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Number Six
The Recapture of
Saint John’s, Newfoundland

Dispatches of Rear-Admiral, Lord Colville
edited by
Instructor Commander
C. H. LITTLE, R.C.N. (Ret’d)
Halifax, Nova Scotia, December 1959


Coville Colville diary Cover

Occasional Paper Number Four concluded with an extract from a letter by Lord Colville dated 10th April 1761. This paper resumes with selections from the Commander-m-Chief's despatches during 1761 and 1762.

In addition to the general interest which the naval dispositions and operations of the period afford, there are in these despatches three areas of particular value to students of history; the report of the proceedings of an 18th century Court of Admiralty with all its astonishing financial details; the official naval account of the recapture of St. John's, Newfoundland, from the French (surely one of the most inexplicable ventures of the Seven Years' War), and the sentences of Courts-martial which have to be looked at in detail before they can be believed.

A valuable additional source of information about the St. John's campaign is the Journal of the officer commanding the army detachment—Lt. Col. William Amherst (Major-General Jeffrey Amherst's brother)—which was published in 1931 under the editorship of Dr. J. C. Webster.

Lord Colville came back to Halifax as Commander-in-Chief in 1763. It is hoped to publish his despatches for that period in a future paper. The following brief sketch of his life between the summer of 1757 and his death in 1770, much of it based on previous Occasional Papers, shows how closely connected he was with Canada.

He came to Canada during the summer of 1757 with the rank of Captain R.N., in command of the 70 gun NORTHUMBERLAND, which formed part of Vice-Admiral Holburne's fleet ordered to attack Louisbourg. The attack was called off due to the strength of the French fleet, and because the British squadron had been caught and scattered by a September hurricane. On 14th November, 1757, Colville assumed command at Halifax with the rank of Commodore as instructed byHolburne. He remained in Halifax over the winter flying his broad pendant in the NORTHUMBERLAND (Capt. Henry Martin, R.N.). On 19th March, 1758, Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Hardy arrived at Halifax from England and took over the squadron with instructions from Vice-Admiral Boscawen to blockade Louisbourg. Colville reverted to Captain and reassumed command of the NORTHUMBERLAND in which he served under Boscawen at the successful siege of Louisbourg. He returned to England with Boscawen, spent the winter there, and came out to Louisbourg again in the spring of 1759, arriving on 14th May still in command of the NORTHUMBERLAND. He served at the siege of Quebec as part of Rear-Admiral Durell’s force of great ships which patrolled the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the campaign. On 16th October,1759, Colville was appointed by Vice-Admiral Saunders, Commander-in-Chief in North America to the rank of Commodore. He spent the -winter at Halifax, flying his broad pendant in the NORTHUMBERLAND, (Capt. W. Adams). In April, 1760, he led his squadron to Quebec to find that a small force under Captain Swanton in the VANGUARD had relieved the British garrison which was under attack by 11,000 French troops commanded by General Lévis. Colville remained in the St. Lawrence until early October when, observing that Vaudreuil had surrendered Canada to General Amherst, he dispersed the ships and returned to Halifax, sailing from the Island of Orléans on 13th October and arriving in Halifax 24th October. The following day the GREYHOUND arrived with Admiralty instructions for Swanton to relieve Colville as Commander-in-Chief, with the rank of Commodore. Swanton had been instructed by Colville to escort the transports to England as soon as the French prisoners were on board—a date estimated to be 20th October. The GREYHOUND was therefore sent back to the St. Lawrence to look for the VANGUARD with instructions to return to England if the latter had sailed. Colville reported that he would carry on as Commanderin-Chief until relieved. Swanton was not found and Colville spent his third winter in command at Halifax, still a Commodore and still in the NORTHUMBERLAND.

He remained as Commander-in-Chief over the winter of 1761-62 also, and went to the relief of St. John's Newfoundland in August 1762. Finally he got back to England in the autumn of that year and was promoted Rear-Admiral of the White on 21st October, 1762.

After less than a year in the United Kingdom Colville was again appointed to the North America Station. He sailed in the ROMNEY on 31st August 1763 and arrived in Halifax on 13th October. He remained there for the next three years thus establishing a record for command of the station. Little of importance occurred during these years and the Admiral’s despatches report that his main concerns were smuggling and desertion.

Lord Colville was succeeded by Vice-Admiral of the Blue, Philip Durell, but the latter died on 26th August 1766 just four days after his arrival at Halifax. However, this melancholy event did not delay Colville in his departure. He sailed for England on 5th September leaving instructions for Captain Joseph Deane of the MERMAID to take command until the arrival of a new Commander-in-Chief.

Colville apparently held no other command and received no further promotion. He died in Scotland 21st May, 1770.

To save space most of the salutations and signatures of Colville's despatches have been omitted. The spelling and grammar are those of the original letters.
I acknowledge with many thanks the invaluable assistance of the Naval Historian, Lieutenant Commander E. C. Russell and of the Naval Historical Section at Naval Headquarters.


The Recapture of Saint Johns, Newfoundland

An Account of the Disposition of his Majesty's Squadron in North America, under the command of the Right Hon'ble the Lord Colvill, August 18th. 1761.



Rochester................Stationed at the Isle of Bic, as a Guardship for the River St. Lawrence, but as there will very soon be no Ships here to answer any emergency that may arise; and as all apprehensions from the Enemy in the Gulph and River St. Lawrence seems now to be at an end, I have directed Captain Burnett to return to Halifax.
Porcupine Belcher, an armed sloop hired for this service.
Stationed in the Gulph of St. Lawrence. To be attentive to the Bays of Miramichi, Chaleurs, and Gaspey, least any of the discontented Inhabitants should attempt to fit out Chaloupes against our Trade.
Norwich Greyhound
In Halifax Harbour; but directed to proceed to New York, in order to Convoy the Troops that are to Sail from thence in the beginning of September.
Penzance..................Cruizing on the Coast of Virginia, but ordered to join the above Convoy at New York.
Dublin....................Arrived here from Antigua the 31st. of last Month; to be new sheathed refitted and to return back to her Station, without loss of time.
Northumberland..........In Halifax Harbour.


Note in Clevland’s writing—Nov. 24, Own receipt and approve of what he has done.


Northumberland at Halifax, 26th Nov. 1761
(Received Feby 1762)

On the 8th of last August I had the honour of transmitting to you an account of the Proceedings and Disposition of the Squadron under my command; particularly with relation to the Ships which I had appointed to Convoy the Troops destined for an Expedition against Martinica2. And I have the pleasure to find that the Orders I gave to Captain Darby, who commands these Ships ,and of which I sent you a Copy, are perfectly consistent with those sent by their Lordships in the Alcide. Captain Darby's command now consists of the Devonshire, Alcide, Norwich and Penzance, with the Fleet of Transports, and I judge by his and General Amherst’s Letters, they must all have sailed from New York before the middle of this Month. The Greyhound was dispatched before, to acquaint Sir James Douglas3, Governor Dalrymple, and Lord Rollo, with the Orders Sir Jeffery Amherst had received from England, and the forwardness that things were in at New York.

The Intrepid arrived here on the 19th Instant, in a shattered condition, and is now at the Wharf refitting. Captain Hale delivered me their Lordships Order to send Zephyr Sloop from Carolina to England, and I dispatched Orders to Captain Greenwood, accordingly, by way of Boston, as there is no prospect of a conveyance by Sea from this Place.

I have received their Lordships Order to enquire into a Complaint made by the Master at Arms of the Nightingale against is Captain; but believe I shall have no opportunity of taking cognizance, either of this, or the other complaint made against Captain Campbell by the Master, because he is now employed in convoying four Companies of the 17th and 22nd Regiments from South Carolina to Dominique.

On the 16th of September I directed Captain Perceval of the Dover, which had just arrived from Quebec, to cruize between New York and Cape Hatteras, and to be back at this Place by the 20th November. Captain Boyd in the Penzance had been employed on that Station, but was then ordered to join Captain Darby at New York; and I had received Intelligence from Sir James Douglas that a Brigantine and two Sloop Privateers, had sailed from Martinica in order to cruize on the Coasts of North America. However, I have great reason to believe, that no Enemy has been seen, nor any Capture made within a hundred Leagues of these Coasts.

On the 23d of last Month I received a Letter from Governour Sharpe of Maryland dated 8th September, inclosing a Petition addressed to me from the Owners, Agents and Masters of Ships employed in the Tobacco Trade of that Province, and signed by twenty two Names, desiring a Convoy for such of their Ships as could not be got ready to proceed with Captain Norton of the Assistance on the 20th of that Month. I therefore ordered Captain Adams of the Diana to perform this Service; but if the Trade in question should be sailed before his arrival in Maryland, he is to cruize in such Stations, as from Intelligence, or otherways, he may judge most proper for securing the Commerce of our North American Colonies, and to return to this Place as early as possible in next March.

As I was directed by their Lordships last Year, to send a Ship to Newfoundland, in order to Convoy the Trade from thence to England, I expected that the same service would be required of me this Year, and intended that the Rochester which came too late from the River St. Lawrence to be employed on the expedition, should perform it; but as I have received no Orders for that purpose, she remains here, in readiness for any Duty that may be necessary.

