Email from Dr Michael Winstanley, 15 JUL 2020

Honorary Membership Secretary,

Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society

( )

Dr Winstanley was formerly Professor of History at Lancaster University, England.

"I can't find any reference in Danial Hay's Whitehaven to Washington to the area around the harbour in Whitehaven being referred to as Cartagena and can't see why it should have been. To me, Lawrence Washington had written to Deane while Lawrence was at Cartagena, Columbia. Joseph Deane in Whitehaven then writes to Lawrence acknowledging relief (satisfaction) to receive Lawrence's letter ("yours") of 31 March (from the harbour of Cartagena).

Lawrence Washington was involved in the British attack on the town in March 1741. This is from Jeff Ducas's article on Lawrence in 2019 from the Journal of American Revolution webpage: 


'Upon return to Virginia, the well-educated and erudite young Lawrence was given the management, and de facto ownership, of Little Hunting Creek Plantation in 1738. The rest of the family moved to Fredericksburg. He quickly acquired more land adjacent to the property and became well known in Virginia as a successful landowner. He would become owner of Little Hunting Creek upon the death of his father.

In 1739, England fought against Spain in what became known as the War of Jenkin’s Ear. Parliament instructed the colonies to raise a force of 3,000 men to attack Spanish possessions in the Caribbean; Virginia contributed 400. Lt. Gov. William Gooch of Virginia was able to choose officers to command four companies. On June 17, 1740, he chose as the senior captain, Lawrence Washington.

The colonials left Virginia in October 1740 and joined the fleet in Jamaica. Vice Admiral Edward Vernon was in overall command of the expedition with the ground forces led by Brig. Gen. Thomas Wentworth. They decided to attack the Spanish fortress at Cartagena in present day Columbia. The expedition proved to be a disaster, and Wentworth turned out to be an incompetent planner and leader. Hundreds of British soldiers died, including many colonials, both in battle and as the result of disease. Cartagena was never captured despite the fleet reducing several forts that protected the main fortification.

Fortunately, Lawrence was spared the agony of a land campaign as he was appointed as captain of Marines aboard HMS Princess Caroline, Admiral Vernon’s flagship. Observing the battle and taking part in the reduction of several Spanish forts, Lawrence wrote to his family, “War is horrid in fact but much more so in imagination. We there have learned to live on ordinary diet; to watch much and disregard the noise or shot of cannon.”[1] He participated in a short campaign in Cuba before the colonials were disbanded and returned home in December of 1742. Despite the unsuccessful expedition, Lawrence was impressed with Admiral Vernon and named the Little Hunting Creek Plantation “Mount Vernon.' "

Presumably knowing that Lawrence had gone off to fight, Deane wrote that all Lawrence's friends in Whitehaven were very pleased, probably relieved, to receive his letter and Deane sends news of friends in Whitehaven, including poor Mrs Milham who died soon after, to Lawrence.

Interesting discussion! I had not really been aware of these connections before. The original letter from Deane is in the Kendal Archives. This is unfortunately closed due to Covid 19 at present but I will check it out for you and send you digital copies of these letters when I can get there.


Link to: Washington family of Whitehaven and Appleby: Correspondence - 1741-1744

Every good wish,

Mike "

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