Advertisement

Reformation and the Wickedness of Port Royal, Jamaica, 1655-c.1692

  • David Manning
Part of the Christianities in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1500–1800 book series (CTAW)

Abstract

In March 1664, John Tillotson (1630–94) delivered a cautionary sermon against the ‘wickedness’ of practical and speculative ‘atheism’ at St Paul’s Cathedral, London.1 Along with denouncing the wild ideas and licentious behaviour of unbelievers, Tillotson emphasised the role of testimony in identifying religious truths by drawing upon a topical analogy (at least in the printed version of the sermon): ‘No man can demonstrate to me that there is such an Island in America as Jamaica; yet upon the Testimony of credible persons who have seen it, and Authors who have written of it, I am as free from all doubt concerning it, as I am from doubting the clearest Mathematical Demonstration’.2 There are several things about this passage which are intriguing: the positioning of Jamaica in an American, rather than ‘West Indian’, locale; presenting the testimony of credible persons as similar to a mathematical proof; and the apparent affinity between knowing religious and geographical truths. It is, however, also rather curious that Tillotson felt able to reference Jamaica in his attack against ‘wickedness’ without acknowledging the extent to which this recent colonial acquisition was fast becoming a repository for all manner of undesirables, at least as far as the Restoration Church of England was concerned.

Keywords

Oxford Dictionary Foreign Plantation Credible Person Bodleian Library Late Earthquake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    John Tillotson, The Wisdom of being Religious: A Sermon Preached at St. Pauls (1664), passim.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Edmund Gayton, The Religion of a Physician (1663), pp. 47–8.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    [Abraham Cowley], A Vision, concerning his Late Pretended Highness, Cromwell (1661), p. 60.Google Scholar
  4. See also John Bramhall, A Sermon Preached at Dublin upon the 23 of April, 1661… the Day Appointed for His Majesties Coronation (Dublin, 1661), p. 9.Google Scholar
  5. Blair Worden, ‘Oliver Cromwell and the Sin of Achan’, in Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best (eds), History, Society, and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 135–40.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Edmund Hickeringill, Jamaica Viewed with all the Ports, Harbours, and their Several Soundings, Towns and Settlements (1661), p. 38. This pamphlet demonstrated loyalty to the Restoration regime, but it should be noted that Hickeringill was a complex, controversial figure who had come to the Church of England via the Baptists and Quakers.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Thomas Grenfield, The Fast: As it was Delivered in a Sermon at St. Margaret’s in Westminster, before the Honourable House of Commons upon Wednesday the 12th of June 1661 (1661), pp. 21, 25. In a now notorious case, the Council of State sanctioned a plan in 1655 to forcibly transport up to 2,000 Irish girls and boys to Jamaica: Orders of the Council of State, in Calendar of State Papers Colonial Series, America and West Indies [hereafter CSPC], edited by Noel W. Sainsbury et al. (London, 1860-), 1574–1660, unnumbered entry for 2 October 1655. According to at least one secondary source this plan was never carried out.Google Scholar
  8. S. A. G. Taylor, The Western Design: An Account of Cromwell’s Expedition to the Caribbean (London, 1969), p. 112.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Plutarch, The Philosophie, Commonlie called, the Morals … Translated out of Greeke into English… by Philemon Holland of Coventrie (1603), p. 140.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    For context, see John Spurr, The Restoration Church of England, 1646–1689 (New Haven, CT, 1991), pp. 234–330.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    The most recent historiography has explored this event in the context of environmental history and the history of natural philosophy; see Matthew Mulcahy, ‘The Port Royal Earthquake and the World of Wonders in Seventeenth-Century Jamaica’, Early American Studies 6:2 (2008), pp. 391–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Christopher Smyth, ‘Perceptions of Extraordinary Natural Events in England, 1692–1783’ (unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Cambridge, 2007), pp. 77–8.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    John Evelyn, The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E. S. de Beer (Oxford, 1955), v, passim;.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brent S. Sirota, The Christian Monitors: The Church of England and the Age of Benevolence, 1680–1730 (New Haven, CT, 2014), p. 69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 16.
