America and West Indies: Addenda 1702

Pages 82-90

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 21, 1702-1703. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1913.

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Addenda 1702

Sept. 11.
123. Vice-Admiral Benbow to the Secretary of State [Earl of Nottingham]. The 7 July I received H.E.'s the Lord High Admirall's declaration of war with France and Spain, as also H.M. Declaration which I have communicated as desired. The 11 July we sailed from before Port Royal with H.M. ship in the margent [Bredah, Defyance, Windsor, Ruby, Falmouth, Greenwich, Colchester, Pendennis, Strombolo f.p., Carcass bomb, Cresswell tender, Recovery sloop], with a designe to joyne Rear-Admiral Whetstone, but having advice the 14th by the Colchester and Pendennis, who that day joyned in, that Mounsr. Du Cass was expected at Logann, which is on the north side of Hispaniola, I plyed for that part; nothing of moment happened till the 21st, then took a small sloop near Cape Tiberoone. On the 24th by accident the Strombolo fireship's gunroom blew up and broke several of her beams, shattered her bulkheads, and disabled her so far that was obliged to send the Pendennis with her for Port Royall, as also the Bomb vessell and her Tender, which sailed so intollerably heavy that we could gett but little ground. The 27 we came into the Gulf of Logan and not far from the Towne we saw severall ships at anchor, and one under sail who sent her boat to discover who we were, but she came a little to near, our boat took her before she gott on board, the people of this boat informed that there were five or six merchant ships at Logan, and that the ships wch. they belonged to was a King's ship, and could carry 50 guns but now had but 30 mounted. I persued him and prest him so hard that when he saw all hopes lost for making his escape, run ashore and blew up, it being now night we lay as near the shore as convenient. The 28 in the morning came before the Towne of Logann, where there was but one ship of about 18 gunns, the rest sailed from thence before day in order to secure themselves in a harbour which is called the Cue, but we having some ships between them and home, took three of them and sank another; this ship of 18 guns was hauled ashore under their fortifications, which was a Battery of about 12 guns. We fired at their battery, sent our boats and burnt the ship aground, which could not be gott off, the ship that was sunk had sixteen guns, and one brought away of 16, the other 30 and one brigantine of six. These ships has in them some wine and brandy and some small matter of sugar. The 29 we came before Pettit Guavus, but finding no ships went not into the place. We saw 3 or 4 ships in the Cue, a harbour which lyes much within the Land, and well fortified by nature etc., did not think it safe nor convenient to run such a risk for so small matter. We continued in this Bay till Aug. 2, standing from one end of the part that is inhabited to the other, fateaging the inhabitants who expected our landing, but our circumstances would not admitt of it. Wee saild for Cape Doña Maria, where is a good Bay and water, were we arrived the 5th, having advices that Mounsr. Du Cass is gone to Cartagena and from thence to Porto Bello, I design to sail on that coast with H.M. ships in the Margent (Bredah, Defyance, Ruby, Greenwich, Falmouth, Windsor). Accordingly we sailed on the 10th Augt., and stretcht over towards the coast of Sta. Martha, near that place the 19th in the morning, we spyed tenn sail to the Eastward, little wind at East, we made the best of our way to come up with them, about noon the wind came out of the sea, then we could lye with them, and soon perceived them to be Frenchmen, some of our ships three or four mile astarne, I made the signall for battle, and went with an easy sail to have them come up, and steered with the French, who steered to the Westward along shore, under their two topsailes, there was of them four sturdy ships from 60 to 70 guns, one great Dutch-built ship about 30 or 40 guns, and one small ship full of soldiers, the rest were a sloop and three small ships. I was very uneasy to see our ships so long a coming up, and in such disorder, our line of battle was as per margent (Defyance, Pendennis, Windsor, Bredah, Greenwich, Ruby, Falmouth), the Defyance being to lead, whose Commander I found did not make all the haste he might into his station, as also the Windsor. I sent to them to make more sail; the night approaching we steered alongside of the enemy, and endeavoured to near them, being to windward and steering large, but not with a design to atackt them, before the Defyance was abrest of the headmost ship; but before this was done the Falmouth in the rear attackt the Flemish ship, the Windsor the ship abrest of her, as also did the Defyance. Soon after we were obliged to do the same, having receiv'd the fire of the French ship abrest of us. The Defyance and Windsor after they had received two or three broadsides from the enemy luft out of the line, out of gunshott; the two (s)tarnemost ships of the French lay upon us, which very much gauled us, our ships in the Rear not coming up as they ought: it was four a clock when we begun, and continued till it was dark. We kept them Company all night steering to the Westward. I did believe that if I order'd a new line of Battle and lead myselfe on all tacks (perceiving the French would decline fighting if they could) might do the better, and that our people for shame would not fail to follow a good example. The line of Battle and orders are enclosed. 