War of Austrian Succession (1744-1748)
aka King George's War (1744-1748)
The War of Jenkins' Ear (1739-1743) and the War of Austrian Succession (1744-1748) had totally different root causes in Europe, but the causes in the British colonies were virtually undistinguishable. Because of hostilities in Europe, the French and Spanish encouraged privateers to raid, plunder, pillage, and generally harass the American colonies to the extent possible. The French were based in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, and the Spanish were based in St. Augustine, Florida.
For nine solid years, these two allies seriously disrupted trade and commerce within and without the two Carolinas (as with all the other colonies), but except in rare instances there was little loss of life. The consequences to North Carolina and South Carolina as a result was that their normal trade routes had to be significantly altered, and the prices of freight and insurances were greatly increased, causing significant economic problems for the burgeoning colonies.
Further down below are contemporateous newspaper accounts of all of this privateering.
The strangely named "War of Jenkins' Ear" had an improbable and superficial origin, and an unusually tragic ending. In 1731, a Spanish coast guard sloop off Havana boarded the English privateer Robert Jenkins of the Rebecca as he made his his way from Jamaica to London. The Spanish found no evidence of privateering, but repeatedly tortured Jenkins and a Lieutenant Dorce finally sliced off his ear with his cutlass and told him to take it to King George II as a token of what they had in mind for the king.
Seven years later, Robert Jenkins was invited by a certain party of warmongers to display his pickled ear to Parliament, thereby inflaming British and American colonial opinion against Spain. The government of Hugh Walpole duly but reluctantly declared war. The press and later historians could not resist naming the war for its theatrical beginning.
The context was fifty years of simmering colonial boundary disputes, growing competition for trade in the New World, and Britain's sense that Spain was vulnerable. By the Treaty of Utecht in 1713, Britain was allowed to participate in slave traffic with the Spanish colonies, but the Spanish fleet interfered with this activity. After a short war in 1727-29, the Treaty of Seville, in 1729, granted Spain the right to search any ship in its waters, but they enforced it capriciously in order to entrap the British. Britain was aroused by repeated tales of mistreatment of its seamen such as Jenkins. Spain in turn sought satisfaction for its claims of depredations by the British on its shipping, illegal British logging on the Honduras coast, and British encroachment on the Georgia-Florida border.
The Georgia colony had been established in 1733 as a military buffer between Spanish Florida and the vaguely-defined colonies of the Carolinas, and the new colony infringed significantly on Spanish territorial claims. In 1735, the Spanish launched a surprise attack on Savannah, and Governor James Oglethorpe decided as a precaution to build a series of defensive forts and raise his own regiment of colonial militia. After securing his western flank from the French by treaties with friendly Indian tribes, Georgia was in a position to threaten Spanish Florida.
Upon declaration of war, Britain invited the American colonies to supply troops, and the colonial quotas were formed into a four-battalion regiment which was sent to the West Indies to link up with a British force (including six regiments of marines raised for the purpose) for a major attack on the Spanish Main. (This was the first foreign war for the colonies that were later to become the United States of America.) The British aim was nothing less than the overthrow of Spanish hegemony in the West Indies and control of its colonial trade.
The original British invasions in Florida and on the Spanish Main either underestimated Spanish resistance or lacked the strength to seize territory. But a Spanish counter-attack in Georgia was also repulsed. The subsequent British expeditions ended in disaster, with most of the proposed actions called off due to the ravages of Yellow Fever and other diseases. Six hundred men of the British expeditionary force died before reaching the first action at Cartagena in Columbia. The war sputtered out in 1742-43 for lack of troops to continue. Of the 3,300-man American expeditionary force, about 300 were still combat effective. The British, despite reinforcements, fared little better - nine in ten men died - and only a very small percentage in combat. There were no territorial gains on either side.
Meanwhile, war had started in 1740 on the European continent over the Austrian succession, and Britain found itself in 1743 in a continued larger war with Spain and France in defense of Austria. The Treaty of Aix la Chapelle in 1748 resolved the Anglo-Spanish dispute over Georgia.
The third in a series of Anglo-French colonial conflicts in North America, King Georges War had been preceded by an outbreak of fighting in Europe. The death of Charles VI, the Holy Roman Emperor, had touched off a succession crisis that pitted France, Prussia, and Spain against Great Britain.
Warfare developed in the American colonies in 1744 when the French attacked a British position at Canso, Nova Scotia, destroying a fortification and transporting prisoners to the French stronghold at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island. The French also attempted to recapture Port Royal (Annapolis Royal), but failed.
Hatred of the French was stronger in New England and New York than in the other colonies. Maritime interests felt especially imperiled by the French strength at Louisbourg, a base for privateers. In addition, many staunch New England Protestants harbored a natural antipathy toward the Roman Catholic French.
In 1745, a force of more than 4,000 men was raised under William Pepperrell, a wealthy merchant from Maine. Assigned the daunting task of taking Louisbourg, they would shortly assault what was regarded as the most secure position in North America. Sir Peter Warren and his naval contingent provided valuable assistance by preventing reinforcements from reaching the French fort. A two-month siege ended in June when British soldiers staged an heroic (and almost comic) raid on the fortress, forcing its capitulation. King George II later rewarded Pepperrell with a baronetcy, the first American colonist so honored.
The French fared somewhat better on the western frontier, where their position at Crown Point on Lake Champlain was used as a staging area for Native American attacks on English settlements. Sir William Johnson responded by organizing the Iroquois to strike back against French positions. French counterstrikes fell against Saratoga and Albany in late 1745. Losses on both sides were extremely high, but no clear victor emerged from the fighting in the west.
