On This Day: 13 September 1711

A few days ago, I looked at the papers of Thomas Bowrey’s submissions about the South Seas to Robert Harley held at the British Museum. Today’s document contains drafts of Bowrey’s submissions to the Lord High Treasurer (Harley) on the same subject.

The first draft starts In obedience to your Lords Comands suggesting that Bowrey had been requested to provide information by Harley himself but there is no firm evidence of this. Perhaps the request had been made, in person, by Daniel Defoe. In response to the request, Bowrey was supplying a list of those captains he knew to have been to Rio de Janerio. He lists five names (his is not included) who visited Rio between 1697 and 1708. It does suggest that he had never been there himself.

He also presumed to include a Memoir of my own relating to Rio Janerio and added that Harley had told him of a Book of Spanish Drafts w[hi]ch I should compare w[i]th my Book and he would now make that comparison.

So, were Bowrey’s efforts to push for a settlement in the South Seas purely to obtain satisfaction over the loss of the Worcester? I am not sure. Many of the schemes Bowrey proposed include some mention of getting some compensation for the loss of the ship but they were also ventures to improve trade and Bowrey was a merchant who could benefit from the trade generated.

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