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Bermuda's History from 1700 to 1799

Eighteenth century events with role in American Revolutionary War and afterwards

line drawing

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

Admiral Sir George Somers, Bermuda 1609 Artists who painted Bermuda Bermuda, Britain & Commonwealth
Bermuda & Canada Bermuda & France Bermuda & USA
Bermuda's postage stamps Historic Houses History 1500 to 1699
History 1700 to 1799 History 1800 to 1899 History 1900 to 1939 pre-war
History 1939 to 1951 History 1952 to 1999 History  2000 to 2005
History 2006 Part 1 History 2006 Part 2 History 2007 Jan and Feb
History 2007 March History 2007 April History 2007 May
History 2007 June 1-15th History 2007 June 16 to 30th History 2007 July 1-15
History 2007 July 16th to 31st History 2007 August 1 to 7 History 2007 August 8 to 14
History 2007 August 15 to 21 History 2007 August 22-31 History 2007 September 1 to 10
History 2007 September 11 to December 31 History 2008 to 2010 History 2011 through 2012
History 2013 History 2014 part 1 History 2014 part 2
History 2015 January History 2015 February History 2015 March
History 2015 April History 2015 May History 2015 June
History 2015 July History 2015 August History 2015 September
History 2015 October History 2015 November History 2015 December
History 2016 January History 2016 February History 2016 March
History 2016 April History 2016 May History 2016 June
History 2016 July History 2016 August History 2016 September

1700-1702

1700. In St. George's, Bermuda, the Globe Hotel was built as a residence for Governor Day.

1700. Beginning of the end of the era of English indentured servants as cheap field and house labor in Bermuda. They were replaced by slaves acquired mostly from Africa via the West Indies, a few from Central America.

1700. In Bermuda, in addition to a fleet of 60 sloops, 6 brigantines, 4 ships, 300 to 400 two-masted boats for coastal waters, Bermudians built large boats for foreign clients as well. It was one of the best years ever for Bermuda ship-building. Bermuda cedar was crafted into superior boats that were light, fast and resistant to rot. The industry lasted for about 150 years. Only with the age of steam and beyond did the industry decline. Today, no vessels are made commercially in Bermuda.

1701. With war between Britain and France imminent, the British Government decided that Bermuda should be protected by regular soldiers. The small military force, the Independent Company of Foot, was sent from England.

1701. May. On HMS Lincoln, the first 50 full time soldiers arrived in Bermuda with Governor Benjamin Bennett, who had commanded a company in Ireland. They were detached from the 2nd Foot over protests of General William Selwyn who had clothed them in England. They were headed by Captain Lancelot Sandys, with Lieutenant Robert Henly and had 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer and 50 privates. They became known as the "Independent Company."

1701. Governor Bennett brought the Silver Oar, emblem of Admiralty jurisdiction, to Bermuda and initiated the practice of placing it before himself at meetings of the Governor’s Council.

1701.  In St. George's, Bermuda, Fanny Fox's Cottage was built on Duke of Clarence Street.

1702-1714

1702. Queen Anne ascended the British throne.

1702. Britain entered the War of The Spanish Succession, against France. This war also included a French campaign, with Allied Native Nations (Indians) against British possessions in North America. The previous year, with this war looming, a Company of Regular infantry had been sent to Bermuda and made an 'Independent Company (the first Regular Army deployment to the colony). With the onset of the war, the militia in Bermuda was strengthened. Six hundred men were armed and trained with lances. A troop of Horse Grenadiers was raised  amongst those wealthy enough to afford a horse. The war continued until 1713. 

1704. In Bermuda, another Act to punish the "insolence of Negroes" was passed, this time with castration. The act was repealed in 1705 at the insistence of Whitehall as it containing "some inhumane penalties," although "whipping and imprisoning" were considered acceptable.

1705. In St. George's, Bermuda, the Old Rectory was built.

1705. In St. George's, Bermuda, Reeve Court was built by Dr. Thomas Holland, minister of the parish church. For centuries, it was the tallest building in the town.

1706. Spanish and French forces seized the Turks, until then controlled by Bermudians who were unable at that time to defend them successfully.