The Porcupine is the only Sloop with me, and she also is kept in readiness for any service that may require immediate dispatch. The Accadian Inhabitants of the Bays of Vert, Miramichi, Chaleurs and Gaspey, in the Gulph of St. Lawrence, which were so troublesome with their Privateers during the Summer of 1759 and 1760, have now, almost all, delivered themselves up to the Government of this Province; and as every Vessel belonging to them of any consequence is destroyed, there is not the least appearance of any further annoyance to our Trade from that quarter.

During the past Summer I have employed myself in carrying on the Works, necessary to compleat the Careening Yard at this Place; and have given a particular account of my Labours to the Commissioners of the Navy, as it was at their Desire I undertook it.

Note in Clevland’s Writing — Own receipt and let him know that I very much approve of what he has done.

Northumberland at Halifax 1st Dec'r. 1761
(Received 24 Mar. 1762)

Since my last of the 26th past, I have been acquainted by Sir Jeffery Amherst, that there are several victualling Vessels which cannot be got ready time enough to proceed from New York with the Convoy under Captain Darby's command; and as it is highly necessary that these Vessels should follow as soon as possible, and be well escorted; I have directed Captain Burnett in the Rochester to perform this Service.

The Dover, which I had appointed to cruize on the Coasts of Virginia and New York, put into Sandy Hook in a hard gale of wind, just at the time when a Ship was wanted to proceed to South Carolina, to Convoy the remainder of the Troops, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Grant, from thence to Dominica; and Captain Darby ordered Captain Perceval on that Duty, so that all the Ships under my command are now disposed of, except the Northumberland, Intrepid and Porcupine Sloop.

In my last I acquainted you that Captain Campbell in the Nightingale, was directed to convoy four Companies, which made the first Embarkation from Carolina, to Dominica; and when the Zephyr returns to England there will be no Stationed Ship on that Coast unless sent out lately by their Lordships; for Captain Campbell at the request of the Governour and Merchants of Carolina, joined the Scarborough to the Success, both which Ships sailed from Charles Town on the 31st of last May with Forty Sail under Convoy; and the Dolphin with Twenty sail more about the end of June. But, that no necessary step may be omitted, I write by the Rochester, to the Commander in Chief of the King's Ships at Barbados and the Leeward Islands, acquainting him that there is not a single stationed Ship now left on the Northamerican Coast, in hopes that out of the great number collected under his command, a Frigate or two, and a sloop may be spared for the Service of these Colonies.

I send you inclosed, the State of the Hospital at this Place; upon which I have to observe, that near half the Patients are reported to me by the Surgeon, to be unserviceable; and I shall take care to send all that are really so to England, by the first proper opportunity.

Hospital (Weekly Account of Sick and Wounded Seamen, etc.)

Nova Scotia
29th November 1761

  WhereofSince last Account The most Reigning Distempers at this Time
  in the     Discharged    
Classes of peopleNumber of each classHospital QuartersVery IllNot dangerously illOn RecoveryCuredNot CuredDeadRun ReceivedQuarters Unfilled 
             "Fevers & Scurvy
Chs. White, Surgeon"



Northumberland at Halifax 7th January 1762
Received 28 April 1762

I had the honour of writing to you on the 26th of November and 1stst of December last; in which Letters I gave you an Account of every Service the Ships under my command were employed on. Captain Darby in the Devonshire with seventy sail, left Sandy Hook on the 19th of November and had the prospect of a good passage, as the Wind and Weather continued fair for several Days. Captain Burnett in the Rochester sailed from this Place on the 4th of last Month, and I dare say is now well on his passage from New York to Barbados, with the Victuallers.

Before the Devonshire sailed Sir Jeffery Amherst sent on-board £57,000 for the use of the Army, with a Letter to Captain Darby requesting him to take charge of it, and to issue it out in such manner, and to such Persons as General Monckton should direct. Captain Darby, received the Money, and desired to have one per cent as Freight, but Sir Jeffery Amherst would not agree to give any more than a half per cent, which Captain Darby declined taking, because the Money was to go a cross the Ocean, which is the same as a Foreign Voyage, where one per cent is allowed. Besides he did not think himself at Liberty to follow his own Inclination, as a Precedent of this kind might hereafter prove injurious to The Corps, and he apprehended it would not meet with my approbation, who am entituled to a third of the Freight.

I hope their Lordships will pardon me for giving them this Trouble; and admit of my further Apology for expressing my Wish, that they would settle this Affair with the Treasury. Money is an Article in Which I have dealt very little; and my being long in a Station without pecuniary Emolument, may have induced me to think more of a Trifle than 'tis worth. I am etc.

Note in Clevland’s Writing.
28 April—Has the original been rec'd and Answ’d No Sir (crossed out)
Yes Sir.

Northumberland at Halifax 17th January 1762

Captain Francis of the Greyhound, whom I had appointed to cruize on the Coasts of New York last Summer, brought with him to this Place, a Brigantine and a Schooner, which he had detained on account of carrying on a clandestine or illicit Trade. And Captain Burnett of the Rochester, at the Isle of Bic, took possession of a Snow from Guernsey for Quebec, which he also brought to this Place. All three were tried in the Court of Admiralty; and I inclose Copies of their Condemnation, as given me by Mr. Collier, the Judge of that Court.

It has been customary in North-America, for the Courts of Admiralty to divide the Produce arising for these sort of Captures, into three equal Parts, and to adjudge one to the King, one to the Captor, & one to the Governour or Commander in Chief where the Trial is held. The King's Share has been claimed, some-times by the Collector of the Customs, sometimes by the Governour, and in 1755 Admiral Boscawen received Part of the Produce of some Vessels seized by Captains Rous and Hankerson at Newfoundland, when Captain Dorril was Governour of that Island. In the present Case, the King's Share of the Brigantine taken by Captain Francis was paid in Deposit only, besides his own Third, to Mr. Belcher, Chief Justice and Commander in Chief of the Province; but the King's Third of the other two, at my request remains in custody of the Court.

I believe my Reasons for making this Adress will be sufficiently obvious, without mentioning them. I humbly beg the Favour of their Lordships to recommend me to his Majesty, for his Share of these three Captures. The Bounty will be most thankfully received, and my Obligation to their Lordships ever gratefully remembered.

Nova Scotia
Court of
Vice Admiralty

In the Name of God Amen
We John Collins, Esq. Judge of his Majesty's
Court of Vice Admiralty for the Province of
Nova Scotia aforesaid, and the Maritime parts
thereunto belonging

Having heard, seen and Maturely Considered the Merits and Circumstances of a certain Libel exhibited to this Court, by William Nesbett Esq. his Majesty's Advocate General in the said Court in the Name of Henry Newton Esq. Collector of his Majesty's Customs for the Province aforesaid; for and on the behalf of his said Majesty, and of Thomas Burnett Esq. Commander of his Majesty's ship Rochester, against a certain Snow called the Two Brothers Nicholas Le Masurer Master and her Cargo seized in the Port of Halifax in the Province aforesaid, by the said Thomas Burnett, Esq. for clandestine and Illicit Trade; having Imported (as is therein alledged) at the Isle of Bic in the River St. Lawrence, a place now in his Majesty's Possession and with in the Jurisdiction of this Court, a Quantity of Wine and other Goods and Merchandize of the Growth, Produce or Manufacture of Europe, not having been Ship'd in England, Principality of Wales or Town of Berwick upon Tweed, contrary to the statute m that Case made and Provided, and all partys Concern'd having been by due process informed of the said Libel and Cited to appear in the said Court at a day for that Purpose appointed,, then and there to assert their rights to the said Snow and her Cargo; James Major Super-Cargo of the said Snow two Brothers and her Cargo in his own proper person appeared in the said Court, and for and on the behalf of James Le Ray Merchant, Native and Inhabitant of the Island of Guernsey Claimed all and every part of the Cargo laden'd on board said Snow, except thirty one hogsheads of White Wine, One Case of Capers, one Case of Olives, four bales of Almonds, Five hogsheads of Red Wine, one Box of hungaryWater4, six small Barrells of March5, three Butts of Cyder, fifty dozen pair of Hose and four hogsheads more of Red Wine, which the said James Major did Claim as his own private property, with a reservation also of Claim for private Adventure, and the said Nicholas Le Masurer the Master of the said Snow two Brothers in his own proper person appear'd in the said Court and for, and on the behalf of James Le Ray and John Le Ray of the Island of Guernsey Merchants claimed the said Snow Two Brothers with all her Guns, Rigging, Tackle, Apparel and Furniture as Libel’d; as the Property of the said James and John Le Ray, with a reservation of Claim of private adventure as by the said Several Claims now on File may appear; and Sundry papers having been Produced and Exhibited, and several Witnesses having been Sworn and Examined in open Court, as well in Support of the said Libel as by the said Claimants in Support of their Several Claims: it appear'd thereby to us that there had been imported in the said Snow Two Brothers at the Isle of Bic in the River St. Lawrence, a place being in the possession of his Majesty, a Quantity of Wines and other Goods, the Growth, produce or Manufacture of Europe, not having been Ship'd in England, Principality of Wales or Town of Berwick on Tweed, as by Law is required; but in the Island of Guernsey aforesaid, in open and Manifest Violation of the Statute in that Case made and provided; and all matters and things requisite for a fair and Impartial hearing and Tryall of the Premises having been duly attended to—

