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Don Juan Francisco Del Valle to Marquis de Monteleon—18 Mar 1715/16

Letters – Del Valle to Monteleon—18 Mar 1715/16

"America and West Indies: May 1716, 16-31," in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 29, 1716-1717, ed. Cecil Headlam (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1930), 76-101.


Extract of a letter from Don Juan Francisco del Valle [Deputy of Governor Casa-Torres and on the Council of Commerce] to the Marquis de Monteleon. Jamaica, 18th March, 1715/16.

The writer was sent by the Governor of the Havana to the Governor of Jamaica to complain, that he suffered ships to be fitted out in the Island, under pretext of cruising upon pirates, but that instead of that they committed many hostilities on the ships and dominions of the King of Spain. That some of them had landed near the Havana and committed hostilities there. That on 26th Jan. one of these vessels arriv'd at Jamaica, who in company with another [Bathseba and Eagle?] had cast anchor in the Canal of Bahama on the coast of Florida, near the Spanish camp, under Spanish colours, they laid still till night, and then landed their people, who the next morning march'd to the camp with their arms; upon which the Spanish Commanding Officer ask'd them, if it was war, they answer'd no, but that they came to fish for the wrecks, to which the Officer said, that there was nothing of theirs there, that the vessels belonged to his Catholick Majesty and that he and his people were looking for the said treasure; but seeing that his insinuations were of no use, he profer'd them 25,000 pieces of eight, which they wou'd not be satisfy'd with, but took all the silver they had and stript the people taking likewise away four small cannon, two of them brass, and nail'd two large ones (all which were to defend a parapet they had thrown up to defend themselves from the Indians.) They carried away to the value of 120,000 pieces of eight, besides the wrought silver, this is what the captors own themselves, from whence it is inferr'd, that there was a great deal more. That he demanded of Lord Archibald[:]

(1) that he shou'd issue a Proclamation agst. those who shou'd fit out vessels on the like account.

(2) That one of the two English men of war [HMS Diamond and HMS Jamaica] that were then in Jamaica shou'd be sent to their camp to order all the privateers to return.

(3) That the silver taken by these two vessels shou'd be returned.

(4) That the captors shou'd be punish'd.

That the 7th of Feb. another Spanish vessel came into this Port from Vera Cruz and was bound for the Havana; a few days after she sail'd from hence she met with bad weather, which oblig'd her to throw overboard her guns and some of her cargo and being come in sight of the Havana she met an English ship [Bennett], who was one of them who had been at the Spanish camp, the English sent on board her, and finding that she was loaden with silver, corn etc. they took her, alledging that this vessel [Kingston, Captain Henry Thornton] was taken by the Spaniards on the coast of Porto Velo [Porto Bello; near Cartegena], with several goods on board, and that they wou'd keep her till restitution was made. This vessel was taken by the Spaniards being she was trading to places where strangers are not suffer'd to trade. That the English Captain [Francis Fernando] had told him that the Govr. [Hamilton] own'd a fourth part of his vessel [Bennett]. This vessel was worth 150,000 pieces of eight, several Gentlemen of Jamaica say publickly that the Governor is part owner of all the vessels which have been sent to our camp. That the inhabitants of Jamaica still went on to fit out privateers in the most publick manner. That their final answer was that what the two privateers had taken should be put into the Royal Treasury, until the Spaniards had made satisfaction to the inhabitants of Jamaica, for what they had taken from them.

Same endorsement. 3¾ pp.