1709. Longford House is believed to have been home to the very first resident physician in St George’s. It was built for Doctor Roger Thomas and was worth the princely sum of one pound. It was a prestigious and distinguished ‘mansion’ that lay at the very heart of the old St George’s and boasted a long hall, brick-lined fireplaces and a deep chasm of a cellar. Dr Thomas had emigrated to Bermuda 1709 and his house was one of the most expensive in the capital. (When he died of pleurisy in 1715 the property passed on to his wife Sarah. But it is unclear who occupied the premises after she died three years later as it was probably rented out to visiting merchants and businessmen. The Foote family occupied Longford House in the late 18th century and expanded it to its current size. Lt John Foote had been posted to Bermuda from England with the Independent Company at the tail end of King George’s War. And although he lived in the premises until he died in 1754 he never actually owned the property. His family continued to live there after his death and his son, William, was appointed Clerk of the Assembly. William was also a successful merchant as well as churchwarden and scribe and he purchased Longford in 1781 for £1,000. In the early 19th century it was home to Jehoaddan Lagourgue — the widow of a French St Domingue sugar planter who had lost everything during the Haitian slave revolt and revolution. But this marked the beginning of a long decline and by 1950 the house had become a ruin of no value. Today the shell of the building remains clearly visible, as do the large fireplaces and the cellar rooms. But the site has become overgrown with trees and plants. The roof has long disintegrated and the interior walls of this once majestic old house have crumbled away).

1710. A Bermudian crew under Captain Lewis Middleton sailed south in the Bermuda privateer Rose and succeeded in recapturing the Turks Islands, expelling the French and Spanish who earlier invaded and taken over the Bermudian salt industry interests. It was probably Bermuda's only independent military action. This time, unlike earlier, there was no interference from the Bahamas, with the French and Spanish having almost completely wiped out the earlier Bahamas interference.

1710. "Verdmont," now a Bermuda National Trust museum, in Smith's Parish, was first built, partly by slaves.

1710. A Bermuda silver tankard was made by Thomas Savage Sr, (1664-1749) a silversmith who worked in both Boston and Bermuda. He was born in Boston and trained as a silversmith from 1678 to about 1685. Savage and his family moved to Bermuda in the early 18th century and he is known to have lived and worked in Bermuda between 1706 and 1714. Only 14 pieces made by Savage are recorded in the standard reference book on Boston silversmiths. Seven of these pieces are tankards and almost all of these have Boston rather than Bermudian associations.

1711.  In St. George's, Bermuda, the Tucker House was built.

1711. In Bermuda, an Order in Council was issued to authorize the master of any ship greater than 44 feet to use as many Blacks and or slaves as crew as he thought necessary. But it limited the number of whites to six.

1711. So many slaves wore fine clothing and fancy dresses to their own balls and gatherings that the Bermuda Assembly passed a law that forbade masters from allowing their slaves to "wear any silk, lace, ribbon, rings, bracelets, buckles, . . . nor other ornaments." These "merry meetings and midnight festivals" reflected a synthesis of European fashion and African and Native American traditions perhaps best exemplified by the costume, dance, and music of gombey dancers. Despite the reforming efforts of the Assembly, numerous clandestine public houses served rum and bibby (a liquor made from fermented palmetto sap) to black clientele, sites where slave sailors could relax after months at sea. Goods and specie flowing in Bermuda's internal slave economy testify to the success of Bermudian slave sailors in obtaining creature comforts for themselves and for the slave community as a whole, while their celebrations and rituals reveal their ability to create and maintain cultural traditions independently expressed from that of the white families with whom they lived.

1712. Earliest documented evidence of knowledge of Argus and Challenger Banks for fishing and salvaging wrecks.

1712. When the original owner of Verdmont in Smith's Parish, John Dickinson, died this year, only two years after Verdmont was built, he had 14 slaves, many of them associated with his maritime travels. It is possible slaves may have lived in the lower level of one of the cottages of what was then the Verdmont Estate.

1712. On September 8  the first of two very severe hurricanes that damaged many Bermuda buildings including St. Peter's Church in St. George's. Bermuda's first settlers had built almost everything out of cedar wood, including commercial buildings and churches. It was as a direct result of these hurricanes that the decision was taken to quit building structures of wood and instead make them out of limestone, to better withstand hurricanes. New construction methods were developed to cut stone from hillsides to create solid limestone buildings. (Many still survive).