We do Pronounce this our Sentence and decree thereon as follows,

We do adjudge and decree the said Snow Two Brothers, together with all her Guns, Tackle, Ammunition, Apparel and Furniture, as allso all and Singular the Goods, Wares and Merchandize of the Growth, Produce or Manufacture of Europe: the Cargo thereof to be forfieted, and do Condemn the same as forfeited accordingly; and we do further order that the said Snow Two Brothers together with her Guns, Tackle, Apparel, Ammunition and Furniture, as also all the Several Goods and Merchandize, her Cargo by us Comdemn'd as aforesaid, be sold by the Marshall of this Court or his Dupty at Publick Auction; the said Snow and her appertenances as allso the several Goods, and Merchandize, her Cargo, being first appraised on Oath by three persons to be by us appointed, and the Monies arising by the Sales thereof, to be paid into the hands of the Register of the said Court, to be by him paid and distributed in manner following, (that is to say Court and Incident Charges first deducted) one third to the use of his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, one other third part thereof to the Honourable Jonathan Belcher Esq. Commander in chief of this Province, and the Remaining third part thereof to the said Thomas Burnett Esq. Commander of his Majesty's Ship Rochester aforesaid, the Informer against said Snow and her Cargo.

Given under our hand and the Seal of the said Court this 23d day of September, in the first year of his Majesty's Reign, and in the year of our Lord 1761.

(Sign'd) Jn. Collier.


The Amount of Sales of the Snow Two Brothers. . £400 00
Marshalls Commiss'n 2 Pr Cnt 800
Charges to be Deducted 
Condemnation Fees ..............£20 00 
Poundage 5 Pr Cnt ................19 120 
Ballance Mariners Wages..........58 411 
To the Register, Settling and adjusting the Acc't of Wages, whole Amount being £93........... 266 
Warrant of appraizment...........0 90 
3 Appraizers 20/ea.........3 00 
To Mr. James Major for Pilotage......1317 10 
Marsh'lls bill Custody, wharfage, Labour, etc. ...............16 74 
Waiters bill Custody from 3d Sept. to lst Oct. at 5/per day.............. 75 0 
Light money.............. 2100 143127
Settlement and Distribution 
1/3 To his Majesty ..................£8215 9 
1/3 To the Governor or Commander in Chief .............82159 
1/3 To the Prosecutor thereof .......82159 
 £2487 4


(Signed) John Collier

A true Copy examined
(Signed) Chas. Morris jun’r. D. Reg’r.

The Amount of Sales of the Cargo of the Snow Two Brothers ....... £2960 22
Marshalls Commiss'n 2 Pr. Ct. ......  5940
Charges to be Deducted 
Condemnation fees 5 Pr. Ct. ........£1480 1 
Poundage 5 Pr. Ct. ............1450 10 
Warrent of Appraizment .............09 0 
Appraizers 8 days each ...............120 0 
Mr. Gerrishe's bill Truckage .......26 5 
Mr. Creighton's bill Do. ..............610 9 
Mr. McCulloch's bill Do. ............16 7 
Mr. MacNamarra's bill Do. .........41 4 
Mr. Gray's bill Storage ................916 5 
Mr. Franklin's Do. .......................40 0 
Mr. Hefferman's bill for Cooperage54 0 
Mr. England's bill for Do. ...........214 10 
Mr. Pierce's bill for Gauging ......55 8 
Cash paid by the Marshall for Labourers ........................28180 
Collectors bill .................200 0 
Copying sundry papers for the use use of the Prosecutors .......3 6 8  
Advocates fees 1 Pr. Cent ..........2910 0 
James Brenton Proctor his bill ...20 0 0 448 10 7
Settlement and Distribution 
1/3 To his Majesty ................£817 9 
1/3 To the Governor or Commander in Chief .........8179  
1/3 To the Prosecutor Thereof ........817 9 £245277

(Signed) John Collier

These are true Copies


Northumberland at Halifax 17th April 1762
Rec'd 20th June

The Chesterfield arrived at this Place from Virginia on the 4th Instant, and Captain Scaife delivered to me their Lordships Order of the 26th of December, to commence Hostilities against Spain6, also twenty Copies of the Declaration of War against that Kingdom, and as many Orders for publishing the same: These I immediately delivered to the Captains here, together with the Packets directed to them, and shall return the Packets directed to the Captain of such Ships as I know are gone home.

By the same Conveyance I received a general printed Order of the 26th of last October, directing various Observations to be made for the Improvement of Navigation. And I also received their Lordships Order of the 15th of December, directing me not to take the Arundel from her Station on the Coasts of Virginia and Maryland, except some other more important Service shall occasion an unavoidable Necessity for so doing. I acquainted their Lordships in some of my Letters, with the care I took to guard the Commerce of these Colonies, but none of the Captains employed on this Service had any reason to suspect that the Enemies Privateers came within the Limits of their Station on the Coasts; however 'tis probable that our Trade may now be molested, by Privateers from St. Augustine. In my Letter of the 26th of November I acquainted their Lordships with my having sent Captain Adams in the Diana to Maryland, to Convoy the Trade from thence to England, in consequence of an application made to me, by the Governour and Merchants of that Province; but before he could reach Maryland, they were all sailed under Convoy of the Assistance and Postillion; and Captain Adams would have followed his Orders as in that case directed, but was prevented by the Governour of Virginia, who requested of him to proceed to England with the Trade of his Province, as there was a sufficient number of Ships to require a Convoy, and to authorise him (Captain Adams) in taking such a step. Nothwithstanding this assurance he was kept there idle the greatest part of the Winter, and at length sailed with only four Ships, being thereby prevented from doing more essential Service, as a Cruizer, to the Colony of Virginia.

By the Chesterfield I also received their Lordships Order of 15th of December to administer the Test and Oaths appointed by Act of Parliament7 the Master Shipwright, Master Attendant, and Naval Storekeeper at this Place; which I have accordingly done, and shall Send you their subscription together with all other papers which 'tis my Duty to transmit to you, by the first opportunity of a Kings ship going home: Agreeable to your Letter I delivered their Warrants to them, and mentioned the Fees, which they do choose to pay by their Agents in London and have promised to so accordingly.

On the 14th Instant, by a Vessel sent Express from Boston, I received a Packet from Sir Jeffery Amherst at New York, with Letters from him dated the 1st and 3d Instant, acquainting me that he had received Duplicates of Orders from the King, relating to the Employment of a Body of Troops, ordered on a particular Service, by the Enterprize, which arrived at New York on the first day of this Month, and that the Originals were not then come to hand. This Packet also contained a Copy of your Letter to Sir Jeffery Amherst of the 13th January, with Copies of his Orders from their Lordships of the same date, one directing the Commander of any of his Majesty's Ships or Vessels on the Coast of North America, to whom it may be delivered, to repair immediately to New York, where he will find Orders for his further Proceedings: The other directs me to send a Ship of the Line and two Frigates to New York, with the utmost Dispatch, there to obey such Orders as they may receive from their Lordships. I acquainted their Lordships in my letter of the 1st of last December with my having disposed of all the Ships under my command except the Northumberland, Intrepid and Porcupine: since which time I have not been joined by any except the Chesterfield, which came here for a new Mainmast, Foreyard and other Repairs; and I had directed Captain Scaife to pursue his Orders from their Lordships, as Convoy for the Virginia Trade, to be ready in the Month of June; but on the Receipt of these last Orders I put the Chesterfield together with the Porcupine under the Command of Captain Hale of the Intrepid, who will sail tomorrow if the Wind permits; and I herewith enclose a Copy of his Orders from me. I wish I may have it in my Power to provide a Convoy for the Virginia Trade. It would be very lucky if any Ship should arrive at New York, that might take the Chesterfield's Place, and Captain Scaife be directed to pursue his former Orders. This I shall mention to Sir Jeffery Amherst and Captain Hale.

When these Ships are sailed I shall have with me the Northumberland only, which I shall keep in constant readiness for immediate Service, and purpose. When the Season shall be a little more advanced, to drop down below George's Island, and place her in the most proper Birth for protecting the Town of Halifax, in case any Squadron of the Enemy would attempt a descent.


Northumberland at Halifax 12th May 1762.

On the 4th Instant Captain John Cleland arrived here in the Squirrel, being dispatched from Gibraltar by Sir Charles Saunders, with an Order from their Lordships dated the 21st of last November, directing me to commence Hostilities against Spain. The Squirrel being short of Provisions and Water, was obliged to put into Virginia for a Supply before she could reach this place: she is in great want of Stores and other repairs; but as soon as she can be got ready for Sea, will return to Sir Charles Saunders agreeable to his Orders to Captain Cleland.

Their Lordships will see by my last Letters that I have not yet been able to supply the Zephyr's Place on the Carolina Station, which gives me the more uneasiness, as our Trade in these Parts may now be liable to interruption from Privateers of St. Augustine. I was in hopes of being joined by Captain Blake in the Epreuve, and to have employed him on the Coast of Carolina, but am now apprehensive of being disappointed, as he was at Virginia when Captain Cleland left that Place, and has not communicated his Orders or wrote to me.

