Category Archives: Privateers

Item of the Day: In the House of Representatives, April 11, 1776

In the House of Representatives, April 11, 1776. [Massachusetts]

 RESOLVED, That the following Officers and Seamen be appointed for each of the Vessels now building by this Colony and the Pay per Month allowed them, agreeable to the Sums affixed viz.

Captain, Eight Pounds,

Lieutenant, Five Pounds eight Shillings,

Second-Lieutenant, Five Pounds,

Master, Four Pounds,

Mate, Three Pounds,

Boatswain, Three Pounds,

Boatswain’s Mate, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Steward, Two Pound eight Shillings,

Gunner, Two Pounds eight Shillings,

Gunner’s Mate, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Carpenter, Three Pounds,

Carpenter’s Mate, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Surgeon, Seven Pounds,

Surgeon’s Mate, Four Pounds,

Quarter-Master, and Master at Arms, Two Pounds ten Shillings,

Pilot, Two Pounds eighteen Shillings,

Cook, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Drummer, Two Pounds, four Shillings,

Sixteen Boys, at tweny Shillings each,

Eighty Seamen and Marines, at forty Shillings each.

All of which Officers, Seamen and Marines, shall furnish themselves with a good effective Fire-Arm, cartouch-Box, Cutlass, and Blanket.

And be it further Resolved, That the Captains be appointed as soon as may be; which Captains, when chosen, shall return a List of Persons suitable for the other Officers, and shall proceed to inlist the Number of Seamen, Marines and Boys proposed. And for further Encouragement to said Officers, Seamen and Marines; –It is Resolved, That they shall be entitled to one Third Part of the Proceeds of all Captures that shall be by them made, and finally condemned, to be distributed in such a Manner as this Court shall hereafter determine. And the said Vessels shall be armed and mounted with at least twelve Carriage Guns, all of one Size, viz. Six Pounders and with a proper Number of Swivels and Cohorns: And the honorable Council are hereby desired to commission them to cruise against all British Property, agreeable to the late Resolves of the honorable Continental Congress.

Resolved, That for further Encouragement to Seamen to inlist into the Colony Sea-Service, one Month’s advance Wages be paid to the said Seamen, at the Time of their passing Muster; and also that their Wages be paid at the End of every three Months, or as soon afterwards as they shall arrive in some Port of this Colony.

Resolved, That the Officers of said Vessels be, and hereby are allowed to inlist Men out of the Companies raised for the Defence of the Sea-Coasts; and the Officers of said Companies are hereby directed to permit any of their Men to inlist into the Colony and Continental Sea-Service only, and to inlist others to suppply Vacancies occasioned thereby, as soon as may be.

Resolved, That the Committee appointed to build and fix out Armed Vessels, or any one of them, muster the Men raised for the Armed Vessels of this Colony, and pay them their advanced Wages, and receive out of the Treasury, a Sum agreeable to an Abstract to be returned for that Purpose.

Resolved, That such Men as shall be inlisted for the Sea-Service of this Colony, and are not able to furnish themselves with Arms, agreeable to a former Resolve of this Court, be furnished with the same by this Colony; and that twelve Shillings be deducted from the Wages of each Man so furnished.

Resolved, That the Uniform of the Officers be Green and White, and that they furnish themselves accordingly; and the Colours be a white Flag, with a green Pine Tree, and an Inscription, “APPEAL TO HEAVEN.”

Resolved, That the Commanders of said Vessels receive their Orders and Instructions from a Committee hereafter to be appointed by this Court, and to be conducted as secretly as possible.

Resolved, That the Rations or Provisions allowed to the Officers, be the same as is or shall be allowed to the Officers of the same Rank in the Continental Service.

Resolved, That the Committee to be appointed as aforesaid, furnish each of the Commanders of the Armed Vessels of this Colony, with Instructions to regulate their Conduct, agreeable to the Resolves of this Court.

Resolved, That one Third Part of the Monies (after the Charges of Condemnation are paid) arising from the Captures that may be made by any of the Armed Vessels fitted out on Account of this Colony, and shall be finally condemens in any Court of Justice erected for the Trial and Condemnation of such Captures, shall be distributed among the Officers, Seamen and Marines, . . .

Sent up for Concurrence.

JAMES WARREN, Speaker,

In Council April 27, 1776.

Read and concurr’d.

PEREZ MORTON, Dep. Sec’ry.

Consented to,

JAMES OTIS

WILLIAM SEVER

BENJAMIN GREENLEAF

WALTER SPOONER

CALEB CUSHING

BENJAMIN CHADBOURN

JOHN WHETCOMB

JAMES PRESCOTT

ELDAD TAYLOR

MICHAEL FARLEY

JOSEPH PALMER

SAMUEL HOLTEN

BENJAMIN WHITE

MOSES GILL

JEDEDIAH FOSTER

A true Copy. Attes. PEREZ MORTON, De. Sec”ry.

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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Continental Army, History, Massachusetts, Military, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Privateers

Item of the Day: Letter from Mr. Adet to Mr. Pickering (15 November 1796)

Found In: State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States from the Accession of George Washington to the Presidency, Exhibiting a Complete View of our Foreign Relations since that Time. [Vol. II.] 1797. Boston: Printed and published by T.B. Waite & Sons; David Hale, agent for the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, 1815.

