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From the 

Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 

FOR November, 192 i 


Last year Mr. Frederick W. Denton, of Cambridge, pre- 
sented to the Society a letter-book of Captain Hector 
McNeill of the Continental Navy, which was reported at the 
May meeting of 1920. Captain McNeill commanded the 
frigate Boston in 1777 and the letter-book covers the period 
of an eventful cruise made in that year. When McNeill 
turned the ship over to her next commander. Captain Tucker, 
early in 1778, he presumably left the book on board. In 
1780, when Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered to the 
British, the Boston, being in the harbor at that time, also 
fell into their hands. The letter-book had probably been 
taken ashore before the surrender. It was found many 
years later among the papers of Mr. Denton's aunt, Mrs. 
W. S. Adams, of 28 Church Street, Charleston, a pre-revo- 
lutionary house, though not occupied at that early period by 
Mrs. Adams's family. Whether the book remained in this 
house for nearly a century after it left the Boston or whether 
it led a migratory existence is a matter of conjecture. 

The contents of this letter-book comprise not quite a third 
of the material which has been collected for publication in 
the Proceedings of the Society. A still larger proportion of 
the whole is furnished by a collection of papers belonging to 
the Hon. Charles W. Gray, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 
who has kindly allowed us to take copies; these were 
heirlooms in the McNeill family, descending through his 
youngest daughter. Some of them were printed several years 
ago in the New Hampshire Genealogical Record^ The 
remaining papers come chiefly from the Massachusetts 
Archives and the Library of Congress, the latter mostly John 

1 January, 1907. 

Paul Jones manuscripts. The Chamberlain Collection ih 
the Boston Public Library and the Bostonian Society each 
contributes one letter. To the officials of all these institu- 
tions we are indebted for very interesting and valuable 
material. A number of other items are reprinted from the 
Proceedings of this Society; also two letters from the 
Publications of the Naval History Society and two from the 
New England Historical and Genealogical Register. 

Among the papers in the Gray collection is an autobio- 
graphical sketch which throws much light on McNeill's ante- 
cedents and early life. Unfortunately it comes down only 
to the period of the French and Indian War. From this 
account it appears that he was of Scotch descent and was 
born in County Antrim, Ireland, October lo, 1728. He came 
to Boston with his parents in his ninth year, arriving Sep- 
tember 7, 1737. He was educated in the Boston schools and 
in later life followed the sea. November 12, 1750, he was 
married in the First Presbyterian Church to Mary Wilson.^ 
Their first child, Robert, was born April 12, 1752, and died 
in September the following year. In November, 1753, came 
the birth of another son, Hector, and just two years later that 
of the eldest daughter, Mary. Another daughter, Lettice, 
was born at some time after the period covered by this 

Entering the king's service in April, 1755, McNeill, then 
master of a vessel, carried General Monckton to Nova Scotia 
and apparently remained during the siege of Beausejour. 
He returned to Boston in October, but about the end of the 
year i7^'5 was again in the Bay of Fundy. He was soon 
captured with his ship by Indians, near Passamaquoddy Bay. 
With this incident the sketch comes abruptly to an end. 
We have a bit of information, however, derived from Indian 
sources and recorded in a journal kept in 1764 by James 
Boyd, a settler on Passamaquoddy Bay. Boyd learned from 
the natives of that region that McNeill, after his capture, 
had been taken to St. Andrews and thence to Quebec." He 
there disappears from recorded annals for more than nine 

^ Boston Records, xxviii. 341, where the date given is November 10. 
2 2 Proceedings, 111. qi. There is no record in the Massachusetts Archives 
of any service of Captain McNeill in the French and Indian War. 

years. He may have been held a prisoner until the end of 
the war, but at all events he resumed his seafaring life in 
course of time. 

In a list of " Port Arrivals " it is noted that on April 19, 
1765, " Hector McNeill, Sloop Phenix from Hallyfax," with 
a considerable number of passengers, arrived in Boston, and 
on November 24, 1766, he came from Quebec in the sloop 
Fanny and Jeany. Three other entries of his vessels from 
Quebec are reported: August 10, 1767, the sloop Brittania, 
August 25, and December 15, 1768, the sloop Swallow} This 
last arrival is mentioned in the Diary of John Rowe.' 

Captain McNeill's first wife died February 7, 1769, and 
lies in the Granary Burying Ground, where her stone may 
been seen.^ On December 26, 1770, he married Mary Watt. 
By this union he had one child, a daughter named Sarah.* 

At the outbreak of the Revolution McNeill was living in 
Quebec with his wife and daughters. They are mentioned 
several times between June and October, 1775, in the " Jour- 
nal Kept in Quebec in 1775 by James Jeffrey," and under the 
date August 29, it is stated that " Hector McNeill arrived 
this evening from Dominica in Drummonds Scho"". He says 
that at Canso he heard that at Roxbury had been another 
battle, and most of the light horse were killed in the engage- 
ment — but we must wait for particulars." ^ At this time 
McNeill's son was a member of Captain Nicholson Brough- 
ton's company of Colonel John Glover's regiment in the 
American army before Boston; his name appears on two 
rolls of the company, dated June 27 and December 20, 1775.® 
Two years later the younger McNeill was a seaman on his 
father's ship. 

1 Boston Records, xxix. 264, 288, 295, 307, 311. 

2 2 Proceedings, x. 71. 

3 MS. Records in Boston City Hall. Data received from Mr. Charles A. 

* Boston Records, xxx. 349. McNeill's will mentions his son and three 
daughters, the youngest by his second wife. It was through this daughter, 
Sarah, that the Gray collection of McNeill papers descended to their present 
owner. On December 6, 179S, Sarah was married by Rev. Jeremy Belknap 
to Thomas Neil {Boston Records, xxx, 95). Their daughter Jane married 
Shadrach H. Sise. 

^ Hist. Coll. Essex Inst., l. 132. 

