THE TRINIDAD HISfORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 45.
Letter from Sir Jonathan Atkins, Governor of Barbados, to the Lords
Commissioners of Trade and Plantations.
2nd January, 1678, from Barbados.
Source:-Public Record Office. State Papers Colonial. C.O. 42.
Published by the courtesy of the Master of the Rolls and
the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIPS :
In my last of the 28th November, I gave you an account
of the arrival of the French fleet under the command of the
Count D'Estrees, Vice Admiral, into these parts and yesterday
there arrived a sloop from the said Admiral who gave me
advice of their success in taking the Island of Tobago ; the
manner as follows :-
On Saturday the 24th November our style, the French
fleet left our coast and stood their course directly for Tobago.
A sloop of the place came here in 14 days from there and
brought me advice that on Sunday night, an advice boat
belonging to the Dutch brought intelligence that he had
discovered the French fleet bearing up for that place, when
our sloop came presently away thence informing me thereof
and that he did observe the Dutch were very much dismayed
at the news, they having neither men nor provisions to
maintain the place.
On Monday they came up with the Island and on the
third night after, they put a thousand men ashore who
entrenched themselves upon a hill near their fort which
party was commanded by Mons. Blinart (Blenac) now General
in the place of Monsieur de Baas for the King of France in
these parts of America.
In this entrenchment they placed a mortar piece, the
third shot they made, fell into the house where the Admiral
De Binkes was and most of the officers within the fort and
where their ammunition lay which blew up, killed poor
De Binkes who deserves a better fate for his late behaviour
in the former engagement, and with him, the officers and
250 men they say, were slain.
This put them into such a consternation that the
12th December their style (2nd December old style), they
surrendered at discretion and the French have carried to
Martinico five or six hundred prisoners; they have demolished
the fort, burnt all the houses and have carried all the people
and the ordnance with them and so have quit the Island
with which we here are not much displeased.
The next news I believe I shall have, is that they have
taken Surinam a place in no condition to resist. Whether
they will attempt Curassoa (Curacoa) being a place reported
of strength I cannot tell, but I conceive it agrees not with
the French policy to be at so great a charge upon so
inconsiderable a place as this.
But yet they have some further designs up into America
more considerable. I am informed by the Captain of a sloop
that came from Hispaniola that the Buccaneers as they are
called, are preparing a fleet of I8 sail and they give out that
they expect a fleet from France to join with them.
As I shall be informed of their motions 1 shall give speedy
intelligence to Your Lordships.
The same sloop brought two passports under the hand
and seal of the Count D'Estrees for two men of war belonging
to Holland, the one of 14 and the other of 8 guns now
riding in this road, with letters to the several commanders
from the prisoners that the Vice Admiral had given leave
for their being transported for their own country in these
ships whereby they advise them that if they can find credit
here, they should provide victuals for 600 men and to hire
what ships more they shall think necessary to transport that
number and if they cannot affect it here, they shall hasten to
Martinico where the General hath promised they shall
The passports give 2o days time for their coming to
Martinico which makes me guess that Mr. D'Estrees intends
to stay some time in these parts.
Most humble and obedient servant,