Aaron Thomas:

The Caribbean Journal of a Royal Navy Seaman

June 1798 - July 1798

Journal pages 1 - 56

August 1798 - September 1798

Journal pages 56 - 123

October 1798 - November 1798

Journal pages 127 - 186

December 1798 - January 1799

Journal pages 190 - 227

February 1799 - March 1799

Journal pages 228 - 266

April 1799 - May 1799

Journal pages 267 - 310

June 1799 - July 1799

Journal pages 310 - 347

August 1799 - October 1799

Journal pages 348 - 366

[Date: August 1799 - October 1799. Pages: 348-366]


Journal from page Three & forty five

Thursday 1 August 1799. Last night a Vessel ran foul of a Brig, and damaged her so, that the Syren was oblidged to bearaway with her for fort Royal, as the Brig was sinking & full of Soldiers.

2nd August. The fleet working to windward of Barbadoes

Saturday 3 Aug’t The Syren joined us again, by carrying a press of Sail, after seeing the Brig into fort Royal -- which she ran foul of on Wednesday night. At 11 AM. The Syren made a Signal to speak us. She sent her Boat aboard, with 10 Men and 3 Officers of the Royal Artillery in her. -- The Brig was ran foul of by a Sloop, and by the Syren. -- The Sloops Sunk, but her hands were saved, except three men the Carpenters went on board the Brig & repaired her damages; but by her not been seen from the Decks, makes us think something has happened to her.
        A Fleet of 18 Sail of Americans passed us this day, under Convoy of A Man of War Brig, steering large.
in the Sloop which was lost, was a Mr. Dixon a Merchant of Martinico, he had 600 Joes in the Sloop, -- all of which were lost. -- he was going with us, upon what tradesmen call the Speck, no doubt hoping to make 1800 Joes of his 600, at the place we expect & hope to conquer.

4th August. -- Nothing particular -- at 2 PM saw a strange Sail, which from her Sails, we knew to be a Spanish [Settee] the Tamer & Requin Brig went in Chace. At 6 PM La Unite send to recal the Tamer & Requim from any further pursuit.

(carryed to page 349)


Journal from p. 349

Monday 12th Aug’t 1799 -- at 6 AM I saw the land. & Judge it to be the shore of Surinam. The Admiral kept Tacking off & on all this day, as if he was expecting a Boat from the Shore, or was waiting for a Spring tide to go in with

Wednesday 14th Aug’t Lay too for some hours. Manned some Boats with Caronades &c. Sent the Amphitrite Alexander Armed Schooner. & Prince of Wales Transport ahead, -- said to be for the purpose of Landing the Troops and storming the Battery on Breemes Point.
        At 2 PM got suddenly into shallow water. Saw the Bank extend as far as the Eye would reach. -- at 4 Admiral & fleet Anchored, in 19 fathom. – Land in sight from the Tops. -- Signal made for the Captain.

Thursday 15th -- at 2 AM. we got under weigh. Stood to the SE. Tacked. -- at daylight near the Admiral. -- Tacked. -- Stood into 1/4 less three, very muddy. Spoke an American Sloop of War. Blacksided. doubts about the mouth of Surinam River. Spoke the Requin Brig. -- Senhouse came aboard. -- Anchored in 5 fathom water; The Battery on Breems Point SE. distant 7 miles.
        Saw the french Corvertte, & the Dutch Brig at Anchor under the fort.
        Admiral & fleet at Anchor to Leeward about 12 miles Distant
The Amphitrite & Prince of Wales Transport, full of Troop were sent last night to storm Breeme point Battery. -- But nither of them are here. -- they have fell to Leeward, and we know not where they are gone. There was 2 long Twelves, 4 Sixes & [blank] feild pieces on board this Transport. -- no others in the fleet. so the expedition must fail, if they do not join us. As Senhouse says Fort Amsterdam cannot be attempted by the Shiping! -- it is to heavy. -- it must be taken by our Troops first.

