government both they their Families Slaves & c. to Barbados with a Convoy with them.
11. That all present Inhabitants of what nation should have and enjoy all equal privileges with the Dutch as shall Cohabited here.
12. That the late Act made for the preservation of the Inhabitants estates be Confirmed.
13. That no Inhabitants be denied the Liberty of Fishing in any parts of as formerly, or to Turtle on the bay's or to go and trade with the Indians.
14. That they furnished with all sorts of Indian Trade.
15. That they have freedom to cut specklewood in the River.
16. That all Laws Acts or declarations conforming the Inhabitants here be published in the English tongue.
17. That very great care be taken for the preservation of all orphans estates.
18. That every Family be permitted to have a Fowling poise or poises in their houses with powder and ball we being otherwise utterly unable to defend ourselves from the Indians, our Slaves and Tigers and other vermin's which devour of stock.
19. That our men belonging to this Colony taken by the Governor of Barbados be released and all such of our Countrymen as were taken in the English Ships by the Fleet bound for this River, or in this River, and that for the French Prisoners here we may have Liberty to transport them to Barbados in a Shallop of our own they being promised to be sent thither for exchange of our men at the Caribbean Islands and that we may send up a French prisoner to Cheyan for release of one of our men that lies prisoner there.
20. That such goods as are sent out and appertain into the Inhabitants of this Colonie by Capt. Robert Colvile daily expected from Barbados (or ships from other parts which may be designed hither) be delivered unto in case the said vessel shall arrive after the Conclusion of this agreement and the said vessel to be free so far as the said Colonie or any here share in the same shall extend, he being an Inhabitant in this Colonie.
21. That the Inhabitants have free Liberty to send of either Sugar or any other Commodities for Holland or else where without excise or Custom and receive you product thereof in what Merchandise they please without Encumbrance.
22. That no prohibition be against the planter here inhabiting for making any manor of Commodities for his advantage.
23. That no president obligation stop any that are minded to go of and that all debts that are and shall be Contracted between English and English, we may have full power to order & determine if under 10000 lbs. of Sugar, and for with public charges the Colonie stands indebted we may be empowered to make a leave for the same on the present Inhabitants, and distrait in case of refusal to pay, that all may boar an equal share.
24. That all Negroes that either were run away about Pramorabo or detained in our Fort may be delivered to their owners.
25. That the Carrebees or neighbours be civilly treated not abused by the Arwacas And that we and our estates be protected from the French & Arwacas and other Indian enemies.
26. That all persons in Cummarveen & mapauny be included in theses Articles.
27. That all and every expression in all and every yet aforesaid Articles be always sure interpolated according to the plain meaning just sense and true intention of the words and expressions and never wrested to the prejudice of the present inhabitants.
On Friday the 4.th of march still nova came yet States Commander to Torarica viz. Capt. Lidenberge & Capt. Ramo, Commanders of standing Companies in Zealand, There were with me the Council Sergt. Major Tho. Neell miserable weak hardly able to go Capt. Nathan Clarke & Mr. Oliver Humphreys who was very weak throw his long sickness, The first & sharpest in our Treaty arose about our allegiance to our King & after a long Contest we Concludes on the oath in the Articles which we presume no Subject in our Condition but might take it sahio honoro et Consciontia.
The next thing which they begged at was his Excellence estate & your Interest of all absent persons which we stood stiffly to reserve and uphold, but at Length they told us that they could proceed no further unless we yielded to the Confiscation of them for they were strictly bound up by their orders from the States not to treat unless we contented to the for fixture of them, At Length we desired to lay aside and not such Articles as for the present we could not agree on and proceed and so with we mutually would assent unto.