8 Mass. Archives (Rolls), xxxv. 86, lvii. 13. 

There are two letters dated " Camp before Quebec," April 
25 and 26, 1776/ the first from Colonel James Lockwood, 
the other from Major General David Wooster, both addressed 
"To Cap" Hector McNeill at Point au Tremble," giving 
orders which indicate that he was then engaged in operations 
on the St. Lawrence River, in the service of the United 
Colonies. McNeill must have returned to Boston not long 
after this, for he was appointed, June 15, 1776, a captain in 
the Continental Navy, and on October 10, when the relative 
rank of naval captains was established, he was placed third 
on the list. 

Before this arrangement of rank Captain McNeill had 
been selected for the command of the frigate Boston, of 24 
guns, which had been built at Newburyport and was fitting 
out at Boston. Cruising orders for some of the new frigates 
built in New England were issued by the Marine Committee 
of the Continental Congress in the fall of 1776. The first, 
dated September 21, applied to the Boston and Raleigh 
alone. Later orders, of October 23, included the Hancock 
with these two, and their captains were given detailed instruc- 
tions for a cruise which, it was expected, would soon take 
place." But the ships were not ready for sea until the 
following year. 

Among the Commodore Tucker Papers, in the Harvard 
College Library, is a photostat copy of Tucker's commission 
as " Captain of the armed ship called the Boston," dated 
March 15 1777.^ It may have been the purpose of the 
Marine Committee to supersede McNeill at this time, but if 
so, it was not carried out. Tucker took command of the ship 
a year later. 

In 1777 the above mentioned instructions of the Marine 
Committee to McNeill and other captains were followed in 
a modified form and the long deferred expedition took place. 
The Raleigh, Captain Thompson, was still unready for sea, 
but the Hancock and Boston, during the spring and summer, 
made one of the memorable cruises of the war, beginning 

1 N. E. Hist, and Gen. Reg., xxx. 333. 

2 Out-Letters of the Continental Marine Committee {Publ. Naval Hist. 
Sac, Vol. IV), I. 14, 42. 

3 Tucker Papers, i, 18. 

with hope and ending in disaster, as many of the Revolution- 
ary Navy's undertakings did. The Hancock was commanded 
by Captain John Manley, senior in rank to McNeill. The 
General Court of Massachusetts, in resolves adopted April 
24 and 26, 1777, urged these officers to put to sea at once, 
in pursuit of certain of the enemy's cruisers which were 
harassing the coast and waters of the state. Inducements, 
in the form of prize money and insurance, were offered to 
privateers to accompany the frigates. Nine private armed 
vessels accepted the terms. 

The squadron finally sailed May 21. The privateers were 
of no use whatever; becoming separated, they soon dropped 
behind and took no further part in the enterprise. Private 
vessels were ill adapted for cruising in squadrons and during 
the Revolution failed in nearly all attempts at cooperation 
with regular ships or with each other. Early in the cruise 
the frigates fell in with a superior force, but escaped. In 
June they captured the British frigate Fox. In July they 
encountered three British ships, the Rainbow, Flora, and 
Victor, and the engagement which ensued resulted in the sur- 
render to the enemy of the Hancock and Fox. The Boston 
escaped, took refuge in the Sheepscott River, and later re- 
turned to Boston Harbor.^ 

In a cruise of this sort, hazardous at best, the utmost 
harmony and perfect understanding between the captains 
was essential to success. That the opposite was true on this 
occasion was notorious before they sailed; Manley and 
McNeill were at swords' points. Dr. Samuel Cooper wrote 
to John Adams, April 3, 1777: " Manly and McNeal do not 
agree. It is not, I believe, the Fault of the first ... If 
they are not better united, infinite Damage may accrue." ^ 
In McNeill's letters will be found sharp criticism of his supe- 
rior's conduct during this cruise. He also had trouble with 
the officers of his own ship. James Warren, a member of 
the Eastern Navy Board, in a letter to John Adams, Septem- 
ber 7, 1777, in speaking of the frigate Boston, said: "And 
great misunderstanding between the Captain and his officers, 

1 In the papers here collected, Captain McNeill gives detailed accounts 
of all these operations. For British accounts, see Allen, Naval History of 
the Revolution, i, 205, 208-214. 

2 Adams mss. 


who it is said will not again go to sea with him, and who 
say he never will again man his ship. Capt. McNeill's repu- 
tation on his first appointment was extremely good; it seems 
to be now reversed. The last cruise was at first very suc- 
cessful, but did not end so. There was certainly great blame 
somewhere, I won't pretend to say where. He lays it on 
Manley, as you may see by his letters to the Marine Com- 
mittee; while his officers dont scruple to say that if he had 
followed Manley's orders we might have had not only the 
Fox, but the Flora and Rainbow." In a later letter (Octo- 
ber 12), Warren speaks of McNeill's "overbearing haughti- 
ness and unlimited conceit." ^ Yet it would appear from 
some of the captain's letters that he was at heart devoted to 
the interests of his ship's company, both officers and men, 
and solicitous for their welfare, demanding recognition of 
their rights especially in the matter of pay and prize money. 
McNeill had a good friend in Captain John Paul Jones, who 
expressed sympathy in letters included in this collection. 

No report of the cruise by Captain Manley has come to 
light and his side of the story remains unheard. Neverthe- 
less, public opinion in general was with him, and McNeill 
was held responsible for the loss of the Hancock, in not hav- 
ing come to her rescue. That this sentiment was not unani- 
mous, however, is shown in a letter, dated March 30, 1778, 
of William Wetmore, of Salem, to Timothy Pickering. In 
recommending Captain John Fisk for the command of a 
Continental frigate, he says: "I am confident he wd. not 
give her away like a Coward as perhaps has been the case 

with some others, nor lose her like a blockhead as M 

did his." - 

The frigate Boston remained in port until February, 1778, 
when she sailed for France under the command of Captain 
Samuel Tucker. In the spring of 1778 Captain Manley, who 
had been many months a prisoner, was released by exchange 
and returned to Boston. A Court of Inquiry was held, no 
report of which exists, but it is alluded to in a letter of 