In 1746, the French planned a great offensive that was intended first to retake Louisbourg, then move south for an attack on Boston. However, a major storm intervened, scattered the French fleet, and ended their hopes for victory.
Peace was achieved with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. In return for receiving Madras in India, the British returned Louisbourg to the French, thus nullifying the greatest victory American forces had ever won. Anger in the colonies was so great that London responded by reimbursing the colonial governments for funds spent earlier on the Pepperrell campaign.
King Georges War did not finally resolve the North American rivalry between France and Britain; that resolution would not occur for another fifteen years at the conclusion of the French and Indian War (1756-1763).
This war, known by the above name in America, was but the faint glimmer of the dreadful conflagration that swept over Europe at this time under the name of the War of the Austrian Succession. On the death of Charles VI, emperor of Austria, in 1740, the male line of the House of Hapsburg became extinct, and his eldest daughter, Maria Theresa, ascended the Austrian throne. But there were other claimants, and the matter brought on a war of tremendous dimensions, embroiling nearly all the nations of Europe. Again we find France and England on opposite sides, war being declared between them in the spring of 1744.
Although formal war was not declared until 1744, tensions flared up all along the East Coast starting in 1739 with French and Spanish privateers gradually raiding the Atlantic coastline more and more frequently. Instead of summarizing into a few paragraphs, here are extracts from several newspapers that continued to report on the privateering exploits of the French and Spanish. These are merely the news items pertaining to North and South Carolina. There are scores of them, beginning in 1740 and going well into 1748, so grab a cup of coffee and read 'em at your leisure.
In 1740, North Carolina raised over 400 men and placed them into four companies for service in an expedition against St. Augustine. Three companies of the troops embarked from Edenton, and one company embarked from the Cape Fear.
In 1741, they were moved from Florida to Jamaica, where they were placed under the command of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon and then sailed to Cartagena in Columbia, South America where they participated in the attack on Fortress San Lorenzo el Real Chagres.
In 1747, several small sloops and other small boats crept up from St. Augustine. They landed at Ocracoke, Core Sound, Bear Inlet, and Cape Fear, where they killed a few settlers, burned some boats, carried off some slaves, and slaughtered many cattle and hogs. This led to the construction of several forts along the North Carolina coast, including Fort Johnston at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
The following newspaper accounts can be found in the NC Colonial Records Project website pertaining to King George's War. They are repeated here just in case that group closes down its website, however unlikely. Special thanks goes out to Mr. Robert J. Cain for this note.
March 17, 1740
They advise from North Carolina of Jan. 12, that a great body of Indians from the north, followed by many French from Canada, had marched south to make war with the southern Indians; and it was thought these were the people of which the governor of Carolina had advice by express from the governor of New York...
May 8, 1740
Williamsburg, April 11:
Last Saturday or Sunday, Capt. Loney arriv'd in Rappahannock River, in about 6 weeks, from London, having obtain'd a protection for his men. We hear, that when he came from England, an embargo was laid on the ships in the ports; that there was a very hot press for sailors, and that it was uncertain when the Virginia fleet wou'd sail.
Yesterday His Majesty's ships the Hector, Sir Yelverton Peyton, and the Wolf, Capt. Dandridge, (our station ship,) sail'd on a cruise towards Georgia.
His Excellency Gabriel Johnston, Esq; Governor of North Carolina, is expected here this evening, or tomorrow; as is also Col. Spotswood; who, we are inform'd, are to confer with the governor of this colony, on publick affairs of importance.
July 24, 1740
Boston, July 14. On Saturday last arrived here Capt Wickham from Jamaica, who informs us, that near Cape Hatteras he was chas'd by a privateer sloop, supposed to be a Spaniard, who fired several guns at him but the wind springing up, he had the good fortune to escape him, but says that he saw him board Capt. Tilden of this town who was in company with him, and afterward, saw Capt. Tilden follow the said sloop.
July 31, 1740
New York, July 28:
Wednesday morning last arrived here the sloop John, Stephen Mesnard from Coracoa, who says that he was chas'd on Sunday last by a Spanish privateer. When the Capt. first saw him (which was about two in the afternoon and at about three leagues to the northward of Cape May) he was under a short sail; but when Capt. Mesnard came nearer he made more sail, tack'd about and gave him chase till dark, when the Capt. litt a tar bucket and putting it into a tub sent it a drift, and left the privateer to follow it if he thought fit. She was a black sloop and of about the burthen of 80 Tons.
The same afternoon arrived here His Majesty's ship the Squirrel, Capt. Warren, from before St. Augustine, but last from Carolina, whence he went in quest of the privateer with whom Capt. Langdon engaged, but unfortunately miss'd of him; and on Friday morning early Captain Warren again sail'd in quest of the privateer who has long infested these coasts, and several gentlemen of this place are gone volunteers on board of him. That he may meet with this bold neighbour and give him due correction, is the hearty wish of all here.
The same morning sail'd under the convoy of the Squirrel, the sloop Mary, having on board 11 Lieutenants, 11 Serjeants and twelve hundred fire arms, ammunition, tents and money, &c., for Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
Capt. Langdon, our privateer, and Capt. Hall sailed from Carolina the 11th instant on another cruize. He engaged the privateer mentioned in our last for upwards of four hours she had 14 carriage guns and 250 men, but the wind blowing very hard and a head sea, Capt. Hall could do but little, and they could not board her, but it is suppos'd they had killed several of her men.