    Ibid. See also David Manning, ‘Anti-Providentialism as Blasphemy in Late Stuart England: A Case Study of “the Stage Debate”’, Journal of Religious History, 34:4 (2008), pp. 422–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 17.
    David Hayton, ‘Moral Reform and Country Politics in the Late Seventeenth-Century House of Commons’, Past and Present, 128 (1990), pp. 48–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Craig Rose, ‘Providence, Protestant Union and Godly Reformation in the 1690s’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th Ser., 3 (1993), pp. 151–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    [Anon.], Great Britain’s Call to Repentance… ([1693]), p. 12.Google Scholar
  19. [Anon.], Proposals for a National Reformation of Manners (1694), pp. 1, 9, 17.Google Scholar
  20. Daniel Mayo, A Sermon Preach’d to the Society, for Reformation of Manners at Kingston upon Thames, on July 17th 1700 (1700), pp. 28–9.Google Scholar
  21. Josiah Woodward, An Account of the Rise and Progress of the Religious Societies in the City of London… the Third Edition, Enlarged (1701), sig. A6v.Google Scholar
  22. 19.
    A preoccupation with either post-Revolution or post-Restoration politics dominates: see Tony Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution (Cambridge, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Craig Rose, ‘Providence, Protestant Union and Godly Reformation in the 1690s’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th Ser., 3 (1993), pp. 151–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. John Spurr, ‘The Church, the Societies and the Moral Revolution of 1688’, in John Walsh, Colin Haydon, and Stephen Taylor (eds), The Church of England, c.1689-c.1833 (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 127–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. John Spurr, ‘‘Virtue, Religion and the Government”: The Anglican Uses of Providence’, in Tim Harris, Paul Seaward, and Mark Goldie (eds), The Politics of Religion in Restoration England (Oxford, 1990), pp. 29–47.Google Scholar
  26. Margery Kingsley, ‘Interpreting Providence: The Politics of Jeremiad in Restoration Polemic’, in Peter G. Platt (ed.), Wonders, Marvels, and Monsters in Early Modern Culture (Newark, DE, 1999), pp. 251–67; and, Sirota, The Christian Monitors, pp. 18–109.Google Scholar
  27. 21.
    David Manning, ‘Blasphemy in England, c.1660–1730’ (unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Cambridge, 2009), pp. 68–115.Google Scholar
  28. 22.
    Martin Ingram, ‘Reformation of Manners in Early Modern England’, in Paul Griffiths, Adam Fox, and Steve Hindle (eds), The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (Basingstoke, 1996), pp. 47–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 25.
    Larry Gragg, ‘The Port Royal Earthquake’, History Today (September, 2000), pp. 28–34.Google Scholar
  30. Nuala Zahedieh, ‘‘The Wickedest City in the World”: Port Royal, Commercial Hub of the Seventeenth Century Caribbean’, in Verene Sheperd (ed.), Working Slavery, Pricing Freedom: Essays in Honour of Barry W. Higman (Oxford, 2002), pp. 2–20.Google Scholar
  31. Clarence Henry Haring, The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century (New York, 1910), esp. pp. 85–113, 200–73; ‘Sin City, Jamaica’, Greystone Films (1998), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDZk_66pHXo [accessed 17.08.2014]; and ‘The Underwater City of Port Royal’, the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5430/[accessed 07.10.2014].Google Scholar
  32. 26.
    Alexandre Exquemelin, The History of the Buccaneers of America (1699).Google Scholar
  33. Daniel Defoe, The History and Lives of all the Most Notorious Pirates (1725).Google Scholar
  34. [Charles Leslie], A New History of Jamaica (1740).Google Scholar
  35. Edward Long, The History of Jamaica (1774).Google Scholar
  36. 27.
    [Ned Ward], A Trip to Jamaica: With a True Character of the People and Island (London, 1698).Google Scholar
  37. Jack P. Greene, Evaluating Empire and Confronting Colonialism in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 64–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 29.
