February 24 (February 14, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Samuel Parris, minister in Salem Village, preaches another two sermons in his series on Psalm 110:1.  In these sermons he talks about God’s chastisement of people for their neglect of His faith, and how the faithful must accept such punishment as part of God’s plan to guide them.  He also talks about how Satan tries to take the souls of Christians away from God, but that this will never succeed because of the promise of eternal life granted to the saved.

There is significant background to these sermons, in addition to the previous social cleavages in the village and the ongoing war with the French and their allied Indians.  About a month ago, Parris’s nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth and his slightly older niece, Abigail Williams, began to have strange fits, as if they were suffering from an unknown disease.  Parris consulted the only doctor in Salem Village, William Griggs, who upon examining the girls concluded that they were likely bewitched.  This diagnosis was quickly accepted by Parris’s neighbors.  Parris himself, believing the girls’ afflictions, even if directly caused by witchcraft, to be a punishment by God of him and his family for their sins, spends much of his time in fasting and prayer, both alone and with others, including the ministers of neighboring towns.

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Published in: on February 24, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 24 (February 14, o.s.)  

February 22 (February 12, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  Captains Hugh Gaines, Thomas Shirley, and Daniel Updick are given privateering commissions, and various other orders pertaining to defense are issued.

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 22 (February 12, o.s.)  

February 18 (February 8, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  Most of the matters discussed pertain to the war. Robert Scroope is given a privateering commission, a resolution to proclaim martial law is adopted, and orders for guns to be mounted at various places throughout the island are given.  In the afternoon the Council of War meets and orders that the Articles of War be proclaimed.

Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 18 (February 8, o.s.)  

February 14 (February 4, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  Among other business, Thomas Sutton, recently appointed to the Council, is sworn in, and Captain John Griffin is given a privateering commission.  The Council of War meets in the afternoon and approves the Articles of War.

Published in: on February 14, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 14 (February 4, o.s.)  

February 13 (February 3, o.s.)

Jamaica: George Reeve, Lord Inchiquin’s secretary, writes to Lord Sydney to report the Earl’s death on January 16. He gives a much more positive account of the governor’s actions during his tenure in Jamaica than the Council has given in its reports to London, and complains that the councilors whom the Earl himself had appointed to the Council are now misrepresenting him.

Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 13 (February 3, o.s.)  

February 7 (January 28, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council sends a letter to the Lords of Trade and Plantations reporting on recent events on the island.  They report the death of Lord Inchiquin and that they have assumed control of the government in the absence of a new governor.  They also report the results of their inspection of the fortifications and ask for more munitions, since much of the ordnance that was stored at the forts had been used to supply the warships stationed there.  They explain that they have been issuing commissions for privateers, since if they don’t men from Jamaica leave to get commissions elsewhere, and they ask for a pardon for those men to encourage them to return.

The councilors also make some suggestions for reforming the functioning of the Council to prevent the sorts of rumors of misbehavior on their part that have been going around.  They also complain that the Jews in Port Royal are taking an inordinate share of the trade there and refuse to settle down in other parts of the island to plant instead.

Published in: on February 7, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 7 (January 28, o.s.)  

February 6 (January 27, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Attorney General reports to the Council his opinion that the Council and President have the authority to issue commissions to privateers to attack French shipping.

Massachusetts: George Burroughs, minister of Wells, Maine, and former minister of Salem Village, Massachusetts, writes to the governor and council of Massachusetts describing the destruction of the neighboring town of York by Penobscot Indians on January 25.

Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 6 (January 27, o.s.)  

February 5 (January 26, o.s.)

Jamaica: Francis Hall and John Probin, merchants of Port Royal, send a ship captained by John Foljambe laden with 6 hogsheads of muscovado sugar to London to be received by Charles Pearce and Edmund Tooke in London. The economy of Jamaica, which once revolved mainly around piracy, has in recent years begun to focus increasingly on growing sugar, on plantations using slave labor, for export to England. Sugar is an enormously profitable crop, especially when grown in this manner, and it has previously enriched the smaller British islands in the Lesser Antilles to the east, especially Barbados. Although freight costs to London have been increasing, now 22 pounds sterling per ton of sugar up from around 12 pounds just two years earlier, the planters and merchants still manage to make substantial profits.

Meanwhile, the Council orders that any field officer of the militia has the authority to hold a regimental court martial and that if there is a French invasion before a new governor is appointed the President of the Council shall be in command of the colony and able to give orders.

Published in: on February 5, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on February 5 (January 26, o.s.)  

February 4 (January 25, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal to discuss military matters relating to the ongoing war with France.

Massachusetts:  A group of Penobscot Indians, members of the Wabanaki Confederacy that is allied with France against England, attack and destroy the town of York, Maine.  Nearly 50 residents of York are killed and about 100 are captured by the Indians.  A troop of militia under the command of Captain John Floyd come from Portsmouth, New Hampshire come to York to help but are much too late; the town is nearly destroyed by the time they arrive.

Published in: on February 4, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)