Ship Marlborough 1753

Ship :Marlborough
Capt.: Codd
Departure: Bonny, West Africa
Date: March 31, 1753

By Advice received yesterday from Capt. Wright, of the Endeavour, from the Coast of Guinea, we have the following melancholy Account of the Loss of the Marlborough, Capt CODD, of this Port [Bristol], by an Insurrection of the Negroes, the Beginning of October last, and the third
Day after he sailed from the Bar of Bonny.- - It seems Capt. Codd had indulged 28 Gold-Coast Negroes with their Liberty on Deck, for the Sake of their Assistance to navigate the ship, who behav’d for a considerable Time in a very tractable, civil Manner, and quite unsuspected of any Revolt or Design of Mischief. But whilst the principal Part of the Crew was below, cleaning the Rooms, and none but the Captain and two white Men left above to take Care of the Ship,
(arm’d with cutlasses) all on a sudden the Negroes on Deck snatch’d the Arms from them, wounded the Captain, and forc’d him up the Fore-shrouds, where they shot him to Death. The rest of the Negroes securing the Quarter-deck and Small Arms, were soon Masters of the Ship, and spent the rest of the Day in most cruelly butchering the Crew (who were in N. 35) except the Boatswain and Cabbin Boy, whose Lives they preserv’d to conduct the Ship back again, which they did after eight Days, and came to an Anchor within the bar of Bonny. - - About the same Time, the Hawk, Capt Jones, of this Port, arri’d at the same Place, and hearing of the Affair, bore down on her, with an Intent to re-take her; but the Negroes were so expert at the Great Guns and Small Arms, that they soon repell’d ‘em. After putting what bite Negroes ashore that chose to go (in No. 270) the Remainder (consisting of 150) weigh’d Anchor, set their Sails, and stood to Sea, with Intent, as is suppos’d, to go to their own Country, tho’ the Undertaking was extremely hazardous, inasmuch as they had no one to navigate the ship, the Boatswain having jump’d over-board the Night before they saild, and got to the Hawk; and ‘tis suppos’d that on his Escape the poor Cabbin-Boy fell a Sacrifice to their revengeful Hands. - -
Captain Codd has left a Widow and four Children, and is much lamented, as he was a worthy, facetious, good natur’d Commander.

Printed in Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal, 3 – 10 February, 1753


BRISTOL, March 31, 1753
The GENUINE ACCOUNT of the DREADFUL MASSACRE that befell Captain CODD and his People, in the Ship Marlbrough of this Port, after they had passed the Bar of Bonny, on the Coast of Africa, by the Rising of the Blacks. In a Letter from John Harris (who conducted the Bonny Slaves on Shore, and thereby saved his own Life) to his Father in Brazier’s-Court on the Kay, Bristol.- - - -In which are such Instances of Cruelty as not to be parrallell’d in the known World. With the Names of those who were not murder’d but were carried to Sea with them. Bonny, Oct. 25, 1752.
Hon. Father