Friday 16th 1799. Senhouse came aboard & said the Governor wished to [Captulate] had an American Officer on board with terms, going to the Admiral. -- at 6 PM the fleet Anchored near us. H went on board the Admiral. -- The Garland armed Sloop with Captain Cayley of the Invincible, & Colonol [blank] of the Yagers or Batalion of the 60 Regiment sailed for Paramaribo as a flag of Truce. -- With terms of Captulation I suppose

17th At 11 AM got under weigh. & stood for the mouth of Surinam River. Got aground, as did the Tamer. Back off. -- Anchored in 3 fathom Water, the Tamer, Unite. Syren & Lapwing in a Line. The Daphne with the Convoy near the Prince of Wales, & Invincible remained in 5 fathom about four miles to Leeward

(carryed to page 351)


Journal from page Three Hundred & fifty

Sunday 18th Aug’t. The Prince of Wales & Invincible got under weigh with the intent to approach near the mouth of the River, but finding the Water to shallow anchored again, as far from Breems point as before.
        A Dutch Schooner as a flag of Truce came out of the River, and went down to the Admiral.
        The Amphitrite & Prince of Wales Transport were seen working up to us. -- Amphitrite towing two Boats astern. -- Where they have been all this time not yet known

Monday 19th Aug’t. Lord Hugh shifted his flag into the Amphitrite & stood in for the River of Surinam, as did us; the Unite & Daphne & all the small craft. At 6 PM Anchored in Surinam River about one mile & half within Breems point
Landed 100 Yagers who took possession of the Battery on Breams Point
        Saw the large fire inland which we suppose to be the french a burning their Corvette.

Tuesday 20th Saw the English Colours flying on Breams Point. -- Sent our cutter & some of the Daphnes to take out the Yagers out of Breams point Battery and left some artilery men in their room
        Saw the Prince of Wales Transport ashore, & in the Squal at 5 PM seemed to be in a dangerous situation.
        At half Ebb all the Ships Grounded The Lapwing lay to the Tide Broadside on, fast ashore. -- heeled much
        Saw the Dutch flag flying on Purmsend. Leyden & fort Amsterdam. hear they Killed the Dutch Governor last night. and the french have stured the Dutch up to resistance, and will not suffer them to Captulate

Tuesday 20th August 99 [con’t]
What a woody Swampy shore on each side the River. -- The Trees 40 feet high; yet the Water runs under them & is full of Crocodiles; Serpents &c

Wednesday 21st Aug’t. At 4 PM. The Admiral & Squadron run up with the tide, and Anchored in fathom, to the S & E of fort Amsterdam. about a Cables length from the shore. Fired at Captain [blank] of the Portsmouth American Sloop of War. her Captain had hoisted American Colours on the french Corvette. Lord Hugh Seymour reprimanded Harvey for firing at the Boat in which was the American Captain.
        Found Anchored here a Dutch frigate or fifty Gun Ship. A Brig of 18, Eighteen pounders, & a Dutch Armed Schooner.
        Took possession of Fort Amsterdam

Thursday 22nd Took possession of the Dutch Ship. also of the Husar french Corvette. -- Garrisoned Permsend & Leyden Battery. Our Yagers left the Ship. The Admiral in the Amphitrite, & the American Sloop of War the Portsmouth, went up with the Tide, at 4 PM for Paramaribo. Was alongside the Unite frigate.

Friday 23rd Matson Beresford. & Cole of the Husar Corvette dined with me

Saturday 24th -- went up with the Tide. at 12 Midday Anchored to the S & E of fort Lalandia near Paramaribo. -- Was ashore in the evening in the City of Paramaribo, which appears to me to be the Mexico of Dutch Guaina -- it is indeed a very rich; splendid & opulant place. -- came off in the large Launch of the Invincibles

carryed to page 352


Sunday 25 August 99/ fm page 351

Walked with Col Murphy all over the City of Paramaribo. -- over the Canal. In the Beautifull Garden. Hedges of Limes &c. -- all its Streets has 2 rows of Oranges Trees, except one, which has Tamerind Trees. -- 144 oranges Trees in 2 Rows, in one Street, upon one of these. Trees I counted 307 oranges, what a great number then must be a growing in one Street.

Tuesday 27th Went ashore at daylight to Paramaribo. At Sunset the Admiral hoisted his flag on board of Us. Capt Cawley of the Invincible slept on board us.

