Lt. John Lindsay of HMS Trent (1759-1763), the father of Dido Belle

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1500 – 1830 Lt. John Lindsay of HMS Trent (1759-1763), the father of Dido Belle

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  • #20815
    Nicholas Blake
    Participant

      He makes a few captures but the only relevant one is a Spanish sloop, which he detains on 27 November and lets go on the 28th, though not as a prize.

      If this is the ship in question and the Spanish woman came on board the event would usually be in the log, but the next two steps once Kew re-opens are:
      1 order ADM 1/2049 and 2050. These are letters from captains, surnames L, for 1760 and 1761-62. If they survive, there should be a letter or letters from him detailing the event, taking her onboard, etc.
      2 order ADM 36/6867. This is the Trent’s muster book for 01.08.59-30.04.61, and if she was on board she should be in a list at the end headed “Borne for victuals” (ie the ship gave her food and drink). However given Dido’s status she may well have been treated as a lady, and accommodated in one of the officers’ cabins (everybody moving down one), in part of Lindesay’s quarters, or even in his cabin (everybody moving down one), which would give the opportunity for the necessary intimacy. If she was a lady there may be a claim for the expense of her dining at his table in ADM 1/2049 and 2050.

      #20799
      David Hepper
      Participant

        The relevant newspaper articles:

        Portsmouth July 27: On Friday sailed His Majesty’s Ship Modeste for Quiberon Bay … The same Day sailed the Trent frigate for the coast of Guiney;
        Manchester Mercury Tues 5 August 1760
        source: British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
        accessed 29 Dec 2020

        By a Letter from Senegal of Sept 23, we are informed of the safe Arrival of His Majesty’s Ships Centurion and Trent at that Place, for the better protection of Trade
        Derby Mercury Fri 7 November 1760
        source: British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
        accessed 29 Dec 2020

        His Majesty’s Ships Centurion and Trent arrived at Senegal the 31st August last
        Caledonian Mercury Weds 19 November 1760
        source: British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
        accessed 29 Dec 2020

        Basse Terre, St Christopher’s … Nov.8 Upon the 5th instant His Majesty’s Ship Trent, Captain Lindsay, sent in a prize sloop laden with provisions, bound from St Eustatia to the French Islands

        Caledonian Mercury Sat 28 February 1761
        source: British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
        accessed 29 Dec 2020

        Extract of a Letter from Rear Admiral Holmes, Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Ships at Jamaica, to Mr. Clevland, dated at Port Royal Harbour Jamaica, December 31, 1760
        Since the taking of the French Frigates in October last, the Squadron has brought in here, or destroyed, about eight of the Enemy’s Privateers. The most, remarkable of these little Affairs were the two last, brought in here the other Day, and taken by the Boats of the Trent and Boreas, commanded by the First Lieutenants of their respective Ships, Messrs. Millar and Stuart, in Cumberland Harbour, there not being Water to carry any of the ships up to them, viz. the Vainquer of 10 Guns & 16 Swivels, and 90 Men and Mackau, a small Vessel of 6 Swivels, and 15 Men…

        Extract of a Letter from Rear Admiral Holmes, dated at Fort Royal Harbour, January 21, 1761, to Mr. Clevland.
        His Majesty’s Ship Trent, commanded by Capt. Lindsay, brought into this Port on the 7th Instant; the Le Bien Aime, a French Merchant Frigate of 20 Guns and 85 Men …

        The London Gazette 28 March 1761 Issue 10091
        https://www.thegazette.co.uk/
        accessed 29 December 2020

        #20827
        Ian Trackman
        Participant

          Or perhaps his “signature” was actually made by his clerk. Attached is a copy of his own signature to a letter of May 1760, where he clearly signs as “Lindsay”.

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          #20829
          Ian Trackman
          Participant

            David and Nicholas,

            Thanks for your helpful suggestions and links. Unfortunately, I’m Covid “high-risk”, but I’ll be looking at the TNA documents as soon as I can get access.

            < .. given Dido’s status she may well have been treated as a lady > It was Maria Bell who was Dido’s mother. Such sparse evidence as there is indicates that she was a slave. She was a negro rather than Spanish.

            Can anyone please help me with the wording of the log entries for 27 and 28 November 1760 relating to the Spanish sloop ? “from Jimica to Legan and ??” ?

            Ian

            #20830
            Nicholas Blake
            Participant

              27 November reads (contractions expanded): “Ditto weather. AM Detained a Spanish sloop for Jamaica to Legan with [ie carrying] wine and flower [flour].”
              28 November: “Ditto weather. PM Spoke [ie stopped and talked to] the General Wolfe a letter of marque ship [private ship licensed to capture ships of a named enemy country] from Jamaica to London. AM Discharged the Spanish sloop.” Note for AM and PM, the ship’s day started at noon, and was half a day in arrears of the civil day.

              If Maria Belle was taken on board as a slave belonging to a foreigner she would have been treated as free and given a berth somewhere below, and probably put to use on board with cleaning and similar duties; she should appear on the “borne for victuals” list.

              #20831
              David Hepper
              Participant

                You asked if the TNA logs have any more information – the answer is probably not

                #20833
                Ian Trackman
                Participant

                  Where might Legan be ?

                  #20834
                  David Hepper
                  Participant

                    Where might Legan be ?

                    Perhaps Léogâne in the French colony of Saint-Domingue – what is now Haiti

                    #20835
                    Ian Trackman
                    Participant

                      And that would put the position in the log as Gran Cayemite ?

                      #20836
                      David Hepper
                      Participant

                        A note on the log and the name …

                        What you have here is a Lieutenants Log, kept in this case by Lieutenant John Lindesay (note the spelling), who is NOT Captain John Lindsay.

                        Lindesay was commissioned as a Lieutenant 3 April 1757. By coincidence (?) he was also serving onboard the Trent 1758 – 1762. He died in 1763

                        Source: Royal Navy Officers of the Seven Years War by Cy Harrison (Warwick 2019) p313

                        As pointed out above, Captain Lindsay’s log is in the National Archives along with the Masters log – although I doubt that there is much difference in the information contained within them.

                        #20837
                        Ian Trackman
                        Participant

                          Thanks for clarifying that. But how confusing it must it have been on board !

                          #20838
                          David Hepper
                          Participant

                            Gran Cayemite ? Perhaps Grand Cayman is meant ?

                            #20839
                            Ian Trackman
                            Participant

                              It’s a island off the coast of Haiti, west of Port-au-Prince : 18.61669243230145, -73.7495718649453

                              #21020
                              Chris Donnithorne
                              Participant

                                I believe we may be talking about two individuals here. I have:

                                1. Captain John Lindsay, Captain of the Trent, from 29 Sept 1757 to 9 Sept 1763
                                2. Lieutenant John Lindesay [sometimes Lindsay], appointed Second Lieut. of the Trent on 13 Oct 1757, being re-appointed as First Lieut. on 1 July 1760. For what it is worth, Commissioned Sea Officers, p. 274, gives his date of death as 1763.

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