[Excerpted from pages 76-92]

Note from Mr. Adet, Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, to Mr. Pickering, Secretary of State of the United States. Legation at Philadelphia.

The undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, now fulfils to the Secretary of State of the United States, a painful but sacred duty. He claims, in the name of American honour, in the name of the faith of treaties, the execution of that contract which assured to the United States their existence, and which France regarded as the pledge of the most sacred union between two people, the freest upon earth: In a word, he announces to the Secretary of State the resolution of a government terrible to its enemies, but generous to its allies.

It would have been pleasing to the undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary to have only to express, on the present occasion, the attachment which his government bears to the American people, the vows which it forms for their prosperity, for their happiness. His heart therefore, is grieved at the circumstances, which impose upon him a different task. With regret he finds himself compelled to substitute the tone of reproach for the language of friendship. With regret also his government has ordered him to take that tone; but that very friendship has rendered it indispensable. Its obligations sacred to men, are as sacred to governments; and if a friend offended by a friend, can justly complain, the government of the United States, after the undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary shall have traced the catalogue of the grievances of the French Republick, will not be surprised to see the Executive Directory, manifesting their too just discontents.

When Europe rose up against the Republick at its birth, menaced it with all the horrours of war and famine; when on every side the French could not calculate upon any but enemies, their thoughts turned towards America: A sweet sentiment then mingled itself with those proud sentiments which the presence of danger, and the desire of repelling it, produced in their hearts. In America they saw friends. Those who went to brave tempests and death upon the ocean, forgot all dangers, in order to indulge the hope of visiting that American continent, where, for the first time, the French colours had been displayed in favour of liberty. Under the guarantee of the law of nations, under the protecting shade of a solemn treaty, they expected to find in the ports of the United States, an asylum as sure as at home; they thought, if I may use the expression, there to find a second country. The French government thought as they did. Oh hope, worthy of a faithful people, how has thou been deceived! So far from offering the French the succours which friendship might have given without compromitting it, the American government, in this respect, violated the letter of treaties.

The 17th article of the treaty of amity and commerce of 1778, states, that French vessels of war, and those of the United States, as well as those which shall have been armed for war by individuals of the two states, may freely conduct where they please, the prizes they shall have made upon their enemies, without being subject to any admiralty or other duty; without the said vessels, on entering into the harbours or ports of France, or of the United States, being liable to be arrested or seized, or the officers of those places taking cognizance of the validity of the said prizes; which may depart and may be conducted freely and in full liberty to the places expressed in their commissions, which the captains of said vessels shall be obliged to show: And that on the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given to those who shall have made prizes upon the French or Americans; and that if they should be forced by stress of weather or the danger of the sea, to enter, they shall be made to depart as soon as possible.

In contempt of these stipulations, the French privateers have been arrested in the United States, as well as their prizes; the tribunals have taken cognizance of the validity or invalidity of these prizes. It were vain to seek to justify these proceedings, under the pretext of the right of vindicating the compromitted neutrality of the United States. The facts about to be stated, will prove that this pretext has been the source of shocking persecutions against the French privateers, and that the conduct of the Federal Government, has been but a series of violations of the 17th article of the treaty of 1778. . . .

Alas! time has not yet demolished the fortifications with which the English roughened this country–nor those the Americans raised for their defence; their half rounded summits still appear in every quarter, amidst plains, on the tops of mountains. The traveller need not search for the ditch which served to encompass them; it is still open under his feet. Scattered ruins of houses laid waste, which the fire had partly respected, in order to leave monuments of British fury, are still to be found. –Men still exist, who can say, here a ferocious Englishman slaughtered my father; there my wife tore her bleeding daughter from the hands of an unbridled Englishman. Alas! the soldiers who fell under the sword of the Britons are not yet reduced to dust: the labourer, in turning up his field, still draws from the bosom of the earth their whitened bones; while the ploughman, with tears of tenderness and gratitude, still recollects that his fields, now covered with rich harvests, have been moistened with French blood; while every thing around the inhabitants of this country, animates them to speak of the tyranny of Great Britain and of the generosity of Frenchmen; when England has declared a war of death to that nation, to avenge herself for its having cemented with its blood the independence of the United States. –It was at this moment their government made a treaty of amity with their ancient tyrant, the implacable enemy of their ancient ally. O! Americans covered with noble scars! O! you who have so often flown to death and to victory with French soldiers! You who know those generous sentiments which distinguish the true warriour! Whose hearts have always vibrated with those of your companions in arms! Consult them to-day to know what they experience; recollect at the same time, that if magnanimous souls with liveliness resent an affront, they also know how to forget one. Let your government return to itself, and you will still find in Frenchmen faithful friends and generous allies.

Done at Philadelphia, the 25th Brumaire, 5th year of the French Republick, one and indivisible (15th November 1796, O.S.)

P.A. Adet

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Filed under 1790's, Early Republic, Foreign Relations, France, Neutral Rights, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Privateers, United States