Group Title: The Trinidad Historical Society publication.
Title: Publication
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Publication
Physical Description: no. : ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Port-of-Spain
Publication Date: 1932?-52?
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subject: History -- Periodicals -- Trinidad   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Trinidad and Tobago -- Trinidad
Dates or Sequential Designation: no. 1-1042.
Numbering Peculiarities: Ceased publication.
Issuing Body: Issued 1932-35 by the society under its earlier name: Trinidad Historical Society.
General Note: Reprints of documents relating to the history of Trinidad.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080962
Volume ID: VID00015
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 45882505

Full Text


i I


Publication No. 27.
Letter from Commandeur Vinkes to His Highness the Prince of Orange
from the ship named Defensor being anchored in the Bay
named Rodeclips. 12th May (March), 1677.

MIs. Col{ccion Navarrete. Museo Naval. Madrid. Vol. XXIX,
No. 34. Supplied by courtesy of the Subdirector
Dr. Julio F. Guillen. Translated from the Spanish.

(The words in brackets are not in the original but show the
correct months and the equivalent Dutch names.)

The last letter which I wrote to Your Highness was on
the 9Ith April (January) by way of Barbados in which I
reported the arrival here of a vessel loaded with sugar for
Holland which had come from Surinam in seven days. The
Master told me that two days before he left a ship had come
to Surinam which had been three weeks in Cayana (Cayenne)
selling slaves and that at that time the supply fleet had
arrived safely at Cayana. Everything there was all well
except a lack of food for the garrison. The Master also
assured me that Cayana had not fallen into the power of
the French and on this, I sent the vessel San Pedro to Cayana
with provisions.

On the x8th April (February) we saw two small vessels
passing one in front of the othei across the Bay without
showing any flag from which we concluded they were spies.

In the night of the 18th-19th, the despatch boat La Fortuna
Captain Erasmo which had been ordered to the Islands,
arrived here with a letter from the Governor of Nives (Nevis)
stating that the Conde de Estres (Comte D'Estrees) had taken
Cayana and that the French ships were in the Islands-taking
on troops and plunder to go, it is said, to Tobago. This was
reported to us by a planter from the Island of San Christoval
(St. Kitts).

On the 19th we saw nine sails and immediately concluded
that this must be the French fleet. We at once put our
defences in good order sending the companies of Glcngies
(Von Glargies) and Vionsen (Witsen) together with some
sailors to man the guns on shore, who with the companies of
the Captains Vandergraef, Vendongen and Ciabones did
nothing all night but work hard to reinforce the palisades of
the Fort, the Star redoubt and its battery.

On the 20th we saw the French fleet which was composed
of 14 sail. Our ships were within the Bay arranged in the
best way for defence and the officers of the ships in a Council
of War decided that no changes were required in the arrange-
ment on land.

We were fully occupied in strengthening the fort and for
this had sent ashore sailors from the ships. We were resolved
to dispute this land with them and seeing what arrairgements
the French had made to land and fearing that the\ might
surprise us, we sent out several troops to reconnoitre.

On the 22nd finding the enemy were on the hills, we
immediately burnt the houses near to the fort so as to prevent
the enemy taking advantage of their cover.

We had on each side of the Star fort, bastions with
two guns and one of four guns which was not completed
but supplied with casks as a fortification and for the
necessary defence.

In the night, the French with seven boats full of men
attacked the despatch vessel in which were 16 more men
than usual and which was on guard. They were however so
well received that they were forced to retire with the loss
of one boat, many killed and wounded.

On the 23rd we found that the French had made a path
on the slope of a hill and we sent men to report ; they found
nothing but some pistols, bread, cutlasses, &c., which the
French had left probably being frightened by some drums
which we had beaten in the night.

About midday a flag of truce arrived from the French to
speak with the Governor and asking for the surrender of the
Fort and that the French inhabitants should not be forced to
take up arms. The first request was denied and to the second
they were informed that no one would be forced to take
up arms.