    Carla Pestana, ‘Religion’, in David Armitage and Michael Braddick (eds), The British Atlantic World, 1500–1800 (Basingstoke, 2002), pp. 69–91.Google Scholar
  39. Owen Stanwood, The Empire Reformed: English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution (Philadelphia, PA, 2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. C. Scott Dixon, Protestants: A History from Wittenberg to Pennsylvania 1517–1740 (Oxford, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jeremy Gregory, ‘‘Establishment” and “Dissent” in British North America: Organizing Religion in the New World’, in Stephen Foster (ed.), British North America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Oxford, 2013), pp. 136–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 30.
    John Taylor, Jamaica in 1687: The Taylor Manuscript at the Library of Jamaica, edited with critical introduction by David Buisseret (Kingston, Jamaica, 2008), p. 240. One should also acknowledge Lokono, or Arawak, migrants and slaves, Maroons and African slaves. The native Taíno people were wiped out, mainly as a result of smallpox and warfare, during the Spanish colonial era. It was later reported that the ‘Indians are not the Natives of the Island, they being all destroy’d by the Spaniards’; see Hans Sloane, A voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christopher’s and Jamaica (London, 1707), i. xlvi.Google Scholar
  43. 31.
    Carla Pestana, The English Atlantic in the Age of Revolution, 1640–1661 (Cambridge, MA, 2004), pp. 223–4.Google Scholar
  44. Carla Pestana, Protestant Empire: Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic (Philadelphia, PA, 2009), pp. 100–27. This somewhat Whiggish view might have its origins in John.Google Scholar
  45. 32.
    A. P. Thornton, West-India Policy under the Restoration (Oxford, 1956), pp. 22–66, 124–160.Google Scholar
  46. 37.
    For some valuable insights regarding religious and national diversity on the nearby Leeward Islands, see Natalie Zacek, Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670–1776 (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 66–168. While presenting a more positive account of intra-Protestant relations, Zacek acknowledges both the practical fragility of the Church of England and its ideological hegemony; for even ‘the least enthusiastic communicants of the Church of England were aware that their religion was something that differentiated them from those they saw as their natural enemies or inferiors’ (p. 122).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 38.
    For a sense of religious diversity and its impact on London society in the late seventeenth century, see Tim Harris, London Crowds in the Reign of Charles II: Propaganda and Politics from the Restoration until the Exclusion Crisis (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 62–95.Google Scholar
  48. Gary Stuart De Krey, London and the Restoration, 1659–1683 (Cambridge, 2005).Google Scholar
  49. See also Thornton, West-India Policy, pp. 67–252; Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. Robert Latham and William Matthews (London, 1971–83), viii. 75; Minutes of the Committee for Trade and Plantations, 27 February 1674: CSPC, 1669–74, no. 1226.iii; and Francis Watson to Lords of Trade and Plantations, 22 April 1689: CSPC, 1689–92, no. 85.Google Scholar
  50. 41.
    Francis J. Osbourne, History of the Catholic Church in Jamaica (Chicago, IL, 1989), p. 126.Google Scholar
  51. 46.
    Francis X. Delany, A History of the Catholic Church in Jamaica B.W.I. 1494 to 1929 (New York, 1930), pp. 22–5.Google Scholar
  52. 56.
    George Fox, A Journal of Historical Account of the Life, Travels, Sufferings, Christian Experiences… of… George Fox… the First Volume (1694), pp. 361–2.Google Scholar
  53. Henry J. Cadbury, ‘Conditions in Jamaica in 1687’, Jamaican Historical Review 3:2 (1959), pp. 52–7 (p. 53).Google Scholar
  54. 65.
    Charles Wesley, The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes: A Sermon Preached from Psalm 46.8 Occasioned by the Earthquake on 8 March 1750 (1756), pp. 7–10.Google Scholar
  55. 66.
    Mathew Tyndale, The Parable of the Wicked Mammon (Antwerp, 1528).Google Scholar
  56. Samuel Sheppard, God and Mammon: Or, No Fellowship betwixt Light and Darkness (1646).Google Scholar
  57. Richard Allestree, A Sermon Preached at Hampton-Court on the 29th of May, 1662 (1662), pp. 38–9.Google Scholar
  58. Joseph Alleine, An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners (1672), pp. 39–52.Google Scholar
  59. 67.