Wednesday 28th Aug’t Went ashore at daylight with Mr Frances of the Invincible. Breakfasted at the Good Fortune, came off at ½ past Midday. -- Very hot & Sultry. The Decks covered with Awnings.

29th & 30th At Madame De Lione in Paramaribo. -- Wester of the Tamer slept on board.

31st. bought the Indian articles of the Red painted Indians (concerning which in page [blank])

Sunday 1 Sep’r 1799 Was in the Hutts where the Red Indians hang their Beds up & live. saw about 14 of them.
Had like to a been a drift in the Jolly Boat under fort Lelandia. Went into the Country, drank the Clarat & dined at the Dutchmans. Walked in the Governors Gardens, & in the flower garden Was at Church. Sailed the Requim Brig for England, with the account of taking Surinam

Monday 2 Sep’r 1799. At daylight called at General Trigge. Walked in the Governors Garden, came aboard with Myrtar. got under weigh at 8 AM. Got aground let go the Anchor at 10 AM

Tuesday 3rd At 4 AM. Got up, went on Deck, to hear the Tigers in the woods. At 9 Got under weigh at 11 AM anchored near Fort Amsterdam. At Sunset saw large flights of Parrots, flying over the Ship. -- generally in pairs, and 60 or 80 togather.

Wednesday 4th. Calms & light winds all day. Cawley. With the Parson of the Prince of Wales. Pursers &c out of the Garland Sloop dined aboard.

Thursday 5th. Light Winds & Calm so much so, that we could not get out. Came down HM Sloop of War Surinam. She got aground against the plantain vineyard. Our Boats hove her off.

Friday 6th Left fort Amsterdam and anchored near the Admiral outside the River, Breams Point bearing [blank] distant.
Followed us the Surinam Sloop of War.
I have been in the West Indias Two years this day.

Saturday 7th. Monsieur Robi. Vallee & Dessaux came back of La Principe de Gallo.
Patterson of the Invincible was aboard. said their people was sickly

Saturday 7th at 5 PM hove up, and Anchored 4 miles nearer Breams point

Sunday 8th. Sent the Launch & Cutter, with 20 men in them, to fort Amsterdam, to assist in Shiping the Brass Guns found on the forts, as it is intended to send them all to England

(carryed to 353)


[right side]

Journal fm page 353

Monday 9th Sep’r 1799. At 11 AM up Anchor. pased under the Admiral Stern, who hailed us. at 5 AM made Sail. With the Pince of Wales of 98 Guns. Surinam Sloop of War, Prince of Wales Transport. & 3 Schooner. I suppose we are bound for Martinico.
        The late Dutch Governor of Surinam Dined aboard the Admiral. this day, who was Saluted with 17 Guns on his going aboard, and on his leaving the Ship.
        Leiutenant Jurriaan Thunnes, a Dutchman, late of the Kemphaan, alias Game Cock, Dutch Brig, who Piloted us out of the River cam to Mess with me, as he is going to Martinico & from thence has liberty given him to find his best was to Holland.

Tuesday 10th Enlarged the Caben and fixed it, in its old place.

Sunday 15th Sep’r 1799 at one OClk AM anchored in Fort Royal Bay with Lord Seymour in the Prince of Wales having been absent form this place 47 days, out of which time we ware fifteen days in going to Surinam. we lay 6 days outside the River, we ware 17 days inside the River. we also lay 3 days alongside the Admiral after we came outside the River, and we ware Six days in coming from Surinam to this place; having a free wind all the way, and a fine plesant passage we had.
        At 9 AM General Trigge, who Commanded upon the Surinam Expedition left the Prince of Wales, to go on Shore, on which occasion he was saluted with 17 Guns by Lord Seymour.

16th Sep’r 1799 at daylight called of Captain Rinou in the Prince of Wales went ashore. Breakfasted aboard. went ashore with Lieut Jurriaan. paid Gold at Desboroughs. Dined aboard with Captain Warren of the Scourge. & Renou and the Chaplin of the Prince of Wales.

(carryed to page 361)



From page 347

NB Although my Letter is dated Paramaribo, yet I missed the opportunity of sending it from there, so I brought it with me to the West Indias, we arrived here yesterday safe & well, the inside of my Letter is so full, that I have nothing more to add; further then to assure you of my affectionate regard untill death A T.