20th. At daylight in the morning I found we were near the enemy, only the Ruby up with us, the rest of our ships three, four and five mile astarne; it proved little wind, and we were within gunshott of all the Enemy, they were so civell as not to fire, otherwise must have received a great deal of damage: at 2 this afternoone, the sea breeze came, the enemy gott into a line making what sail they could; our ships not coming up; we with the Ruby plyed our chase guns on them till night, then left of; keeping them company all night. 21st. At daylight in the Morning we being on the Quarter of the second ship of the Enemys and within point blank shott, the Ruby being ahead of us, she fired at the Ruby, which the Ruby returned, the two ship which were ahead fell off, being little wind, brought their guns to bear on the Ruby; we brought our guns to bear on this ship which first begun and shattered him very much, which obliged him to tow from us, but the Ruby being so much shattered in her masts, sailes and rigging that I was obliged to lye by her and send boats to tow her off; this action held almost two hours, during which the Rear ship of the enemy was abreast of the Defyance and Windsor, who never fired one gun, tho' within point blank; at 8 a gale of wind sprung up, the Enemy making what sail they could: we chasing in hopes to come up with them, then abrest of the River Grandy, our ships then in good order for battle, wch. was more than I saw before, being then in hopes they would consider their Duty, the Ruby being disabled lay astarne; at two this afternoon I gott abrest of two of the Starnmost and finding we gott nothing of them, in hopes to disable them in their masts and rigging, I began to fire on them, as did some of our ships astarne, but we lying abrest of them, they pointed wholly at us, wch. gauled us much in our rigging, and dismounted two or three of our Lower Tier guns; this held about Two hours: they gott without shott, we making what sail we could to come up with them, but they using all the ships [? shifts] possibly they could to evade fighting (and when so, 'tis a very hard matter to joyne battle), this night we used our utmost endeavour to keep them Company. 22nd. This morning at daylight the Greenwich was about Three leagues astarne, tho' the line of battle was never struck night nor day, the rest of our ships indifferent near (except the Ruby), the Enemy about a mile and a half ahead: at 3 this afternoon the wind came to the Southward, which before was Easterly; this gave the Enemy the weather Gage, but in tacking we fetcht within gunshott of the sternmost of them, firing at each other, but our line being much out of order, and some of our ships three mile astarne, this night I perceived that the Enemy was very uneasy, altering their courses very often, between the West and the North. 23rd. At daylight this morning the Enemy was about six mile ahead of us, and the great Dutch ship separated from them out of sight, some of our Squadron at this time more than four mile astarne (viz., Defyance and Windsor), we making what sail we could after them; at 10 a clock the Enemy tackt, the wind then at E.N.E., but very variable; we fetcht within point blank shott of two of them passing our Broadsides at each other; most of our ships could not come within shott, soon after we tackt and persued them what we could; about noon we took from them a small English ship called the Ann galley, which they had taken off of Lisbourne; the Ruby being disabled could not keep Company, I ordered her for Port Royall; at 8 this night our squadron was all fair by us, being then distance from the Enemy about Two mile, they steering S.E., and very little wind then at N.W., and variable, we steering after them and all our ships (except the Falmouth) falling much astarne; at 12 the Enemy began to separate, we steering after the sternmost. 24th. At 2 in the morning we came up within call of her, it being very little wind, being all clear fired our Broadside with double and round alow, and Round and partrid(g)e aloft, which he returned very heartyly; at 3 a clock by a chain shott my right Legg was broke to peices, and was carryed downe, this continued till day, then see seemingly the ruines of a ship of about 70 gunns, her Main Yard downe and shott to peices, her foretopsail yard shot away, her Mizonmast shott by the board, all her rigging gone and her sides bored to peices with our double-headed shott, the Falmouth assisted in this matter very much, and no other ship; soon after day we saw the other part of the Enemy coming towards us, with a strong squale of wind Easterly; at the same time the Windsor, Pendennis and Greenwich coming ahead of the Enemy towards us, came to Leeward of the disabled ship, fired their Broadsides past her and stood to the Southward, then the Defyance following them who came also to Leeward the