    Danny Noorlander, ‘Serving God and Mammon: The Reformed Church and the Dutch West India Company in the Atlantic World, 1621–1674’ (unpublished PhD dissertation, Georgetown University, 2011), pp. 289–317; Sirota, The Christian Monitors, pp. 223–51; Linda Levy Peck, Consuming Splendour: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge, 2005).Google Scholar
  60. Blair Hoxby, Mammon’s Music: Literature and Economics in the Age of Milton (New Haven, CT, 2002).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 68.
    Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living (1656), esp. pp. 4–17, 64–83, 106–34; Richard Allestree, The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety (1667), pp. 325–37Google Scholar
  62. Anthony Horneck, Delight and Judgment: Or, A Prospect of the Great Day of Judgment and its Power to Damp, and Imbitter Sensual Delights, Sports and Recreations (1684), esp. pp. 127–273.Google Scholar
  63. 69.
    For indicative primary sources, see John Bunyan, The Life and Death of Mr Badman (1680), p. 235.Google Scholar
  64. William Ames, The Marrow of Sacred Divinity (1642), pp. 57, 274.Google Scholar
  65. George Fox, Truth’s Defence against the Refined subtilty of the Serpent held forth in Divers Answers to Severall Queries made by Men (called Ministers) in the North (York, 1653), sig. B1v. For a sense of the historiography on this issue.Google Scholar
  66. Robert Whan, The Presbyterians of Ulster, 1680–1730 (Woodbridge, 2013), pp. 99–123.Google Scholar
  67. Alexander du Toit, ‘God before Mammon? William Roberston, Episcopacy and the Church of England’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 54:4 (2003), pp. 671–90.Google Scholar
  68. Ross Martinie Eiler, ‘Luxury, Capitalism, and the Quaker Reformation, 1737–1798’, Quaker History 97:1 (2008), pp. 11–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 70.
    The historiography has yet to really acknowledge this point due in part to the perpetual distraction of the Weber’s Protestant Ethic thesis. For example, see Matthew Niblett, ‘The death of Puritanism? Protestant Dissent and the Problem of Luxury in Eighteenth-Century England’, Studies on Voltaire & the Eighteenth Century 6 (2008), pp. 251–9.Google Scholar
  70. 72.
    William Edmundson, ‘An Epistle to Friends’, 24 December 1671, Jamaica, in [William Edmundson], A Journal of the Life, Travels, Sufferings, and Labour of Love of the Ministry of… William Edmundson (1715), pp. 273–7.Google Scholar
  71. 73.
    Larry Gragg, The Quaker Community on Barbados: Challenging the Culture of the Planter Class (Columbia, MO, 2009), pp. 81–102 (p. 93).Google Scholar
  72. 74.
    J.L. [John Longworth], A Sermon Preached on January the 1st 1680/1: In the New Church at Port-Royal in Jamaica, being the First Time of Performing Divine Service There (1681), pp. 4, 6.Google Scholar
  73. 76.
    Ross A. Newton, ‘‘Good and Kind Benefactors”: British Logwood Merchants and Boston’s Christ Church’, Early American Studies 11:1 (2013), pp. 15–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 79.
    Nelson, ‘Anglican Church Building’, p. 66. For useful insights in another context, see Beverley Kerr, ‘The Corn Exchange: A Temple to Corn?’ (unpublished MSt dissertation, University of Cambridge, 2013), pp. 7–30.Google Scholar
  75. 80.
    For details, see Venessa Harding, The Dead and the Living in Paris and London, 1500–1670 (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 85–101.Google Scholar
  76. Cynthia Wall, The Literary and Cultural Spaces of Restoration London (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 182–220.Google Scholar
  77. 83.
    Richard Blome, A Description of the island of Jamaica (1672), p. 36.Google Scholar
  78. 84.
    Mary Pix, The Innocent Mistress, a Comedy (1697), p. 8.Google Scholar
  79. 86.
