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Lowever took no steps to form a settlement on the islands, and they were still entirely uninhabited when, in 1609, Admiral Sir George Somers' ship, "The Sea Venture," while on a voyage with a fleet of eight other vessels, conveying a party of colonists to the new plantations then being formed in Virginia, was wrecked upon one of the numerous sunken reefs which surround the islands on every side. The reef is still called after the name of the Admiral's ship, The Sea Venture Flat.
Sir George Somers died in Bermuda the following year, and his companions, ignorant possibly of the prior claims of Juan Bermudes, called the group after him, The Somers' Islands." The reports of the beauty and fertility of the land taken home by Somers' nephew, Captain Mathew Somers, induced the Virginia Company to seek an extension of their Charter, so as to include the islands within their dominion, and this extension was readily granted by King James I; but shortly afterwards the Virginia Company sold the islands for the sum of 2,000l. to a new body of adventurers, called "The Company of the City of London for the Plantation of the Somers' Islands," and thenceforward, for a considerable time, the islands bore the name of the Admiral who had led thither the first body of settlers. Gradually, however, the old name obtained the preference, and now the group is generally known as the Bermudas, though still sometimes called the Somers' Islands. The Bermudas may be described as a singular agglomeration of small islands and submarine sand hills and coral reefs, forming together an irregular oval ring, measuring about 22 miles in length from N E. to S. W., and about 10 miles in width from N.W. to S.E. The external ring-whether composed of islands or of sunken banks or reefs-is seldom more than a mile in width-and, generally speaking, it is considerably less. The wide expanse of enclosed water which it encircles is broken up and diversified by numberless smaller islands and sunken reefs, and ledges of coral, which render the internal navigation extremely intricate and dangerous to all but experienced pilots.
In former days some of what are now known as sunken reefs were probably islands, which have been undermined or washed away by the action of A solitary rock, called "The North Rock." now worn away to a mere column a few feet thick, and about twelve feet high, rising from a widespread submerged stone plateau in the midst of the Northern Reefs, is all that remains at present of an island that is shown on ancient maps as "Old Bermuda."
At present the southern portion only of the encircling ring is formed of islands, the northern, eastern, and western sides being composed of almost continuous reefs of coral.
The islands are said to be as numerous as the days of the year, but not more than one hundred of them deserve the name of islands, the others are mere rocks: even of the one hundred enumerated not more than fifteen or sixteen are inhabited, the remainder being of inconsiderable size. The largest island, generally known as The Main Island, is about fourteen miles in length, and about a mile in average width; it contains about 9,000 acres of land. All the other islands taken together measure about 3,000 acres. The town of Hamilton, now the seat of Government, is situated about the centre of the main island, where a deep inlet running up for two or three miles into the land from the sheltered waters, enclosed between the encircling reef, forms as safe and convenient
harbour for the small vessels which suffice to carry on the island trade.
Next in importance to the main island is the island of St. George, on which stands the town of St. George, so named after Admiral Sir George Somers, whose heart is buried there This town was formerly the capital of the colony, and though now shorn of much of its importance by the transfer of the seat of Government to Hamilton, is still a town of considerable trade, and its harbour is much frequented as a harbour of refuge by merchant vessels during the stormy periods which so frequently recur in the Western Atlantic at certain seasons of the year. Presenting, as it does, a wide area of landlocked water, with good holding ground, and a depth sufficient for all ordinary merchant vessels, and being easy of access from the ocean, with which it communicates direct, instead of opening as does the harbour of Hamilton into an enclosed inland sea, the harbour of St. George is, frequently crowded during the winter months with large merchant vessels and steamers, seeking shelter during bad weather, or requiring repairs after storms, or in want of supplies of fresh water, or of coal, or provisions.
The other principal islands of the group areIreland Island, standing by itself in the centre of the inland waters, and entirely given up for the accommodation of Her Majesty's Dockyard and a number of other naval establishments. Boaz and Watford Islands, intervening between Ireland Isand and the rest of the group, are now exclusively occupied by military depôts and garrisons; Somerset, Smith's, St. David's, Cooper's. Nonsuch, Rivers, Ports, and Godets, are all inhabited by a civil population. The islands form an almost continuous chain: and with the exception of one break between Somerset and Watford Íslands, there is uninterrupted communication by roads and bridges and causeways from St. George over the main island and Somerset-Watford and Boaz to Ireland Island-a distance of about 22 miles.
