On This Day: 4 August 1707

Today’s manuscript highlights the paranoia still around the case of the Worcester seven years after the ship was seized. Alexander Spotiswood, Edinburgh solicitor, and Henry Smith, who was acting on behalf of the owners, sent Thomas Bowrey a list of the enquiries they were making in Scotland. The list was sent to Bowrey’s mother-in-law, as agreed in advance, because they believed that post addressed to Bowrey from Scotland would be tampered with.

The eleven questions ranged from enquiring if there were well-founded rumours of embezzlement before the sale of the Worcester‘s cargo to what happened to the gold cross and two diamond rings known to have been in the Captain’s chest of drawers. Question ten concerned how the cargo was secured following the seizure. The implication of the questions was that some of the cargo may have been taken before the bulk was sold. Was the hope that compensation could be achieved for the stolen cargo even if the rest was lost to them?

By 4 August, some of the questions had been answered but further enquiries were required for the others.

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