Bob – Captain Samuel Sandys

A Historical Timeline and References about Captain Samuel Sandys

Captain Samuel Sandys was a well known Lancaster Captain from Ulverton who was killed in an on-board slave rebellion in 1761. He is listed in the Tunnage Book at the Lancaster Maritime Museum, as captaining the snow, Duke of Cumberland, and the Mary owned by Thomas Hinde. He was trusted by the merchants to barter for slaves and to successfully sell them in the Americas. He was employed by Thomas Hinde during the voyages of the Duke of the Cumberland. In 1761 Sandys died, whilst captaining the Mary, near James Fort in Gambia. This is a timeline attempting to connect the known pieces of historical information on Samuel Sandys and the events leading up to the slave rebellion on the Mary.

Onboard slave rebellions were much more common than is often realised. Many captives were killed as well as many crewmen. Opportunities arose as women slaves were given more freedom on board; men were taken up on deck to be washed and to exercise; when slaves came from the same district or tribe and therefore spoke the same language. This link explains this in more detail and also lists some of the documented rebellions including the one on The Mary.  

Timeline and References:

The earliest record of Capt Sandys that I have found to date is this, which was in a transcript in Lancaster Library from the Tonnage Book:

16th July 1750 – Snow Jane, Capt Sam Sandys – arrived Lancaster from Philadelphia

1755 – Captain Sandys is Master of the Slave Ship The Duke of Cumberland owned by Thomas Hind of Lancaster

Captain Samuel Sandys Master of the snow Duke of Cumberland – 35 tons, 4 guns, 18 crew, which received an admiralty pass at Lancaster for Africa on Jan 21st 1755… Schofield “Lancaster Notes” Letter to Thomas Hinde from Henry Laurens.

1756 SpringThe Duke of Cumberland due to arrive in Anguilla in the spring of 1756 with a cargo of slaves. Letters from Henry Laurens a factor/agent in Charles Town, North Carolina illustrate this. Below a letter sent to Sandys in the care of Andrew Lestly Esq. Antigua. Papers of Henry Laurens Volume 2: November 1, 1755-December 31, 1758.

1st July 1757The Duke of Cumberland with Captain Samuel Sandys arrives back in Lancaster from the “West Indies”. Account Book for Port of Lancaster and The Tonnage Book for Lancaster both held by Lancaster Maritime Museum.

An Account Book for Port of Lancaster and…

The Tonnage Book for Port of Lancaster – both held by Lancaster Maritime Museum.

2nd half of 1757  – The Duke of Cumberland sold at auction by Thomas Hinde  at The Merchants Coffee House, Lancaster – Copy of Sale Advert from Williamson’s 1757 Liverpool Advertiser (Page 45 in Melinda Elder’s book “The Slave Trade and the Economic Development of 18th Century Lancaster”).

1759 – Samuel Sandys writes his last Will and Testament in Ulverston. Lancashire Archives Preston.

Late 1760?  – Mary sets sail for the Gambia.

Early 1761 – Attached by Algerine Pirates. The voyage seems to have been beset by problems and delays. It is unclear just what delays were incurred, but a rough calculation suggests the pirate incident occurred around February or earlier. The newspaper reports below are dated at the end of May, but are reporting the arrival in Goree in Africa! This information would have taken some time to get back to England.

“The Mary seems to have been an unlucky vessel on an unlucky voyage for in June 1761 an extract of an extract of a letter from Captain Edwards of HMS Wager to the Lords of the Admiralty appeared in the press.15 Edwards claimed that an Algerine Cruiser had plundered the Mary near Cape Finisterre in late January or early February. As a result of his representations to the Dey he had recovered 570 German crowns, two pieces of silver, some clothes of little worth and a few fire arms.” And the Children’s Teeth are Set on Edge   tioli.co.uk/pdfs/Chapter3v0.2.pdf

“The Mary, Sandys, from Lancaster arrived at Africa after being boarded by an Algerine, and plundered of a considerable part of her cargo.” May 27th 1761 London Gazette, British Library

“The Mary, Capt Sandys, of Lancaster in her passage to Gambia, was plundered by an Algerine, but is whence arrived at Goree” London Intelligencia 30th May 1761, British Library

The island of Gorée, off Dakar in Senegal,  was notably taken and occupied by the British between 1758 and 1763 following the Capture of Gorée and wider Capture of Senegal during the Seven Years’ War before being returned to France at the Treaty of Paris (1763).

How long the Mary stayed in Goree is not known, but she must have remained in West Africa for several months as the rebellion occurred at the end of the year.

Sept/Oct? 1761 – Arrives Gambia River.

Nov 1761 – Slave rebellion put down with help from The Royal Africa Company, Fort James Island in the Gambia River.

Extract from “And the Children’s Teeth are Set on Edge ” https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxbR7BpIB_nISndQQXk0WFZiUnc/view?usp=sharing

Dec 1761 – Just after Christmas in the same year Captain Sandys, in the Mary of Lancaster, was cut off on the coast close to James Fort following a slave insurrection on board.

“The ship Mary of Lancaster commanded by Captain Sandys was cut off by the slaves and most of the people murdered. The obstinacy of the mate who succeeded on Captain Sandys’ death in the command greatly contributed to it; for notwithstanding our repeated messages to come under the protection of the Fort’s guns, he kept close to the continent out of their reach – a situation always dangerous to slave vessels so that it rendered us incapable of being of any assistance. We had before prevented an insurrection on board her, when she lay nigher the Fort. The King of Barrati we prevailed on to deliver up the hull, which indeed is in a manner useless, as all her sails and rigging were destroyed and nothing left in her but her masts. We have hired her out for the proprietor’s benefit till they send some orders about her.” Source: PRO, T 70, 30, p. 436 from a Letter from Joseph Debat, Edmund Tew, and Thomas Radcliff to the Royal Africa Co. Committee dated James Fort, December 28, 1761.

“The ship Mary of Lancaster commanded by Capt Sandys, was cut off by the Slaves, & most of the people murder’d, the Obstinacy of the mate who succeeded on Capt. Sandy’s Death in the Command, greatly contributed to it, for notwithstanding Our repeated Messages to come under the protection of the Forts Guns, she kept close to the continent out of their reach, a situation always dangerous to slave Vessels so that it rendered us incapable of being of any assistance. We had before prevented an Insurrection, on board her, when she lay Nigher the Fort.” Found on slaverebellion.org Letter from Joseph Debat, Edmund Tew, and Thomas Radcliff to the Committee dated James Fort, December 28, 1761.

29th march 1762 – Compensation agreed for widows of two seamen from the Mary. Seamen’s Relief Book Lancaster Library.

The widows of sailors killed during the revolt on the Lancaster ship Mary (1762) receive alms from the Lancaster Parish, 1762.

“At a meeting held at the Golden Bale the prayer of Elizabeth Taylor late Wife of Thomas Taylor Seaman who was killed on board the Mary late Cap’n Sandys by the Negros on the Coast of Guinea [illegible words] and it appearing to us that her child being much out of Health, think proper to order Robert Foxcroft Treasurer to cause to be paid her towards the Support of herself and said child the sum of Five Shillings a Week till further order over and above the sum of five shillings already paid her.

The Certificate of the Church Warden’s Award? Of [illegible] with regard to the [illegible] circumstances of Eleanor, Widow of the late Samuel [illegible] who was killed on board the Mary at Gambia by the Negro’s was at the same time taken under Consideration and agreed that Robert Foxcroft Treasurer do cause the sum of Thirty shillings to be paid her Quarterly, the first payment whence to be made her immediately and to continue to be paid her till further orders.” Transatlantic Slave trade Exhibit, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool, England.