The climate has been long celebrated for its mildness and salubrity. There is no winter, the thermometer never falling below 40 deg. of Fahr., and the summers are never very hot, the thermometer rarely rising above 85 deg. The summer heat too is generally tempered by a pleasant sea breeze. The islands produce a cedar wood of great beauty, and durability, well adapted for the use of the shipbuilder or the house carpenter, and the finer grained specimens are much in request among
cabinet makers for articles of ornamental furniture.
Trade and Agriculture.
In former days the inhabitants of Bermuda gave themselves up almost entirely to maritime pursuits. Numerous small vessels, of from 200 to 300 tons burden, built by the islanders themselves, of their native cedar, traded between the West Indies and Demerara, and the United States, and the British colonies of North America, conducting a very profitable carrying trade between all these countries. Later they extended their voyages, carrying the salt fish of Newfoundland to Italy and Portugal, and taking back the Port wine for which Newfoundland became celebrated, or running dow to Madeira or Ascension to meet the homeward bound Indian fleet, and taking back cargoes of tea or other Indian and Chinese products to be distributed along the American seal oard.
But the repeal of the British navigation laws, the introduction of steam, and the very general substitution of iron for wooden ships, gradually destroyed the carrying trade which had been so
rofitable to Bermuda, and now the little maritime eet may be said to have ceased to exist, and the ndustry of the islanders is entirely confined to urning to account the small quantity of agriculural land which they possess.
The soil of Bermuda may be described generally s being poor in quality. Of the 12,000 acres comprised in the whole group, not more than 1,000 cres can be said to consist of good or fertile soil, another 1,000 acres may perhaps be described as fair, and a third 1,000, though poor and of no depth, may still be cultivated with profit in favourable years; but the remaining 9,000 acres can never repay the expense of cultivation, consisting as they do of very hilly and stony ground, partially covered with a scanty herbage and a scattered growth of stunted cedar trees, or of widespread brackish marshes overgrown with coarse grass, rushes and mangrove jungle.
But the climate combined with the geographical position of these islands, in some measure compensates for the smallness of the area of fertile ground. There being nothing to fear from winter frosts, the ground can be sown and planted at any time from the end of August to the end of March, and the crops can be gathered and shipped off to New York in the months of April, May, and June, when the corresponding American produce has as yet scarcely shown itself above ground, and the Bermudians, taking advantage of this peculiarity of their climate, raise very large crops of early potatoes, onions, tomatoes and beetroot, with which they keep the New York market supplied at a time when those vegetables cannot be obtained from any other quarter, and thus command very high prices for their produce, and are enabled to maintain their families in comfort upon comparatively small portions of ground.
Very little use is made of the soil in Bermuda after the spring crops have been grown; a few melons, pumpkins, or sweet potatoes may be raised here and there, but by far the greater part of the ground is allowed to remain idle during the hot Summer months; anything that could then be grown in Bermuda can be imported so much more cheaply from America, that it never pays a Bermudian agriculturist to produce it. Very little also of the spring produce of the islands is consumed by the inhabitants: it is too costly; nearly all the early vegetables raised in Bermuda are exported, and the whole population, civil and military, depends for its subsistence upon food supplies obtained from abroad. All the bread and meat, and nearly all the vegetables consumed in the islands, are imported from New York, and all the food, horses, and cattle are brought from that or other quarters. Bermuda being thus entirely dependent upon America for its supplies of provisions, any interruption to its intercourse with the neighbouring continent would be certain to cause great distress.
Government and Constitution. Representative government was introduced into the colony in 1620, but the charter of the Bermudian Company of London was annulled in 1684, and since then the Governors have always been appointed by the Crown, and the laws of the colony have been enacted by a local legislature consisting of the Governor, the Legislative Council, and the House of Assembly.