1713. Pirates seized much of the Bahamas chain of islands and threatened Bermudian salt interests in the Turks islands. Fortunately for them, a former privateer, Woodes Rogers, assumed control of the Bahamas and flushed out the pirates.

1714-1727

1714. George I ascended the throne of England.

1715. Britain went to war with Spain and Bermuda's Independent Company of troops was alerted.

1716. Another very severe hurricane damaged many Bermuda buildings.

1716. All ninety-two Bermuda-registered vessels, a huge increase from when last counted, were sloops.

1716. Christ Church, or Old Devonshire Church, was first built, from an earlier religious edifice that had first commenced in the 1660s. It replaced a place of worship that blew down in a hurricane. (It was reconstructed after fire from arson in the 1970s).

1717. A fast, shallow draft cedar-built 8-10 gun sloop made in and known initially as "Bermuda" (later, Adventure) was a gift from former pirate Benjamin Hornigold to the pirate known as Blackbeard, Edward Teach. 

1718. Blackbeard the Pirate, real name Edward Teach, successfully blockaded Charleston, North Carolina. By taking hostages, he forced the town’s people to hand over a large quantity of money and a medicine chest. Reports reached England that he was threatening to take over Bermuda. In June that year Blackbeard set sail and steered towards Bermuda but became distracted by plunder on the high seas and did not carry out his plan. One of his ships, was the sloop Bermuda, gifted to him by another pirate, Benjamin Hornigold. Blackbeard renamed it Adventure.

1718. In Bermuda, another slave conspiracy was feared. It was reported that Negro men had grown very impudent and insulting of late. In fact, some slave conspiracies began, known as the "poisoning plots" until 1730.

1718. May 10. Nathaniel Catling came ashore in Bermuda and went to see Governor Bennett. He told the Governor that he was one of the crew of the Bermuda sloop "Diamond". On April 14 they were sailing off Rum Key in the Bahamas when they were intercepted by the pirate ship "Ranger" commanded by Captain Vane. The pirates beat up the captain and all the crew of the "Diamond", and looted the vessel of a black man and 300 pieces of eight. Nathaniel Catling was singled and hanged by the neck until they thought he was dead. When they let him down on the deck, he was seen to revive, whereupon one of the pirates hacked him across the collarbone with his cutlass and would have continued until he had murdered him had not one of the other pirates persuaded him it "was too great a cruelty". The pirates' final act was to set fire to the "Diamond". 

1718. May 15. 5 days after Catling made his report, Edward North, the commander of the Bermuda sloop "William and Martha" came to see Governor Bennett with a similar story. He said that his ship had been attacked by Vane off Rum Key within 3 hours of the attack on the "Diamond". The pirates had boarded his vessel, violently beaten him and his crew, then dragged one of the seamen to the bows, bound him hand and foot, and tied him to the bowsprit. As he lay there helpless on his back, the pirates put burning matches to his eyes and the muzzle of a loaded pistol in his mouth, thereby to oblige him to confess what money was on board. In this instance they did not set fire to the ship, but Captain North reported that while they were on board, the pirates were continually cursing the King and the higher powers, and swearing damnation on the Governor."

1718. November 22. Death in a naval battle against Britain's Royal Navy of Edward Teach (also Edward Thatch), better known as Blackbeard. He was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies. Earlier that year, he had threatened to attack Bermuda.  He incurred a number of sword slashes and musket fire wounds. His head was chopped off and displayed from the bowsprit of the vessel that captured him, as proof of his capture to earn the reward.