1 Warren- Adams Letters, Vol. lxxii. i, 366. 373. See Out-Letters of the 
Marine Committee, i. 164, 170. 

2 Pickering mss. (Mass. Hist. Soc), xvii. 128. Doubtless Manley is 

James Warren and John Deshon, of the Eastern Navy Board, 
to William Vernon, the third member. Under date of 
Boston, June lo, they speak of Manley's Court Martial, 
then taking place, and add: " Capt. McNeill's comes on 
Friday next. He conducts in the present Similar to what he 
did in the former Court of Enquiry, which is to Create as 
much Charge and perplexity as possible." ' The verdict of 
acquittal in Manley's case, signed by Dudley Saltonstall, 
President, and dated June 13, 1778, is printed in the Publica- 
tions of the Rhode Island Historical Society^ A letter of 
June 16, from John Deshon to Joshua Huntington, after 
mentioning Manley's acquittal, says that " McNeill is on 
Tryal. I fancy he will not come of so well." ' No report of 
McNeill's trial has been preserved, but a sentence either of 
suspension or dismissal was imposed. On June 30 he made 
a protest which has also apparently been lost, but is referred 
to in a petition to the Continental Congress, dated Philadel- 
phia, July 25, in which he expresses himself as being "ex- 
ceedingly Agrieved." This petition was referred to the 
Marine Committee, which recommended, January 15, 1779 
" That the Sentence of the Court Martial against' Capt! 
McNeill be not caried into execution." Consideration of 
this report was postponed and this seems to have ended the 
matter. McNeill never again served in the Continental 

Little is known of Captain McNeill's subsequent career. 
Soon after his trial he went to Philadelphia, apparently with 
a view to conduct more effectively his attempts at reinstate- 
ment in the naval service. There he seems to have remained 
many months, perhaps until the spring of 1779. Later he 
was engaged to some extent in privateering. On October 26, 
1779, he signed as witness the bond of the brigantine 
Charming Peggy.' His name appears on a petition, dated 
May 22, 1780, praying to be commissioned commander of 

1 Pttbl. R. I. Hist. Soc, vin. 246. 
- lb., vin. 247. 

3 Wolcott Mss. (Mass. Hist. Soc). 

* Papers of Contin. Congress, xlii. 5, 73, xxxvii, 163. See Out-Letters of 
the Marine Committee, i. 243, 252, 271, 280. 
^ Mass. Archives, v. 163. 


the privateer Pallas} This vessel sailed for Europe, bound 
to Amsterdam. A business letter of August 22, 1780, from 
that place, says: " We are sorry to mention you that to this 
day the Brigantine Pallas, Hector McNeill, is not yet arrived, 
so that in all appearances said Vessel is fallen into wrong 
hands." " The fate o^ the Pallas is here left in doubt. 
Another petition, dated November 21, 1780, pertains to the 
ship Adventure, which also had a Continental commission. 
In this case McNeill's signature is not in his own handwrit- 
ing. These were all Massachusetts privateers. On May 10, 
1782, McNeill witnessed the bonds of two Virginia privateers 
with Continental commissions.^ He may have been on a 
Southern trip at this time, but that he was living in Boston 
in 1782 is shown by letters written to him by Paul Jones. 

The only further knowledge we have of the subject of this 
sketch concerns his end, which was befitting a sailor. In 
answer to inquiry Mr. Gray of Portsmouth writes: " Capt. 
Hector McNeill was lost at sea on Christmas night, 1785." 
A considerable correspondence in later years between his 
widow and General Knox gives the impression that the cap- 
tain left his family in far from affluent circumstances.* 

Autobiographical Sketch ^ 

Brigantien Minerva July 13th, 1773. 

I, Hector McNeill, being now at sea and (blessed be god) find- 
ing my mind composed, and sound, do now in His name (and I 
trust for his Glory) begin a work, which I have long had in mind 
to accomplish which is to Leave to my children, and Freinds, that 
may survive me, some account of my Predecessors, and kindred, 
and of mine own Life, and Perigrinations, throu this troublesome 
World. That they may know hereafter, from what quarter of 
the Earth, and from what Stock of People they are descended. 
That they may thereby be Excited to Excel in allworthyness of 
life, and conversation rather than debase the blood of their An- 
cestors, by a degenerate and wicked Life. — and that they may be 

^ Ibid.. VI. 266. CLXxi. 164. 
- Commerce of Rhode Island, n. 104. 163. 

3 Mass. Archives, clxxi. 307; Naval Records of Amer. Rev. (Calendar). 
221, 406, 494. 

* Knox Mss. (Mass. Hist. Soc). ^ From Uie Gray Papers. 


Taught by the Goodness of God Manifested, Particularly to me, 
in many verey Pressing dangers, to have theire trust in him, and 
in him Only; who has offten saved me, where even hope, reather 
might take the name of Presumtion, and when no vizible door 
was left for my Escape. For all which may I while I live; and 
may my children when they read this, have a due Sense of his 
mercy's, and of theire dependance on him, impressed on theire 
minds, for ever, from one Generation to another. 

I cannot help Lamenting that my Father (who had it much in 
his power, because blessed with an uncommon Memory, and a 
good understanding; as well as a very Particular knowledge of 
his Clan and Kindred,) did not leave me some such help, as I 
intend (throu god's goodness) this which I am now writeing shall 
be to my children,) for I hold it a great blessing, to be well as- 
sured of being descended from a Stock of People who have been 
distinguished for ages, for Vertue reather than riches. Therefore 
am willing that mine should know from whence they came, which 
few in this country do. Our removal from our native country, 
to a strange land in the ninth year of my life, (where since my 
Fathers death I have not been able to get much information) my 
memory is all I have to trust to. Yet shall I Endeavor to relate 
my Story strictly consistant with truth, wishing that what I com- 
mit to these Sheets, may be believed, and received, with all that 
integrity of Soul with which I write them, fully determined that 
my account of things shall be true be it ever so Lame and im- 
perfect in other respects. 

