November 21, 2010

Bold Rhode Island Sloop Pillages Spanish West Indian Port, 1740

London [April 12, 1740]. By a Ship lately arrived from New-England, departed from Newport, we have the following Account: That Mr. Thomas Newton, Quarter-Master of the Virgin Queen, Capt. Hall, was returned home, having sailed from Newport in a small Sloop of 30 Tons, and 29 Men, with a Letter of Marque; they sailed for Hispaniola, to make a descent on a small Town called Port of Plate [Puerto Plata], where they anchored under the Fort pretending to be a Carracca Trader. There Design was to land that Night, and surprise the Town, but were prevented by the Inhabitants keeping a good Watch round the Bay and Fort, suspecting them to be Pirates.

The Governor being sick, and understanding they had a Surgeon on Board, sent to desire him to come and bleed him: Accordingly the Doctor, the Quarter-Master, and the Linguist, waited on him the next Morning, and informed him, that they had Flour and other Provisions to dispose of, and gave him an Invitation on Board, but being ill, he declined it; whereupon seven of the Sloop’s men marched up, surpriz’d and took the Fort; and after dismounting the Cannon, they went back to meet their Comrades that were expected on Shore, and then making up 19 in Number, they boldly march’d to the Town.

Before they came up the Spaniards were alarmed and got together in Arms, and fir’d on them; but they still advancing the Spaniards retreated, and they entered the Town, and plundered it of everything that was valuable, which amounted to £100 a Man. They lost only one Man in the Engagement, and killed three and wounded one of the Spaniards in taking the Fort. This was as bold an Attempt as was ever heard of.

[London] Weekly Miscellany, April 12, 1740.

Posted in letter of marque, Newport (Rhode Island), piracy, privateer, Puerto Plata, raiding, sailors, Santo Domingo, Uncategorized, War of Jenkin's Ear, West Indies |
November 17, 2010

English Sailors Recover Sloop Seized by Spanish Guarda Costa, 1769

London [January 10, 1770]. A Letter from Philadelphia, dated November 30th [1769] says, “By Captain Miller, from Savanna le Mar, in Jamaica, we learn that on the 20th of October, a sloop was brought in there by two Englishmen, which had been taken some time before by a Spanish Guarda Costa, who put six Spanish Soldiers, and an officer, on board, and left only the two Englishmen to assist working the Vessel, with orders to follow the frigate that took them to Carthagena; but the Englishmen altered the sloop’s course in the night, and steered to the northward; the next day, when the Spaniards lost sight of the frigate, they were in great confusion, as they did not know which way to look for the land, and desired the Englishmen to carry them into some Spanish port, which they readily promised to do, but brought her safe to anchor at the above port; the Spaniards were so ignorant, they did not know it was an English port, till they were on shore, and, to their great surprize, found none but English about them. The sloop belonged to Kingston.”

[London] Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, January 10, 1770.

Posted in British West Indies, Cartagena (Colombia), Jamaica, navigation, sailors, Spain, Spanish Guarda Costa, West Indies |
November 14, 2010

British Survey North American and West Indian Coasts, 1764

London, September 1. Letters have been received from Mr. Main, an officer and draughtsman on board the Carson government ship, fitted out to survey the sea coasts and settlements of the British Empire in America, that they have already taken accurate draughts of the shores of Labrador and Newfoundland, and discovered 15 islands in the Gulph of St. Laurence, not one of which but is preferable to St. John’s, for the purposes of erecting both a settlement and a fishery. On most of these islands, crosses have been erected by the French, which were taken down, with their inscriptions, and English ones put up in their stead.

Providence Gazette, October 27, 1764.

Posted in Great Britain, Labrador, Newfoundland, North America, survey, West Indies |
November 10, 2010

American Newspaper Editor Challenges Veracity of Report from London, 1764

London, September 8. By a Gentleman just arrived from the West Indies, and who had occasion before his departure to touch at Martineco, we are informed, that during the Time he was at that Place, 15 Vessels from N. England, with lumber and provisions, and 3 from Cork arrived there; and that so many magazine of the latter have already been erected, as, in case of any future war, are sufficient to support all the garrisons on the island for three years. [A very great Falsehood, and published with no other View, than to render Ireland and North America despicable in the Eyes of the good People of Great-Britain]

Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, October 29, 1764.

Posted in France, Ireland, lumber, Martinique, Mercantilism, North America, provisions, war, West Indies |
November 7, 2010

Infestation of Pirates in the Gulf of Florida, 1716

London [December 1716]. They write from Cork, that the Berkeley Galley, Captain Saunders, arrived there from Jamaica, was in her Passage in the Gulph of Florida, set upon by a Pyrate, and after an Engagement of some time, boarded and plundered of Gold and Silver to the Value of £1,000 also of several Slaves belonging to the Owners and Master, and was left weakly Mann’d and that Captain Saunders, who had one of his Arms shot off by the Pyrates, reports, that the King Solomon of London was boarded and plundered at the same time by other Pyrates, and that he departed from her in the Gulph.

[London] Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, December 22, 1716.

