HUNT, ANTHONY

c 1734 - 1795 from England


was probably born in Plymouth around 1734. He entered the navy in 1743 as captain's servant on board the Argyle. After serving in a number of ships he passed for lieutenant and was promoted to that rank on 2 April 1757. In October 1767, he was promoted to commander and appointed in command of the 16 gun sloop Tamar with orders to proceed to Port Egmont in West Falkland and to 'carry into execution all such orders, directed to his predecessor [Captain McBRIDE] as remain unexecuted'. Hunt sailed for the Falklands from Falmouth on 10 November, reaching Port Egmont on 12 February 1768, where he found the 14 gun sloop Swift, the 8 gun sloop Carcass and the store-ship Florida at anchor; the latter two sailing for England on 9 March. On 5 December he set off on a fruitless search for the non-existent Pepys Island, thought to be situated to the north of the Falklands at 47°S. On his return to Port Egmont, on 1 January 1769, he found the Florida had returned there on 26 December, followed by the 14 gun sloop Favourite on 2 February. This allowed the Swift and Florida to sail for England on 7 February. Hunt remained in Port Egmont until 27 November when he set off on a cruise to the east, encountering the following day 2 miles north of Cape Tamar the Spanish schooner San Felipe on a surveying cruise from the Spanish settlement of Puerto de la Soledad, in Berkeley Sound. The two anchored in White Rock Bay, where Hunt informed the schooner's captain that the Falklands belonged to the British crown and ordered him to leave the Islands. The schooner sailed the next day for Puerto de la Soledad, while Hunt visited San Carlos Water before returning to White Rock Bay on 9 December. The following day the San Felipe also anchored in the bay with Mario Plata, an infantry lieutenant on board, bringing a present and two letters from Felipe Ruiz PUENTE, commandant of the Spanish settlement. In a courteous but formal letter Ruiz Puente assumed that Hunt's presence in the islands was accidental and that he would depart immediately. Hunt replied on the same day, informing Ruiz Puente that the islands belonged to the British crown and giving him six months to abandon his settlement. The San Felipe got under way the following morning, presumably to return to Puerto de la Soledad to deliver Hunt's reply, while Hunt returned to Port Egmont on 15 December, where the Favourite was at anchor . On 18 December the San Felipe entered Port Egmont and was met by two armed boats and forced to anchor. Plata delivered his own protest at this and not being allowed to land. The schooner left the following day, probably to continue to Buenos Aires to report to Governor Francisco BUCARELI. On 25 January 1770 the Swift, commanded by George FARMER, arrived from Plymouth and on 1 February the Florida returned once more to Port Egmont. On 9 February two strange ships were seen in the offing and on 20 February the Spanish frigates Santa Catalina, commanded by Fernando Rubalcava and the Andalucía, commanded by Domingo Perletto, with troops bound for Puerto de la Soledad, entered the harbour, finding there the Tamar, Favourite, Swift and Florida. Faced with this unexpected show of strength Rubalcava made a modest request for water, which Hunt duly supplied. The Spanish frigates remained in Port Egmont for eight days, without attempting to go ashore, although Hunt invited the captains and officers to do so. Rubalcava, however, sent a letter of protest at finding a settlement flying the English flag. Hunt replied the same day that the Islands belonged to England and that he meant to protect them to the utmost of his power and urged the Spanish to evacuate them. On the last day of February the Spanish frigates withdrew to confer with Bucareli in Buenos Aires. The arrival of the Swift allowed Hunt to sail for England on 7 March with the storeship Florida, leaving Farmer in command at Port Egmont. Hunt reached Plymouth on 3 May 1770, when he reported the Spanish presence in the islands to the Admiralty, forwarding the correspondence that had ensued.

Subsequently Hunt was promoted to captain on 10 January 1771 and in 1776 he took part in the attack on Charleston, (South Carolina) in command of the 20 gun corvette Sphinx. On 19 April 1780 he was appointed to the 70 gun ship Diligente, but he was relieved on 24 April 1780, possibly on his appointment as second captain of Greenwich Hospital, where he died on 3 December 1795.

Authors

Andrew David