September 23, 1740
Letters from New York advise, ... that Capt. Warren was sailed from thence, and several gentlemen volunteers went with him in quest of a privateer that hath long infested those coasts. The Mary sloop sailed under his convoy, having on board lieutenants, serjeants, etc. with 1,200 fire-arms, tents and money for Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
October 30, 1740
Williamsburg, October 3:
The four companies of marines raised in this colony, to go on the expedition to the West Indies, are compleat; and have been several days on board the transport ships at Hampton. They will be convoy'd by His Majesty's ships Hector, and Wolf; the former of which will go but part of the way, and return here to his station; but we hear the Wolf, Capt. Dandridge, will go with them to the West Indies. --- The Ludlow Castle man of war, with Col. Blakeney, has been some days expected with the northern forces, to join these; but we don't hear any thing of their appearance at our capes; nor are the Maryland, or North Carolina levies come yet.
We have just receiv'd advice from Hampton, that his Honour the Governor went on board this day; and is sail'd, with the ships and convoy above-mention'd.
Williamsburg, Octo. 10. We hear from Hampton, that on Saturday last, six transport ships with 500 new rais'd levies from Pennsylvania, met our transports at the capes, and sail'd together under our convoy.
February 2, 1741
The city is full of letters, come home by the Spy man of war to Portsmouth, and the Cumberland that has put in to the west of Ireland. They are dated Jamaica 9th, 10th and 12th December, and generally import, that all the troops from North America were arrived there 6 weeks before, except 4 companies from N. Carolina, not then come up.
The Troops from N. America were levied thus:
From Boston 5 Companies of 100 men each 500
Rhode Island 200
New York 500
New Jersey, 300
N. Carolina 400
The regiment late Spotswoods (now commanded by Colonel Gouch, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia) consists of 4 battallions, with 4 Lt. Colonels, each Company has a Captain, 2 Lieutenants, an Ensign, 4 Serjeants, 4 Corporals, 2 drums, and 90 men.
March 12, 1741
From Charles Town in S. Carolina, Jan. 18th:
... they tell us from Wilmington at Cape Fear, Nov. 18th, That Capt. Innes, with a complete company of men, embarked the 15th for the general rendezvous, all brisk hearty fellows, and longing for nothing so much as a favourable wind, that they may be amongst the first in action. The captain has taken out a letter of marque, they have several months provisions on board, 4 transports, with 3 companies from Edenton, are sailed under the command of the Hon. Colonel Halton. The governor, and the Assembly of this province proceeded with great spirit on this glorious occasion. The Lower House granting an aid to his majesty of £1,500 sterling to assist in victualling and transporting the quota, etc. in so poor a province, gives such testimony of their zeal and spirit against our haughty enemies, as tis hoped there are none but what will be convinced it is the voice of all his majestys subjects, both at home and abroad, to be revenged on the Spaniards, for their horrible insults, etc.
May 21, 1741
Extract of a Letter, from New York, Monday night, May 18:
Just now came on shore 42 men, some that had been prisoners at the Havana, and some lately taken on our coast, four of them captains of vessels; their story is this. The privateer that took them lay off the coast of Virginia: There were four fitted out besides this one, from the Havana, at the same time, with a resolution to cruise all along these coasts. This privateer has taken a ship from Glasgow, a ship from Whitehaven, one from Virginia and one from North Carolina all within these 10 days. Out of the North Carolina vessel they took 100 barrels, pitch and tar, and put these men on board, and sent them hither, quite strip'd of all they had but their cloaths on their backs, otherwise us'd them well. She is now gone off the coast, having weakned her number by manning the prizes; and she herself is a dull sailer.
June 11, 1741
From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg. May 22:
By a letter from a gentlemen at Edenton, in North Carolina, dated the 13th instant, we have the following advice, that their sea-coast is much infested with two Spanish privateers, who have taken several vessels, particularly two from that port, loaden with provisions, before they had been half an hour at sea; one of them belong'd to Mr. James George, of Pasquotank, who had the mortification to see his vessel and cargo taken before his face, as he stood on shore. These privateers have taken four more vessels within these ten days. They have chas'd three vessels from the northward lately, which have narrowly escaped: The Spaniards are dull sailors, and therefore they fitted out a launch with 20 men, to take a Boston sloop; the New England man, at his wits-end, bethought of a statagem, whereby he sav'd himself; for just as the Spaniards were about to board him, he suddenly beat out his port holes, as if he had guns, and would fire on them; which so fear'd 'em, that they march'd off with all Speed, and gave the sloop an opportunity to get in over the bar. The author of this letter makes some smart remarks on the indolence of the commanders of some station ships; which (for modesty's sake) we omit; being more proper to be consider'd in another place.
The Hector man of war, Sir Yelverton Peyton, is retum'd from a cruise to the southward; having receiv'd some damage by lightning: So that the Spanish privateers on the coast, had the good fortune to escape him for the present.
We have the following account from a gentleman of credit, in the Northern Neck, that may be depended on.
The ship America, Capt. Rickly, from Glasgow, was taken off our capes, on Monday, the 11th instant, in 30 fathom water, by a Spanish sloop. And the ship Cumberland, from Whitehaven, after some hours engagement, escap'd; and brought the above news. She is now at Nomini.
The ship Dragon, Capt. Ticehurst, is arriv'd in York River, from South Carolina, to load with tobacco, for London. By this ship, we have advice from South Carolina, That a Spanish privateer has infested that coast some months, and taken several vessels off their bar, almost in sight of the king's station ship, Phenix, Capt. Fanshawe, who, they say, has lain very contentedly in harbour some months, notwithstanding the repeated complaints of their vessels being taken. If some of the commanders of the king's ships would take example from the brave Captain Warren, who by his courage and vigilance has taken 5 or 6 Spanish prizes within these few months, our coast would be secure, our trade protected, as it ought to be, and they would better deserve His Majesty's pay, then they have done for some time past; by lying close in a state of indolence, instead of activity.