The treaty was tedious we not understanding Dutch well wither they English, so that all things were twice translated, by which delay thorough the insinuating infidelity of some of our men, the better understood the Distraction and weakness of our Condition, which made not them only recede from which they intended to grant, but to impose more difficult Terms on us, and amongst the rest they demanded no less then 50000 lbs. of Sugar for a present to the States we preferred them 30000 lbs. and they would have taken 50000 lbs., had not the forward and Ignoble prodigality of some preferred in their hearing very largely, so that a peace were concluded, and that they might save their estates, which made them not abate an ounce of 100000 lbs. every day they would alter something, and propose higher demands, and therefore we thought it best conferring our teetering Condition and hourly fearing the arrival of the French Fleet, which would have loosened the honourable and goodness of our Articles to delay no more time, but to hasten to a Conclusion, for we could not expect the least realise and therefore on the 6 th. of the aforesaid month about twelve at night those Articles were signed.
Articles concluded upon Between Commander Abraham Crynsens Admiral of a Squadron of Ships belonging unto the Noble and Mighty Lords the States of Zealand, and Coll. William Byam late Lieut. General of Guiana and Governor of Willoughby Land.
1. All Renounces what's ever gifts or land which are appointed for the use of the Church and maintenance of Ministers especially the rent of Ino. Allen's estate given for that and by my Lord Willoughby, be absolutely reserved for that one to wit as well for the payment of Dutch as English Ministers. That the English shall have the election of their own Ministers, the same to be paid their exhibitions as well as the Dutch, from the said renounce, That the present Minister Mr. Gee. Vernon be satisfied for arrears from Mr. Marcus Munnick out of the said rents, and that all persons of what nation so ever have free Liberty of Conscience in matters of Religion whose opinion and practice is not inconsistent with the Government.
2. That no other oath shall be required of the English but the following
J: A: B: do in the presence of almighty God promise from my heart & faithfully swear to be true and faithful to the Noble and mighty Lords the States of Zealand here in Surynam whilst I shall live in it and will neither directly nor indirectly endeavour to oppose or undermine the same and shall to my utmost fight assist and fight against all their Enemies what so ever that shall come to annoy them attack or annoy them, but in case my Sovereign Lord the King of England my Lord Willoughby or any what so ever of the Subjects of the King of England shall come to attack Suryname, in that Case I do Swear that I will keep myself quite and neither directly or Indirectly assist them. And if it shall please the Governor render my self a prisoner in his hands.
3. That all persons what so ever of what nation so ever whither they be English Jews & c. that at present do personally inhabitate Surynam with their Families, shall have absolutely reserved and Continued unto them their estates Lands goods of what nature & condition so ever to enjoy inherit and possess them to themselves and their heiress for ever, without the least molestation or hindrance, But that all these that do not live in Surynam and yet have estates therein, be absolutely excluded out of this Articles, notwithstanding yet they have persons yet do represent there persons and Families, And that all their estates of what nature and Specie so ever from hence forth be absolutely Confiscated unto the Province of Zealand according to their Lordships order.
4. That all present inhabitants of what nation so ever shall have and enjoy all equal privileges as the Netherlanders yet shall Cohabit with them.
5. That in case any inhabitants of this Colonie shall now or hereafter intend to depart hence he shall have power to sell his estate, and the Governor in that case shall secure that he be transported at moderate Freight together with their estates.
6. That the Liberty of Fishing and Turtling upon the Bay's as before and to trade with the Indians is permitted provide they have a Ticket from the Governor.
7. That they shall have Liberty to cut Specklewood.
8. That we shall be furnished with Indian Trade.
9. That all acts laws and declarations shall be published in the Dutch and English Tongues, because the inhabitants do not understand the Dutch Languish & that the inhabitants shall be governed by the Netherland laws.
10. That there be no prohibition upon our planters to make anything a Commodity for their best profits.
11. That the Carrebees our neighbours shall be used civilly and that care shall be taken that we and our estates shall not be undamaged by the Dutch, French & other Indian Nations.
12. That all persons present inhabitants in the Rivers of Cummaweene & mapauny are included with these Articles.
13. That the inhabitants shall keep only so many arms as every one in his Family shall need to keep his Negroes in awe and to defend themselves against the Indians, wild Beasts and all other vermin's, the rest of the Arms to be delivered up.