disabled ship fired part of her broadside, the disabled ship did not fire above twenty guns at the Defyance, before he put her helme a weather and runn away right before the wind, lowered both her topsailes and run to leeward of the Falmouth (which was then a gunshot to leeward of us, knotting her rigging) not having any regard to the signall of Battle, the Enemy seeing our other three ships stand to the Southward, expected they would have tackt and stood with them, they brought to with their heads to the Northward, they then being about two mile from us, we being then within halfe gun shott of the disabled ship: the enemy seeing those three ships did not tack, bore downe upon us and run between the disabled ship and us, giving us all the fire they had, in which they shott our main topsailyard and shatter'd our rigging much, having none of our ships near us, neither did they take notice of the Batle's signall, but all in a confused hurry: the Captain fired two guns at those ships ahead in order to put them in mind of their duty, the French seeing this great disorder of fear and confusion amongst us, brought too and lay by there owne disabled ship, reman'd her, and took her in a Tow, our Rigging being much shattered we lay till 10 a clock, our ship being again fitted, the Captaine acquainted me of it, I ordered him to persue the Enemy and told him I would give them battle, at that time the Enemy was about three mile from us and to leeward, having the disabled ship in a Tow steering N.E., the wind at S.S.W., we making all the sail after them we could, our Batle signall always out notwithstanding our ships running confusedly one amongst another, which appeared much like fear, and gave the Enemy no small encouragement having before seen the behaviour of some of us; I ordered Capt. Fogg to send to the Captaines to keep their line, and behave themselves like men, Capt. Fogg sent this message by Capt. Wade to Capt. Kirkby and Capt. Constable, who told them I was very angry that they did not behave themselves better; soon after this message Capt. Kirkby came on board me, and before he askt how I did, he repeated these words, that he wonder'd I would offer to engage the Enemy again, and said it was not requisite nor convenient after six days tryall of their strength, and magnified the strength of the French, lessening ours, I did then believe there was a snake in the Grass, otherwise should not have mett with so many misfortunes. I told him that was but his opinion, I would send for the rest of the Captaines and know theirs; accordingly order'd Capt. Fogg to make the Signall and there opinion was as enclosed. When I saw this I was well assured that they had no mind to fight, and that all our misfortunes heretofore came threw cowardice, and that the objections they made for not fighting was eronious; I thought it not fit further to venture for if the Enemy could have disabled me, they would soon have dispatcht them, except those that had good heels, wch. I believe then would not have been wanting; when this opinion of theirs was given we were abroadside of the Enemy, and the only oppertunity to fight in Six days; we were one 70 gun ship, one of 64, one of 60 and three of 50, our masts and yards etc. in as good a condition as could be expected, and not eight men kill'd amongst them all besides those of the Bredah, ammunition sufficient, I then and all our men willing, and to referr this to a fitter oppertunity which never could be expected, to me was a perfect deniall. They likewise say that the French had five men-of-war from 60 to 80 guns, wch. is false, for there was but 4 from 60 to 70, and one of them in a Tow, being all to peices, and as to their numbers of men, they are well thin'd, believing we have as many good as they: if this be allow'd, there is no going to sea for a Flagg etc. unless he carry his Father, Sons or Brothers to assist in the day of batle. I thought always till now that a good Example would make any Body fight. This night we parted with the French, but with no small regret to me, and made the best of our way to Port Royall, where we arrived the 31st with our ships, where we found Rear Admll. Whetstone with the rest of H.M. ships. Signed, J. Benbow. Endorsed, R. Jan. 11, 1702/3. 5½ pp. Enclosed,
123. i. Line of Battle (referred to above.) The Bredah to lead upon all tacks and before the wind —Bredah, Defyance, Windsor, Greenwich, Ruby, Pendennis, Falmouth. When the signall is made to draw into this line each Capt. is required and directed to keep H.M. ship he commands not further then halfe a cable's length from the ship he follows and in the same paralell with the Bredah; he is not to quitt this Line on any pretence whatever without first giving me notice, nor to keep a greater distance then is directed, as he or they shall or will answer the contrary at their perill. And for so doing this shall be your warrant. Aug. 19, 1702. If any ship faulters, the next ship that follows is to take her place. 1 p.
123. ii. Duplicate of preceding.
123. iii. Duplicate of preceding.
123. iv. Reasons of the Captains for not engaging the Enemy Aug. 24, 1702, drawn up by Capt. Kirkby. 1 p. See preceding volume of this Calendar, Nos. 936, i., ii.
123. v. Duplicate of preceding.