First, the People from whom I am descended, by the father's 
side of the house, (of the name Macniel) were natives of Kintyer 
in the West highlands of Scotland, from which country my Grand- 
father (Neal Macneil) followed the fortunes, of the infortunate 
family of Stuart. This at last led him abroad where he spent 
his youth and some of his Blood in Foreign Service, so that after 
his return, he was allways call'd to the day of his death, Neal 
nafrankah, (or Neal the frenchman). He at last returned 
and married a wife (of the Name of O Neil) in the north 
of Ireland, within 5 miles of Bellycastle in the county of An- 
trim, who lived with him 55 years, and then died, leaving him a 
numerous family of children, chiefly sons, some of whom I re- 
member to have seen. Namely, Charles, He[nry], John, and Mal- 
colm, which last was mine own Father, [who] was the youngest 
child of his fathers family. 

Secondly the People from whom I am descended by the mothers 
Side, are also from the West of Scotland, of the Name of Stuart, 


deriveing theire Pedegree from that Ancient, and illusterous, 
family, of Stuarts, which has cost so much blood and Treasure to 
keep theire Simple Sons in Possession of theire fathers inheriteance. 

My Mother, whose name was Mary Stuart, was verey Proud 
of her ancestors, and loved her name to folly; and tho she never 
reaped any great good from her attachement to them, yet it cost 
her many a Painfull and sorrowfull hour, to my certain knowledge. 

She was a Pious, devout woman, and I verely believe a true 
Christian, the hapy fruits of which I trust she now reaps in 
Glory. She was the fondest mother that ever had a son, and of 
all her sons none so loved as me who was her fa[vorite]. I do 
remember to have heard my father, and mother, both say; they 
were married that verey week in which King George the Second 
came to the crown, (I mean the time of his accession). 

I was born on thursday Octr. loth, 1728, and christened the 
Sabath following in Bellentoy church by the reverend Doctor 
Stuart, who was a distant relation of my mothers. 

The Place of my birth was at a little Village near the Sea Side 
not far from the giants Casuaye, call'd (dounesevrick) Dounsev- 
rick and in the Parish of Bellentoy aforesaid, the County of An- 
trim, 10 miles from Collrane, 8 miles from Bellemony, 5 miles 
from Bellycastle, and 3 from Bushmills. 

In July 1737, my father with his whole family consisting of six 
souls, viz. himself, my mother, my self, my Sister Jean, my Sister 
Margret, and Sister Mary, (then only six months old) Embark'd 
on board the Sygemanh, Daniel Gibbs commander at Port [rush], 
and on the Seventh of September following arrived at boston, 
haveing lost my second Sister (Margret) on the Passage. This 
was but a Prelude to our suceeding troubles, for before we had 
been three months in the country among a Set of Strangers, who 
were not verey Sympathetick, my other two Sisters also died. 
These repeated Strokes of Providence was most sensibly felt by 
my dear Parents, who now too late begann to repent theire re- 
moveing to a land of Strangers, where none seem'd touched with 
theire heartfelt misfortunes, theire anguish was the greater, as 
they had to blame theire removall from home for the loss of theire 
children; who haveing taken the Meazles on board the Ship, and 
being Verey much wet with the Seawater in a Storm (in which 
the Ship lost her masts,) they took cold, and never after recover'd, 
but died as above recited. 

Here I cannot Pass Remarking, a Singular instance of the Provi- 
dence of God Manifested, in our Preservation in this Storm which 
overtook us in our Passage to America. 

The Ship in which we pass'd, was about 240 Tons burthen, the 


Captain, (whose name was Daniel Gibbs) had for his own emolu- 
ment letten his cabin, and State-rooms, to Passingers and had 
built for himself a convenient round-house on the after Part the 
Ships quarter-deck. He had Also built two Smaller ones, one on 
each side the companion, cappable of containing five Passingers 

My father, on Viewing the Ship, took a Particular fancy to 
have one of those little Lodging Places for his family, thinking 
it better to be where we might allways enjoy the benefit of fresh 
Air, and be also, intirely detached from the nauseous stench, and 
filth, of a crowd of Passingers, (which all who Lay below were 
constantly exposed to,) the Ship being verey much crowded (for 
at our departure from Port [rush] in Ireland, we reckoned near 
470 Souls on board). He Accordingly Agreed with the captain 
for that birth on the Larboard side the Companion, for which he 
Paid him three pounds five Shillings per Passinger, those who lay 
below only Paying three pounds. 

It so happened that when the Ship broach'd too in the Storm, 
her Ballast, Water, Pasingers, and Everything below shifted, and 
keept her down on her beam-ends, until the water run in abund- 
antly at all her hatch-ways. In this Distress our birth being to 
Leward; 'twas with great deficualty my dear Parents, could save 
theire helpless infants from drowning, but holding them up as 
high as the top of our wretched cabin would Permit. In this 
horid Situation we remained some time untill the masts went away 
of themselves. Then the Ship righted a little, so as to free our 
birth of the water; Except now and then an Extraordinary high 
Surge of the Sea overwhelmed us. The Goodness of God in 
Preserving us at this time was verey Extraordinary, when the 
Little defence we had to resist the Violence of the Waves, was 
none other than a poor Cabin made on the Ships deck, with half 
inch deal boards and but slightly secured to the Ships Companion. 
My dear father, (who had by nature a good Mechanical genius,) 
had Examined (but a day or two before the storm) the maner 
in which the birth was secur'd, and Observed that it did not ap- 
pear solid Enough to resist bad weather, on which he applyd to 
the Ships Carpenter, who gave him some nails, and a few Staves 
of an old Beef Barrel; with theese he fastened the Birth to the 
Companion [with] his own hands, not careing to trust to a 
Person who seemed very indiferent about that and also the Ship. 

