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Dispute over the Pirate Kendall - April 1722-Sep 1723

Letters – Dispute over Kendall - April 1722-Sep 1723

SP 42/17/110 - Secretaries to the Principle Secretary of State.


Admiralty Office 17. Sept:r 1723




Captain Matthews, who comands his Majesty's Ships employed in the Indian Seas, having, by his Letter to me of the 13th: of January last from Bombay, acquainted my Lords Comm:r of the Admiralty. That on his arrival at the Island of Mauritius, the 28:th of August preceding, he found two French Ships, one of which could mount forty Guns, and the other Thirty Six, with a Governor and Soldiers, who came to Settle there [from Bourbon or Reunion]. That going on Shoar to discover; if possible, what Views they had in doing the Same, he found them in a very bad condition, and no ways provided with Men sufficient, or Provisions, or, indeed, with any Necessaries to preserve them from the attempts of the Pirates, but that they had twelve Guns, with which they intended to make a Battery at the entrance of the harbour, which in his opinion, would be but labour in vain, since they had not Men to defend it, and that the Nature of Cooper's Island is such, that the Pirates may land at any part, which he demonstrated to the French Governour, but that the only answer he could get from him was, That they came to Settle the Island to prevent its being done by the Ostenders [treated by most larger governments as pirates]. That on the 4th: of April he dispatched his Majesty's Ship the Exeter to Don Mascareen [Bourbon or Reunion], and plied round the Island with th[paper torn] Salisbury, to look into the South [paper torn] harbour, and that arriving at Don Mascareen, Captain Brathwait [of Exeter] could get no Account of the Pirates, but that he being informed there were on the said Island of Mascareen [Bourbon or Reunion] one Kendall, a Pyrate, and upwards of Thirty of his Men, he wrote a Letter to the French Governour [Joseph Beauvollier de Courchant], and soon after going on Shoar, the said Governour came to him, and discoursed him upon the Subject of his Letter, and that when he parted from him he judged he would have delivered up the Pirates, but that, instead thereof, he sent him a Letter, I am comanded by their Lordships to acquaint you herewith, and to send you Copies of the Letters which passed between Captain Matthews, and the said French Governour of Don Mascareen, for the information of his Majesty's Principle Secretary of State. I am


Gent:n Your most humble Servant.






Lyon, in St Paul's Bay

the 9th. April 1722






I was long since inform'd by some of the Sailors taken in the Ostender which was taken in the Ostender last Year out of the Road, that there came from St. Maries, One Kendal Comand.r one of the Pirates, with two and thirty of his Ships Crew (all Subjects of his Britanick Majesty my Master) who was entertain'd and protected under Your Government by virtue of an Act of Grace from his Most Christian Maj.ty: And since my arrival here I am inform'd by Capt. Brathwaite, Commander of his Maj.tys Ship Exeter, that the said Kendall together with George Wilkinga, Joseph Foot a Carpenter, and one Jemy a Caulker are still on the Island,

I do, in the Name of his Britannick Majesty, demand, and insist that You do forthwith cause the said Kendal, Foot, and Jemmy to be seized, and delivered to me, to be Prosecuted agreeable to the Laws of Our Land, it being contrary to Reason, Honour & Justice that such Miscreants should find Protection, in any Christian Country, much more that they being Subjects to the King my Master, should be included in his Most Christian Majesty's Act of Grace, to whom they never Swore Allegiance, nor ever Demanded Protection, till after their having committed their Villanies, besides it is very well known, and I do confidently affirm, that it's Contrary to the Law of Nations for any Prince to Grant a Pardon to the Subjects of another; Nor can [paper torn] Christian Majesty's Act of Grace Incl[paper torn] any but to his Natural Borne Subjects, [paper torn] such as are actually under his Protection at the time of his Granting such Act of Grace; It's absurd to think otherwise.

As for the Act of Grace Granted by his Britannick Maj.ty relating to Providence which is Quoted by Mond:r De Forge, Director at St. Paul, I do affirm it was hinted of the King my Master's Subjects only, therefore no Precedent in the present Case, as he is pleased to term it,

I do hereby declare, that in Case You do not immediately Comply with my just and reasonable Demands, that I shall not only take Care to represent Your Refusal to the Courts of France and England, but shall use my utmost Efforts to Compell You to it, and do hereby declare, and protest against You as the Author of all the Mischief that may ensue. I am


Your most humble Servant

Tho: Matthews.








[To:] Mons.r Mathews Comandant L'Escardre du Roy d'Angleterre dans L'Inde [Mr. Mathews, commander of the English King's East-India Squadron].


De St. Paul Isle Bourbon

Le 21e d'Avril 1722




Pour repondre à la Lettre qui vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire au Sujet du trente deux hommes forbans [pirates] que j'ai receûs, et que vous reclamez au Nom de Sa Majesté Le Roy d'Angleterre, J'ai l'honneur de vous dire que je n'ai rien fait sans ordre, et qui par consequent il ne m'est pas permis de les livrer sans un nouvel ordre: Vous scavez mieux que moy, Monsieur, que ce n'est point à un Sujet d'examiner les raisons, ni les motifs des ordres Superieurs qu'il recoit, Il doit obéir aveuglement; Je l'ai fait, & je ne suis plus responsable des suites, ni des maux qui arriveront, et particulierement a cette Colonie, qui appartient au Roy mon Maître, qui ne manquera pas d'en demander raison: Quelque parti que vous preniez, et quoiqu'il arrive, je ne cessarai point d'être avec bien du respect &e


Beauvollier de Couchant






To reply to the Letter which you have done me the honor to write to me concerning the thirty-two pirate men I have received, and whom you claim in the name of His Majesty the King of England, I have the honor to tell you that I have done nothing without order, and that consequently I am not allowed to deliver them without a new order: You are better off than me, sir, that it is point to a Subject to examine the reasons, nor the motives of the Superior orders he receives, He must blindly obey; I have done it, and I am no longer responsible for the consequences, nor for the ills that will happen, and especially for this Colony, which belongs to my Master Roy [King], who will not fail to ask for it: Whatever course you take, and whatever happens, I did not cease to be very respectful


Beauvollier de Couchant