123. vi. Duplicate of preceding. [C.O. 318, 3. Nos. 4, 4. i.-vi.]
Sept. 11.
Bredah. Sept. 24.
124. Vice-Admiral Benbow to the Secretary of State [Earl of Nottingham]. Begins with Duplicate of preceding letter. Continues: Bredah in Port Royall Harbour, Sept. 24, 1702. I have advice that the Duke of Albuquerque did embark on Mounsr. Du Cass's Squadron at the Groyne, as also 1,500 Spanish soldiers which was brought into these parts by eight Frenchmen of war and 14 Transport ships; the first place they came to was Porto Rico, where they wooded and water'd, cleared several of their Transport ships sending them for Europe after three days stay in that place, then sailed to the Westward, and off of the East end of Hyspaniola they separated, which I judge might be about the 10 August; the Duke of Albuquerque with Two men-of-war, one of 60, the other of 70 guns, with four transport ships having a thousand Spanish soldiers on board run downe the North side of Hyspaniola bound for Vera Cruix; Mounsr. Du Cass with six men-of-war and three transport ships went downe on the North side with Five hundred Spanish soldiers and stopt at Sta. Domingo—did not stay, but sailed for Ryo de Hatch, lay before that place about six hours, where he left two men-of-war, one of fifty, the other of forty guns, to settle the Assento. From thence he designed for Cartagena and Porto Bello, there to land the soldiers. This advice I have had from the Commander of the ship I took the other of forty guns, to settle the Assento. From thence he from him. [See above.] The 20th of this inst. arrived here H.M.S. York and Norwich, as also all the storeships and victuallers which came out with them, which to us were very welcome, also H.R.H. the Lord High Admirall's Order for sending a ship for New England to convoy home two merchant-ships loaden with masts etc., which is complyed with, likewise for sending a manof war to Barbadoes, there being a great number of merchant ships that requires convoy home. Yesterday came into this Port a merchant ship, which in stress of wether had lost her mast who sailed from Barbadoes about the 10 August, the Master of which informes me that the merchant ships were all sailed in June last, and that he left but three sail in that place, for which reason deferr sending a ship that way. Allso shall in all duty observe H.R.H. Orders as to the impressing of men in these parts, which has been with all care complyed with as my Instructions directs, which he is pleased to referr me to. I have not imprest one man from the shore, nor ordered any since my being in these parts, nor no were else, more then the orders from the Governour (for the time being) directs, which is to take one man in five out of all ships and vessels coming into this port, which has not been exceeded, having given as strict orders as possible to that purpose, and will use my utmost endeavour, if a live, to see them comply'd with; the people in these parts are very buisy with their privateers, and 'tis by report what they generally write is seldom true; if I had not more regard for the safety of the Queen's Island and there goods more then they have themselves, this Island would not be long out of the possession of the French, for I dare really believe that at this time (now these privateers are out) besides the soldiers, which are not above 350, there is not 1,000 effective men on the Island, so that there owne security must be forct upon them, for at this time here is neither Law nor Governour, so that every man in a manner seems to do what is right in his own eyes; but I hope all will do well, and that things come into a right center, when are (e'er?) H.M. shall be pleased to send a Governing soldier here. We are using all the dispatch we can in fitting our ships, which will be ready in a little time, considering my circumstances and a shattered legg having lain at this time 32 days on my back in this Torrid Zone. I have not as yett proceeded to try any of the Captaines which refused to do their duty, but hope in a little time to do it. The Glo'cester is careened, the Kingstone and Ruby are fitting for it. Our Powder decays mightyly in these parts, besides the consumption otherwise; so that I humbly conceive it absolutely necessary that there be 15 or 20 rounds of powder, shott, parchment paper etc. sent here, if it is thought these ships shall continue in these parts. Those few men we have stands pretty well, but are so small in number that no great matters can be expected more than doing their endeavours when occasion may offer, which I hope never to see wanting again. I have ordered the Dunkirk to cruize off of the East end of this Island. Signed, J. Benbow. Endorsed, R. Jan. 6, 1702/3. Enclosed,
1 4. i. Vice-Admiral Benbow to the Governor of Havana. My Master the King of England has advised me that he had lent the great Fleet of England to the Emperour in order to transport his son the Arch-Duke of Austria with 40,000 men into Spain, where he is confident he will be received as their lawful King without the least bloodshed or opposition, being well assured that 19 parts of 20 of all Spain languish with impatience for the happy opportunity, having had already a Tast of the French Yoake, and being sencible of the difference of being a Province to France (as in effect the Spanish Dominions now are), and living under the lenity of the House of Austria. I do not doubt but the work is begunn by this day and that in a very little time I shall have an account of it's being happily effected, and as there can be no doubt of the success in Europe, I am order'd to offer my assistance of ships and men to any Governour of the Spanish Indians who will be early in his service for the Austrian King, and want it towards their support and effecting so just a design as is giving a helping hand to the rescue of his Country out of Bondage and Slavery. Sir, I will not dwell long on this argument; every man sees by a thousand instances the Truth out, and most Spaniards already feal it; I will only add that I will with all the chearfulness imaginable execute my orders, and while there is a ship or man in my Master's Indias, I engage my honour they shall always be employed to support the just cause; and tho' I am informed the French at Madrid has endeavour'd to insinuate the Poyson of Dissention and to procure us all the unfriendly offices from the Spanish Governours, I am in hopes I shall allwayes find it was without effect, and that my Master's subjects will still find those Acts of Friendship from you that I am resolved at all times to do the Spaniards on all occasions. Signed, J. Benbow. 1¼ pp. [C.O. 318, 3. Nos. 5, 5.i.]