Blackbeard's head

Blackbeard's gruesome end 

1719. July. It is believed that in Bermuda black involvement in the maritime trading economy began, arising from a meeting between Bermuda Governor Benjamin Bennett and his Council, arising from reports of a number of white Bermudian sailors colluding with pirates. The concern was that these white sailors, acting as pilots, would lead pirates through the treacherous shoals of Bermuda to the Islands. But of even more concern was the fact that the number of local whites available to defend the island was being depleted by overseas trading. Bennett was particularly worried about the salt rakers in Turks Island. He declared at that meeting that pirates were taking these men and that it was “...very detrimental to the Inhabitants of these Islands”. (Minutes of the Governor’s Council, Bermuda Archives, 1706-21, p. 120). The low white male population and its military implications were likely reasons for Bennett’s plan to arm and muster slaves. By an Order-in-Council it was declared that the number of white men employed in the local merchant marine be circumscribed. It was hoped this would deprive the pirates of potential pilots and at the same time expand the number of men available for the muster. Thereafter, no vessel of 40 feet or more keel and belonging to and departing from the Islands was to have “...any more white Sailors than Twelve...”; and no vessel of 39 feet keel or less was to take out any more than nine ‘white’ sailors. All captains of vessels of any dimension whatsoever could take out “...as many Negroes or other Slaves as he or they shall think proper". All sailors taken out by vessels were to be brought back to the Islands by the same vessels on which they left. Hence began the expansion of the international reach of local ‘black’s trading’, as ‘Negroes’, ‘Mulattos’, and ‘Indians’, in bond or free, would begin to slowly expand their presence in the Bermudian merchant marine. Between 1708 and 1720, about 28 percent of the men constituting a sloop’s crew were ‘black’ according to 18th Century documents. This rose to 34 percent in 1720. Those who were employed as mariners within the ‘black’ community were not all Bermuda-born and raised; and among the community of sailors were men with at least a foreign and plausibly Spanish Caribbean heritage. Slave labour shifted from performing diverse agricultural tasks to skilled artisan crafts. A few male slaves had fished, hunted whales, and salvaged wrecks in local waters during the company period, and these early maritime slaves were among the first recruited by Bermudian masters embarking on inter-colonial trade. Other male slaves, particularly boys, learned seamanship when their owners eschewed planting and took to the sea. A third group became sawyers, joiners, caulkers, blacksmiths, and shipwrights and formed the backbone of the colony's shipbuilding labor force. As more and more slaves were integrated into the maritime economy, the shipping fleet swelled and the island prospered from its increased trade. From a white perspective, the shift enabled white masters who went to sea to use their previously underemployed male slaves more productively. 

1719. November 17, the Cobbs Hill Methodist Chapel in Warwick Parish, Bermuda, was built by slaves at night

1720. Of the 17 boats in Antigua, 9 were from Bermuda.

1721. Robert Dinwiddie commenced his role as a colonial administrator with his appointment in Bermuda (see 1751). A graduate of the University of Glasgow and with his parents successful merchants in Glasgow he became the Collector of Customs, a post he held for 16 years. Later, he was the Governor of Virginia.

1721. The third Government House was started, yet again in St. George's, on the site largely occupied now by the Unfinished Church.

1721. The Silver Oar, brought to Bermuda in 1701 by Governor Bennett as the emblem of Admiralty jurisdiction, and initiated by him as the custom of placing it before himself at meetings of the Governor’s Council, was purchased by the Bermuda Government.

1722. When Colonel John Bruce Hope became Governor, major work was done on Paget Fort (or Queen's Fort as it was sometimes called). It seems likely that the rocks on which the lower battery stood were undermined by the constant pounding of the waves, particularly in the winter. It took several years to complete the repairs on both Paget and nearby Smith's Forts, at great cost.

1724. Henry Rost, a German national, applied unsuccessfully to the Bermuda legislature for financial help in establishing a vineyard in Bermuda.

1725. June 1. Bishop George Berkeley, after having proposed a scheme for the erection of a college in Bermuda for "the converting of the savage Americans to Christianity" obtained a charter from King George I to build a college in Bermuda to be known as St. Paul's, for the university education of Americans, Indians and black Bermudians. But funds never came.

1725. The "William" vessel was seized by Robert Dinwiddie, Bermuda  Collector of Customs, for smuggling and for having a substantially black crew (3 of 4 crew members). Master of the William was Solomon Frith. He successfully smuggled a hogshead of Virginia tobacco by discharging his white crew at Turks Islands and taking a slave crew on to Virginia. By law, slaves could not testify and therefore he could not be found guilty of smuggling for lack of witnesses. She was acquitted from seizure. 

1726. Governor John Hope Bruce buried his wife, Charlotte, in what by then had become the Governor's Garden in St. George's (later, Somer's Garden) erecting a stone tomb along the garden’s southern wall.