We soon had reason to thank the Almighty, for haveing Sug- 
gested to my father such a thought — for to this Precaution 
(under the direction of Providence) was oweing our Preservation 


in the succeeding Storm, for in the condition the Ship then lay, 
our birth was Suspended Sideways in such a manner, that, 'twas 
marvelous indeed, that our weight, and the weight of water in it, 
had not forced it bodyly off from the companion, into the sea. 
In which case the poor little family, must have gone all togeither, 
and in one moment, finished a trip which most of them had but 
just begun; but that good God who had more mercys in Store 
for us. Preserved us in this great Extremity. The Scene of this 
disaster, was in the night, which made it appear more dreadfull 
and Allarming, the Sea itself, Seemd to be a body of fire reather 
then water, the cracking, and bursting of the Sails, and Masts, 
was like thunder; the Ship Lying down on her beam-ends, her 
Ballast, and Passingers Shiffted to Leeward, her masts and tiller 
broken, the Sea makeing a free Passage over her, the Shrieks, 
and Crys, of helpless Mothers and infants, whose Eyes were now 
in vain turn'd towards theire husbands or fathers for safety, in 
short the whole Exhibited such a Scene of distress, and look'd 
so like enevitable death that the stoutest heart failed, even the 
hardy tars (who are commonly wont to despise dangers) gave all 
up for lost, so that of fourteen Stout Seamen, besides Officers, be- 
longing to our Ship, only Six men Stood the deck in this Ex- 
tremity. All the others haveing Slip'd away into holes and Cor- 
ners, reather than meet death openly; when thus awfully armed 
against them. 

Those men who stood the deck and bravely did theire duty, 
ought to be remembered with gratitude, I will therefore transmit 
theire names to Posterity, as far as in my Power. Daniel Gibbs 

the Captain, Mr Demmick, chief mate, Mr Smith 

second mate, George Fitzgerrald, Boatswain, John McKown, Sea- 
man, John Dunn, a Seaman who wrought his Passage. 

The names of the others I have mostly forgot (as I would 
have all Posterity forget them). There was one Josiah Cox of 
casco-bay among them, I saw him a few years afterwards mas- 
ter of a ship; he was a fair outside of a man, but not very 
Valiant. His name was Tom Adams, who had the helm and suf- 
fered the Ship to Broach too at first. He was also a fine, fair- 
weather Sailor, 

When day light appeared, and brought to our view the deplor- 
able State in which we were, the stoutest heart trembled. When 
we considered our numbers on board, our Ship a Wreck, the great 
distance we were from land (then near 300 Leagues), the im- 
possibility of approaching it without masts, and sails, (of both 
which we were almost distetute) the small quantity of water now 


on board (which by the buy was and had been the whole Voyage 
very bad) I say when all theese deficualtys were considered; 'twas 
then we began Sincerely to repent our haveing quited our native 
shore. Better had it been to have still tarryed there, and to 
have struggled on with Oppression, and Tyranny for the term of 
our natural lives, then to thus Perrish in the Ocean without any 
eye to Pitty us. Various were the complaints, and Pityable the 
case of such a Multitude. Nothing but the recent memory of 
theire late deliverance, and a firm confidence in that Mercy full 
God who had saved them in theire great distress, could compose 
theire Spirrits, on this Occasion. 

When our first Surprize and Perturbation of mind was over; we 
next began to think what means was yet in our Power for our 
own Preservation. The Seamen began to contrive Jury-masts. 
The Passingers Produced all theire winnow Cloths, and coarse 
Sheets. With theese and the remainder of the Ships Sails, were 
such new ones made, as put her once more in a condition to Pro- 
ceede (tho slowly) towards our Port, so that the first Part of our 
Passage haveing been fortunate, the latter creeping part of it; 
lengthened out the whole to Eight Weeks and three days, from 
our leaveing Portrush in Ireland, to our Arival at Boston in New 
England. Here we met with a verey indifferent reception from 
the People of the country, who seem'd to have a contempt for 
Strangers, of what denomination soever; more Especially those 
who came from Ireland (whom they took for granted were all 
Roman catholicks). Add to this our haveing the Meazles on 
board the Ship of which distemper twenty seven Persons had 
died on the Passage, so that we were not suffered to Land, but 
Order'd down to Spectical Island, there to Perform a quarentine. 

While we lay there, a relation of my mothers, whose name was 
Nancy Stuart (now married to one of the name of Boyd) who 
had been some two or three years in the country came to see us, 
and haveing brought a Permitt from the Selectmen of the town, 
brought us on shore, and conducted us to her house in long-Lane. 

On our Landing at Hubbards Wharf, my Father was accosted 
by that churlish old man himself. He ask'd in an angry tone, 
from whence we came; who sent for us; why we came there; and 
why we did not stay in our own country. To all theese ques- 
tions, my father answered him in few words, telling him with some 
heat and firmness, that 'twas not him who sent for us, nor were 
we accountable to him in any respect whatever. The Vile wretch 
snarled as he went and shut his window, growling out something 
about takeing the Bread out of childrens mouths, etca., etca. 
This verey uncouth Salutation from the first man we met at 


Landing, lookd verey discouraging and wrought so deeply on my 
fathers spirrits, that he did not recover himself for some moments. 
At length the Tears running freely over his manly cheeks, gave 
Way to that Passion he could no otherwise vent, and he became 
calm before we reached the house of our Benefactors. 

