On This Day: 6 August 1704

On this day in 1704, the ship Worcester was lying at anchor in the Leith Road off Edinburgh. The ship’s hold contained a cargo of pepper and other valuable trade goods from the East Indies. The voyage had not been uneventful and they had to make an unscheduled stop in Calcutta for repairs but, despite this, the journey to Scotland had been perilous when the ship continued to leak and lost her convoy after the Cape of Good Hope.

Whilst the Worcester was in Calcutta, back in Scotland the Scots Company were becoming increasingly desperate. After the failure of their attempt to colonise the Darien peninsula and other business ventures, the Company was in severe financial difficulties. In a last ditch attempt to salvage something by recovering a cargo lost in the Malacca Strait, they purchased a majority share in an armed London merchantman they renamed the Annandale.

Earlier in 1704, the English seized this ship whilst she was being fitted out on the Thames. Initial efforts in the Courts by the Scots to have the Annandale released had failed. The Scots Company had appealed but, by the 6 August, they were still waiting for the appeal to be heard and were increasingly losing patients with what they claimed was the blatant, state-approved, English aggression. They were considering retaliation in kind…

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