Professional Research & Maritime Historian, Author, & Conservator

Webpage designed by Baylus C. Brooks—Copyright 2015-2017 Baylus C. Brooks

All Rights Reserved

RSS Feed Widget

Baylus’ Blog:

On Sale Now!

Alexander Spotswood to Admiralty—3 Jul 1716

Letters – Spotswood to Admiralty—3 Jul 1716

From: The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood, Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia, Vol 2, 168-169


July 3rd, 1716.

To the Lords of ye Admiralty:


Tho’ by my letter to y’r Lo’ps’ Board of ye 29th of December, 1713, you will find how little desirous I have been of putting His Maj’tie to unnecessary Charge for the guard of this Coast, yet the present scituation of Affairs in these parts obliges me to represent to y’r Lo’ps the necessity of re-enforcing the Guardships now here by another of the like, or greater force.

I have receiv’d information upon Oath that a number of profligate fellows have possess’d themselves of the island of Providence. That the Crews of several Vessells fitted out at Jamaica for fishing on ye [11 Spanish] Wrecks [on the Coast of Florida] have committed divers piracys, both on ye French and ye Spaniards, in those Seas, and being afraid to return home, are preparing to settle at Providence, and to strengthen themselves there against any power that shall attack them; That they have now a French Ship of 32 gunns, which they took last March, and have now mann’d her out with an intention to make prize of all French and Spanish Ships that come in their way; And tho’ they give out that they will spare the English, yet that Gang at Providence have already taken and plundered some Vessels belonging to New England and Bermuda, and it is not to be doubted but whenever their Occasions require they will use all other in the same manner. Sundry of the Inhabitants of Providence, terrifyed with the barbaritys already committed there, have left the Island, a more particular Acc’t whereof I have sent to the Lords Commissioners for Trade. Your Lo’ps will be pleas’d to consider the dangerous Consequences of suffering such a Nest of Rogues to settle in the very mouth of the Guiph of Florida, where the trade of jamaica and of the South Sea Company must fall into their hands, and, indeed, the whole Trade of this Continent may be endangered if timely measures be not taken to suppress this growing evil. I hope your Lo’ps will, therefore, judge it necessary that another Ship of Force be speedily sent hither to Cruise on this Coast for ye protection of our Merchantmen; And if it shall be found practicable, in Conjunction with the Shoreham, to attack those pyrates in their Quarters before they grow too formidable.

I hope what I have here taken the Liberty to represent will not be judged too Officious or impertinent, seeing the Governor of this Colony is in some measure entrusted with the care of those Islands, as having, by a Commission from his late Maj’tie, King William, the power of appointing the Officers of ye Admiralty there; and I, therefore, judge it the more incumbent upon me to give your Lo’ps this Information, which I beg you’l be pleas’d to interpret as proceeding from the duty I owe to his Maj’t’s Service, and ye unalterable respect with w’ch I shall always be,

My Lords, &c’a.