Bonny, West Africa
March 31, 1753

THIS is to let you know what a bad Misfortune I have met wit.- - The 11th of this Instant we got over the Bar of Bonny, and the 14th following, being a fine Day, our Captain thought proper to wash the Slaves, so ordered Tubs and Swabs to be got ready; all the People being busy, except the Centries, the Gold Coast Slaves rose upon the Quarter Deck, and alarmed the whole Ship, knocked the Centries down at the Barricaddo, and tossed them over-board; they then taking a Blunderbuss up, knocked the Captain down with the But-End, who got up again, and made the best of his Way up into the Fore-Top: We stood the [sic] as we could, having nothing to defend ourselves but an empty Musquet, and few Platform Boards; we had not been there long before
they killed our Boatswain’s Mate and another Man; then seeing it was in vain to stand any longer, we made to the Rigging, some to the Mizzen-Top-Mast Head, and other to the Main-Top ditto, where we stood and saw their Barbarity, who fired up at us all the Time; our Doctor and another Man got into the Punt, and was barbarously murdered; they shot the Doctor in his Side, then taking a Gun, struck him over the Head with the Butt End of it several Times; but perceiving he was not quite dead, they got the Cook’s Mall, and beat his Brains out, and tossed him and the other over-board; our Chief Mate was stabbed in the Body, and the Second Mate’s Throat cut from Ear to Ear, and another Man killed in the Steerage: After they had murdered almost all the Officers, and most of the Men, they pursued us again, firing at us as fast as they could load their Pieces; our Third Mate, being at the Mizzen-Top-Mast Head, was shot through the Thigh, who then went down and relied on their Mercy, when four of them cut him Limb
from Limb. We seeing such Cruelty used upon our Fellow Creatures, knew no Means to secure ourselves; we went down the Main-Top-Mast Stay into the Fore-Top, where we saw the Captain, and three more, in a miserable Condition; then we went up into the Cross Trees, where they fired at us as bad as before; I was shot in my Right-Arm, and in my Belly, but I passed it off as light as I could; for if I had then behaved otherwise, they would have thrown me over-board, as they did the Rest of the Wounded. After crying and begging for our Lives, about two Hours, they seeing our Number was but small, bid us to come down, and they would not kill us: We ventured down on the Fore-Top, when the Gold Coast Slaves called me by my Name, Harris, Harris, to come-down! I went down, and they shoved me along the Deck from
one to the other, that I thought I should have been killed amongst them,; then they brought me aft, and tyed me Hand and Foot by the Cabbin Door; afterwards they brought the Rest aft, and put me and George Mecargo in Irons; (we was about 12 in Number, which they thought too many to be saved, so they threw four over-board alive) but we was soon relieved to work the ship; we put the Ship about, and stood for the Land, which we discovered in two Days and two Nights; we stood off and on to get the Cable clear: It being soon in the Morning, we let got our best Bower Anchor, an gave her a good Scope of Cable: Then the Gold Coast Slaves made us hoist our Long-Boat and Yawl, thinking they could go to the windward coast sooner than the ship; they loaded the Long-Boast so deep with Goods and small Slaves, as she could swim; but the Bonny Slaves, not being willing to stay on Board, leaped into the Boats by Force of Arms, and such them both. The Gold Coast Slaves would not let them come on Board again, which drowned upwards of a Hundred of them: This created so much discontent between the Gold Coast and the Bonny Slaves that they fell to fighting, with great Fury, all that Night; in the Morning they agreed to leave off Fighting while they dressed and eat some Victuals; which
done, they fell to it as they did the Day before. – We cut the Cable, and came to an Anchor in light of the ships lying off Bonny, but the Gold Coast Slaves not liking to see the ships, threatened our Lives; - - we satisfied them as well as we could. We had not lain here long before they ordered the Boatswain to lower the Punt down, thinking to send the Bonny slaves on Shore a Boat-Load at a Time; but for Fear of Delay, they thought proper to send a White Man in he; I was ordered in and out the Boat two different Times, when they sent two Blacks in but the Cook told them, it was better to send me in the Boat, because I knew best what to do in her: We loaded the Boat and rowed for our Lives to the shore, it by this time growing dark - - I lay at a Trader’s House, and the next Day I went on Board the Earl of Ra[dney]r, Captain Wright,
belonging to Bristol. Our Ship lay here two or three Days after I left her: The Hawk, belonging to Bristol, who is come in here, passed by her, and saw she looked like a Ship that had been plundered by Slaves, fell under her stern, and hailed her; they told them the Captain and Mate,
and six more, were gone on Shore, and the rest was all sick; they sent their Yaul up to us to know the Truth of it, and soon found the contrary; they made no Stay, but went on Board again directly, and engaged her in the Night, but all no Purpose. In the Morning the Gold Coast Slaves cut the Cable, and I believed she is either lost or drove to Sea, with about eight White People on Board. I hear since that the Boatswain leaped over-board, and swam to the Hawk; but I have not seen him. - -The Captain was alive two days in the Fore-Top in great Misery: On the second Night, we made an Excuse to set some Sails forward, when we got him down the Fore-Stay into the Fore-Stay-Sail-Netting, and put the Sail over him. In the Morning, they seeing the
Shirt of his Coast, went to him, cut his Belly open, and tossed him over-board.

The Names of the White People left alive on Board when I left the Marlborough, viz.

John Lawrence, Sail Maker,
Michael Bath, Seaman,
George Mecargo, ditto,
William Tutton, Cooper,

From your affectionate son,

Printed in Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal, 24 – 31 March, 1753

William Baker, Boy,
John Penny, Cabbin Boy
John Beats, Boy, of Pill.