On This Day: 15 March 1707/08

Today’s document is intriguing – it is addressed to Captain Thomas Bowrey and annotated on the rear Mr Grist & Elliot about ye Capt & Mr Griffin giving ye Ship away.

The letter, signed by Elias Grist and John Eliot, starts by saying that ye Bearer hereof wished them to assure Bowrey that the bearer owe ye Ship’s Booke nothing and was very poor & mean. They were asking Bowrey to pay the bearer his wages owed especially as he had behav’d himself very bravely in the engagement with a French privateer when Mr Tolson, & his Rascally Mate Griffin surrendered the Mary Galley. They explain that Tolson had an excuse in that he was wounded but Griffin simply hid between decks and stopped others with him from emerging to engage with the attackers.

The authors has been informed of some of these events by Bowrey’s kinsman Thomas Studds and others who were with him.

The Mary Galley was yet another of Bowrey’s ship to meet with disaster. In his account of the fate of the ship, Sir Richard Carnac Temple describes Bowrey’s subsequent actions again Tolson as unpleasant and said that it did not reflect to his credit. This is a rare occurrence of Temple criticising Bowrey who subsequently tried to recover his losses from his ship’s captain.


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