A Little Lad who lived next door Observeing me a Stranger, 
fell into conversation with me, and being highly diverted with 
my manner of Pronounceation, (whither to amuse himself or some 
of his comrades to whom he intended to introduce me) led me 
out into the streets where we soon met with other Boys who were 
going to see a Ship Launched. Thither I accompany'd them where 
were gathered togeither great numbers of Spectators among others 
many small boys, some of whom began to make remarks on my 
dress and appearance. At length one more Audacious then the 
Others, singled himself out, and endeavour'd to Provoke me by 
his Scurrilous Language, which I for some time bore with christian 
Patience, (considering my self a Stranger, and haveing taken great 
notice of the reception my father had but just received from Old 
Hubbard I expected but little favour from those who were now 
round me). At length this uimiannerly boy most unhappily for 
himself, call'd me Irish. The word was scarcely out of his mouth, 
before he had my little fist — dab — in his Eyes. A Battle 
ensued and he was beaten most unmercyf ully ; for tho I had but 
just come on shore from a fateaguing half starved Passage, the 
Agitation of Spirrits into which I had been thrown by that days 
Adventures supply'd my want of Strength and Experience too. 
For I had never been bred to a fighting or quarelsome life. I 
returned to our Lodgings highly Extol'd by the Spectators for my 
courage and dexterity, little thinking of the train of Mischiefes 
and hardships, which began to follow me from that moment for- 
ward. For dureing the whole time of my Boy-hood in the town 
of Boston my life was one continued State of warfare. Scarcely 
ever did the day Pass, but one, two, or more Battles, was my 
sure lot. As the country boys were verey apt to cast reflections 
on me or my country, so never did I let them Pass unpunished. 
Even those who were much too old, and too Strong for me, I 
never Permitted to insult me with impunity. Untill at last I be- 
came such an Adept at Boxing, that they became civil and Com- 
plisante to me for theire own sakes. This was Perfectly Agree- 
able to me, for my Nature abhorr'd quarleing and contention all 
my days, but I was drove into that kind of Life, by the incivility 
and barbarous Partiality; of these People, among whom I was 
obliged to spend my time. 


On my first appearance at a Publick School, where we were 
upwards of two hundred boys, (our Masters name was Allen,) I 
happened to be the only Stranger (for not being country born in 
those days made one an Alien to all intents,) here to theire ever- 
lasting Shame, I was cruely treated. For they Seldome contented 
themselves with threshing me one at a time, but would frequently 
shew me foul-play, and get at me two or more at once, untill they 
had master'd me for that time. This I allways revenged singley 
whenever an Oppertunity offer'd, untill at last, being brought by 
custom, to suffer a great deal of Bruseing and in my turn to 
Pay as well, they let me alone in peace. Here I would not be 
understood to glory in haveing been the cock of the school. Nor 
would I have any body think, that I approve of a quarelsome 
fighting life, in Either Boys or Men; but I reather mention theese 
things (tho meer childish triffles) to Shew Posterity how hard the 
fate of Strangers was in those days in New England; and of all 
Strangers none so disliked as those whom they called Irish, of 
whom they thought as the Jews of Old, with respect to the Gali- 
leans (can any good thing come out of Ireland). But blessed be 
god the times are much alter'd; the People of New England, have 
now a better Oppinion of us; they haveing found by Experience, 
that the Protestant Settlers from the North of Ireland, are the 
most invaluable Set of People theire New country can boast of, 
they being in generall industrious. Sober, honest, people; and 
Vailant in theire Wars with the french and Indians, from which 
incumbrance this country has not been long Exempted. This 
more than can be said of the People of any Other country what- 
ever who have yet come among the New-Englanders. 

Since the late greveious Administration of Lord Hillsbourough 
commenced, I have offten thought within my self, how strange 
a thing it seem'd to be, that a whole country should (in the 
course of Providence) be Oppressed, and Persecuted; by a Single 
Person of that nation; of whom (formerly) they themselves made 
a Merrit of Persecuting an individual. I would not overstretch 
this idea, but I think a good Lesson may be learned from it. Shall 
however Pass it at this time to follow more Particularly my in- 
tended Story. 

We had not been ashore more than ten days before my youngest 
Sister Mary, died; and in about six weeks afterwards, my Eldest 
sister Jean, followed. The sorrow of my afflicted Parents was 
inexpressible, who now saw themselves in a strange country, strip'd 
of theire Relations, Acquaintance and children (except my self), 
and that in little more than 3 months time. Thus they spent 
the first winter in mourning and Sorrow, resolving to return home 


again the next Succeeding Sumer. But Providence Order'd it 
Otherwise; and with the new year New Scenes opened more 
Agreeable then we Expected so that from thenceforth my Parents 
became in a good measure reconciled to theire fate, and En- 
davourd to make the best of it in New England; in decem[be]r, 
1738, my sister Elizabeth was born, and in Jan[uar]y, 1740, my 
Brother William; in Feb[ruar]y, 1742,, another Sister Jean; and 
in May, 1744, my Brother Isaac; in June, 1746, my Brother 
Jacob, and in Sept[embe]r, 1748, another Sister Mary, which 
last did not live above a month. 

I had from my Infancy allways discover'd an inclination for a 
Sea Life, which my Parents discouraged by Every means in theire 
Power, which I do now think (and Long have thought) Proceeded 
from theire fondness for me. The Arguments made use of, and 
the Love and respect I allways had for my Parents, proved hither- 
too sufficient to deter me from it. Happy for me had it still 
been so. Yet being now grown a little too headstrong, and 
longing to be from under that restraint, my Parents had a right 
to exercise over me I did (and sory am I now to say it) I did 
Break Away from my indulgent Loveing Parents, and much 
against theire inclination, go to sea. I veryly do believe that in all 
my life, I never did any thing which cost my Parents one Moment's 
Sorrow, except this one thing of going to sea. For which act of 
disobedience the Allmighty has in the course of his Providence 
Punished me severely. 

I was now in the 17th year of my age, well grown and verey 
active; add to this a strong Propensity for that kind of Employ- 
ment, by which (for the future) I did intend to get my Bread. 
I soon became much Esteemd by all I saild with, and met with 
great Encouragement. So that in June, 1750, I was made master 
of a Vessell in a Verey Snug trade, and constant Employ. 