Yesterday morning the Hon. President Blair, received a letter from Governor Johnston, of North Carolina, acquainting him of the Spanish privateers on that coast, with a desposition relating to it. He also received advice of the taking the Glasgow ship off our capes. Upon which, he forthwith dispatch'd an express to Sir Yelverton Peyton, at Hampton, to inform him of these advices. It's hop'd, his zeal for his majesty's service, will induce him to exert himself on this extraordinary occasion.
July 28, 1741
The 8th of April five Spanish privateers sailed thence for St. Augustine with 300 soldiers, and money to pay the garrison, where they tarried 7 days; from thence the privateer, (which was at the taking of the above English ships) sailed for the Virginia coast, and it was said the other 4 privateers were to follow, to cruize upon the English ships. About 3 weeks after the privateer left St. Augustine she met a whale-ing sloop, belonging to Cape Cod, which she took; 3 days after she took a new ship belonging to Whitehaven, John Simson, for Virginia, with dry goods; and she met a sloop laden with provisions from Virginia for Boston, one Johnson Master, which she also took; and two days after met a ship from Glasgow, and the Cumberland, a large Ship from Whitehaven; the Glasgow ship she took, and then gave chace to the Cumberland, who fought her 6 hours, and got free; two days after she met a sloop from N. Carolina, laden with turpentine and tar from Boston, which she plundered of what part of the cargo she thought fit.
The Captain of the privateer, afraid that so many English prisoners would rise upon him, put next day 43 of them aboard the last mentioned sloop, giving them only 10 lb. of bread, a barrel of stinking beef, with half a hogshead of water, and bid them go where they pleased; they accordingly arrived 4 days after at New York, whence the mate of the Lancaster came over in the Samuel, George Bushel, to Dublin; he was in the Spanish privateer whilst she took all the above vessels.
July 30, 1741
Williamsburgh, in Virginia, July 10:
We have advice from Norfolk, that the ship Caesar, Capt. Clarke, bound from York River to North Carolina, to take in a loading there, was taken about 5 days since, about 15 or 20 leagues to the southward of Cape Henry. The same day they sail'd out of the capes, towards the evening, they saw 3 sails and soon after a boat with a great number of men was sent from one of them, who came up to their ship, and demanded of them to strike to the king of Spain, or they shou'd have no quarter; which being refus'd, they fir'd upon the ship briskly with small arms, which was return'd from the ship, and defended themselves from being boarded, 'till their ammunition was near expended; and night coming on, the boat left them, and return'd to their ship. The next morning early, two of the three Spanish vessels came up with the Caesar, one a head, the other a-stern; and Capt. Clarke being unable to defend his ship from them, quitted her, and went ashore with all his people, and went to Norfolk, where they were when this advice came away.
Our two privateers sail'd on Tuesday last, and the Hector will sail on Sunday; there is great reason to hope the coast will be scour'd of these pests of trade; tho' some are of opinion the Spaniards are so strong, and are grown so insolent upon their success, that they will make a powerful opposition.
July 30, 1741
New York, July 27:
By Capt. Sturup who arrived here on Wednesday last, in 5 days from North Carolina, we are informed, that within six days before his departure from thence, two Spanish privateers had taken five sloops and a ship, and sent them away for St. Augustine.
August 6, 1741
New York, August 3:
Yesterday Capt. Tingle arrived here from Georgia (but last from South Carolina) by whom we hear, that Capt. Rouse in Boston privateer, had taken off of Cape Fear, a Spanish privateer with 19 men on board, and carried her into Charles Town: She had been only 3 days out of St. Augustine, and had done no mischief.
August 13, 1741
Edenton, July 10:
The Spanish privateers having the boldness to advance a great way within Occacock bar, his excellency our governor has sent orders to the several colonels of the militia, to keep proper detachments of their men on guard, in the neighbourhood of the sounds; and to have all their men in readiness to march on the first notice: And in case these privateers should land any of their men to plunder the inhabitants, or lay waste the country, his excellency has determind, if he has timely notice, to head the militia in person.
A Spanish privateer lately took a New England sloop in Pamtico River; and while they went aboard their own vessel with some of the loading of their prize, they left two of the New England men on board their own vessel at anchor. Mean time, a fresh gale happening to sprung up, they cut their cable, and run up the river; the Spaniards seeing this, sent a launch after them, and pursued them almost to Bath Town; but finding it in vain, they thought proper to return, and the sloop got safe to Bath Town.
August 20, 1741
Yesterday morning arrived here Capt. Lester Falconar from St. Kitts having been taken by a Spanish privateer on the 3d instant, in Lat 33. and since cast away at our capes in a vessel the Spaniards had given him to come here in; He says, that the day he was taken, they took a vessel bound from Aberdeen to Cape Fear, and a day or two after a vessel from Barbados bound to this place, the captain named Ewers; they had also a schooner which they said they took within sight of the Virginia station ship; she was bound from this place to Cape Fear: He also says that the captain of the privateer is a very gentleman-like man, and used them very well.