I have expected some Marine Cloathing by every Storeship that has arrived at this place; but as none has been sent out, I am under the necessity of acquainting their Lordships, that 'tis almost three Years since the Marines on board the Northumberland were cloathed.


Northumberland at Halifax 19th May 1762.

The Northumberland has never had a general Repair since she was launched in November 1749. In her last fittings at Portsmouth and Plymouth above three Years since, it appeared from Pieces taken out of the Wails8 and Spirkettings9, that her Timbers were perishing and she had suffered much for want of good caulking. For some time past there has been a visible decay over all her upper Works, therefore I directed the Master Shipwright and Carpenter to survey them as narrowly as they could without opening the Plank, and herewith send their Report. The Bottom is light and the Frame very strong, of which we had proof in heaving down, when the Keel remained remarkably straight. The Dublin's in the same operation appeared bent like a Bow, and of course the whole Body of the Ship warped from the original sheer.

Pursuant to an Order from the Right Hon'ble
the Lord Colvill Commodore and Commander in
Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels in
North America, to us directed.

We whose Names are hereunto Subscribed have been on board his Majesty's Ship Northumberland, taken a strict and carefull Survey of her Hull, which we find to be as follows.

The Top Sides Fore and Aft worn three Quarters of an Inch; by cutting pieces to make light find it decayed to the Timbers, and several of the Timbers rotten; That the Decks are much worn, in particular, as far out as the Trains of the Guns, and wants a general Shift. The Standard against the Stern Post on the Gun Deck is sprung. Three Beams of the Upper Deck, and one hanging knee sprung. Spirketting of the Gun-deck will not stand Caulk, the inside edge being rotten. All the Gun-deck ports, and stops Fore and Aft much worn. The quick work of the Upper and Quarter Decks want a general Shift. In cutting out several pieces to make light for Careening found it rotten to the Timbers. Timbers in the same condition. And the Iron Work in the Ports for the Breechings and Tacklcs so much reduced, Shifted several of them. Larboard Cathead much worn; Starboard Do. Clamped. The After Timber heads supposed to be broke or decayed, rising up in bracing up the Main Yard. Gunwaills and Plank Shears Fore and Aft are very bad. Sheathing on the Bottom we found to be Nail sick, made perfect for the present.
NOTE in Clevland's writing: Read—no Answer this ship being expected home.

That the Iron Work in general is very much decayed; and we do give it as our Opinions to the best of our knowledge and the Observations we have made, that it will tend much to the good of the Service, that every Article herein enumerated may be complied with soon as the nature of things will Admit.

Given under our Hands on board this Majesty's Ship Northumberland in Halifax Harbour 15th May 1762.

of the Northumberland.

A true copy COLVILLE.

Northumberland at Halifax 26th June 1762
(3 Mar. 1763 ord. to be laid by)

Yesterday I received a Letter from Governour Murray of Quebec dated the 8th past, inclosing a Memorial Subscribed by the Names of twenty three Persons, who call themselves the British Merchants residing in Quebec, and say they are suffering very considerably by their Vessels being taken, or the heavy Premium of Insurance they are obliged to pay; therefore request his Application to me for a Convoy to be ready at Louisbourg about the beginning of November, to conduct their Trade from thence to England.

Their Lordships know the Disposition I have made of every Ship under my command except the Northumberland; and I have acquainted Governour Murray that 'tis not in my power to comply with his request, but that I would make it known to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and did not doubt of occasional Convoys being appointed for the Trade of Quebec, as for the other Colonies.

Northumberland at Halifax 2d July 1762
(3rd mar 1763 ord'd to be laid by)

Yesterday Captain Charles Douglas of the Syren arrived from Newfoundland, and gave me the inclosed Intelligence, which was sent him by the commanding Officer at St. John's, whilst he lay with the Syren at Aquafort, so that he could not inform me of any other Circumstances than what are mentioned in the Affidavit. However, I intended to sail tomorrow with the Northumberland for Newfoundland, and acquainted the Lieutenant Governour with my Resolution, but am prevented by a public application from him and the Council, requesting me to continue at this place for their Protection on account of the defenceless condition of the Province. Therefore I directed Captain Douglas to return immediately to his Station at Newfoundland, and to give such further Intelligence as he might think necessary for his Majesty's Service I should know, that thereby I may be enabled to judge if the Exigency be so great as to require me to proceed directly to Newfoundland, notwithstanding the Remonstrance of the Government of this Province.

Before Captain Douglas left Aquaforte, he sent all his Marines with their Officer to St. John's to reinforce that Garrison; and likewise dispatched a small Vessel to the Banks, to look out for Captain Graves of the Antelope and give him the Intelligence he had received.

Affidavit of William Wood.       St. John's Newfoundland.
22 June 1762.

Appeared before me Michael Gill Esq’r. one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the District of St. John's in Newfoundland, William Wood Master of the Schooner Squid, and made Oath, that yesterday, the 21st Instant, being then in Latitude 47° 20" distance about Eight Leagues from the Land they saw three sail of Men of War, which they suppose to be Spanish one of which was very near them, and ordered the Deponent to haul their Sails down; they hauled their Jib partly dawn; the Flying Jib, Topmast staysail, and Mainstaysail they hauled down being then within a few yards of one of the Men of War's stern, when the Deponent ordered the People to hoist their Sails again which they did, and made Sail in for the Land, the Man of War putting about at the same time, but night coming on they soon lost sight of the Man of War, and arrived in this Harbour at six this morning; they also saw two other Sail to Leeward about three Leagues, and a small Vessel in company with the Man of War, which was very near them, which Men of War fired more than a Hundred small shot at them.

A True Copy of the Oath taken before me this Day.
Michael Gill. Commissary Etc.
A true Copy, Given under my hand on board his
Majesty's Ship Syren at Sea June 30 1762.
Chas. Douglas.

A true Copy COLVILLE
July 2d 1762

Northumberland at Mauger's Beach near Halifax
July 24th 1762.
(Rec'd 1 Sept.)

A small Vessel going directly to England gives me an opportunity of transmitting to you the Duplicate of my Letter of the 2d Instant, which i sent to New England to go by the Launceston: and at the same time of acquainting you, that several Vessels have since come in from Newfoundland by which we learn that on the 24th past two French Ships of the Line and two Frigates anchored in the Bay of Bulls, and landed a Number of Troops without any Resistance; that the Enemy was joined by a fifth Ship, and marched thirteen hundred Men in a very bad Road of twenty four Miles through the Woods to St. John's, Which Place surrendered on the 27th at the first Summons, without coming to Action or obtaining a Capitulation.

I would have sailed for Newfoundland immediately on receiving this Intelligence but was again prevented by a second Remonstrance from the Governour and Council, intreating me in the strongest Terms to continue with them.

I have a Letter from Captain Mouat of the Gramont Sloop, dated the 26th of June in St. John's Harbour. He says he got in there the Day before, with the Trade from Ireland, and with his People was to stay in the Place for its Defence. We are informed that the Gramont fell into the Hands of the Enemy. Most of her Convoy escaped by getting out in time. I sent the above Account to Sir Jeffery Amherst without loss of time, and desired him to communicate it to the Commander in Chief of the Fleet in the West Indies, as I did not know how to direct to him.

We are informed from several Hands, that some large Ships were seen standing towards Placentia, and that afterwards the noise of great Guns was heard in that Quarter, for two Days together; from which 'tis conjectured that another Division of the Enemy's Ships has attacked Placentia.

I am doing every thing in my Power for the Security and Defence of this Place.

Northumberland at Mauger's Beach
near Halifax 30 July 1762.
(rec’d 17 Sept.)

Since my last of the 24th Instant, a Snow arrived from St. John's in Newfoundland, which escaped from thence on the 5th under the Cover of a dark Night. The Master says, that the french Ships sailed from the Bay of Bulls, and got into the Harbour of St. John's on the 2d Instant; that he believes their whole number of Troops does not exceed nine hundred: that they had mounted the Gramon’s Guns onshore, and were very busy in throwing up Entrenchments, and making Lines of Picquets. He has not heard of any Attack being made upon Placentia, and I am apt to think that Report was without foundation.

Another small Vessel going directly to London affords me this Conveyance.

Northumberland at Mauger's Beach near Halifax
August 6th, 1762.
(Rec'd 17 Sept.)

The Vessel mentioned in my last not sailing for England at the time appointed, gives me an opportunity of writing to you again. Captain Jervis of the Gosport having seen his Convoy safe to Virginia, proceeded to New York with the public money he had aboard, and the first imperfect Intelligence of the french squadron at Newfoundland being communicated to him by Sir Jeffery Amherst, he made the best of his way to this Place, where he arrived the 2d. instant. I would have sent for the Launceston from New England, but dispaired of my Orders reaching Piscataqua in time, as Captain Affleck had before acquainted me that he hoped to sail for England on or about the 10th of last Month, and we had no certain Account of the Enemy at Newfoundland untill the 7th.

