[BAHAMAS] ROGERS, WOODES, Captain (after) A 1721 manuscript description of the Bahama Islands.
London: 27 November 1721. A 2 1/4 page manuscript document on the recto and verso of a bifolium of watermarked laid paper, prepared in a secretarial hand and signed for Woodes Rogers, 12 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches (32 x 20 cm). Remnants of a clear tape securing splits along the fold obscures but does not render illegible words on about 25 lines.
A fascinating document likely prepared for government use describing the Bahamas by its first Royal Governor Woodes Rogers, written in the period of his imprisonment in debtor's prison in London before his release and appointment to a second term. The document opens with a history going back to 1670, noting that the garrison on the largest island, Providence, would provide "security to all our American plantations, and very much prevent the growth of piracy, which generally begun and continues amongst these islands whose inhabitants have been kept miserably poor by frequent robberies both from neighbouring Spaniards & pirates which has prevented any good improvements..." After a description of potential exports, Woodes reports that "If a war should again happen with France or Spain, the island of Providence lies much more convenient to obstruct the trade of both nations, than any other colony his Majesty hath in America..." Woodes Rogers was originally a merchant but in 1708 was put in command of a retaliatory expedition against the pirates that continuously disrupted English trade. To the English he a was a loyalist but the Spanish a pirate. He was later appointed "Captain General and Governor in Chief" of the Bahamas by George I on 6 January 1718 until being recalled to London in March 1721, just before this text was written. Woodes is considered one of the sources for the 1724 A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates. A note laid in suggests this acquired from John Fleming in 1965.
C The Collection of Jay I. Kislak sold to benefit the Kislak Family Foundation
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