Several years before this Period I had contracted an inclina- 
tion for Mary Wilson, daughter to deacon Robert Wilson of Bos- 
ton. I can truely say when it first began with me, I knew not 
what it meant. Riper years at last Suggested to me what was 
my complaint, but I remained so verey Bashfull, that 'twas not 
without great deficualty I disclosed my mind to her. I found her 
also so overcome with Shamefacedness that I could Easyly see her 
mind and inclinations was but a counter part of mine own. I do 
acknowledge my self much indebted to the care of heaven, and 
have great reason to bless my god for ever, for haveing in the 
course of things, directed mine eyes, my heart, and every affection 
to that aimable and worthy Object; for whose sake alone I gave 
up every thought of all others; and found my self Extremely 


happy, Expecting in due time to Possess her who was the mistress 
of my desires. This helped to Ballance my unwary youth, and 
Proved too much for every other Temptation; so that instead of 
being toss'd about by a desire of change, and Exposed to diseases 
and Pains, togeither with a remorse of conscience the sure Pur- 
sveiant of early Vice, I was Enabled by the Preserving goodness 
of God, to bring my self to her chaste arms. Pure, and undefiled, 
from all crimes, and theire consequences ; which are but too off ten 
the silent, selfaccuseing, bedfellows of many a new married man. 

On the 1 2th of November, 1750, I was married to this lovely 
woman, myself being then just turned of twenty tow, and she 
within two months of twenty years of age. I was married on Mon- 
day Evening, and sail'd for Annapolis Royal on Thursday morning 
following; leaveing all freinds in Perfect health. Which blessing 
did not continue long amongst us, for on the succeeding Sabath 
I arrived at Annapolis so bad of a Pluresie fever, that no life was 
Expected for me; and remaind dangerously ill so long that my 
Vessell was sent home again before the dead of Winter shou'd set 
in, not Looking for my recovery. 

While I lay in this fever, given over by Physicians as well as 
all others who saw me, I had something Verey uncommon Com- 
municated to me, whither in a dream, or by means of some Super- 
natureal Agent, I cannot say; nor is it in my Power to this day to 
account for it; 'twas no less then the awfull, and lively, repre- 
sentation of the Great day of the Lord; which I am Persuaded 
will surely come and in a manner not far different from what I 
then saw and shall one day Experience. May God of his infinite 
Mercy prepare my Soul for the dreadfull, Pleaseing, moment. 

Methought, some one came to my bedside and asked me if I 
knew my mother was dieing. I answer'd no, and seem'd much 
alarm'd. I then fancy'd I heard the children crying and could 
Verey plainly distinguish their different Voices. Soon after which 
my mother appear'd at my bedside, and ask'd me if I knew that 
she was dead. I answer'd no, and told her I hoped 'twas not so. 
She said 'twas realy so, and that she was then instantly going to 
appear before the Judgement seat of Christ. Every thing appear'd 
so plain and my mothers answers so naturealle, that I begann to 
be in doubt whither I my self was in the Body or not, to be assured 
of which, I asked my mother whither I was dead or not. She told 
me that I was not yet dead. I then asked her where my father 
was. She said she had left him in great trouble and Perplexity, 
and to my surprize seem'd very indifferent about him or her chil- 
dren, as if her whole Attention were fixed on the trial just before 
her. She desired me to stretch my sight around me and take the 


last View of all Nature, for that now time was going to end and 
Eternity commence. I look'd and beheld a Vast shining body of 
light coming towards us, and was told by her that what I then 
saw was God in Majesty comeing to Judge the world, I plainly 
saw all nature bend before this dread appearance, the hills and 
mountains mouldering away, like heaps of dry sand ; sinking down 
to rise again no more, 

I then began to be fearfuU about my self and would have 
gladly been found among the righteous, I asked my mother what 
she aprehended would be her fate. She smiled and said, my child, 
you shall see me Presently seated on the right hand of my Judge 
and Saviour who laid down his life for my salvation, I then 
asked her what would become of me and my father. She said it 
would go verey hard with us. I then cryd out, O my mother, 
will there be no favour shewn to the Seed of the rightious. She 
said none, but that every one must stand or fall by themselves. 
I then saw the earth opening, the dead riseing, and Millions of 
People, small and great hastening towards this awfull throne 
which had the Appearance of an immense Large Temple of fire, 
within which were Multitudes of Voices singing Praises to their 
Almighty King. I asked my mother what the different crowd of 
People meant, who seemd to huddle togeither in bands. She 
answered, that these were the different classes, and different Persua- 
tions, among mankind, who were to be Judged each class by them- 
selves. All those people seemd Exceeding earnestly Employ'd in 
prepareing themselves for an Examination before this awfull throne 
of light. Among the different crowds, I observed one Particular 
Set, who seem'd to have bundles with each of them; on the open- 
ing of which bundles, Vast numbers of little Packages were seen 
which by their appearance put me in mind of those little round 
things found in the fields, which the Sheepherds call Blindman 
Balls. No sooner were theese produc'd but they burst, and van- 
ished, like smoak; leaving a very disagreeable smell, and almost 
blinding all those who were near the place. I asked my mother 
what those things meant. She said theese were the Pardons for Sins 
and Absolutions Obtained by Papists and others from Priests, in 
which those poor deluded People had trusted, depending on them 
for theire Justification, but now found when too late to be of no 
service to them. 

The first that I observed was call'd to give an Account of them- 
selves was the Ministers of the Gospel. These were commanded 
to Produce Lists of their communicants. I then saw, the founda- 
tions of the churches turned over like a heaps of ruins, from under 
which was brought forth books in which was written the names 


of all who had been members of theese churches since the begin- 
ing. The writeing appear'd plain Except in Some Places where it 
lookd mouldy as if it had been wet, and dry'd again,. I look'd 
long to see if I knew any of those Ministers. At length I saw 
Doctor Sewall with a goodly List of Communicants in his hand 
going toward the Throne. 

