A View from the Interior of the Island of St. Helena, looking Eastward, where the place called Arno's Vale is
seen with a distant prospect of the Promontory of Prosperous Bay & the Hills called Great and Little Stone Top.
TO THE HONOURABLE
THE COURT OF DIRECTORS
FOR AFFAIRS OF THE
UNITED EAST-INDIA COMPANY,
OF A SMALL, BUT IMPORTANT,
PART OF THEIR POSSESSIONS,
WITH THEIR PERMISSION, DEDICATED,
BY THEIR FAITHFUL
AND DEVOTED SERVANT,
T. H. BROOKE
IN the present state of philosophic inquiry, nothing that relates to the productions of nature, the progress of manners, or the conduct of human life, seems trivial or unimportant. The remotest and most minute portions of the globe are made the objects of political and scientific research: and if the magnitude of our commerce with India be considered of essential benefit to the nation, and the convenience and advantage St. Helena affords in facilitating and giving security to our imports from the East be well understood, an account of that island may have some claim to acceptance. Even as a singular phenomenon on the face of nature, its annals may not be unworthy of regard.
Among the numerous settlements and islands annexed to the British empire, St. Helena is certainly ancient in the date of its establishment; yet no historical account of it has hitherto been attempted; and to this deficiency, perhaps, may be attributed the idea of insignificance that has been attached to it, and the consequent indifference of the public with regard to its concerns. The descriptions of the island to be met with in various authors are partial and incomplete, the result only of transient observation; and there is not extant any entire narrative, commencing from the first era of the settlement, and pursuing its progress to the present day. Many strangers, visiting the island on their return from India, have expressed a desire for further information than is to be found in the publications alluded to; and this curiosity, together with the approbation of persons on whose judgement he relies, form part of the author's motives for obtruding the present attempt on the public.
The introductory chapter contains a descriptive sketch of the island and its productions. The historical part commences with its discovery; and, in the narration of occurrences posterior to that event, an account is given of the early laws and regulations of the settlement, their revisals and alterations, the various plans which have, been suggested at different periods for improving the island and increasing its resources, together with their failure or success. The subject of the landed property, and the nature of the tenures, are also noticed; and in the course of this detail the author has endeavoured to trace the progressive state of the island in general, from a solitary waste to an important colony.
This detail of his undertaking may, perhaps, also appear as a statement of the difficulties he had to encounter in the progress of his work; but he has not the presumption to offer it as a plea to the public for an undue indulgence to his defects. A residence of fifteen years on the island has enabled him to obtain the local knowledge essential to his design; and his appointment as public secretary has given him free access to the official records. Possessing such sources of information, he has only to hope that the accuracy and truth of the circumstances which he records may compensate for defects in style or composition; and should this attempt afford any useful or even satisfactory intelligence to those connected with the government of the island and friendly to its interests, the author's wishes will be gratified, and his principal object completely attained.
FROM THE DISCOVERY OF THE ISLAND TO
THE YEAR 1673.
Discovery of the Island. — Its first inhabitants. — The Portuguese abandon St. Helena. — The Dutch settle on it, and likewise abandon it. — Settlement formed by the East-India Company, and confirmed by charter. — The Island taken by the Dutch, and retaken the same year. — Taken again by the Dutch, and recovered by Sir Richard Munden.
FROM THE YEAR 1673 TO THE YEAR 1687.
St. Helena re-granted to the Company by another charter. — Captain Field appointed Governor. — Several settlers proceed to the island. — Lands assigned them. — Nature of the tenures. — System of defence. — Salaries to the Governor, and other officers and servants. — Privilege to Negroes who embraced Christianity. — Disturbances. — Major Blackmore appointed Governor. — Promulgation of various laws and ordinances. — Slavery. — Duties. — Interlopers. — Distilleries. — Seditious cabals and tumults. — Mutineers attack the fort, and are defeated. — Two of the insurgents executed. — Commission from King James to try the mutineers. — Five more executed. — Their relations petition the House of Commons. — Martial law to be exercised as often as necessary.
FROM THE YEAR 1687 TO THE YEAR 1708.
