Antigua Jany. 1st 1810
Your favor of the 6th Sept. reached me the latter end of November and at a time when I was confined to my Bed with a Fever, which prevented my answering it by that Packet, & from the circumstances of Wrecks happening since, I have not been able to give that attention to the propriety of removing the Negroes which I think it requires to answer that part of your letter. The first ship that was wrecked was the Farmer of London, John Young Master, last from New-Castle bound to the Bay of Honduras, in Ballast, she struck between three and four O’clock of the morning of the 13th of last month on the North side of the Island, we have saved the whole of her materials consisting of Cables, anchors, standing & running Rigging, sails, guns, & provisions, The whole of which I brought over on Saturday last, together with the Captain & crew. The second ship struck on the Saturday morning following, she is the Julia of Boston, last from Taragona in Spain, bound to the Havanna, laden principally with Spanish Red Wine, she had sprung a leak some days before making the land, it was therefore the intention of the Captain & Crew to run her onshore in the first convenient place, which they attempted to do on the west side of Barbuda, but did not keep far enough to the west to clear the reef on the North side, & therefore struck on one of the sunken rocks to the north west of the Island, soon after which she again got off with the loss of her rudder, as soon as it was possible to get to her (the boats being all at the other wreck) I went off when I found her in five & half fathoms water clear of all the reefs, the Captain gone onshore for assistance, I missed him by coming a different way from the one he went; the crew were dismantling the ship as fast as possible, by getting down the yards & top masts, & unbending her sails, unfortunately there was but one bent when I got onboard, or I doubt not I should have got her in nearer the shore finding nothing of the kind could be done, & the ship driving fast from the land, I made the men I had in the boat with me get one of the cables on deck and fasten to an anchor which I threw overboard, & which brought her up in about 6 fathoms water, at least 5 miles from the shore, I first got on board about 10 o’clock, the water was then up to her lower deck, at noon she had sunk to her upper deck, & gave every indication of upsetting, the captain being then on board with two more of the Island Boats, it was thought best to cut away her masts, & through her guns overboard, which was soon accomplished, since which we have been constantly at work, & on Friday evening we had got on shore about 180 pipes of wine, 60 bags nuts, 15 Bales of twine, a few boxes of Spanish liquors, 185 boxes of raisins with most of her sales etc, the vessel being so far to Leeward of the Island obliged me to keep both the Island vessels in attendance on her, whilst the greater part of the cargo was on board, & therefore prevented my sending over Capt Young until last Saturday, one vessel is still attending on her with a boats Crew of chosen men; there is about 100 pipes still on board part of which I hope may be saved, but it will be impossible to save the whole, as she must sink with some of the wine in her, she gets deeper after every days work, when I left her on Friday evening the water was knee deep on her upper Deck, she was then riding by two anchors, we have had a good deal of blowing whether since, it is my intention if possible to return tomorrow morning. These wrecks have thrown us back very considerably with the Hay, but as the weather is still favourable I trust it will not be much hurt, I hope to have it all done by the end of this month, the Corn will be a good Crop, considerably more than we shall want for the consumption of the Island, the Yams have suffered much by the very heavy rains but from the circumstances of the Negros grounds being in good condition, very few, if any of the yams will be required for the use (letter damaged) Island. I have the honor to be
your most obedt Humble servant
(signed) John James
Reference: JJ256 Robson Lowe collection on microfilm 24995, University of Texas at Austin, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.