On This Day: 6 February 1697

On this day in 1697, James Garrett wrote to Captain Thomas Bowrey from Portsmouth in response to a letter Bowrey had sent him

When Bowrey took the leaking St George Galley into Portsmouth harbour the previous December, he did so without a pilot despite the difficult currents in the area. The galley collided with a Swedish ship, commanded by Garrett, sustaining more damage. Bowrey was now concerned that the owners of the Swedish ship may sue him for damages and wanted to know before the accounts for the aborted voyage were completed.

Garrett responded that the cost of repairing damage to his ship was £5/7/0 (the equivalent of about £670. Garrett had already paid out half this amount but added that there may yet be more damage discovered. Generously, Garrett said that if he was paid half, just £2/13/6, no legal case would be brought against Bowrey. If he refused, he would go to law and the cost will be much greater.

I believe that Bowrey paid up but it seems strange that Garrett was not claiming the full amount, not only of the damage already discovered, but also of any other found later. Was Garrett just being sympathetic to a fellow sea captain or was blame less clear cut?


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