On the 24th in accordance with the opinion of a Council
of War I left the ship with 28 men and took up the command
on land as it was clear that the French intended to assault
the Fort and were that lost, the fleet would be lost also. If
however we were in possession of the fort and in command of
the guns there, the French would be taking a desperate
chance if they entered a bay in which there were 20 enemy
ships and which they could not leave without great difficulty.
On the morning we sent men again to examine the path
but no French were seen though they had bcen there in
the night.
Meanwhile we were not idle, there being much to do to
perfect the arrangements for the defence.
In the night 200 French approached and seeing our men
coming to meet them, they formed in order of attack and a
battle ensued lasting a considerable time. The French were
discouraged by the reception and retired with a loss of
900 (?9o) men and we were left in possession of the field.
On the 25th the French were occupied in working at a hill
a musket shot distant and realising they were arranging to
put some guns or mortars there, we did everything possible
to prevent this.
On the 26th five French ships, three large of 94 guns each
and two small of 18 guns anchored at the mouth of the Bay,
but as I thought out of gunshot. The enemy started to fire
and sent many fire bombs at the fort but they all fell short.
We had cleared all round the fort on every side to more
than a musket shot so the French tried to advance entrench-
ments but seeing what they intended, we attacked them and
made so fierce an assault, that the French withdrew with
considerable loss.
On the 27th we sent out a troop of men to take if possible
some of the French to find out what they were doing and
what were their strength but they returned almost at once
having met the French and killed twelve of them and put
the rest to flight.
Again the French returned to throw bombs at the fort
but they did not reach it. A piece of one came up to the fort
from which we judged that they were about 200 pounds.
On the 28th I ordered a mortar to be brought ashore
which was immediately done from which we shot several
bombs into their Camp which was in the open causing much
disorder amongst the French and making them fly.
After midday we managed to capture a deserter who said
that the number was small but he was not worthy of belief.

The enemy made several attacks on our water carriers but
we replied with musketry and cannon to much effect that
they left us in peace.
On the Ist of June (March) we were all at our posts on
guard expecting the enemy and anxious to meet them.
We captured some letters from the French urging the
French inhabitants to run away promising quarter to those
who would assist them in taking the fort.
On the 2nd a fire was started by some bombs. At midday
the French again attacked our water carriers but with
no result.
On Wednesday the 3rd much to our surprise we saw the
French fleet in full sail coming swiftly in the bay to attack our
ships and guns began to flash on all sides from the ships.
The French had come up through the woods and began
a heavy attack on the Fort but were repulsed so severely that
after three unsuccessful assaults, they were obliged to withdraw.
They left behind ammunition, implements for assault and
more than 150 dead amongst which were many of the principal
officers. They took with them more than 200 wounded, as
we learnt later from the prisoners.
The first ship of the enemy boarded was that of Layden
('t Wapen van Leyden) which was anchored at the end of the
half moon. Locked together they took fire and drifted in
such a way that the fire spread to the ship Gruinengen
('t Huis de Kryninge), and thence at once to the large ship
of the Conde de Estrees of 72 guns and 445 soldiers.
The battle lasted all day until finally the ship Star
(de Goude Star), Popiesbur (Popjesburg) and Midelburg
(Middelburg) were burnt.
The French were in a narrow bay and they found it
impossible to get the large vessels out again so that they had
to be left in our hands. Two of them which got away were
so damaged that only one mast remained.
Three supply ships called the Espera del Mundo (Sphaera
Mundi) Duque de Hor (Duc de Yorck) and the Monje Dorado
(Goude Munnick) were completely burnt.
The ships Bestier (de Bescherminge), Minge (L'Alcion,
French prize) and Selandia (Provincia de Zeelant) had lost a
mast and received many shots below the water line. We let
them drift onto the shallows near the shore so as to repair them.
On the 4th we did our best to reach the French ships with
our artillery and damage them more but they did not reply.

Printed in Seville by Juan Cabezes, 1677.

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