Journal from page Three Hundred & fifty Three

Tuesday 17th Sep’r 1799 Was ashore all day, saw the Walloon Spanish Soldiers Land. – They were taken prisoners at Surinam.
        The Prince of Wales altered her Birth, and went into Deadmans Bay.

Wednesday 18th Sep’r Left Fort Royal Bay. Saw the Hydra working into the Bay
Mons Robi. Dessaux & Vallee left us, & were sent on board the Scourge Sloop of War
Mr Alexander Craer Left the Ship, and went on board the Prince of Wales on promotion.

Thursday 19th worked between Dominica & Martinique. becalmed also between Dominica and Desiada.

Friday 20th Anchored at the Saints. Landed some Powder & Gunners Stores, at 5 PM Left the Saints with a light wind

Saturday 21 Sep’r at 12 Midnight saw a strange Sail, fired Small Arms & Great Guns at her, in half an hour after she called out that she had struck. She proved to be a French Privateer Schooner, called La Mutine of 6 Guns & *0 men belonging to Guadulupe; to which place she was returning from a Cruize, having taken an American Brig & an English Schooner, -- our shot cut the Thigh of Mulatto off, so that he died soon afterwards, & a Boy was so badley wounded, that he was oblidged to have one of his Arms amputated

Sunday 22 Sep’r 1799. At 7 AM Anchored in Basseterre Roads. Went ashore Breakfasted at Mrs. Wainrights.

23rd was ashore, a great surfe

24th At Sunset left Basseterre, having Colonal James Tyson on board, stood to the S.

Wednesday 25th Sep’r near Redondo spoke a french Sloop with a flag of Truce, having on board Americans taken on the Coast of Africa by Three french frigates, when the french gave them this Sloop, to carry them to America, but they were going to Santa Cruz, being short of provisions.

Thursday 26th Saw an American Sloop of War, & several other American Vessels in sight.

Friday 27th At AM Anchored in Nevis Roads

This Evening I was taken very ill. -- remained on board untill the 22 Oct’r when I was oblidged to go to Sick Quarters ashore at Basseterre St. Kitts.



Craer's certificate. "During which time he conducted himself with Sobriety, and always obedient to command"
Craer was drunk 10 months, out of the 12, during the time he was with us, but the Captain signed this Sober Certificate &c. This above paragraph being inserted in the body of Certificate


Nautical &c fm page 362

I this day & ultimo notte per la prima tempo felt the effecks of severe flux. -- at 8 PM felt better, this brings me to say that the lessening of a pain; is a pleasure & that the diminishing of pleasure is pain



20____Rec’d Prize Money from Café De pont Schooner Privateer
21____Paid Thomson 53[ ]12. .6
47____Peter Bird Died

Part of the Effects of Aaron Thomas as copied from the list Transmited to us by Mrs. Wainwright by the P[]cular Desire of the Dec’d ---- as follows ----- Made 26th Oct’r 1799 -----

Thomsons Note for Eight Pounds Sterling- which was pd                                 0 0
[ ] his note for Four Hundred & Sixty Seven Pounds [bury] Sturling about 252 0 0
3 Bank of England [ ] for Stock which was sold out & Devided
                                                            as [ ] in his will amounted to about 262 7 6
Paylist of Boston Frigate                                                                                30 3 6
do Lapwing                                                                                                    37 5 6
Surrinam                                                                                                        13 9 6
Capt Herveys wages 3¼ year due 25 Octr 99 14 12 10[ ]
                   do his book debt ending 20th Oct. 8  14  5
                                                              Cur’y. 23   7=3 L
                                                                                Sterling 18 0 0

Linen & Cloaths
7 new Shirts – quite new
8 neck hankercheifs quite new –
2 coats
4 waistcoats 6 Linen Jackets - - Old Shirts - - 3 Duck Jackets
7 pr. Duck Trowers – 2 Pr Fine Trowsers – one Pair
Nankeen Pantaloons – 1 Pair Leather Breeches –
one Pr. Cloath Pantaloons – one Pr. Blk Waistcoat & Breeches
8 Pair Cotton Stockings