    [Anon.], A Full Account of the Late Dreadful Earthquake at Port Royal in Jamaica: Written in Two Letters from the Minister of that Place. From aboard the Granada in Port Royal Harbour, June 22, 1692 (1692).Google Scholar
  80. 96.
    This account, which appears in print without a date or name of author, purportedly comes from a letter which found its way into the possession of Hans Sloane (1660–1753), who was notably in Jamaica between 1687 and 1689, and was later published in 1694 by the Royal Historical Society; see Hans Sloane and Alvarez de Toledo, ‘A Letter from Hans Sloane … with Several Accounts of the Earthquakes in Peru … and at Jamaica’, Philosophical Transactions 18 (1694), pp. 78–100 (p. 86).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 97.
    For context on the latter, see Warren Johnston, Revelation Restored: The Apocalypse in Later Seventeenth-Century England (Woodbridge, 2011), pp. 49–58.Google Scholar
  82. 107.
    John Ray, Three Physico-Theological Discourses (1693), p. 207.Google Scholar
  83. 108.
    Woodward, Religious Societies in the City of London, sig. A6v and Gilbert Burnet, Four Discourses delivered to the Clergy of the Dioceses of Sarum (1694), p. v.Google Scholar
  84. John Dunton, England’s Alarum, Being an Account of God’s Most Considerable Dispensations of Mercy and Judgement (1693), pp. 4–8.Google Scholar
  85. 109.
    [Anon.], A Help to a National Reformation: Containing an Abstract of the Penal Laws against Prophaneness and Vice, fifth edition (1720), p. 4.Google Scholar
  86. 113.
    Richard L. Greaves, Dublin’s Merchant-Quaker: Anthony Sharp and the Community of Friends, 1643–1707 (Stanford, CA, 1998), p. 294 n. 40.Google Scholar
  87. 117.
    James Parke, A Call in the Universal Spirit of Christ Jesus to All the Wicked and Impenitent Sinners in the World, but More Especially to the Inhabitants of England, with the City of London (1692), pp. 3, 5.Google Scholar
  88. 118.
    Samuel Doolittle, A Sermon Occasioned by the Late Earthquake which Happen’d in London and other Places on the Eighth of September, 1692: Preached to a Congregation in Reading (1692).Google Scholar
  89. 122.
    Thomas Beverley, Evangelical Repentance unto Salvation (1693), sig. A2r-A3v. See also Walter Cross, The Summ of Two Sermons on the Witnesses and the Earthquake … Occasioned from a Late Earthquake Sept. 8 and Preached on the Fast Following, September 14 (1692).Google Scholar
  90. 125.
    Richard Stafford, The Nature of God’s Kingdom and Dominion over Men clearly laid Open and Explained (1697), title-page, p. 39.Google Scholar
  91. 126.
    Richard Stafford, The Absolute Truth, and Utmost Certainty of the Word of God (1699), pp. 23, 29. For some historical context, see Paul Monod, ‘The Jacobite Press and English Censorship’, in Eveline Cruickshanks and Edward Corp (eds), The Stuart Court in Exile and the Jacobites (London: Continuum, 1995), pp. 125–142.Google Scholar
  92. 127.
    [Anon.] Remarks upon the Present Confederacy, and late Revolution in England (1693), p. 46. According to Paul Hopkins this pamphlet has hitherto been erroneously attributed to the printer William Anderton, but may plausibly have been the work of the non-juror John Pitts; see Paul Hopkins, ‘Anderton, William (1663–1693)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, s.v.Google Scholar
  93. 128.
    [Anon.], A Country Dialogue between William and James, on the Monthly Fast-Day with Reflections on the Earthquake which Lately Happened at Jamaica and Here Sept. 8 1692 (s.1., 1692), p. 4.Google Scholar
  94. 130.
    Peter Marshall, ‘(Re)defining the English Reformation’, Journal of British Studies 48:3 (2009), pp. 564–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. 131.
    Trevor Burnard, ‘The British Atlantic’, in Jack P. Green and Philip Morgan (eds), Atlantic History: A Critical Appraisal (Oxford, 2009), pp. 111–36 (p. 128).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Manning 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Manning

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations