Family:Whitney, Thomas (s1673-1741)

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Thomas Whitney's Locations

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Capt. Thomas Whitney (Thomas), son of Thomas and Maria (Boleyn) Whitney, born say 1673, and died after his will was written 30 Apr 1740 and before it was probated 26 Feb 1741. He describes himself as "Thomas Whitney of New Pass alias Derridowen in the County of Westmeath and Kingdom of Ireland, Esquire, now residing in Southampton Street in the Parish of Saint Paul Covent Garden."

In his will, he mentions:

  • His brother Boleyn Whitney, Esq., trustee and executor.
  • His sister Ann Upton wife of Ambrose Upton, clerk.
  • His brother Shuckburgh Whitney, Lieut. Colonel in H.M.'s service.
  • Roger Martin, junr., son of Capt. Roger Martin of Stepney.
  • His castles, towns and lands of Newpass (Derrydown ?), Rathowen, Colemore, Colebegg, Win(d)town, Ballygarron, Ballydorey and all other his lands and hereditaments in Co. Westmeath.
  • The witnesses were Thomas Taylor and Joseph Brisco, both of London, gents., Patk. Makin, servant to testator.
  • Memorial witnessed by: William Williams and Alexr. Williams, Dublin, gents. 105, 180, 73405 Boleyn Whitney (seal)

He was the Captain of the HMS Rose, and involved in fighting pirates.

Apart from the "Rose", he was also Captain and commander of the "Britannia" and Captain of the "Exeter". He died in London in 1741.TJ

May 19, 1721, Antigua.[1]