1727-1760

1727. King George II was enthroned.

1727Fourways, in Paget, was built of native coral stone and cedar. It was commissioned by John Harvey of Harvey's Bristol Cream fame, who made it his home. It was aptly named Fourways because it spread modestly in all four directions and was enclosed within two and a half acres of walled gardens at Amen Corner, a vital crossroads in Bermuda for over 250 years. Fourways' reputation for gracious hospitality was established from the very beginning. Guests attending Mr. Harvey's elegant dinner parties enjoyed lavishly cooked meals, an excellent wine cellar and - because they were forced to travel many miles by horse & carriage - they were offered overnight lodging as well. For more than two centuries this lovely Georgian home was retained as the private residence of the Harvey family and several other owners, and remained a fixture on the Island's social scene. Extensive renovations and additions were made, but the uniquely Bermudian character of the house was carefully preserved.

1728. Bermuda received a shipment of military supplies from Britain.

1728. Militia Act 1728 created 'The King's Independent Company' of 50 men in Bermuda, taking part of the name of the earlier Independent Company.

1730. June 6. After being tried on June 1, Slave Sally Bassett, owned by the estate of Francis Dickinson, of Southampton, was sentenced to death and then burned at the stake on a scorching hot day for poisoning several persons including her master Thomas Forster who owned Sally's grand-daughter Beck, his wife Sarah Forster and Nancey, a household bondswoman. Sally was charged with giving Beck the poison that Nancey discovered in the wall of the kitchen outlet. She always maintained her innocence and said God would send a sign to prove it. People then found the Bermudiana flowering out of her ashes and Sally became a focus of the anti-slavery movement. Bermudians refer to a really hot day as a Sally Basset Day.

1730. An Act affecting Negroes and other slaves imported into Bermuda was approved. It levied a tax of £5 on all imported slaves, except those arriving directly from Africa. The Population was then 8,774 - 5,086 white and 3,688 black.

1731. In St. Georges, Bermuda, the Mitchell House (now the St. George's Historical Society) was built.

1732. Establishment of Georgia as a British Colony, by James Oglethorpe.

1736. In an inventory made for Colonel John Trimingham, there were 18 Bermuda-made carved chairs in his living room, made partly or wholly with cedar  - and mahogany imported from the West Indies, much prized. It was a good time for Bermuda-made furniture.

1737. Between 3 September and 31 December, 38 sloops entered or cleared Norfolk, and of this total, 25 were registered in Bermuda, the famous cedar-built Bermuda sloops. Their hulls, with significant dead rise, combined with low freeboard, less superstructure and lighter spars to enable them to increase speed and stability. Strong, light cedar found in abundance in Bermuda, and used for framing as well as planking, reduced vessel weight, and the common sail plan, with raked mast and square topsails, made Bermuda sloops good sailors with speed under fair conditions.

1741. In Bermuda, the Spanish privateer Francisco Lopez landed a raiding party at Boat Bay in Southampton Parish. The Spaniards seized local fishing boats and towed them behind their ship. The local militia and two armed Bermudian sloops arrived too late to retrieve them. The boats and the retreating Spanish were never heard of again.

1744. Freemasonry was acknowledged to exist in Bermuda when the Earl of Strathmore, Grand Master of England, appointed a Provincial Grand Master for the Islands of Bermuda.

1745. June 25. Birth in the Town of St. George, Bermuda of Thomas Tudor Tucker. The family had been prominent in the colony since his ancestors immigrated from England in 1662. His parents were Henry (1713–1785) and Ann Tucker. As a youth, Thomas studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, UK. After graduating in 1770, he moved first to Virginia in the 1760s, then settled in Charleston, South Carolina (which had been settled from Barbados in 1670, under the leadership of William Sayle, and which had a large community of expatriate Barbadians) and opened a practice. His younger brother St. George Tucker followed him to Virginia, studying law and eventually being appointed as Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court. He served as a surgeon in the Revolutionary War. Elected as a Delegate from South Carolina to the Continental Congress, he served from 1787 to 1788. Elected as a Representative from South Carolina to the United States House of Representatives, he served from 1789 to 1793. Appointed as (third) United States Treasurer by President Thomas Jefferson and served in that capacity from 1801 to 1828, when he died in office. 

Thomas Tudor Tucker

1746. So many prisoners-of-war were brought in by Bermudian privateers that the only place available to accommodate them was Paget Fort. They were guarded by locally-quartered troops and had a food allowance of one shilling a day.

