150 | To Jeffery Amherst

    Castle William Aug 29. 1762


    Thursday last584 in the Evning arrived here The Dorothy Brig a french Parlementaire from St Johns orderd with 120 English including 19 Women & Children for England; but so poorly Victualled, that tho’ they arrived here in 3 weeks they had nothing for the last 4 days but bread & bad Water. The English were landed the next day: they consist of 30 Souldiers (11 of which are of the train585 & 19 of the 40th Regiment no Officer higher than a Corporal) 42 Sailors from different Vessels 28 Inhabitants of Newfoundland & about 19 or 20 Women & Children. The French Crew consists of but 6.

    I have orderd the Souldiers into the Barracks, at Mr Hancocks desire, who has engaged Col Jarvis to Victual them. They want some money in part of pay: but Mr Hancock declining to advance it, no body else will. They have sent me two papers by Way of pay rolls, which I shall inclose with this. By the french Roll, which I shall inclose, they are charged with the being prisoners during the War: but they in general know nothing of their being under such an engagement; tho’ One of them said he did hear such a thing mentioned by an indifferent person.

    The French Master desires that I would fit him & Victual him for Old France & that I would give him so many french sailors in return as will enable him to carry his Vessel to Europe. This is Very necessary, if he is to go there; for his present Crew is quite incapable of such a business. But I have no french prisoners under my charge that I know of. I am told there may be some french sailors prisoners of War pick’t out from among the french now brought to Halifax, & must desire to know if I have your leave to apply any such, if this Man urges being returned to Old France. His Brig is an English Prize but is now protected by his Flag. It is not improbable but that protection will be bought off in favor of the former owner.586

    In my former examinations of people from St Johns, I have declined entring into their resentments at the surrender of the fort,587 being unwilling to add to the load which is like to fall on the commanding Officer. But at present there is something due to your information, & for that purpose I send you the Account which some of these men give of this affair, confining it to facts only as much as might be. I have not mentioned the Names of the declarants nor sworn them to it, being desirous that no other use should be made of the inclosed paper but for your private information. The whole was wrote in their presence & read to them: the enclosed is a copy.

    I am, with great regard, Sr Your most obedient humble Servant

    Fra. Bernard

    His Excellency Sr Jeffry Amherst

    ALS, RC WO 34/26, f 198.

    The French cartel Le Dorothée was carrying some 140 prisoners to England, having set out from St. John’s on 18 Aug., putting in at Louisbourg for water and provisions. It was from this vessel that Lord Colvill learned about the size of the French naval squadron and expeditionary force that the British were to face at St. John’s. C. H. Little RCN (Ret’d), “The Recapture of Saint John’s, Newfoundland: Dispatches of Rear-Admiral, Lord Colville, 1761-1762,” Maritime Museum of Canada Occasional Papers 6 (http://ngb.chebucto.org/Articles/colville-1762.shtml, accessed 20 Apr. 2006). Another cartel vessel carrying sixty-two inhabitants of Newfoundland arrived at Newbury, Mass., c.2 Sept. with letters from the French commander Charles de Ternay stating that “the inhabitants in general are Prisoners for the whole War according to the Terms of the Surrender and certified as such and will be treated with rigor if they shall be taken in Arms.” FB to Amherst, Boston, 2 Sept. 1762, WO 34/26, f 204. Plans were laid, shortly after the recapture of Newfoundland, to return the refugees to St. John’s (CO 5/823, f 175). While Amherst was ignorant of the terms of capitulation at St. John’s, he nevertheless deplored any “scandalous Terms” that would designate British soldiers as “prisoners” for the duration of the war. Amherst to FB, New York, 5 Sept. 1762. FB transferred responsibility for the disposition of the British soldiers to Capt. Elliot, who was to engage Thomas Hancock to transport them to New York or wherever the general ordered. FB to Elliot, Castle William, 26 Sept. 1762, BP, 2: 281.