September 30 (September 20, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council sends the letter to the Earl of Nottingham drafted August 26 in which the councilors report the death of John White and the accession of John Bourden to the presidency and ask for a skilled engineer to be sent to build new fortifications.  An additional letter explains that the colony has suffered over the past seven years from a shortage of white servants and that while before the earthquake Port Royal could muster 2000 men, now it’s down to 200.

Councilor Samuel Bernard also sends a letter personally to the Earl, proposing a variety of reforms in the structure of government to prevent the kind of unpleasantness between governor and Council (and Assembly) that marked Lord Inchiquin’s tenure.  Among these is the appointment of a Jamaican planter as governor rather than an outsider; unbeknownst to Bernard, this requirement has already been fulfilled by the appointment of William Beeston, whose orders, many of which parallel Bernard’s other suggested reforms, happen to be issued this very day.  Another of Bernard’s requests is for more white servants to be sent, especially from Scotland, to remedy the problems noted in the letter from the Council.

Massachusetts: Cotton Mather, the Boston minister who has been most outspoken in his support for the Court of Oyer and Terminer in Salem, writes to Stephen Sewall, the clerk of the court, asking for the records of several major trials conducted by the court so that he can include summaries of them in his forthcoming book on the witchcraft crisis.  He also asks Sewall to comment on the validity of the controversial spectral evidence used by the court, as well as on the credibility of the testimony given by confessed witches, also a major source of evidence used in the trials.  Both of these types of evidence are coming under increasing fire from critics, and one of Mather’s main objectives in writing his book is to defend the conduct of the court against such objections.  He notes in his letter that Governor Phips himself has directed him to obtain the court records for the book, which is of particular concern to the governor for reasons Mather doesn’t elaborate on.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas continues his tour of Pueblos in the Santa Fe area, reassuring the people of his good intentions, pardoning them for their roles in the 1680 revolt, and bringing them back to Christianity and allegiance to the Spanish crown.  He visits Cuyamungue first, then Nambe, then Pojoaque.  At each pueblo he has Francisco Corvera, one of the three Franciscan missionaries accompanying his expedition, grant the people absolution, then Corvera and the other two missionaries baptize all the children born since the revolt and anyone else in the pueblos who has not yet been baptized.  In all they baptize 30 people at Cuyamungue, 51 at Nambe, and 48 at Pojoaque, where the governor and his entourage spend the night.

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Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 30 (September 20, o.s.)  
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