14. That the Inhabitants shall raise 100000 lbs. of sugar for the noble and mighty Lords of the States of Zealand to take it with them.
15. The Inhabitants shall pay till further orders the same impositions and bear the same charges which were imposed upon them before the Country was Conquered according to the tenor of an Act made by my Lord Willoughby which shall be put into our hands.
16. That the records shall be delivered and secured in the hands of the Governor and that a perfect list shall be given in of the inhabitants slaves, Cattle, Coppers, & c. which are in the Country as also a perfect list of the Christians and Hebrew inhabitants, that are in every division.
17. That sixty Negroes shall be sent by the Inhabitants to work at the Fort for four months if occasion shall require them so long.
18. That all inhabitants which are willing to go of with the Fleet shall not be detained in the least by any debts Contracted before the date of these Articles, And that Commissions shall be appointed who best understand the nature of these matters with full power to examine the debts, as well of such as go of as of these which remain inhabitants, and of such as leave attorneys behind them, and to make them to pay the same the Governor after Sentence of the Commission being to assist them, that those that are Condemned to pay and refuse may be Compelled there unto.
19. That such as intend of shall be furnished with a vessel to transport themselves with their Slaves and goods & c. with a pass from Commander Crynsens, and be permitted to take their sloops with them, provided they set sail together with us.
20. That all & every expression in every Article aforesaid shall at all times and ever be interpreted according to the right meaning mind and true intent of the words and expressions and at now time wrested to the prudence of the Inhabitants.
21. That this present treaty be Confirmed by the Lords of the States of Zealand as soon as it is possible and that an authentic Copy thereof be sent hither with all expectation for further security of the Inhabitants of this Colonie, And the said Authentic Copy be delivered unto them, This done aboard the Ship Zealand the 6 th. of march still nova 1667.
Abraham Crynsens William Byam
In April 1667 Capt. Crynsens sailed from Surynam for the taking in the Island to baye, leaving Capt. Ram, Commander of this Land for, Governor for the Lords of Zealand besides those there were others which the Commander would not have placed in Surynam the General Articles for the performance of which they engaged their honours.
1. That absent orphans estates should be reserved unto them.
2. That Capt. Colvile who was daily expected in should have with part he had in his Ship reserved unto him and with goods & c. did properly belong both to him and any other Inhabitants.
3. That the prisoner at Berbice should be released and our men at Chyan and that the Seamen taken coming hither or in the River should be set a shore at Barbados.
4. That all persons now living on the Confiscated estates and by virtue of any Articles, made with their employers shall have the possession thereof accordingly they paying for it to the Lords the States of Zealand what they were bound to do to their surrender up the possession thereof unto whom they shall appoint.
5. That our men coming from Baurooma shall have free Liberty to go off or stay for (Lt. Euerward who was Lt. to Dissekebo with 12 more as I was informed, coming up to Surynam, he sadly wounded in the belly and the other in a most miserable Condition, being all that were left of our men at Baurooma and Dissekebo all the rest perishing for want of supplies.
6. That the properties of the Negroes detrained in the Fort which we agree to be Contrary to the Articles, and they avouch the Contrary, be left to the decision of the States of Zealand.
It may be expected that I should give a perfect account what men were in the Colony at the Fleets arrival which I shall very faithfully do, In July last I had an exact list of all the four Companies which amounted to more then seven hundred men, I have now received perfect lists which I am to deliver to the Commission according to the Articles, and I find in all both officers and Soldiers about 500 men, from which if we deduct the superannuated, the sick, the weak, the lame which were really so at present, I justly answer we had not 300 men sound in the whole Country and those at very remote distances by reason of their dispersed Settlements.
To Conclude universal and Continued sickness an imperfect halve built Fort, the vast distance of our settlements an unable and divided people the Age, sickness, weakness, and Backwardness of many the Infidelity of more, the want of Ammunition, the Insolent disorders of our own Negroes, The daily expectation of the merciless French and the utter despair of any relieve were the Confluence of united Judgements which our sins had ripened, all concurring to Subject us under the goake of our Enemies.