There are in this Province and Louisbourg about fifteen hundred Regulars and Provincials, and I have proposed to Lieutenant Governor Belcher and Colonel Forster Commander of the Troops, to employ them immediately in endeavouring to remove the French from St. John's in Newfoundland, as it cannot be effected by Ships alone; but Colonel Forster acquaints me that he can do nothing without Orders from Sir Jeffery Amherst, neither can Lieutenant Colonel Tulliken, Commanding Officer at Louisbourg, leave that Place without the same Authority.

Lieutenant Governor Belcher is of opinion that great care ought to be taken of this Province, not only to secure it from without, but also from its internal Enemies, the Indians and Accadians. The former are said to be fifteen hundred Men, Women and Children, dispersed in the different Parts of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, all belonging to one Tribe called Mickmaks, but divided into a number of distinct Bodies, each having its peculiar Chief. These Indians have lately assembled in greater numbers than usual, and been very troublesome to the Infant Settlements of this Province. They are continually spurred on to mischief by the Accadians, who have been elated by the rumour of an Enemy's Squadron being on the Coast, but measures are now taking to remove them from this Province in the same manner that many of them were in 1756. There are 915 Accadians in all now at Halifax, and about three hundred more in the Country.

I am in hopes that Colonel Forster will very soon receive Orders from Sir Jeffery Amherst; and I beg leave to assure their Lordships that nothing shall be wanting on my part, to restore our Affairs at Newfoundland. We cannot as yet judge of the Enemies Designs; how long they intend to stay at St. John s, or what number they will leave behind in Garrison; but I shall loose no opportunity of communicating to you, such Intelligence as I may receive.

P.S. A Vessel is just arrived from Louisbourg by which we have the following Intelligence. A Cartel Brigantine with one hundred and forty Prisoners sailed from St. John's for England on the 18th, past; but finding themselves badly provided with Water and Provisions, bore away for Louisbourg to get a supply. By this means we learn that the Enemy's Squadron under the Chevalier de Ternay consisted of the Robuste of 74 Guns, L’Eveille 64. Le Garonne 28. L’Unicorne 26. And according to the best intelligence that could be got, there were about fifteen hundred Troops under the Command of the Count D'haussonville. We are likewise informed that the Antelope was spoke with on the 18th. past near Trepassy, and that Captain Graves had received Intelligence of the French being in possession of St. John’s.

Northumberland at Mauger's Beach near
Halifax 9th August 1762.


In my last of the 6th. Instant I mentioned my Expectations of carrying with me the Troops from this Province and Louisburg to endeavour to remove the Enemy from Newfoundland; but having received a Letter last Night from Sir Jeffery Amherst of the 29th. past, and finding he has not given any directions on this head I shall sail tomorrow with the Northumberland and Gosport, and am in hopes of being joined by the Antelope and Syren on the Coast of Newfoundland.

The King George of twenty Guns, belonging to the Province of Massachusetts Bay brought the Dispatches from Sir Jeffery Amherst last Night; I intend to carry her with me, and to send her back to NewEngland and as soon as she can be spared from the present Service.

I propose to cruize off St. John's to cut off the Enemy's Supplies, and to annoy them every way that may be in my power. I shall be sure to omitt no opportunity of sending you an account of my proceedings.
     (Rec'd 19 Nov. and read)

Northumberland in St. John's Harbour
20th. Sept. 1762.

I had the Honour of sending you an account of my Proceedings until the 18th of August, by a vessel which sailed from Placentia for England at that time; and on the 22d. I sailed with his Majesty's Ships the Northumberland, Antelope, Gosport and Syren, and the King George belonging to the Province of Massachusetts Bay. On the 25th. we chaced a Schooner off St. John's, and took her close to the Harbour's Mouth. She had been an English Privateer, taken by the Enemy, had eight carriage Guns mounted, and was manned with thirty Frenchmen commanded by an Ensign de Vaisseau.

The enemy has sent away great Part of the Inhabitants of St. John's, Men and Women and Children, by giving them Vessels and Provisions, to carry them where they pleased. Two of these, a Sloop and a Schooner, we met with on the Coast, and took twenty three Irishmen that were single Men out of them, to replace in part the Marines of the Squadron, that were left in Garrison at Placentia and the Isle of Boys. These Irishmen said that if I would go into Bay of Bulls, numbers of their Countrymen would resort to me, and enter aboard the Squadron, but during two Days which I staid in that Bay, not a Man joined me. The few Inhabitants that remained there quietly prevented any others at St. John's from coming.

Mr. Garland and Mr. Davis, two of the principal Inhabitants of Harbour Grace and Carbonera, in Conception Bay. having acquainted me that a number of Men in their Neighbourhood were willing to serve in the Squadron, during the present Exigency, I sent the Armed Schooner for them, and she returned with fifty Men, which I distributed among the Ships. And the same Gentlemen, representing that the Enemy sometimes sends small Parties by land to Portugal Cove, which have threatened to molest them in Shallops from that Place, desired in behalf of themselves and all their Neighbours, that the Schooner might be stationed in Conception Bay, for their Protection and Defence; which Request I complied with.

The Island of Carbonera, in Conception Bay, has had no other Garrison for many years, but a few old men of the Artillery, to take care of the Guns and Ordnance Stores. Had some of the Inhabitants of the Adjacent Coast taken Post here, they might easily have defended it against any Force, as the Island is inaccessible on all Sides, except one narrow landing Place, and no safe road in the Neighbourhood for great Ships. But the Enemy landed in Boats and destroyed the whole without Resistance. And the Isle of Boys near Ferryland, would probably have shared the same Fate, had it not been possessed in due time, by the Syren's Marines.

In frequently passing the Harbour's Mouth of St. John's, we could plainly see, that the Fort which fronts the Entrance, was fortified all round with new Works; and that a Redoubt or something like one was raised at the little Harbour of Kitty Witty10. The old Battery at the south Side of the Harbour's Mouth was repaired with additional Works, and a new one erected on the same side nearer the Entrance. All these were to be seen from the Sea, and I could not learn that the Enemy intended any thing more than the finishing these Works.

On the 8th of September I received, by a Sloop express from Halifax, Letters from Sir Jeffery Amherst at New York, acquainting me that he had come to a Resolution to muster up all the Troops he could, from New York, Halifax and Louisburg,11 in order to dislodge the Enemy as soon as possible from St. John's, and that Lieutenant Colonel Amherst was to command these Troops. The same conveyance brought me Letters from Colonel Amherst, acquainting me with his arrival at Halifax on the 26th. of August, his departure from thence on the 1st. of September, and with his Intention to call at Louisburg for the Troops there, and then proceed round Cape Race to join me on this Coast. Upon receipt of these Letters I sent the Sloop which brought them, to look out for Colonel Amherst and the Transports off Cape Race; and in order to join them the sooner, to concert measures for the ensuing Operations, before the Enemy could have notice of their arrival, I dropt down with the squadron to Cape Broyle; but Mr. Gill of St. John's who had been sent out of the Town in a cartel Schooner two days before, sending off advice from Ferriland, that he was sure the Enemy intended to sail in a very little time, I returned with the Squadron to our Station off St. John's.

On the 11th. we were joined by Colonel Amherst with the Troops in ten Transport Vessels; and I proposed Torbay as the properest Place to land at: 'tis to the Northward of St. John's,12 about seven Miles by land, and the Road pretty good, but the Bay is not reckoned safe anchorage, being open to the Easterly Winds which usually begin to prevail at this Season. By one of the Transports from New York I received a Duplicate, the original not yet come to hand, of their Lordships Order of the 7th. of June, directing me to repair myself, or send a sufficient Force, to enable Captain Graves of the Antelope to defeat the designs of the Squadron commanded by Monsieur de Ternay.

On the 12th. we proceeded to Torbay. I sent Captain Douglas in the Syren to anchor with the Transports, accompanied by the Boats of the Squadron, and a number of Shallops, or fishing Boats which I had collected from different Parts of the King's Service. With the rest of the Ships, I returned to my Station close to St. John's Harbour. Next morning Colonel Amherst landed with the Troops, in the head of the Bay, having only four Men wounded from a distant Bush firing of the Enemy. He marched directly to Kitty Vitty, and made himself Master of that important Post in the Evening, without having a Man killed and only two or three wounded. Everything belonging to the Army was carried from Torbay to Kitty-Vitty in Shallops, escorted by Boats from the Squadron, and this Service was conducted with Diligence and Care by Mr. Dugdale my first Lieutenant, Captain Douglas having joined the Squadron again. The Enemy's Fleet was to have sailed, the Morning I past the Harbour with the Transports, and three hundred Men only were to be left in St. John's for the Winter, but upon seeing us, they landed the Grenadiers again. The 15th. it blew strong from the East to ESE with thick rainy Weather. In the Evening the Wind shifted to the Westward, light Breezes and thick fog. At 6 next morning, it being calm with a great Swell, we saw from the Masthead, but could bring them down no lower than halfway the Topmast Shrouds, four Sail bearing SSE, distant 7 Leagues. The mouth of St. John's Harbour at the same time bore West 4 Leagues. We lost sight of them about 7. tho' very clear; and some time after a small Breeze springing up in the SW Quarter I stood in towards Torbay in order to cover the Shallops that might be going from thence to Kitty-Vitty. In the afternoon I received a Note from Colonel Amherst, acquainting me that the French Fleet got out last Night. Thus, after being blocked up in St. John's Harbour for three Weeks, by a Squadron of equal Number, but smaller Ships with fewer Guns and Men did Monsieur Ternay make his Escape in the Night by a shamefull Flight. I beg leave to observe, that not a Man in the Squadron, imagined the four sail, when we saw them, were the Enemy, and the Pilots were of opinion, that they must have had the Wind much stronger than with us, to overcome the easterly Swell in the Harbour's Mouth. I sent the King George round Cape Race, as far as Trepassy to bring me Intelligence if the Enemy should steer towards Placentia. And I directed Captain Douglas of the Syren, to get the Transports moved from Torbay as a very unsafe Road, to the Bay of Bulls.