The Governor is assisted by a Privy Council, consisting at present of nine members named by the Crown, the same nine members constituting the Legislative Council. The House of Assembly con
sists of thirty-six members, four of whom at elected by each of the nine parishes. There ar 854 electors, the electoral qualifications being th possession of freehold property of not less tha 601. value. The qualification for a member of th House of Assembly is the possession of freehol property rated at 2407.
The Naval Station.
The importance of the Bermudas as a nava station began to be felt towards the end o the last century, during the wars which we had to wage first with the revolted provinces it America, and afterwards with the French Spaniards.
It was more fully recognised during the short war between England and the United States in 1812, and is now universally acknowledged.
The position of the islands, situated in mid-ocean. at almost equal distances from the West Indies the eastern seaboard of the United States, and the Dominion of Canada, including our great naval station at Halifax, presents many advantages for the establishment of a Naval Station in the Western Atlantic, and the peculiar conformation of the group affords special facilities for the creation of a naval depôt and fortress of the first class. broad and almost continuous barrier, formed of a succession of islands and sunken coral reefs, and measuring about 50 miles in circuit, encloses an internal oval area of about 120 square miles of water, access to which from the outer ocean can only be gained through a few long narrow tortuous channels in which are interspersed not a
clusters of sunken coral rocks. Ireland Islandwhich contains Her Majesty's dockyard and the other naval establishments-occupies rather central position in the midst of this enclosed sea, so that a hostile cruiser cannot approach on any side within five miles of it without having first made its way through the encircling reefs, and even when that great obstacle is surmounted, the approach to the dockyard is still difficult and dangerous, for the enclosed inland sea itself is thickly studded with irregular groups, and banks, and clusters of sunken coral reefs, which leave only a a few narrow channels that can be traversed with safety by vessels of any considerable size.
The principal channel through the outer reefs, the only one that is now used by merchant vessels, and the only one that is safe for large ships, is that which is called "The Narrows," which sweeps
round the northern and castern sides of St.
George's Island, at a distance of about half-a-mile from the shore. This channel is about two miles
in length, and is very narrow and intricate, so that vessels must move through it very slowly and with great caution. It is commanded throughout its whole length, as are also the approaches to it from either side, by numerous batteries mounting very heavy guns behind casemated iron shields. In war time the channel would also be defended
by torpedoes or submarine mines. As a naval station therefore Bermuda may almost be considered to be beyond the reach of any attack.
From the year 1844 to the resignation of the See of Newfoundland by Bishop Kelly in 1877, the Bermudas were attached to the episcopal diocese of Newfoundland. They then remained for some time without a Bishop, but in 1879 the present Bishop of Newfoundland, the Right Reverend Llewellyn Jones, was elected Bishop of Bermuda,
nd as a general rule it is anticipated that he will
The Wesleyans, the Presbyterians and the man Catholics have erected several chapels in Bermida, and the Episcopal Methodists have cently made some progress among the people, t 70 per cent. of the white, and about 65 per eat of the coloured population still belong to the Church of England.
Public Debt in 1884, 5,4857.
The Customs Tariff which is passed yearly in
Table of Duties.
Arrowroot, unmanufactured, the 100
Arrowroot, manufactured, the pound Alcohol, Arrack, Brandy, Gin, Peppermint Water, Shrub, Whiskey, Rum, the gallon
Wine of all kinds, 20 per cent. ad
Malt Liquor, Cider, and Perry, the hogs
Malt Liquor, Cider, and Perry, in bottles
Or at the option of the Importer, the
Tobacco (other than cigars) and Snuff, the pound
Cows, Calves, Heifers, and Oxen, per head
Beef, in fore and hind quarters, when
there is levied on each cask or other package con-
On all goods imported, except articles subject to specific duties, and those enumerated in the following table of exemptions, and such books as, under the Act entitled An Act to Regulate the Impor
tation of Books and
to Protect the British
Table of Exemptions. Animals and goods imported on account of the public of these islands by any public officer or committee; baggage, consisting of apparel and professional apparatus of passengers; books, not reprints of British publications; bullion, coals, coin, diamonds; fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, excepting potatoes; horses and other beasts and provisions and stores of every description, imported for the use of Her Majesty's land and sea forces, or of the convict establishment in the event of convicts being hereafter transported to these islands; ice, paintings, engravings, photographs, and sculpture (whether monumental or otherwise); personal effects of inhabitants of these islands dying abroad and not intended for sale; specimens of natural
1612. Richard Moore.
Sale, Paynter, &
Tonnage of Vessels.