Nov. 30.
St. Kitts.
125. Governor Codrington to [? William Popple]. I am extreamly concerned I am not favoured with a letter from you by the pacquet-boat. I shoud have had I doubt not more distinct lights than have been afforded me either by my Lord N.[ottingham?] or my Lords [? of the Council of Trade] in relation to what is now designed. I cannot guess whether the scene is to be to Windward or Leeward of me—it seems to Leeward by the mention of Admiral Benbow—and how then can I be useful unles I had leave to quit my Government barely to attend my Lord [? Peterborough] in person ? If the project be to Windward—I doubt there are not land forces sufficient,—for the great and onely design we ought to have there should be noe trifling—wt. is to be done, such must be done by dint of force and resolution, the opportunity of surprize is past, and the enemy everywhere well intrencht and prepared—the little reputation I have gained has put them upon taking better measures for their safety. They are making the town of Port St. Pierre very strong with good bastions very well furnisht with artillery, but I hope it will not be finisht. Yet such a fleet with such a man at the head of it must not come to the Indys for nothing, and I shall not fail to tell my Lord he had better lose fifteen hundred men sword in hand than twice as many with fevers and fluxes. We might have had Martineque last war for asking for, but we were modest; it will not come now so cheaply. My Lord is brave and determined—He will push and will be followed.—Miracles are sometimes done by bravery, and we must exert all we have. I have but one life to lose and my Friend and Country deserve it. I wish this had been deferred till the Northern Plantations could have assisted—they have great numbers of men. My Government can't afford half a tolerable regiment, and that 'tis impossible for me to get together, for the Enemy has twenty privateers out. They infest our very harbours every night, take all our vessells, and I cant send a letter from one Island to another with orders. Barbadoes can with ease furnish two good Regiments, which will I hope be ready, for I doubt not orders have been given the Fleet should not stay there a day,—to attend 2 or 3 hundred men from hence would doe much more prejudice than service. I shall send up a Gentleman to attend my Lord at Barbadoes with my opinion. I had prepared a very long letter for my Lord Nottingham, wch. I should have sent in 4 or 5 days from hence, but my scheme must be now useless, and 'twould be Pedantry to trouble my Lord with it—the dice are thrown, and we must expect the event.—When this is over, I shall deserve to come home, for I am unalterably determined to return—the vote has sunk too deep in my heart ever to be removed, and I act now very uncomfortably without pleasure and without ambition—If I live to see England, I will pas my life in my Library and be buryed in my garden. This gives me a pretence to lay hold of the offer you were pleased to make me, and to beg you will please to let one of your under gardiners plant me some fruit-trees and vines at Doddington. I doubt my Lord has executed but little there. His designs were too large to be finisht. I shall write to my Lord N[? ottingham] by 2 ships in a few days; if this, which goes by the way of Jamaica, arrive sooner, I beg you'l please to communicate it to him. I have not been honoured with any letter from the Lords these six months. I have writ by every ship, tho' Mr. Cary sends me word noe one has heard from me. Signed, Chr. Codrington. Holograph. 3¾ pp. Enclosed,
125. i. Terms of Capitulation of the French part of St. Christopher's. Copy. [See Cal. A. & W. I. 1702. No. 968.i.] 3 pp. [C.O. 239, 1. Nos. 3, 3.i.]