1747. As a result of the Militia Act 1747, with the War of the Austrian Succession looming and providing a potential threat to both Britain and Bermuda, the Troop of Horse Grenadiers earlier established was split into Eastern and Western Sections.

1747. The death, in Bermuda, at more than 100 years old, of Sarah Durham (nee Hunt). Her husband - who pre-deceased her -  was several times Commander-on-Chief, Bermuda. She was the child of Richard Hunt and his wife Sarah, of Bromley, Kent, England, who arrived in the Bermuda Islands in 1647, with their child, also named Sarah.

1749. Death of Thomas Savage Sr, (born 1664) a silversmith who worked in both Boston and Bermuda. 

1750. The size of the Bermuda fleet of ships had grown and diversified to 115 vessels: eighty-one sloops, fourteen schooners, eighteen brigantines, and two others. The speed of the Bermuda sloop made it a highly sought-after carrier whose masters found ready customers in ports abroad, especially during wartime. The flexibility of the rig allowed it to sail in wind conditions that kept square-riggers at anchor, and the shallow draft of the typical Bermudian hull could navigate over sandbars that stopped larger vessels and up rivers to reach markets deep in the North American interior. The durable, native Bermuda cedar from which the sloops were built was highly resistant to rot and marine borers, giving Bermudian vessels a lifespan of twenty years and more even in the worm-infested waters of the Chesapeake and the Caribbean. The Bermuda sloop was wonderfully adapted to overcoming many of the physical and geographic obstacles in America's inter-colonial trade, a factor that played no small part in the island's success. 

Bermuda-built vessel circa 1750

Bermuda-built vessel circa 1750

1751. December 29. The ship Hunter Galley, built in Bermuda and launched in 1847, was wrecked on a Bermuda reef at Hogfish Cut at the western end of Bermuda. It is known she was commanded by Clement Conyers on her passage to South Carolina from the island of St. Eustatius some days earlier. During the early part of the voyage, gale force winds damaged the rigging, sails and ’top timbers’ forcing the ship to head to Bermuda for repair. Bermuda was visible and the ship headed for port. Because of the treacherous weather conditions, the Captain and crew could not get the ship into the harbour, and moored her in Hogfish Cut. Captain Conyers sent members of the crew to get an anchor and some rope to secure the vessel but they were unsuccessful and, during the night, the force of the winds battered the ship to such an extent that the next day the Captain was forced to cut away the mast, leaving the ship to sink. At the time of loss, the ship was engaged in the trades with the American Colonies and those of the Bahamas and West Indies. Manufactured goods from Europe and America, rum and sugar from the West Indies and stone from Bermuda would have been some of the cargo carried by this vessel.

1751. November 20. Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie (born 1693) of Virginia and his family, after setting sail a few days earlier from Bermuda, arrived in Williamsburg to take up his new post in Britain's largest overseas colony, retroactive to July 4, first under Governor Willem Anne van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle, and then, from July 1756 to January 1758, as deputy for John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun. Since the governors at that time were largely absentee, he was the de-facto head of the colony for much of the time. When the Dinwiddie family arrived the Governor's Palace was under repair. Arrangements were made for their temporary residence at the house next door, today the Robert Carter House. It would be a year before they could relocate to the Palace, and no sooner had they settled in than construction of the ballroom wing began. Dinwiddie came from a line of Scottish merchants, but moved into colonial administration as a young man. His first assignment took him to Bermuda, where he met his wife to be, Rebecca. She was the only child of Andrew Auchinleck, the colony's principal Anglican minister and once, briefly, acting governor. Dinwiddie was much older than she. They were married in Bermuda, and in 1738 their first daughter, Elizabeth, was born. The younger child, Rebecca, arrived three years later. Life in Williamsburg with two young ladies—the girls were ten and thirteen when they came—must have been a busy round of household management, lessons, and social activities. As lieutenant governor, Dinwiddie saw the beginnings of the conflict on Virginia's frontiers that led to the French and Indian War. He was a firm advocate of British expansion into the west. He sought the help of the Indians and the other British colonies in the struggle against the French, pressed the legislature for defense funds, and favored the use of regular armed forces in place of the less reliable militia. Dinwiddie made George Washington a lieutenant colonel in 1754. Generally, Dinwiddie was able to work in harmony with the Virginia Legislature. He did, however, prompt a serious conflict with the House of Burgess shortly after he took office. In hope of increasing the British King's revenues, Dinwiddie tried to levy a fee for land patents, which would also require landholders to pay quitrents to the Crown. This precipitated the famous "Pistole Fee" controversy, in which the lower house charged that the governor had imposed an unlawful tax that endangered colonial liberty - a precursor of the arguments of the American Revolution. The pressures of office and the war badly taxed Dinwiddie's health. At his own request he was relieved of office in 1758, and with his wife and two daughters returned to Britain. He died in London on July 27, 1770 leaving his widow and daughters comfortably established. Daughter Elizabeth died at thirty-five, unmarried. Rebecca Dinwiddie died in London in 1793, 101 years after her husband's birth.