A Bomb Battery was opened against the Fort in the Night of the 17th. and next Day it capitulated, before any other Batteries had begun to play, and I herewith enclose a Copy of the Capitulation.

The Squadron got into the Harbour yesterday Morning, and in the Evening I received their Lordships Order of the 3d. of August, sent me by Captain Pallisser of the Shrewsbury who with the Superb, Bedford and Minerva had just arrived on the Coast. I have directed Captain Pallisser with the other Ships to come into the Harbour as soon as a convenient opportunity offers for so doing. I have not yet received the Order of the 31th of July to which I am referred, but it gives me the highest pleasure to think that I have already executed the purport of it; and I shall be particularly carefull to obey their Lordships Directions with regard to the Disposition of the Ships.13

We have about eight hundred Prisoners, Grenadiers, Picquets and some Marines, being a very fine Body of Men, and nearly equal in number of the Regulars of our Army. I am now preparing Transports to carry them to Brest; and as soon as they are sailed, I sall send our own Troops to the Places of their Destination, agreeable to such Disposition as shall be made by Colonel Amherst.

The Enemy did not intend to leave so great a part of their Force here. Their Grenadiers were ready for embarking; but Monsieur de Ternay seemed determined at all Events, to grasp an opportunity, which if once lost might never be regained, therefore, in the utmost Confusion, he left behind, his Grenadiers, Anchors, and turned his Boats a drift when they had towed him out. The Fog was so thick, that Lieutenant Colonel Tulliken, who was posted on an Eminence in the narrowest part of the Harbour's Mouth, could hear the Noise but could not discern any of their Ships. The Fog even altered the direction of Sound, which seemed to come from another Part of the Harbour, whilst they must have been directly under him.

There is a considerable Quantity of Provisions, and other Goods at this Place; collected and tumbled promiscously (sic) into different Storehouses by the Enemy. Many of the Irish Servants have also been robbing and plundering their Masters. To ascertain property, in order to make Restitution as far as can be, and to restore regularity to a Country so long distracted by being in the Enemy's possession, will be the particular care of Governour Graves; who in my opinion is well qualified for such an Office: and as he will stay here with the Antelope, longer than the other Ships, in order to collect his Convoy for Lisbon, I am in hopes he will be able, in a great measure to restore the Affairs of this Country.

Two hundred of our Troops, will be sent immediately to New York, under the care of Captain Jervis of the Gosport, who will proceed from thence without loss of time to Virginia, in order to take under Convoy, the Trade for England agreeable to his Orders from their Lordships.

I cannot as yet give their Lordships any further Account of Things here, but imagine I shall be able to do all my Business in less than three Weeks, and then to make the best of my way for Spithead.

Captain Douglas of the Syren, has behaved with Spirit and Activity, and exerted every Talent of a good Officer during this expedition; and (without adding any more Officer to the Corps) I am happy in the opportunity of sending him to wait on the Lordships.14


The Ships from England are come into the Harbour this afternoon and also all the Transports.

Demandes de la Garnison de St. Jean et en general des Troupes qui y sont.

Agreed to ..............Les Troupes Fran'coises se rendront Prisonieres de Guerre.
Agreed to .............Les Officers et Bas Officiers conserveront leurs Armes, pour la Police de leurs Troupes.
Agreed to. Lord Colvill will of course embark them as soon as he possibly can.Il sera donné de bons Batimens pour conduire les Officiers, Grenadiers, - Sôldats, Blessé et non blessé, en France, dans l’espace d'un Mois, sur les Costes de Bretagne.
His Britannick Majesty's Troops never Pillage.Les Effets des Officiers, et Soldats seront conservés.
The Gate will be taken possession of this Afternoon
and the Garrison will lay down their Arms.
This is to be signed by Lord Colvill
but it will remain at present, as
Afterwards, in full Force.


A true Copy COLVILLE

Camp before St. John's Septem'r 18th 1762.

Northumberland in Placentia Road August 17th 1762.
(Rec'd 8th Sept by Lieut Neal)

On the 10th. Instant I sailed from Halifax with the Northumberland, Gosport and King George, and next Day spoke with a Sloop dispatched by Captain Graves from Placentia with Letters for Sir Jeffery Amherst, Colonel Forster and myself, urging the necessity of a Reinforcement of Troops, with a Supply of Stores, and Materials for building Barracks, at Placentia. I seconded Captain Grave's Application by a Letter to Colonel Forster, and sent the Sloop directly to Halifax, from Whence the Supplies must come.

who arrived on the 22d. (On the 14th, I anchored here, where I found the Antelope and Syren. Captain Graves, Governour of Newfoundland, has been employed in repairing the ruined July Fortifications of this Place, and putting every thing in a posture of Defence, with all possible diligence, and I Have joined with him in his Work.) Before my arrival he had taken a Bilander16 into the Service, to carry home an account of his Proceedings, which gives me an opportunity of sending you this Letter (together with Copies of those, I already write on the same Subject). As you will receive from Captain Graves a full and circumstantial Account, of the Situation of Placentia, with all he has done for its security, 'tis unnecessary for me to trouble you with a repetition of these Matters. Four of the Gosport’s lower Deck Guns are added to the Fort, and Sixty eight Marines, including two Officers, are to be landed, as soon as a Place can be provided for their Accommodation, or sooner if the Wind comes fair, from the Northumberland, Antelope and Gosport, to reinforce its Garrison.

As we have now done every thing for the security of Placentia, which our time and Circumstances will admit of, and as I am impatient to get off St. John's, I shall sail with all the Ships as soon as the Antelope and Syren can be got out of the inner Harbour, but if that cannot be in a few Days, I shall not wait for them.

In my Letter of the 2d. past I mentioned Captain Douglas's having sent his Marines with a view to reinforce the Garrison of St. John's. But in their way having heard of the surrender of that Place, they landed at the Isle of Boys near Ferryland Head; and Captain Graves having sent twenty four of his Marines; and 6 Gunners from Placentia, with a Supply of Ammunition and Stores to the same Place, 'tis thought very defensible; especially as it is exceeding strong from its natural Situation, and has three Batteries of 18 and 24 Pounders, in all 16 Guns.

I send you inclosed the latest Intelligence we have from St. John's. August 18th. 10 A.M. The Antelope and Syren are just come out of the inner Harbour.

Seven of the French Soldiers made their Escape from St. Johns on the third of this Instant August, and delivered themselves up to the Officer at the Isle of Boys, who sent them round in a Chaloupe which arrived at Placentia on the 15th. They have been examined separately and agree pretty well in the following Intelligence.

The Squadron commanded by the Chevalier De Ternay sailed from Brest on the 8th of last May, and consisted of the following Ships—The Robuste of 74 Guns, Eveille 64, Garron 36, and L’Acorn 28. They were badly manned with regard to Seamen but ther land Forces were choice Men composed of Six Companies of Grenadiers of 45 Men each, Six Picquets of 50 each, and three hundred Marines properly belonging to the Ships: In all 870 Men.

The Grenadiers are all to return to France, and were to embark the 15th of this Month, leaving only the Picquets to Garrison St. John's, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Belcombe.

Some thought the Ships were to sail very soon; while others imagined they would stay untill the Works at St. John's were compleated, which might take them up untill the middle of next Month at farthest, as every Body worked without ceasing, Seamen, Soldiers and Inhabitants. Three hundred Irishmen enlisted with them at the Bay of Bulls and St. John's. With these they have entirely manned the Garron Frigate, Commanded by an Irishman, whose Name is Sutton.

They have fitted out the Gramont for Sea.

The Troops were very healthy, but the Seamen sickly and to appearance but few of them, not above 500 in the Robuste and 400 in the Eveille.

They had twelve Months Provisions in the Garrison for the Number to be left behind; and did not expect any Supply this Fall, but that Monsieur De Ternay engaged to send them out some in the Spring, and that rather than fail he would come out himself. They had no fresh Previsions at all, and but little Flour. The Inhabitants were all sent away to the Continent of America, or to England, except a few of the principal People, and those that would take the Oaths to the French.

They had taken down all the old Palisades and placed new in their room, and likewise were surrounding the Place with a good Ditch, Covertway and a second Row of Palisadoes. They had advanced a Work before the Gate of the Fort, upon the Brow of the Hill going down to the Town; at which Place in its former Situation a Body of Men might have marched up under cover, without molestation from the Fort, within Pistol shot of the Gate.

