Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick: Signed letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester

Letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester
Letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester
Letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester
Letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester
Letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester
Letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester

Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick: Signed letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester

10,000.00

Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick (1587–1658)

Letter to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester

Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick (1587–1658) English Puritan and the largest stockholder in the Somers Isles Company, the entity in charge of administering Bermuda from 1615 to 1684. Autograph letter signed. 2pp. Small folio. (Approximately 8 x 12 inches.) Warwick House [London], 13 February 1680. To his son-in-law, Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester (1602–1671).

Son, I received yours about the bond wherin my selfe and Hary Darly and others stand bound to Mr. Alderman Cordole for 1000£, I have treated w[i]th Mr. Cordelle ‘bout it and have offered to pay of his near 700£ principall and about 400£ intres[t] at 6 per cent w[hi]ch is more than my part coms to, and Hary Darly did promise he would pay the other part of that bond to discharge that full debt and my mony hath lien in Will Fesoss hand ever since Michaelmas last to pay it, but Harry Darly hath… the ending of it as hath given me some trouble, but I hope wee shall hand an end of it next weeke and I will doe my part to include you in my payment to save you harmless, for the rest I have tould Mr. Fine’s and Hary Darly that if they will go to a meeting of the rest of the gent[lemen] of the Company I will propose to them to lay down evry man his proportion to discharge the debt and I will pay mine although I have paid all mine when this is paid, Thus w[i]th my lone to you and your wife. Praying God to blesse you and yours from all evell of soul and body I commend you to his blessed protection and rest: Your most affectionate father, Warwick [Post script] Your milke pans are made and ready such as you saw at Mr. Hodges at Bedington and shalle sent you down when you give me order from them and how to be sent

In 1614, the crown took over administration of Bermuda from the Virginia Company, which had governed the colonial holding since 1612. The Earl of Warwick joined with other shareholders to form the Somers Isles Company to which the administration of Bermuda was transferred in 1615. Warwick was the largest stockholder in the company and its leader for much of its existence. In acknowledgement of his involvement, one of the eight ‘tribes’ of Bermuda (modern ‘parishes’) was named ‘Warwick’. The Somers Isles Company sought to make profits through the cultivation of tobacco on Bermuda, though it lacked a sufficient amount of arable land. The tobacco produced was poor in quality and, eventually, the settlers turned to other industries such as shipbuilding. However, since they did not derive any income from such endeavours, the Somers Isles Company sought to stifle these alternative industries and, after complaints to the crown, the Somers Isles Company’s charter was revoked in 1684.

Our letter is written during the upheaval of the English Civil War, which had a bearing on the administration of colonial holdings such as Bermuda. ‘Soon after the rupture between the King and the Parliament [Sir John Bramstone the chief justice of the King’s Bench] by an ordinance of 1643, appointed Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick to be Lord High Admiral of all the Plantations of America. With this “Stout Earl of Warwick” other Peers and Commoners were nominated by Parliament as Commissioners for Plantations… It is from this time that the control of Parliament over the affairs of the colonies began, the right of the legislature to deal with such matters being admitted by Charles the Second after the Restoration and maintained to the present day,’ (Darnell Davis, Nicholas, The Cavaliers & Roundheads of Barba-os, 1650–1652, Argosy Press: Georgetown, British Guiana, 1887).

In addition to his heavy involvement in the Somers Isles Company, Warwick, a staunch Puritan, was also a stockholder in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the New England Company, the Providence Island Company, and the Virginia Company. During the English Civil War, Warwick took the side of the Parliamentarians and drew his son-in-law, Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester to the cause. Manchester commanded Parliamentary forces during the civil war and, in 1643 was made a Major-General with Oliver Cromwell as his second in command. The conflict in England also affected far-off Bermuda when, throughout the 1650s, prisoners of war from Cromwell’s campaigns in Ireland and Scotland were sent to Bermuda. 

This personal letter details monies and interest owed and refers to a ‘meeting of the rest of the Gentlemen of the Company’ to settle matters.

Folded with some staining and light age toning. Some paper loss and wear at the edges. Address leaf present but separated. In addition to several later dockets, the address leaf bears the red wax seal of Warwick showing a dragon-like creature known as a wyvern surmounted by a crown. In very good condition.

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