On This Day: 9 May 1700

On this day in 1700, Henry Smith wrote from Newgate prison to Bowrey at the Garter Coffee House behind the Royal Exchange. Henry is believed to have been the brother of Samuel Smith who had married Elizabeth Bowrey before leaving for Bombay where he died in 1669.

Henry was a disreputable character who had already been sent home in disgrace from India by the East India Company. He does not explain why he was in jail but in his letter he mentions Captain Gullocks men. Gullock was master of the ship Adventure of London bound for Borneo when the boatswain and some of the crew mutinied off the Spice Islands. The following year, the Adventure arrived in America before the mutineers scuttled her off Rhode Island. The crew were captured but the boatswain escaped and joined up with the infamous pirate William Kidd. The two were captured together and sent to England for trial in 1700. They were hanged later that year.

The fate of the remaining mutineers is not recorded but it would appear that they were sent back to England and imprisoned in Newgate.

In this letter, Smith requests a bible and book of Common Prayer with large print. He wished to be able to join his fellow prisoners in prayer and the singing of hymns every morning and evening.

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