Robert Dinwiddie

Robert Dinwiddie

1752. Like the rest of the British Empire, Bermuda changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.  Eleven days were lost when September 3 under the old system became September 14 under the new one.

1752. Arrival in St. George's, Bermuda of British-born artist Joseph Blackburn. The sheer quality of his artwork led him to paint leaders galore of elite local society and their wives and/or families, including members of the Harvey, Jones and Tucker families. He is known to have completed more than thirty portraits in Bermuda. Noteworthy paintings from Bermuda include Mary Lee Harvey (Mrs. John Harvey), a seated half-length portrait of a fifty-three-year-old woman holding an open book and a fan in her lap. Mrs. Harvey, adorned with a lacy cap, a strand of pearls, and lavish lace and ribbons at her neck, bodice, and sleeves, conveys a stately air.

Joseph Blackburn's painting of Mrs Harvey

1752. Birth in Bermuda, near Port Royal, of St. George Tucker, who became famous in Williamsburg, Virginia (see 1827).

1753. A Dutch ship, the Manilla, was wrecked on the north eastern reefs of Bermuda. She also became known both as the Ginger Beer Bottle wreck. Artefacts recovered from her include tiny glass trade beads, stone ginger beer bottles, pottery and glassware and a quantity of manillas, bronze bangles produced in Europe and used as currency to purchase slaves from African chieftains. Many large iron guns embedded in the reef around the ship and these, along with other items found, led many to claim that the Manilla was involved in the slave trade, an armed escort rather than a carrier of slave cargo, and was returning to Holland from the West Indies before proceeding to West Africa.​

1753. British artist Joseph Blackburn, ambitious to find a much bigger market for his work than tiny Bermuda, relocated from Bermuda to Newport, Rhode Island, then an important US shipping base covering trade in the Atlantic Ocean. The accomplished portraits Blackburn had earlier produced in Bermuda reflected many of the characteristics for which he would become known in Boston and other New England port cities. His elegant works in pastel colors depicted the sitters as wealthy, graceful, and refined.

1755. The death, in Bermuda where he had close family ties, of the South Carolina planter and historian Edward Wigg. He was believed to have been buried at St. Peter's Church.

1758. After the Seven Years' War began, a Troop of horse and a Regiment of Foot of nine Companies was formed in Bermuda arising from the Militia Act 1758. Each of the nine Parishes was to provide a Company under the command of a Captain, a Lieutenant and an Ensign. The Troop of Horse would have, in addition to these officers, a Cornet and two Brigadiers (not the high UK Army rank).

1759. The Honorable George Forbes, originally from Strathdon, Aberdeenshire and an emigrant to Bermuda, by then a Councilor and member of the Executive Council  of the Bermuda Government - purchased Paget Island  - then called Paget Ford Island and 36.35 acres - in St. George's Parish for sixty pounds sterling.

1760-1820

George James Bruere, Governor 1764-1780

American invasion of Canada 1775

Americans invaded Canada 1775

September 6 1775 George Washington letter to Bermuda

1776 American Revolutionary Soldier

Washington crossing the Delaware

Artist's depiction of Washington's forces as they cross the Delaware River. (George Caleb Bingham/Chrysler Museum of Art)

1777 invasion of Bermuda by USA

George James Bruere, Governor 1764-1780

Bermuda Gazette November 12, 1796

Bermuda Gazette November 12, 1796

Bermuda map 1797

Bermuda Map 1797

Major Andrew Durnford

Major Andrew Durnford

Admiral Sir George Somers, Bermuda 1609 Artists who painted Bermuda Bermuda, Britain & Commonwealth
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