1867. Colonel Sir F. E.
1870. Col. Sir T. Gore
1796. Wm. Campbell. 1797. George Beckwith. 1805. Francis Gore. 1806. John Hodgson. 1811. Sir J. Cockburn. 1819. Sir Wm. Lumley 1825. Sir H. Turner. 1831. Sir S. R. Chapman. 1877. 1839. Lieut.-Col. Reid, 1846. Capt. C. Elliot. 1854. Colonel Freeman 1882. Murray.
1861. Col. H. St. George Ord, R.E., C.B.
1871. Major-Gen. J. H. Lefroy, R.A., C.B. Major-Gen. Sir R. M. Laffan, R.E., K.C.M.G.
Lionel John Galwey, R.E.
Receiver-General, Comptroller of Customs and Narigation Laws, and Registrar of Shipping, James Tucker, 5001. and fees.
Assistant ditto, St. Georges, C. H. Smith, 330%.
In the absence of the Governor the Senior Mili- Revenue Office, Hamilton, Edwin Jones, 1607. tary Officer administers the Government.
House of Assembly (36 Members).
Speaker, S. S. Ingham, 2007. per annum. John F. Burrows.
H. H. Gilbert.
M. S. Hunt.
Foster M. Cooper.
W. J. F. Frith.
W. H. Hughes.
S. Brownlow Gray.
S. S. Ingham, Speaker.
T. A. Outerbridge.
St. George's parish
St. Georges, T. W. Lightbourn, 1607 Ireland Island, J. B. Tatem, 1507. Colonial Surveyor, J. H. M. Rae, 2507. Causeway-keeper, T. L. Outerbridge, 1461.
General Post Office.
Colonial Postmaster, A. G. Butterfield, 3007. S. Georges, R. Ward, 2251. Sandys, R. Fowle, 407.
Postmistress, Ireland Island, Mrs. M. L. Warder, 1401. Receiving House-keepers, 15 at 12l. each.
Inspector of Schools, George Simpson, 2507.
Health Officers, Dr. C. H. Butterfield, and Dr. P. B. Tucker, fees.
Registrar-General, C. Boyle, fees,
Police and Gaol.
Police Magistate, Hamilton, M. M. Frith, 1807.
Gaoler, Hamilton, N. McLeod, 851.
St. Georges, R. Boggs, 851.
Superintendent Lunatic Asylum, Dr. Hinson, 2207. Overseer, Alex. Darrell, 801.
Lighthouse keeper, J. Perinchief, 1257.
Chief Justice (and Judge of Vice-Admiralty Court),
Assistant Judges, J. H. Trimingham and
Attorney-General (and Advocate of Vice-Admiralty Court), S. B. Gray, 600l. and fees.
Provost-Marshal, John H. Trott, 2507. and fees. Clerk of Assize Court, W. H. Darrell, 1007., fees. Registrar Vice-Admiralty Court, N. A. Butterfield,
Marshal, J. H. Trott, fees.
Coroners, T. J. Lightbourn and W. R. Higinbothom, fees.
Bishop of Newfoundland and Bermudas, Right Rev. Llewellyn Jones.
Rector, St. George, Rev. F. J. F. Lightbourn, 140% and fees and allowances from the parishes. Ditto, Hamilton and Smith, Rev. G. Tucker, 140% and fees and allowances from the parishes. Ditto, Pembroke and Devonshire, Rev. M. James, 1401. and fees and allowances from the parishes. Ditto, Paget and Warwick, Rev. J. F. B. L. Lough, 1407. and fees and allowances from the parishes. Ditto, Sandys and Southampton, Rev. Bruce Mackay, 1407. and fees and allowances from the parishes. Presbyterian Minister, Rev. W. Thorburn, 1407. and fees.