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Lord Archibald Hamilton to Marquis de Casa-Torres—27 Feb 1715/16

Letters – Hamilton to Casa-Torres—27 Feb 1715/16

Governor Lord A. Hamilton to the Governor of the Havana - February 27, 1716. [from CO 137/10 no. 10h]. Source: Kinkor’s Whydah Sourcebook (2003).

        The matters complained of in your letter and a Memorial of Capt. Don Juan del Valle has been under inquiery before me in a Council of State of this Island...We all declare the uttmost detestation of the hostilities and depredations said to be committed...I had an oppertunity of giving an early instance of my sincerity and readiness strictly to observe the Treatys of Peace and Commerce upon occasion of a descent upon Hispaniola just after the suspension of arms, and before it was known to the persons making that descent, for which I caused full satisfaction to be rendered in two days after complaint...I was very much surprized when upon a like application some little time after to the severall Governments of Cuba in behalf of one of his Britannic Majesty's subjects on the north side of this Island who was robbed and plundered by the subjects of his Catholick Majesty and noe satisfaction could be obtained which cannot be unknown to your Excellency, the person aggrieved having personally attended you with letters from myself. So that the Spaniards being the first aggressors I conceive they should be the first to give satisfaction, at least it is highly reasonable that the satisfaction to be made should be reciprocall. As to such part of the Flota ship wreckt on the coast of Florida, as remained in the possession of the subjects of his most Catholick Majesty, of which it is pretended they were dispossessed, I do admitt that the dispossessors are robbers and ought to be treated as such, but conceive such part of the said Flota (if any) lying derelict from which the subjects of his Catholick Majesty were not drove and forced out of possession, belonged to the first occupant. I do likewise admitt that restitution ought to be made to the subjects of his Catholick Majesty, for their losses sustained by hostilities committed on them by the subjects of his Britannick Majesty since the first suspense of arms. In answer to the memorial presented to me by Don Juan del Valle, it was offered to his consideration whether the prosecuting the officers and mariners belonging to the two vessells complained of, or issuing such proclamation as is desired in the said Memoriall may not probably deterr others that are still out, and may have been upon the wrecks from returning to this Island, and be a means of putting them upon desperate attempts of more pernicious consequence to the Crown of Spain, and whether deterring prosecution untill the return of all or most part of the vessells suspected to have committed any unlawful act, may not upon that account be most adviseable, but left him to his own liberty to take such measures against the subjects of his Britannick Majesty in this Island for the satisfaction of the King of Spain and his subjects for all hostilities committed on them as by the laws of Great Brittaine and this Island are prescribed. Don Juan declined insisting on any criminall prosecution, alledging that in case of any such consequences happening, the blame might be imputed to him, and desired such measures for satisfaction should be taken as were just and reasonable. But as to the restitution to His Britannick Majesty's sujects, he knew noe other way but by applying to the Court of Spain...I am obliged to represent to your Excellency, the almost dayly robberys and hostilitys committed on the subjects of his Brittannick Majesty passing the seas on their lawfull occasions to and from this Island by Spanish vessells said to have Commissions for guarding their coasts from Trinidado to other Spanish ports. I cannot but expect that your Excellency will give such effectuall orders as may prevent further irregularitys of that nature, by vessels fitted out from any ports within the extent of your Government, as on my part I shall do the like...I cannot but insist with the most pressing instance I am able, that reciprocall satisfaction and restitution be made for the damages sustained from hostilitys committed on either side which on our parts we shall be ready and willing to enter upon...