August 20, 1741
Charles Town, June 11:
On Sunday the 21st past in the night, three English men made their escape from St. Augustine, in a boat belonging to Capt. Gould of Bristol, and the Wednesday morning following arrived here: One of them (John Lucas) who lately belonged to the Ancona Merchant, taken in November last by the Spaniards, gives the following account, That three weeks after the Ancona was sent to Augustine, the privateer which took her returnd from her cruize, having taken two schooners bound from Boston for Cape Fear, one of which was arrived and the other never heard of; after the privateer had been there about three weeks, (where each man shard 120 dollars) she saild for the Havana with her prizes. Lucas being on board the privateer was carried to the Havana in her, where (he says) they were building several gallies for transporting men to invade the Bahama Islands. The privateer being refitted, saild the 6th of April for St. Augustine, with several other vessels (formerly mentiond in this paper) laden with provisions, where being arrivd and having landed the provisions, they all saild on a cruize, stationd as follows, an old rotten man of war snow with 14 carriage and 12 swivel guns, a schooner and a sloop along the coast from North Carolina to the capes of Virginia, and four sloops along our coast. That the sloop stationd off North Carolina had taken off that place and sent into St. Augustine a very fine large sloop bound from Boston for Cape Fear, and also a small sloop commanded by one Gold, bound from Virginia for the same place; of the former they have made as fine a privateer as ever had been fitted out, she mounts at present only 8 carriage guns, (but is capable of carrying 14) is commanded by a French captain, and mannd with 70 French men, besides which she has a vast quantity of arrows on board; she is stationd to cruize of and on our bar, and was to sail Monday the 29th past: Of the latter they are also making a privateer, she is to carry 40 men, mounts 4 carriage guns, and to cruize on our coast in order to intercept our pettyaugers and other small craft. The Spaniards who brought the aforesaid sloops to Augustine, say, that the man of war and privateers (besides the vessels sent in there) had taken and sent to the Havana 36 sail, the greatest part of them were taken on our coast. Lucas further informs us, that the Spaniards say, the English at Carolina are all certainly asleep, otherwise theyd not let us take their vessels even on the bar of Charles Town. That the privateer which had taken Capt. Ford, Capt. Gould and Capt Marther, was preparing to return to the Havana with her prizes. That at the time of the great conflagration in the town, the Spaniards at Augustine were preparing to surprize us, but upon second thoughts they laid that design aside.
July 9. The people who have lately made their escape from St. Augustine, say, that the Spaniards there use all their prisoners most barbarously, being obliged to work all day on the fortifications with little or no sustenance.
August 31, 1741
Letter from Edenton in North Carolina, May 18:
Our sea coast is much infested with two Spanish privateers, who have taken several vessels, particularly two from this port with provisions, before they had been half an hour at sea; one of them belonged to Mr. James George of Pasquotank, who had the misfortune to see his vessel and cargo taken before his face, as he stood on shore. These privateers have taken 4 more vessels within these 10 days. They have had 3 vessels from the norward lately, which had narrowly escapd: The Spaniards are dull sailors, and therefore they fitted out a launch with 20 men to take a Boston sloop; the New England man, at his wits-end, bethought of a stratagem, whereby he savd himself; for just as the Spaniards were about to board him, he suddenly beat out his port-holes, as if he had guns and would fire on them; which so scard them that they made off with all speed, and gave the sloop an opportunity to get over the bar.The author of this letter makes some small remarks on the indolence of the commanders of some station ships, which (for modestys sake) we omit; being more proper for another place, tho a general complaint.
September 17, 1741
Charles Town, August 6:
The following is part of a letter from Captain Thomas Haday, to a gentleman in this town, dated Cape Fear, July 7, 1741.
This comes to acquaint you of the misfortune of having my sloop taken last Sunday morning, about nine of the clock, about ten leagues up the sound within the bar of Ocacock, by a Spanish privateers long-boat, in a calm, being then on my passage for the West-Indies: Upon which I immediately applyd myself to the commanding officer there, who sent an express to this place, which I chose to carry myself.
The gentlemen here upon my arrival have fitted out the letter of marque ship, Capt. Walker with 100 hands; and a small schooner with 50 hands. And I hope to have the pleasure of serving the Spaniards brought in by them.
The prizes that the Spanish privateer has taken, are two ships, three sloops, and one schooner. One of the ships was Capt. Dupey, bound from Boston for Charles Town. The Spaniards have built themselves tents on Ocacock-Island; two of the sloops lye in Teaches Hole, and the two ships lye at an anchor off the bar. The privateer is a high stern black sloop with about 100 men on board, and a very heavy sailor. By the accounts of several people who have escaped from them, they have burnt several houses, and destroyed great numbers of cattle.
The amount of our cargo taken, being provisions, the sloop included, is upwards of seven hundred pounds sterling.
Extract of a private letter from a gentleman at Cape Fear, dated Wilmington, July 21, 1741.
We do not hear that our privateer is yet saild, but rather a-ground last night, but expected to get off the tide following.
About three weeks ago Capt. Peacock, (who arrived here last week) saw a fine clean ship, with a sloop on one side and a schooner on the other, lying at anchor off Ocacock Inlet, to which he gave chase in order (supposing them to be friends) to get some provisions of them, which he was in great want of; but by that time he got within a mile of them, they all weighd anchor and bore away before the wind, one of which he could discern to be a large black sloop Spanish privateer as described in Captain Hadays letter, and the ship and schooner he supposd to be her prizes. Before the Spaniards weighd anchor they were seen by Capt. Peacock, burning the tents they had built on Ocacock Island.
A schooner belonging to Capt. Thomas Henning, and a sloop belonging to Capt. Jonathan Skrine, both of Winyaw, are supposed to be fallen into the hands of the Spaniards, having both saild from North Carolina about fifteen weeks since.
Many other vessels bound for this place, are supposd to have been taken by the Spanish privateers which infest our coast; particularly Capts. Skut and Wellon from Boston, and two sloops from NewYork.