501. Governor Hamilton to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to enclosures, relating to the misconduct of Capt. Thomas Whitney, H.M.S. Rose etc. Continues: Which ship and the Shark snow were ordered about three years ago, but did not arrive here till June last, and then the said Whitney acquainted me that both vessels were so much out of repair that it was impossible for them to be refitted here, and thereupon in the beginning of July sailed for New England and did not return till in December altho he had faithfully promised me that he would be back at farthest by the 20th October at which time I told him I did intend to visit the other Islands of my Government but have been wholy disappointed by the disobedience of the said Capt. Whitney in complying with my orders. The pretence for his so doing is grounded upon an opinion, that his own Instructions from the Right Honorable the Lords of the Admiralty are independent of those given me, but how he could entertain this conceit, after I had shown him my Instructions from H.M. is to me unaccountable unless it was out of an extraordinary love of power, however because I am sensible H.M. service has suffered too often by contests about power I was willing for the prevention of any such consequence to use the mildest methods imaginable, and accordingly I told him that if he would shew me any authority from the Lords of the Admiralty either superiour or contradictory to mine I would give up the dispute for the present and make every thing easy, that H.M. service might not suffer, but till then I should continue to give him written orders, and he might obey or disobey them at his peril; notwithstanding this premonition he has continued in his disobedience by departing this Island and sailing for St. Kitts without so much as consulting me, nevertheless I still persevered in my duty, and repeated my orders to him in a letter at St. Kitts which I enclosed in one to the Lieut. General for surer conveyance and Captain Whitney's answer to that letter was "that he should take no notice of it." Refers to enclosures. Continues:—I doubt not but your Lordships will for the service of H.M. and the preservation of these Colonies make such a representation to H.M. as that the transgressor may be taken notice of, for if Captains attending this Station are at their own disposal, and not under the command of the Governour in Chief for the time being it is not in the power of the best Governour to perform his duty, these Islands lying so far asunder that in case they should in time of peace be insulted by pirates, or in time of war be attack'd by the enemy it would be wholy out of the power of any Governour to succour or relieve them, except he has the command of the vessels, at least those that attend the Station, and it would be I humbly presume for H.M. service, that all men of war should be, whilst within the Government, for had that been in the year 1712 when Monsr. Cassar was at Mountserrat, and several of our men of war then actually here it might have prevented ye total destruction of that H.M. Island or at least preserved the sovereignity of it, but the Captains differing (as I am informed, for I was then in Britain) was the reason they did not go down to it's relief. Amongst other things contained in Captain Whitney's letters your Lordships will see much ill manners, and what is worse malitious imputation upon my loyalty, but I hope my character in that point is too well established, both in the opinion of your Lordships as well as all other persons who have the inspection of my conduct to admit the least blast from the breath of such low calumny; If I were deficient in this point the people I have the honour to govern have at least as much sagacity as Capt. Whitney to discern and loyalty to prompt them to a representation of it etc. When I had an account by affidavits of some persons that had been taken and kept for some time on board the pirate Roberts, as also from the General of the French Islands, that the pirates were hovering about these Islands, and had done a great deal of damage as well to several of H.M. subjects, as to the subjects of the French King, and that the French General sent one Monsr. de Malherbe, with proposals and credentials farther to agree upon any method that should be taken to go in quest of the said pirates, I immediately acquainted Capt. Whitney, to witt on Saturday the 19 of february with what I had received, and that I had ordered the Council to meet me on munday, and desired him to be present, in order that we might consult and take such measures as might best tend for the King's honour and service, as well as the protecting the trade of these H.M. Colonies. The said Whitney was so far from complying with this that the Council sate till twelve of the clock in expectation of his coming, and then upon enquiry found that he was on board his ship, whereupon I ordered the Secretary as Clerk of the Council to write him a letter to let him know my self and Council had waited for him all that forenoon in answer to wch. he wrote a short letter, that it was not for want of respect that he did not wait on me, but that his accounts were so intangled, tho' small that he had been forced to sit at his table all the morning, and that I knew better than he could inform me how far he could join the French, and that he would give them signals that they might not mistake each other and was willing to sail in company if I would inform him where the pirates were, at the same time sent me another short letter letting me know that his water was almost expended, and was ready for sea and thought he should water the ship at St. Kitts etc. Refers to Minutes of Council enclosed. Continues:—I leave your Lordships to judge how far that Gentleman has H.M. interest, and the preservation of His subjects at heart, however upon the order I sent upon this occasion he required some of H.M. troops, with which I immediately complyed, and ordered the number he desired, and their charges of victuals to be paid for by the publick of this Island he informing me that he could not answer the victualling any extraordinarys after which he vouchsafed to proceed to Martinique, and wrote the short letter you have herewith, a copy attested by me to the French General, who received it as it deserved, and called it in his letter to me "an impertinent billet"; had Capt. Whitney after this followed the remaining part of the orders then sent him (which was in case he did not get intelligences of the pirates there) to cruise for some days to the windward of this Island, he might in all probability have prevented their taking of a ship after that bound for Jamaica which was taken, within two or three leagues of this Island, which they carried to the Island of Barbouda, and there kept her for several days, plundered her for part of her cargoe, and then let her go after having forced twelve of her men to go with them, which ship was after that taken again by a pirate sloop, that run away some time since (as I have been informed) from Martinique, just to the windward of Spanish Town, one of the Virgin Islands. And about the middle of March last I acquainted Capt. Whitney, that we expected daily some London ships, by whom in all probability I should receive letters from your Lordships and the Right Honble. the Secretary of State with some orders for H.M. service, which might require my immediate going to some of the other Islands of my Government, and desired he would be in a readiness to carry me down, that I should be ready at farthest in five or six days after their arrival, but he thought proper to sail the very day the London ship arrived for St. Christophers, and returned not till the 26 April, and then would not come into the Road or Harbour of Saint Johns as usual, but anchored in a more remote place from thence he sent me a letter by Capt. Pomeroy with an information that he believed the Great Pirate Roberts was cruising off Desseada and that so soon as the Shark joyned him he would cruise in quest of said Roberts in the tract of Barbados where afterwards he would victual and desired to know if I had any commands that way whereupon I sent him a letter by Captain Porneroy with information that several ships were daily expected to these Islands, and therefore I had sent him written orders to cruise to windward of Desseada between that Island and Barbouda that being the most likely place to meet pirates and to protect the trade from their insults. I also ordered him not to go to Barbados unless necessity required but to return to this Island in order to carry me to leeward, but what regard that Gentleman will have to these orders time only can determine. Thus your Lordships may perceive that I am confined by Captain Whitneys capricious temper, and am disabled from visiting the other Islands tho' H.M. affairs and service require my presence never so much there. Signed, W. Hamilton. Endorsed, Recd. 28th July, Read 14th Sept., 1721. 5½ pp. Enclosed,

501. i. Remonstrance of the Lt. Governour and Council of Antigua to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Capt. Whtney (v. preceding.) upon a motion from H.E. for his going in quest of some pirates peremptorily declared to H.E. that he had no power to give him orders altho' he then saw H.M. Instructions to H.E. impowering him so to do etc. During Capt. Whitney's absence in North America (v. preceding), the Islands were insulted by pirates, vessels taken, others cut out of the Roads and trade greatly discouraged by that hazard attending it. Refer to enclosures. It may be of very fatall consequence should succeeding Capts. govern themselves with the like independency etc. There is not the least room for him to suspect H.E.'s loyalty, who hath on all occasions given the most convincing evidences of his zeal for the service of H.M. etc. Signed, Edw. Byam, Jno. Hamilton, Thomas Morris, Will. Byam, John Gamble, Natha. Crump, Jno. Frye, Archd. Cochran. Endorsed as preceding. 1 large p.


  • Will of Thomas Whitney of Saint Paul Covent Garden, Middlesex

1. ^  'America and West Indies: May 1721, 16-31', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 32: 1720-1721 (1933), pp. 306-329. URL: Date accessed: 26 January 2010.

Copyright © 2008, 2010, 2011, Tim Doyle, Robert L. Ward, Tom Johnston, and the Whitney Research Group.