Had the Place not surrendered immediately, they intended to have stormed it the same Night, for they could with ease have marched over the Ditch and the Ramparts, and Pulled down the Palisadoes with their Hands. It does not seem very probable that the Enemy will leave only three hundred Men to Garrison St. John's, when they may as well leave double that number; nor does there appear any Necessity for embarking the Grenadiers untill a Day or two before they intend to sail. Especially if they are in so great haste to get away, as to make every Body work without ceasing.

If I may venture to give my opinion, I should think the French will remain at St. John's with all their Force, untill they know whether any Endeavour is to be made to retake the Place before Winter.

Northumberland in Placentia Road
16th. August 1762.

Villars Street, 4th, Octr. 176217.

I have received their Lordships Order directing me to hoist my Flag on board the Neptune, and proceed to the Mediterranean. And as I have received my Wages, shall set out for Portsmouth, to morrow morning.

I have also received your Letter acquainting me that the Commissions and Warrants, given to me whilst I commanded the King's Ships in North America, will be confirmed as I desire. I beg leave on this occasion, to offer my most particular Thanks to their Lordships, and to express the disinterested Pleasure I feel at having been the Means of Good to Others.


Philip Stephens Esq.

Northumberland at Sea 10th October 1762.
Herewith I inclose you the Sentences of nineteen Courts Martial as follow.

  1. Louis DeBouix, alais Deboissieur, Corporal of Marines belonging to the Prince of Orange, tried on board the Vanguard at Quebec, by Captain Swanton on the 1st. of October 1760 for Desertion, acquitted.
  2. Henry Frith Seaman belonging to the Sutherland, tried on board the Vanguard at Quebec by Captain Swanton on the 2d. of October 1760 for Desertion, acquitted.
  3. Joseph Snipe Marine belonging to the Falkland, tried on board the said Ship at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 14th of November 1760 for Robbing the Pursers Steward Room of some Rum, Acquitted.
  4. Mr. George Vaughan Purser of the Porcupine, tried on board the Falkland at Halifax, by Captain Legge on the 14th of November 1760, for Drunkenness, disrespect to his superior Officers, neglect of Duty and disobedience, Broke.
  5. John Lee Seaman belonging to the Falkland, tried on board the said Ship at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 15th of November 1760, for neglect of Duty and contempt to his Officers, sentenced to receive two hundred and fifty Lashes.
  6. William Read Seaman belonging to the Devonshire, tried on board her at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 15th of November 1760, for Desertion. Sentenced to receive four hundred Lashes.
  7. John Harris alias Harrison Marine belonging to the Devonshire tried on board her at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 1st. of December 1760, for selling stolen Goods, etc. Sentenced to receive four hundred Lashes.
  8. Robert Smyth Seaman belonging to the Penzance, tried on board the Devonshire at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 17th. of December 1760, for selling stolen Goods, etc., Sentenced to receive three hundred Lashes.
  9. William Williams Seaman of the Pcnzance tried on board the Devonshire at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 17th of December 1760, for secreting stolen Money knowing it to be so, Sentenced to receive two hundred Lashes.
  10. Nicholas Goodinson and Robert Cock Marines belonging to the Falkland tried on board the Devonshire at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 23d. of Jan'ry, for secreting stolen Slops, the first acquitted and the latter Sentenced to receive Fifty Lashes.
  11. Nicholas Goodinson Marine, and Charles Goosta Seaman, belonging to the Falkland tried on board her at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 7th of February 1761, for selling Slop Cloaths, the first Sentenced to receive three hundred, and the latter fifty Lashes.
  12. Nathaniel Nanster Marine of the Penzance tried on board the Devonshire at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 27th of February 1761, for Theft, Sentenced to receive five hundred Lashes.
  13. Nathaniel Levi alias George Cooper belonging to the Devonshire tried on board her at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 27th of February 1761, for Theft, Sentenced to be hanged untill he is Dead.
  14. Edward Lovely Seaman of the Northumberland tried on board the Devonshire at Halifax by Captain Legge on the 30th of March 1761, for leaving his Duty on Shore, to receive three hundred Lashes.
  15. Vincent Dunnevan Seaman belonging to the Norwich, tried on board the Northumberland at Halifax by Captain Darby on the 6th of August 1761, for Desertion, Sentenced to receive five hundred Lashes.
  16. Edward Lovely Seaman belonging to the Northumberland tried on board her at Halifax by Captain Darby on the 6th of August 1761, for absenting himself from his Duty etc., Sentenced to receive six hundred Lashes.
  17. Thomas Elmore and Thomas Wheeler Seamen belonging to the Bedford, tried on board her in St. John's Harbour by Captain Pallisser on the 28th of September 1762, for Mutinous Behaviour, Sentenced to receive two hundred and fifty Lashes each.
  18. Matthew Hay Seaman of the Minerva tried on board the Shrewsbury in St. John's Harbour by Captain Pallisser on the 30th of September 1762, for Desertion, Sentenced to receive six hundred Lashes.
  19. Thomas Lewin Seaman of the Superb tried on board the Shrewsbury in St. John's Harbour by Captain Pallisser on the 30th of September 1762, for Desertion, Sentenced to be Hanged untill he be Dead.

All these Sentences were executed, except No. 18 on Matthew Hay belonging to the Minerva, and the one Transmitted to you on the 10th July 1760.

I had ordered Captain Rowley of the Superb to cause Hay's Sentence to be executed, in two successive Mornings but after the first Punishment, he represented to me by Letter, inclosing a Certificate from his Chirurgeon, that his Prisoner could not undergo the remaining half of his Punishment as directed, without imminent danger of his Life; and the Minerva being then getting under way, as Convoy to some of the Transports, I ordered the Prisoner to be sent on board his proper Ship, and to be reprieved from the rest of his Punishment, untill further Orders.

The other Sentence was on three Men belonging to the Vanguard condemned to be hanged for Desertion, one only of which was executed; and I then gave you my Reasons at large, for this Proceeding.

These are all the Courts Martial which have been held by my Orders since the 12th of September 1760, at which time I transmitted to you one Sentence on the 26th of August the same year, three, on the 10th of July, one, on the 26th of May, nine, and on the 24th of the same Month, one, the whole making thirty-four.

Northumberland at Sea 10th October 1762.
Herewith I send you the Subscription to the Test, by the Officers of Halifax Dockyard, which I administered to them by their Lordships directions. I also send the Subscription of all the Officers appointed or moved by me, whilst Commander in Chief of the King's Ships in North America and beg leave to recommend them to their Lordships for Confirmation.
Note in Clevland's writing: Nov 4 own Receipt and let his Lordship know that the Commissions and Warrants were confirmed.

I Abraham Constable, I Richard Hamilton, I Joseph Gerrish, Do swear from my Heart, that I abhor, detest, and abjure as impious and heretical the damnable Doctrine and Position, that Princes excommunicated, or deprived by the Pope or any authority of the See of Rome may be deposed or murthered by their Subjects, or any other whatsoever; And I do declare that no foreign Prince, Prelate, State or Potentate, hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Preheminence, or Authority, Ecclesiastical, or Spiritual with his Realm, So Help Me God.

I do also truly and sincerely acknowledge, profess, testify and declare in my Conscience before God and the World, that our Sovereign Lord King George the Third is Lawfull and Rightfull King of this Realm, and all other his Majesty's Dominions and Countries thereto belonging. And I do solemnly and sincerely declare in my Conscience, that the Person pretended to be the Prince of Wales during the life of the late King James, and since his Decease pretended to be and taking upon himself the Style and Title of King of England by the Names of James the third, of Scotland by the Names of James the Eight, or the Stile or Title of King of Great Britain, hath not any Right, or Title whatsoever to the Crown of this Realm, or any other the Dominions thereto belonging; And I do renounce, refuse and abjure any Allegiance to him; and do swear that I will bear Faith and true Allegiance to his Majesty King George the Third, and him will defend, to the utmost of my Power, against all traiterous Conspiracies and Attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his Person, Crown or Dignity. And I will do my utmost Endeavour to disclose and make known to his Majesty, and his Successors, all Treasons and traitorous Conspiracies, which I shall know to be against him or any of them. And I do faithfully promise to the utmost of my Power, to support, maintain and defend the Succession of the Crown against him and the said James, and all other persons whatsoever, which Succession by an Act intitled an Act, for the further Limitation of the Crown and better securing the Rights and Liberty of the Subjects, and stands limited to the Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Heirs of her Body being Protestants. And all these things, I do plainly and sincerely Acknowledge and swear, according to the express words by me Spoken, and according to the plain commonsense and understanding of the same Words, without any Equivocation, mental Evasion or secret Reservation Whatsoever; And I do make this Recognition, acknowledgement, Abjuration Renunciation and Promise heartily, willingly and truly, upon the true Faith of a Christian. So Help me God.

I do also declare that I believe that there is not any Transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, in the Elements of Bread and Wine, or after the Consecration thereof by any Person whatsoever.