November 26, 1741
Bath Town in North Carolina, Aug. 18:
We have 5 privateers on our coast, viz. 2 large ones of Bermudas, fitted out at Virginia, 70 men each; one of Cape Fear, 16 carriage and 8 swivel guns, 120 men, equipped by the merchants. And 2 S. Carolina sloops, at the countrys cost, which having taken a S. Augustine privateer, she was condemned at Charles Town, Captain Rouses foremastmen sharing each 20 pistoles.
June 14, 1742
The Sea-Horse, Forrest, from North Carolina for London, and the Susanna, Carlton, from Jamaica for London, are both taken by a Spanish privateer and carried into Bilboa.
July 15, 1742
Boston, July 12. last Thursday Capt. Jackson, late commander of a brigantine belonging to this town, arrived here, and informs, that on his passage from Barbados, he was taken by a Spanish privateer sloop commanded by Don Francisco Lewis, who had some time before taken Capt. Dogget of this town, in a brigantine loaded with naval stores, and bound from North Carolina to Barbados; and on or about the 24 of June past, the said privateer took the brigantine William, bound to Newfoundland from Antigua, John Hauselber master, which being an old vessel, and only in her ballast, about seven leagues to the E.S.E. of Bermuda, the Don gave her to 14 of his prisoners (viz. 3 masters and 11 private men) to carry them home, and on Wednesday they arrived at Marble Head. Don Lewis told the prisoners, that he had taken 36 English vessels before he came out on this cruize, since which he had taken 5 before the prisoners were discharged.
November 25, 1742
Yesterday came advice, that the Experiment, Capt. Johnson, from N. Carolina for London, was the 10th Sept. taken by a Spanish privateer off Scilly, after an obstinate fight of 4 hours, and carried into Bilboa.
August 29, 1743
And by Capt. Bunn, from North Carolina, we are informed, that while he lay there, an express arrived from South Carolina, with advice, that 3,000 Spaniards at St. Augustine, with those already there, were designed again to invade Georgia and South Carolina; and therefore desired, that a number of men might immediately be sent from North to South Carolina. Upon which 800 were raised, and ready to depart to the assistance of their brethren.
June 19, 1744
The Two Sisters, Capt. Charles Stedman, the Rachel, Capt. John Perkins, from Charles Town, S. Carolina, and the Chesterfield, Capt. Josiah Cox, from Cape Fear, who arrived in the firth last Friday: Capt. Stedman sailed April 20th, and 10 days afterward fell in with the Chesterfield, and sometime after with the Rachel, who sailed 4 days after him, and informed the other 2 commanders of the French war, which was soon confirmed by a brig bound from Glasgow to Boston, which they spoke with in Lat. 47. No. who informed them of many privateers being out; on this the 3 captains resolved to come north about. In their passage met with very bad weather off Foule Isle; in the night they fell in with a brigantine, a schooner and a dogger, whom they supposed to be French, the dogger bearing down very suspiciously several times on the sternmost ship, Capt. Cox but he making the signal agreed among them in such cases, in firing a small piece, Capt. Stedman sent a shot across her; they all sheered off, imagining her to be a man of war with his convoy.
August 30, 1744
Boston, August 20:
We have an account that the sloop Dolphin, N. Young master, bound from N. Carolina to this place, was taken by the Spaniards the first instant, in Lat. 35, who took the captain, mate; and one man along with them, and out nine hands into an open boat without either compass or provisions; but were luckily taken up by Capt. Darling of Portsmouth, about four hours after they were taken.
September 27, 1744
Newport, Sept. 14:
We hear also, that on the third instant they saw 40 leagues to the northward of Cape Hatteras, a large snow of 16 carriage guns and 24 swivels, with a small sloop as her tender, under Spanish colours, but as the sea ran excessive high they could only exchange a few broad sides, and the snow which was quite clean, left them at pleasure, having first brought down one of our sloops main-sails by a chain shot.
It should seem by this account, and that from Virginia, that there are at least four of the enemies privateers now on our coasts, and therefore that there is more than ordinary reason for all the men of war and country vessels to be out on their stations.
December 3, 1745
The Northley, Capt. Salmon, from the Leeward Islands for North Carolina, is taken by a French privateer, and carried into Martinico.
December 16, 1745
We hear the following Commanders are carried into Martinico
by the French, viz.
February 18, 1746
Boston, January 20:
Last Tuesday arrived at Marblehead from London, and yesterday came up here, Capt. Nevin, who sail'd with the fleet from Portsmouth. With Capt. Nevin came in the prize ship, taken by the New York Privateers, with 650 Hhds of sugar on board. This prize, off Cape Hatteras, met with a sloop belonging to this place, I. Wade master, bound to South Carolina, in great distress, having lost her mast, had several foot of water in the hold, and prodigiously wreck'd; and being almost ready to sink, she took all the people on board, and left her.
March 11, 1746
The Phillis, Capt. Nairne, from North Carolina, is taken by a Spanish privateer of 30 guns, and carried into the Havana.
July 31, 1746
Philadelphia, July 31:
The Chester man of war, in which Admiral Warren and Sir William Pepperell came from Louisburgh to Boston, was immediately order'd by the admiral on a cruize betwixt the capes of Delaware and North Carolina, on a report that Don Pedro, in a Spanish privateer ship, of 36 guns, was expected on this coast.
September 16, 1746
Ships taken by the French and Spaniards, August 1746:
The young Nathan Dalton, with stores from New England for North Carolina, carryd by the Spaniards into Hispaniola.