Posted in gold, Gulf of Florida, piracy, sailors, silver, slave trade |
November 3, 2010

London Court Upholds Freedom of Former Slave, 1735

London [December 6, 1735]. Yesterday . . . at the Sittings of the of the Court of King’s Bench at Guildhall . . . one Codrington Galway, a Black, appeared upon his Recognizances for a Breach of the Peace, and refusing to serve the Remainder of his Time with the Administrator of his former Master, who was lately Dead; when the Court declared, that though a Negroe he was now a Christian, and in a Christian Country, which allow’d of no Slavery; and thereupon they set him at full Liberty to go where he pleas’d, but withal advis’d him to get into some honest Employment by Sea or Land, that he might not become a Vagrant.

[London] General Evening Post, December 6, 1735.

Posted in Christianity, Court of King's Bench, freemen, London, slavery, West Indies |
October 31, 2010

Mermaid Endangers Mediterranean Shipping, 1717

London [September 1717]. Fresh Letter[s] from Leghorn say, that the terrible Mermaid or Merman which of late has been seen in those Seas, and shew’d it self above 13 or 14 Foot high above the Water, but if any Boat or Vessel made toward it, it would then make a most strange and frightful Noise, and plunge into the Sea, continues to appear still, to the surprizing Astonishment of its Beholders, who represent it to be the most hideous Monster that has ever been seen in the World. In the Night it makes most amazing shrieks for two or three Hours together near the Shore, on which it has come and destroy’d two Men and a Woman, whom, it took into the Sea.

[London] Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, September 7, 1717.

Posted in Mediterranean, Mermaids, shipwreck |
October 27, 2010

Ordeal of a Philadelphia Logwood Ship, 1767

Philadelphia, April 2. Extract of a Letter from Captain Charles Smith, late Commander of the Ship Chance, bound from this Port for Rotterdam, dated Dover, December 31, 1766.

“On the 11th Instant, about 5 o’Clock in the Morning, I was drove in amongst the Rocks, off Ushant, in a very hard Gale of Wind, and very heavy Sea, in which we could carry only our Foresail and Mainsail; at 6 the Ship struck on the Rocks, about 4 Leagues from the main Land, and about Half after Seven she went all to Pieces; when myself, and the Ship’s Company, with 10 Passengers, saved themselves on Pieces of the Wreck, and after driving about a League, were taken up by Boats belonging to a small Island, called De Molene, 6 other Passengers were drowned.

We have lost every thing, for when we were taken up I had only a Shirt, and a pair of Breeches. We remained on this Island all the 12th to refresh ourselves, and look after any Part of the Wreck that might drive on Shore, but not the least Part came near to us, being drove amongst the Rocks, and the Cargoe (being Logwood) sunk.

On the 13th in the Morning, we were carried to the main Land, about 4 Leagues from Brest, where we travelled that Night, and were all put in the King’s Hospital. On the 15th we were shipped on board a King’s Frigate for Havre de Grace, where we arrived the 16th; at which Place I freighted a small Dutch Vessel to carry us all (23 in Number) to Rotterdam.

We sailed from thence the 21st, and have been beating ever since in the Channel, till this Day we put in here, as my poor People have suffered so much from the Cold, for want of Cloaths, they could hold out no longer.”

Pennsylvania Gazette, April 2, 1767.

[Molène, an island off the west coast of Brittany, is part of the Ponant Islands.]

Posted in Brest, Brittany, disasters, France, logwood, merchant marine, Rotterdam, shipwreck, Ushant |
October 24, 2010

French Sailors Visit Plymouth Unannounced, 1719

London [March 21, 1719]. There is an Account come from Plymouth, that, last Sunday, in the Evening, two small Vessels, under French Colours, came into the Sound, and sent their Boats to the Shoar, to buy Provisions; the Men being mighty Inquisitive after News, gave the People some suspicion they were Spies; but before an Account could be given of them to the Governour, they return’d on board, and the Vessels hoisted their Sails, and were instantly out of sight.

[London] Weekly Journal or Saturday’s Post, March 21, 1719.

Posted in England, France, Plymouth (England), sailors, spies |
October 20, 2010

Bold French Raid in New York Bay, 1704

Amboy [New Jersey], July 29 [1704]. On Wednesday last by an Express from Monmouth sent to his Excellency my Lord Cornbury, we were informed of a French Privateer that lay at Sandy-Hook, who the Night before had landed 24 Men at Never-Sinks, and plundered two Houses; upon which News Captain Hamilton ordered a strict Watch to be kept here, to prevent a Surprize; and on Thursday Night several Gentlemen came here, . . . who were passengers on Board of Captain Sinclaire that came from London, and were that Morning about four a Clock standing along the side of the Hook, when they saw this Privateer, whom they took to be an outward-bound Vessel from New-York; the Privateer fired two Shot at them, having English Colours out.

Captain Sinclaire endeavoured to get from him, and run his Vessel on shoar, but the Wind prevented him, a Man on shoar pull’d off his Shirt, and made Signs that the Privateer was a Rogue; upon which those Gentlemen got into the Boat and escaped, and took in Captain Sinclaire, who was extream ill, and landed at the Highlands of Neversinks, where was a strong Guard; his Mate stayed on board with some of the Seamen, endeavouring to get the Ship within the Hook, but could not, and so jumpt into the Water; he and Captain Perkin’s Son, swam on shoar, when within a Pistol Shot of the Privateer.

[London] Flying Post or The Post Master, March 10, 1705.

Posted in Never Sink, New Jersey, privateer, raiding, sailors |