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Hurricane in Cornwall, 3rd October, 1780

Letter to General John Dalling, Governor
October 8th, 1780

The remaining destroyed inhabitants of the place, where Savanna-la-Mar once stood, beg leave to acquaint your excellency of a most dreadful calamity which befel that unfortunate town on tuesday the 3rd Inst. - The weather had appeared very indifferent for some days before, but that morning the wind became more violent than usual, with a most terrible swell of the sea, which, by afternoon, encreased to such a degree, that it has not left the wreck of six houses on both the Bay & Savanna, and not less than 300 people of all colours were drowned, or buried in the ruins - such terrible havock was never seen in the memory of the oldest person here, nor can words, or writing, convey an idea suitable to the dismal scene...
...What alarms us most, at present, is the dread of famine, which stares us in the face, and if we have not some speedy relief of bread-kind, the few, that have survived that unfortunate day, will most probably fall victims to the more miserable fate of perishing with hunger.  In this distress we must look to the town of Kingston for relief - their humanity, it is to be hoped, will not suffer us to perish for want, or take any advantage of our misery and wretchedness, which God knows is almost as great as it can be, seeing the calamity has been so general that no one can help his neighbour, neither have many of us shelter for our heads from the inclemency of the weather, or cloaths to cover us; even fire, dreadful as it is, is nothing to what we have lately experienced...the Sea flowed up half a mile beyond its usual bounds, even to the heighth of ten feet.
We are with the greatest respect Sir,
Your Excellency's most obedient
& destroyed humble servants
James Wallace, George Richardson, B.W. Blake, Samuel Bell, Thomas Tomlinson, John Tomlinson, W. Antrobus, David Finlayson, James Steele, J. Munro, Archibald Duthie, G. Noble, Robert Baker, Thomas Thistlewood, James Robertson, George Woodbine, Jeremiah Meyler, J. Merrick-Williams, George Murray, H. Duncan, W.D. Williams, R. Chambers, J. Chambers, George Inglis, John Munro, Robert Pinckney, John Dickson, Eliz. Witter, Margaret Wallace, B. Barryam.

[George Murray, J. Milleyler and William Hylton were appointed a Relief Committee]

Letter to John Clement Esq. Deputy Secretary

Salt Spring, Hanover October 10th, 1780

As the enclosed letter* is expressive of the apprehensions of the Inhabitants of this part of the island, I transmit it to you, to be laid be laid before his Excellency, the Governor, to whom I present my humble respects, and acquaint him that the miserable situation the storm on the 3rd Current has put us in, few having shelter from the weather, and most of our arms are destroyed really requires the protection requested - my having been confined at home since the fatal day, has prevented me from viewing the devastation in the windward part of the parish, but from the accounts I have received, it is not short of what the Inhabitants hereabout have experienced, which is beyond description.
I am Sir, Your most humble servant
(Signed) John Campbell

[* This letter, with its signatories, is missing from the file, CO137/79. John Palmer, at Montego Bay, wrote a similar plea on behalf of survivors in St. James.]

Names extracted from:

The Royal Gazette of Jamaica, 13th October, 1780
Supplement to the Kingston Gazette, Jamaica, 14th October, 1780

At Savanna-la-Mar:

...The names of the unhappy sufferers which we have yet been able to learn are:
The Comptroller of that Port, Mr. McDowal,
Dr. King, his wife and four children, two assistants, Misses. Forbes and Dallas,
Mr. Nesbit a carpenter,
Mrs. Allwood and three children,
Mrs. Gibson and two children,
Mr. John Fitzgerald,
Dr. Lightfoot, and Mr. William Antrobus Junr. were found dead in the streets,
Messrs. Aaron Touro and Moses Nunes, and the nephew of the latter, Miss. Pesoa,
A child of Mr. Payne,
Mr. W. McLean, his wife and children,
Mr. Slap,
Mr. Little, three quadroon children, and a great number of negroes...

In Hanover:

Our accounts from Lucea... the Town, except two houses, those of Messrs A & D Campbell and the adjoining tenement of Mr. Lyons, levelled to the ground...
The elegant house of John Campbell Esq. at Salt Spring; Kendall and Campbell Town; and of that of Mr. Chambers, at Batchelors Hall, no longer adorn that rich and fertile parish...
Of the wretched victims...we can only as yet name
Messrs. Aaron & Salmon Dias Fernandez, two ancient Gentlemen of the Jewish nation, one aged 81, the other 80.
Three young ladies, Misses. Samuels, at Green Island
Captain Darling, Mrs. Darling, and Mr. Maxham, were dragged out...from the ruins of an arch ...under which they had sheltered themselves - Fourteen or fifteen people of colour were buried in a store that fell in upon them.

13th October, 1780
Committee of Kingston merchants

[Appointed to raise a voluntary relief fund for £10,000, at the instigation of the Governor who immediately started the ball rolling with a contribution of £2,000 upon receipt of the letters from Cornwall]

Mr. Robert Donaldson
Mr. William Lane
Mr. James Allan
Mr. James Powell
Mr. Fitch
Mr. Allardyce
Mr. Holden

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