December 16, 1746
Yesterday arrived here from a cruize, the privateer snow Duke of Marlborough, Benjamin Carr Commander, who had a smart engagement with two French ships at once, one of 16 carriage guns on his windward bow, the other of 6 carriage guns to the leeward of him; the windward ship he beat off, who made the best of her way, and got clear, the other ship he took off Mont Christo, burthen about 200 tons, with 32 hands, laden with wine and bale goods; [This is the Ship mentioned in our last to have been cast-away on Nantucket Shoals.] Capt. Carr had five of his men killd in the engagement, three of them white men, viz. James Smith of Philadelphia, John Hall of South Carolina, and Jehoe Jones of Cape Fear, and three wounded, but not mortally. Capt. Carr has also taken a Spanish snow off of St. Domingo, laden with timber and gunpowder, which is cast away on the back of Cape Cod; but we are in hopes she may be got off again when unloaded, having received but little damage. The men had livd upon dogs, rats, and soaked hides for 15 days before they were cast ashore.
January 27, 1747
Philadelphia, January 27:
Sunday last arrived here Capt. Collis, from North Carolina, who was taken in his passage from Jamaica to London, in the Jamaica packet, by a Spanish ship of 36 guns, and carried into the Havana. Capt. Donaldson, in the ship Elizabeth, likewise from Jamaica for London, was taken at the same time with Capt. Collis by the same vessel; but by the carelessness of the people on board her, was run ashore on the east end of Cuba, and intirely lost, with all her cargo.
May 14, 1747
Philadelphia, May 14:
A gentleman from North Carolina informs us, that Captain Michael Beazley, in the privateer Dolphin, of New York, had brought into Cape Fear a rich prize sloop; and that he had taken two more, which he daily expected in; they all had a good deal of money on board, besides cocoa, and other merchandize.
June 11, 1747
Philadelphia, June 11:
Thursday last arrived here Captain Stevenson, late of the brigt. William and Mary, bound from this place to Jamaica, who was taken the 18th of April last by a Spanish privateer ship, Don Pedro Arrocochea commander, 25 leagues from Bermuda. While Captain Stevenson was on board the privateer, the following vessels were taken by her, viz. The snow Catherine, Captain Brownette, of London, from Cork to Cape Fear; Capt. Sheldon, in a Rhode Island brigt. from Surinam to Rhode Island; Captain Wormstead, in the sloop Expedition, of Boston, bound to Statia; a sloop from Bermudas for this port; and a sloop belonging to Cape Anne. The ship mounts 30 carriage guns, 4 eighteen pounders, 24 twelve pounders, and 2 nine pounders, besides twenty swivels, and has 300 men on board. She was cruizing, when Captain Stevenson left her, off of Indian River, he, and 26 prisoners more, having got the Cape Anne sloop from the captain to go ashore in.
July 9, 1747
Philadelphia, July 9:
Friday last came to town Capt. William Greenaway, late of the schooner Speedwel, of this place. He was bound to South Carolina, but was taken on the 19th of last month, by a privateer sloop, from Cape Francois, of ten carriage, and twelve swivel guns, Andrew Gerb, master. He has before taken the brigt. Dispatch, William Barths, from Boston, of which he made a consort, also a sloop from Nantucket, Charles Gardner, Master, and a sloop belonging to North Carolina, Peter Winding, Commander. On the 20th of June they met with a large Bristol ship, Capt. Walker from St. Kitts, to Virginia; and a brigt. belonging to Virginia, Capt. Nisbet. The ship fought the privateer for five hours, but all her ammunition being spent, was obliged to strike; and they took the brigt. soon after. The captain of the privateer gave the prisoners the Carolina sloop to go ashore in, which they brought to York Town, in Virginia; but several of them belonging to New England they carried the sloop to Boston.
July 16, 1747
Barbados, June 13:
Last Saturday afternoon came in here a small sloop, with several English mariners on board, taken lately on our coast by a privateer sloop from St. Augustine, of only 6 carriage guns; amongst whom is Capt. Hutchinson of this place, who was taken some time ago off S. Carolina: He had got another small sloop in Carolina, with which he was coming home, but was again taken on Monday last. They had taken a few days before that, a height from Cape Fear for England; a small sloop that saild from this port to Philadelphia.Stevens, master, which they made a tender of, and a large sloop from Virginia for Piscataway.Holmes, master, laden with Indian cork: The day after they took Capt. Hutchinson, they chased a schooner on shore near Egg Harbour, which they set fire to, the men escaping on shore: While she was burning, they came to an anchor with Hutchinsons sloop, and were going to strip her, and burn her also, but a brigt. appearing in sight, they left her at anchor, and gave chase to the brigt. who was bound in here, and who having the fleets of em escaped; after four hours chase, they stood in again for the sloop; but found she was gone, and Capt. Hutchinson hopes the people who escaped from the schooner have carried her off. Soon after they fell in with a poor Cape May man, laden with shingles, which they took, and gave to 25 of the prisoners, with scarce any provisions on board; but they happily meeting a sloop from Maryland, were by her relieved and brought in here, as above. By them we are informed, that just before they came in, they spoke with an Egg Harbour Man, who told them she had been chased and fired at a little to the sastward of Sandy Hook, off Long Island, by a large ship and snow, but she running into shoal water, escaped. Tis supposed these were the men of war mentioned above from Cape Breton.
July 23, 1747
New York, July 20:
Thursday last arrived here in 13 days from Cape Fear, the privateer brigt. Dolphin, Capt. Beezley, in whom came Mr. Francis Fresneau, merchant of this place, who was taken some time ago on his passage thither, in a pilot-boat from hence, in sight of the cape, by a Spanish privateer schooner from St. Augustine of 8 carriage guns and 60 men who stript him of all but his breeches and shirt, and otherwise usd him very severely; but was six days after retaken by a schooner privateer, Capt. Obrien, from South Carolina, who carried them all into Cape Fear.In their passage back to this port, on the 11th Instant, in Lat. 37.25. they were chased five hours by three ships, one snow, and a sloop; one of which was nigh coming up with them, and they could perceive she had two tier of guns; another of the ships they took to be Don. Pedro:They also heard, there are no less than 13 French and Spanish privateers on these coasts, between South Carolina and Sandy Hook.
