British Involvement in Francisco de Miranda's Leander Expedition (1805–1807)
This chapter provides a detailed narrative of the organization of Francisco de Miranda’s Leander expedition which constituted the first deliberate attempt to trigger a revolution in Spanish America. Miranda lived on and off in London. Throughout those years he built friendly relations with the former Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Pownall. Disappointed with the apathy of the British authorities, Miranda left London with his secretary Thomas Molini on 2 September 1805 to travel to New York where he arrived on 9 November. On 12 February 1806, the Leander met a 32-cannon frigate HMS Cleopatra. It was searched, and as a result about twelve to nineteen British mariners were detained. The Leander went ahead with the mission, arriving first to Bonaire in the Leeward Antilles, then to Trinidad. On 26 May, it was approached by the 18-cannon HMS Lily. According to its captain Donald Campbell, the Leander crew was dissatisfied and nearly in a state of mutiny.