Name Quality Time when---
Jos. GerrishStore keep’rApril 6th, 1762
R. HamiltonMa’r. Attend’tApril 6th, 1762
Abram ConstableMa’r Shipw’tApril 6th, 1762


I do hereby certify that Abraham Constable Master Shipwright, Richard Hamilton Master Attendant, and Joseph Gerrish Naval Store keeper, at Halifax, have taken the above Oaths, and that they were administered to them by me.


Northumberland at Spithead 25th October 1762.

On the 23d. of last Month, Captain Douglas in the Syren, sailed for England from St. John's Harbour, with an Account of the Recovery of that Place from the Enemy, and of the Proceedings of the Squadron untill that time. Two Days after the Syren, the french Troops that were made Prisoners of War, sailed for Brest, in the two largest Transports that came from New York with Colonel Amherst: I inclose an Account of them as made out by the Count D'haussonville, their commanding Officer, and also a Copy of the Orders I gave to the Masters of the Transports that carried them; both which I also send to the Commissioners for Sick and hurt Seamen.

Captain Jervis of the Gosport took all the wounded Men amounting to nineteen, and one hundred of our Troops into his own Ship, and with about as many more in a Transport, sailed for New York on the 25th of September, where he was to make no stay, but prosecute his Orders from their Lordships, as mentioned in my last Letter.

Captain Hallowell of the King George, took on board his own Ship and a Transport Schooner, about one hundred and sixty of the Troops, and sailed for Louisbourg on the 26th of September, where they were to be landed, and one hundred Provincials taken aboard and carried to Halifax, from whence they had been lent to supply the place of the Louisbourg Troops, that went on the Expedition. From Halifax the King George was to return to Boston.

All the rest of the Troops to be sent from St. John's were put on board eight Transport Vessels, except about forty, which Captain Peyton of the Minerva took into his own Ship, and as Convoy to the whole sailed on the 1st of October for Halifax; where all the Troops except about twenty, and four of the Transports, were to be left; Captain Peyton with the other four, containing Military Stores, was to proceed to New York, the place of their Destination. From New York he was to proceed to Spithead; and if Sir Jeffery Amherst should think it necessary to send any Transports to England in order to their being discharged, he was to take them under his Care.

On the 25th of September Captain Houlton in the Enterprize anchored in St. John's Harbour. He had convoyed a number of Transports with Sick and wounded Soldiers from the Havannah to New York, and joined me from thence. He sailed again under my Orders the 2d. of October, with Colonel Amherst for New York; and was afterwards to join Captain Spry at Halifax, unless upon consultation with Sir Jeffery Amherst it should be thought necessary to employ the Enterprize upon some other Duty, more essential for his Majesty's Service.

Colonel Amherst saw all his Troops disposed of before he left St. John's. Two hundred and fifty remained in Garrison under the command of Captain Gualley of the 45th Regiment, and a Subaltern with twenty eight Men relieved the Marines on the Isle of Boys. The Marines at Placentia were sent for, on the first notice I had of the Army's approach, that sixty eight Men might be added to it; but they did not arrive untill after the Gosport sailed, and I divided her Marines being twenty four in all, between the Minerva and Shrewsbury. Seventeen, the number of the Syren's Marines, did not arrive from the Isle of Boys, untill after Captain Douglas had sailed; they are now on board the Northumberland. All the rest of the Marines are returned to their proper Ships. The Syren's and Gosport’s were discharged from their's when they sailed from St. John's.

There are six Guns, twenty four and eighteen Pounders, on the south Battery, which defends the Mouth of St. Johns Harbour, these were spiked up by the Enemy, and the Commanding Officer of the Artillery, reported to Colonel Amherst that they could not be made serviceable at present for want of proper drilling Tools, therefore I directed Captain Houlton of the Enterprize to land six of his lower Deck Guns, being eighteen Pounders, to supply their Place. However, the Armourer of the Superb, a Foreigner accustomed to such Work, afterwards undertook the Task and performed it, so that the Guns are again as fit for Service as ever.

I have mentioned in another Letter that the Fortifications on the Island of Carbonera, were entirely destroyed by the Enemy. Colonel Amherst sent thither Mr. Desbarres an Engineer, who surveyed the Island and drew a Plan for fortifying it with new Works; when these are finished, the Enterprize's six Guns will be ready to mount on them. But I believe nothing will be under taken this Year, as the Season is so far advanced, and no kind of Materials on the spot for building Barracks or Sheds to cover the Men, should any be sent there. Mr. Cook, Master of the Northumberland, accompanied Mr. Desbarres. He has made a Draught of Harbour Grace, and the Bay of Carbonera; both which are in a great measure commanded by the Island, which lies off a Point of Land between them. Hitherto we have had a very imperfect Knowledge of these Places, but Mr. Cook who was particularly carefull in sounding them has discovered that Ships of any size may lay in safety both in Harbour Grace and the Bay of Carbonera.

I was informed by Captain Pallisser, that the Senegal and another Sloop had sailed from England a little before him; and that it was supposed they had Orders to join me in North America. I naturally concluded that the Captain of one of the Sloops, was charged with my Orders from their Lordships of the 31st of July, and not finding me at Halifax, would agreeable to the Rendezvous I left with Lieutenant Governor Belcher, follow me to Newfoundland; therefore I directed Captain Graves of the Antelope, to employ conditionally, any Sloop that might arrive at St. Johns after my Departure, as a Convoy, if any Vessels should be bound to England, to make the same necessary and I inclose a Copy of my Orders to Captain Graves.

From what I have wrote their Lordships will know now I have disposed of all the Ships under my command. It remains only for me to say that on the 7th Instant I sailed from St. Johns Harbour in Newfoundland with the Northumberland, Shrewsbury, Bedford and Superb; and this Day we all anchored at Spithead without meeting anything remarkable on our Passage.


Note in Clevland's Writing: 26 Oct. Own receipt congratulate him upon his safe arrival inform him that his conduct having given the King great satisfaction his Majesty has been pleased to cause him to be promoted to be Rear Adm'l of the Whyte for which purpose my Lords have approved Commission which I send by this conveyance with Com. Hughes at Portsmouth and beg to congratulate his Lords'p on his Promotion.

Acq't him likewise that the Lords being desirous to see him he may expect an Order in a day or two to strike his Flagg and come to Town.

By the Right Hon'ble the Lord Colvill
Commander in Chief of his Majesty's
Ships and Vessels in North America.


Whereas the Transport Ship under your command is now victualled to seven Weeks at short allowance, and provided with a sufficient Quantity of Water, for a certain Number of Prisoners of War, that were part of the French Garrison at St. Johns: You are hereby required and directed to receive the said Prisoners according to Lists that will be sent with them, taking care to victual them at two thirds allowance only. As soon as they are aboard, you are to proceed with all possible Dispatch to Brest in France, where you are to deliver them to the proper Officer, and then to make the best of your way to Portsmouth.

Upon your arrival at Portsmouth, you are to acquaint the Commissioners for Sick and Hurt Seamen at London, or their Agent upon the Spot, with the Service you have been employed on, giving them Copies of this my Order, and of the Charter Party by which your Ship was taken into the Service as a Transport.

Dated on board the Northumberland in St. Johns Harbour 22d. September 1762.


To Mr. William Cooper Commander of the Ship James.
and Mr. Archibald Galbreath Commander of the Ship
Fanny, Transports.

By Command of his Lordship
Jas. Fordyce.

Note on back of Dispatch: Copy of Lord Colvill’s Order to the Master of each of the two Transports, that went with the french Prisoners from St. Johns to France. Dated 22d. of Septem'r. 1762.

By the Right Hon'ble the Lord Colvill
Commander in Chief of his Majesty's
Ships and Vessels in North America.
Whereas it is necessary that I should forthwith proceed to England with his Majesty's Ships of the third Rate, now in this Harbour; and as there is no Convoy provided for the Oil Vessels, if any such should be bound to England this Year.

You are therefore hereby required and directed to employ on this Service, the Senegal, or any other of his Majesty's Sloops that may arrive after my Departure, provided you shall think it of more consequence to the Public, than te prosecution of any Orders the Senegal or other Sloop may be under.

But if their should not be a sufficient number of Vessels to require a Convoy, according to the usual Practice of the Service, and if the Sloops that may arrive here, should be directed only to join me, you are then to Order their Commanders to proceed to Halifax and put themselves under the Command of the King's Ships in North America.

And you are to remain with the Antelope in this Harbour, as long as his Majesty's Service, or the Welfare of this Country may require your stay, proceeding afterwards to Lisbon with the Trade, and from thence to England agreeable to the Instructions you have received from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. Dated on board the Northumberland in St. Johns Harbour 4th October 1762.


To Captain Graves Commander of
of Majesty's Ship the Antelope.

Northumberland Spithead 23 Oct’r 1762.

I have sent you a Copy of my Journal from the 21 Sept’r. 1759. to the 25 Oct’r. 1762. being the time I served as Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships in North America, and beg the favour of their Lordships to order my Wages to be paid for that time.


Note on back in Clevland’s writing: 3 Nov. N B'd to pay it without a moments loss of time, his Lordships being ordered upon ——— voyage.
Let his Lordship know.



Page contributed by Chris Morry

Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (May 3, 2003)

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