September 24, 1747
Thursday last arrived here a gentleman that was taken on the 28th of last month, in a sloop of this place, Capt. Green (bound from Providence hither) by a French privateer sloop of Cape Francois (formerly the Clinton of N. York) called the Marshal Vaudroy, Monsieur Lahaye commander, of 14 carriage, and 16 swivel guns, and 150 men: He informs us, that the privateer had before taken the sloop Ranger, Capt. Smith, from Rhode Island, and a brigt. Capt. Ramsay, from London, both for Cape Fear, and a Carolina schooner, laden with Indian corn. On the first of this month they took the ship London, Capt. Cary, and the brigt. George and Mary, Captain Hayton, both from Virginia to Hull; the next day the ship London, Captain Skinner, from Virginia to London; on the 7th the sloop Charity, C. Newbold, from the place to Antigua; on the 10th the ship Delaware, Capt. Lake, of this place, for Maryland (mentioned in our last) and the ship Bolton, likewise of this port, Capt. Eves, inward bound from Jamaica; the two last were taken in our bay, where the privateer lay at anchor four days. She sent some of her hands to water at Cape Lookout, in North Carolina, when they plundered a small town (Beaufort) and set it on fire. The crews of the above vessels had the three pilot-boats they had also taken to come ashore in, and left Monsieur Lahaye about six leagues from the capes. He chased the ship Cumberland, Capt. Moor, from Londonderry for this place with servants, for 9 hours, but could not come up with her; she is since got into York. He afterwards met with Captain Tiffin; but seeing her a lofty ship, and a good many people on board, did not choose to engage her.
November 5, 1747
Charles Town, South Carolina:
August 8. A large snow, the Rebecca, Capt. Henderwell, who saild a few days ago from hence bound to Cape Fear, and a sloop from Boston for the same place, is taken by a Spanish privateer schooner of 8 carriage guns, and about 30 men, commanded by Fernandes Lagunea.
August 31. We have advice from Cape Fear, that the brigt. John & Mary of and from that place, Thomas Corbett Master, saild on the 21st of June last for Bristol, with a cargo of pitch, tar and turpentine, and was taken the next day, about 17 leagues S.S.E. of that river, by a row-boat, and a sloop of 6 carriage and 12 swivel guns, and 45 men, called the Francis Gabriel the Conqueror, Stephen Beard commander both titled out from St. Augustine.
September 7. We have advice from Cape Fear, that Capt. Ramsay in a ship from London for that place, was taken (about 3 weeks ago) on Col. Merricks bank; he had sent two hands ashore to alarm the country, but the people did not arrive time enough to give him any assistance, and only had the mortification to see that and some other prizes carried off.
September 14. On Tuesday last the Isabella privateer Galley sent in sloop bound from Cape Fear to New York, (the vessel and masters name unknown) which had been taken in Lat. 34. by a Spanish privateer from St. Augustine, and was retaken by the said galley the Thursday after she went out; the galley was left in chase of a ship and another sloop, (when this prize left her) supposd to be vessels taken by the Spaniards.
June 6-13, 1748
They write from New England, that three of the enemys privateers have taken near twenty ships or vessels belonging to the North American colonies; also a ship of 350 tons belonging to North Carolina.
The Success, Alleyn, from Cape Fear to Montserrat, is taken by a Spanish Privateer.
June 13-20, 1748
The following ships are taken on the coast of Carolina by
the enemies privateers, viz.
June 23, 1748
Philadelphia, June 23.
Sunday last came here one of the hands of another vessel bound hither from South Carolina, but was run ashore on Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, by a Spanish privateer; by him we learn, that his Majestys ship Rye has taken and sent into Charles Town, two of the enemies privateers; he also informs us, that as he came thro Virginia, he heard that the Hector man of war was to sail directly for our capes.
October 6, 1748
New York, October 10:
By a vessel arrived here last week from Cape Fear, we have advice, that the 4th day of September last, two Spanish privateers, belonging to the Havana, came into that river, and, landing at Brunswick, plunderd the town, and kept possession thereof three or four days, the inhabitants all flying to the woods. The smallest of the sloops then proceeded 4 miles further up the river, and took possession of a ship lying there; they also took several other vessels lying at and near Brunswick, and were proceeding to load them from the town, in order to carry them off full. In the mean time Capt. Dry, a gentleman of that place, with as many of the other inhabitants as he could possibly muster in the time, which it is said did not exceed 12 or 14, came suddenly upon them as they were loading the vessels; and, giving them a salute with their small-arms, killd and took prisoners all that were ashore except two, who escaped by swimming on board their vessels: The Spaniards, enraged at this treatment, fell to cannonading the town, but the people ashore resolutely returned their fire, and made a stout resistance for some houses, when at length the largest of the sloops blew up; by which accident 60 of their men lost their lives. Upon this the other sloop thought proper to make the best of her way off, carrying with her only one small vessel loaded with naval stores, not having men enough left to war any of the others.Of the inhabitants of Cape Fear only one is missing, being the pilot, who is supposed to be blown up with the large sloop; tho the inhabitants of Brunswick otherwise suffered greatly, being pillagd of every thing that was valuable: Of the Spaniards, 60 were blown up, 20 more killed, and 37 taken prisoners by the English. The prisoners say, they were informed of the weakness of the place a little before, by a flag of truce.