Various plans for improving the island suggested. — All fail. — Price of provisions in the year 1707. — Jealousies with which the Company's prerogatives were guarded. — Shoals and banks in the neighbour-hood of the island. — Design of forming a settlement at Tristan d' Acunha. — Design abandoned. — Death of Governor Blackmore. — Captain Johnson succeeds as Governor. — Is assassinated by part of his garrison, who plunder the treasury, and make their escape. — Captain Kelinge's government. — An insurrection of the Blacks. — Governor Kelinge's death, and succession of Governor Poirier. — Distilleries suppressed. — Two Company's ships cut out of the Roads. — Death of Governor Poirier, and succession of Mr. Goodwin. — Arrival of Governor Roberts.
FROM THE YEAR 1708 TO THE YEAR 1714.
The building of Munden's Point battery. — The present Castle in James's Valley commenced. — Hopes of discovering a gold and copper mine, fallacious. — Lime-quarries discovered. — Improvement of the Company's lands. — Sugar, rum, wine, brandy, bricks, and tiles, made on the island. — General improvement in respect to planting and enclosing. — Re-publication of the old laws. — Application from the inhabitants in consequence. — Answer. — Government-House in the country erected. — Plan for fertilizing Prosperous Bay Plain. — Resignation of Governor Roberts, and succession of Governor Boucher. — His government. — Resigns.
FROM THE YEAR 1714 TO THE YEAR 1741.
Bad seasons. — Mischief by a water-spout. — Great sickness and mortality. — Planters' petition against ships touching at the Cape. — The system of numerous small farms preferred to few large ones. — Mr. Johnson's government. — He dies; and is succeeded by Mr. Byfield. — Captain Smith appointed Governor. — His oppressive conduct. — Is superseded by Mr. Byfield. — Attention to the preservation of wood. — Goats and sheep destroyed for ten years. — Goat ranges. — Mr. Byfield's good management and economy. — A party formed against him. — He resigns; and Mr. Pyke is appointed, a second time, to the government. — His arbitrary and illegal conduct. — Dies; and is succeeded by Mr. Goodwin. — Mr. Goodwin's death. — Mr. Crespe succeeds; and is superseded by Governor Jenkins. — Discovery of frauds. — Major Lambert appointed Governor.
FROM THE YEAR 1741 TO THE YEAR 1788.
Death of Governor Lambert, and succession of Mr. Powel. — A detection of Mr. Powel's frauds and misdemeanors. — Is superseded by Governor Dunbar. — Experiments in the cultivation of corn. — Dissensions among the Council. — Mr. Hutchinson appointed Governor. — Unsuccessful attempt of a French squadron to capture the Company's ships as they approached St. Helena. — Increase of the establishment. — Exercise of martial law authorized by Act of Parliament. — Introduction of the British laws. — Prices of provisions, and necessaries from the Company's stores, reduced. — Acquisition of oaks, and other vegetable productions. — Mortality among the cattle. — Doctor Maskelyne and Mr. Waddington sent out to observe the transit of Venus. — Governor Hutchinson succeeded by Mr. Skottoe. — Long Wood fenced in. — Mr. Corneille appointed Governor. — A mutiny in the garrison.
FROM THE YEAR 1788 TO THE YEAR 1806.
Arrival of Governor Brooke. — New measures. — Reform in the slave laws. — Expedition planned against the Cape of Good Hope. — Capture of nine Dutch East-Indiamen. — Succours sent from St. Helena to the Cape. — Governor Brooke proceeds to England; and leaves the government in charge of Lieutenant-Governor Robson. — Arrival of Governor Patton. — Conclusion.
Notes about this version of Brooke:
The title page, plate, and text were scanned from an original copy of Brooke. OCR software was used to generate a text file which was carefully proof-read against the original.
Contributed by Barry Weaver.
Details of the original:
Brooke, T.H. A History of the Island of St. Helena, from its Discovery by the Portuguese to the Year 1806; to which is Added an Appendix. Black, Parry, and Kingsbury, London, 1808.
Text: pp. xv, 409.
Plates: One plate.
Last updated: 20 December, 2011