Le Chevalier de Saint Jean letter to an unidentified general, 1782 January 5

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Le Chevalier de Saint Jean letter to an unidentified general, 1782 January 5



The author, who signs himself, Le Chevalier de Saint Jean, discusses his naval operations in the area around Trinidad and Tobago.


Text Item Type Metadata


On board the Resolve   5 January 1782
Anchord at Grand Courlande

My General,

Here it is three days that I have battled against the currents, and I cannot weather Point St. Gilles. My pilot announces to me that they could continue with the same violence until the full moon. If that was, I would pass this month, to weather the island, to anchor at Scarborough, and to redo again the tour of the island in order to go cruise; and all that would only be finished at the time it was necessary to leave: I return therefore to reanchor at the Grand Courlande; I request you to send me the objects which I asked of Mr. de Mongiraud; during that time the currents will loose their force, and when I will leave that will be in order to go rejoin la Barboude, to make it part of your dispositions, and to ascend myself, to windward of the island in order to establish my cruise at thirty in the East; as long as la Barboude will stay on the Point of St. Gilles. I avoid by this calculation which the force of the currents oblige me to make, I gain perhaps twelve or fifteen days.

I request you to engage Mr. de Mongiraud to have loaded in a boat my received letter, the different objects that I asked of him. I would like to have work there with the greatest activity in order that I be ready to leave immediately. Two pressing motives make me stay in this anchorage the least time possible: the importance of the subject which made you desire me to cruise to windward of the island, and the danger for my frigate to stay for long in a roadstead without defense since the English can have knowledge in Barbadoes that I am here on the island. Mr. de Mongiraud can dispatch to me this boat in less than twenty-four hours; he will have had the goodness to have collected today Sunday by these means all the objects that I had asked of him. I request to obtain from him to place the greatest diligence. If it was possible to go without paying my addresses to Scarborough, I would go with great haste, but I neither can nor am bound to leave my frigate in a roadstead as open as this one here.

I would be sensitive to your goodness, my General, if you want to inform me immediately of the arrangement that Mr. de Mongiraud takes.

The 29 January I will come to anchor at Scarborough following our first arrangement. For this time here I do not see and indispensable necessity in coming there since I must use all the time to go, come, and return in order to take my cruise, which in the fact and capital point of the thing; the rest is only accessory. The resume of my meetings with Mr. Dombidau of which I had given you an account in coming to anchor at present at Scarborough is that he will stay in view of the Point St. Gilles; and that I will go cruise thirty leagues in the East. If you have news to have him know, you will make him the signal of it from the Point St. Gilles, either he will send to get your letter by his longboat or he will come to anchor at Scarborough. The 1st way would be, it seems to me, better, seen that if he goes to anchor at Scarborough he is again obliged to make the tour of the island and to remount against the currents in order to take his cruise.

When in leaving from here I go to see him, I will instruct him of your part of this arrangement of which we agreed together.

I have the honor to be with a respectful attachment,
My General,
Your most humble and most
obedient servan,
The Chev. de Saint Jean

I request you to seal my letter to Mr. de Mongiraud before delivering it to him and to want to press him a little.

If he wants to send me a [?] of two hundred [?], with a safe opportunity, I will have them passed to him, you will want in this case to send me a letter for Mr. President de Peinier on this object.

Original Format

Ink on paper


“Le Chevalier de Saint Jean letter to an unidentified general, 1782 January 5,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed December 4, 2022, https://cwfjdrlsc.omeka.net/items/show/124.

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