Theese with many other circumstances I saw, and have to this 
day as Plain in my memory as if it had been yesterday. Whither 
to call this a dream, or Vision, or the Phrinzeys of a distemper'd 
brain, I know not; but this I am certain of: that in the self same 
hour (which this Happened to me at Annapolis, as was remarked 
by Everybody round me in the house where I lay) my dear mother, 
departed this Life at Boston, of a verey slight illness indeed of 
which she had complained but a few days. For I had left her in 
Perfect health the 15th, and she died the 27th of that same 
November, 1750, in the 40th year of her age. It pleased god to 
recover me from this dangerous Sickness and to return me safe 
home again about the middle of february, where I found my 
disconsolate Father surounded with a family of helpless infants, 
Mourning the loss of the much-loved Partner of his Life. I was 
Prepaired for this event by the warning I had of it before, on 
which I depended from the verey moment 'twas communicated to 
me, as much as if I had been in my fathers house, and had seen 
what happened. It was nevertheless some comfort to me at my 
return to find my dear Mary in Perfect health. I then pitty'd 
my afflicted father, of whose irepairable loss I began to have some 
faint idea of by comparing my own Mercy's with his bereavements. 
His Griefe was unbounded, and his mourning without ceaceing, in- 
somuch that I vereyly believe 'twas the means of shortning his 
days. He had not only burried my mother in my Abscence, but 
had himself undergone an opperation by the chiugions hands for 
a cancer in his Lip, so that he was worn to a Skeliton with Sorrow 
of heart and pain of Body. This Weight alars Proved too much 
for him and made him totter on towards the Grave with rapid 
Progress. For notwithstanding some hopes of a cure after his Lip 
was cut off, yet the roots of the disease lying too deep for the 
incision Knife, it rekindled again with double force and carried 
him out of this troublesome world in October following, in the 47th 
year of his age, so that he did not live quite Eleven months after 
my mother. 

I happened to be at home a few days before his death, time 
Enough to receive his last Commands which was a great comfort 
to me, as it was also the only thing my dear father desired most 
on Earth; that he might only be spared to take me by the hand, 


give me his Blessing, and deliver over to my care his helpless in- 
fants. Oh heart of Adament canst thou hold togeither when thou 
recollectet the tender Sceene — a dieing father committing to thy 
care five helpless orphans, who must henceforth look up to thee, 
and call thee father, Mother, and Brother too. He said my dear 
child I have (notwithstanding my suffering the most Excruciating 
pain) desired of the Lord that he would spare me untill your re- 
turn, that I might take my last farewell of you in this world, 
trusting in the Almighty to meet you again in glory. My worldly 
matters I have settled as you will find in that paper, which if 
you approve of 'tis well; if not, I will make Any Alteration in it 
you think proper. I leave you no riches, my Blessing Excepted 
which I trust in the Lord will fall on you for good; but I leave 
you a great deal of care. I leave you at the head of this poor little 
flock, trusting that by the blessing of the Almighty and your 
honest improvement of your own abilitys you will be Enabled 
to bring them up to the age of Ma[nhood] without theire falling 
a Prey, or being Exposed to an ingrateful world; and may they 
prove loveing dutyfull children to you who is henceforth to be 
theire Only Parent on Earth. The little I leave among you will 
wear well and I am Confident no one will ever do you an injury 
for my sake. May god be with you, and unite you in one band of 
love, and may his Blessing rest on you for ever. 

After this he continued but a few days and gave himself no 
other trouble concerning us while he did remain Except to restrain 
our griefe for his sake. After the funerall was over I gave up the 
house in which I had Lived heretofore and removed into that which 
was my fathers. Here I found myself (tho young and just begin- 
ning the world) surrounded with a family of children whose whole 
dependence was (under Providence) fix'd on me alone. On this 
Occasion I could not help remarking to my wife how suddenly 
she had become a mother of so many children and asked her what 
she thought of the task. She said that inasmuch as God in his 
Providence had cast so great a care upon her, she hoped he would 
Enable her to do her duty towards them with a good conscience, 
and so far was she from repining at the thoughts of supporting 
such a burthen, that she undertook it with cheerfullness. This 
Obliging repply indear'd her to me more if Possible then before, 
and the unwearied pain she took from that time to her dieing day 
for those poor children may possibly be Equall'd, but never out- 
done by the fondest mother on earth; this remains as a lasting 
proof how conscientiously she acquited herself of so great a charge. 

On 1 2th April, 1752, our family was increased by the birth of 
our first child (a boy) who was christened Robert for his Grand- 


father, Mr. Wilson. He, with his mother, and all my brothers and 
sisters (Except my Brother William) had the small Pox togeither 
before he was two months old. They all did well notwithstanding 
they took it in the naturall way, as at that time inocculation was 
not verey generaly approved of. 

My Brother William not being then in Boston but at school in 
the Country (whither I had been oblig'd to send him on account of 
his Truant playing in town) was the Cause why he Escaped the 
small pox at that time. For I could not think of calling him 
out of the country 50 miles to town to punish him with sickness the 
Event of which I dreaded. He had also a weakness in his left 
Eye some time before which added to my fears in case of his have- 
ing that distemper which is so offten fattall to weak Eyes. In all 
this I thought I was right and did for the best. But alass, how 
blind are we to the future. So it happened with me in this case. 
He was afterwards Exposed to have the small pox on board a Ship 
where he could have few or none of the Necessarys or conveniences 
of life about him and was thereby the innocent means of his own 
and my imprisonment severall months, as will be found in the 

In August, 1753, my Wifes Brother William Wilson died, and 
in September following my fine Boy, while I was abscent. At my 
return I was told of my Loss a Little abruptly as I Landed on Long 
wharf by Sam. Sloane. Here for the first time I was sensible of 
the feelings of a Parent. 

I had been Accustomed to deaths and had now worn mourning 
for three years togeither, but never did any death make such an 
impression on me before as I found the death of this child made. 
May God forgive the weakness of my Nature and give me allways 
a due resignation to his will. 

In November, 1753, our second son was born and christened 
after me (Hector). 

In March, 1754, my Wife's mother Mrs. Wilson died much 
Lamented. She was a good freind, Neighbour, and I hope and be- 
lieve a Good Christian. 

In April, 1755, I was taken into the King's Service and did 
cary Generall Monckton on the Expedition against Beausejour in 
the Bay of Funday (now Fort Cumberland), from which place 
[I] did not return untill October following. 

In November, 1755, our first daughter Mary was born, and on 
the 24th december following I saild for Annapolis Royal takeing 
with me my Brother William meerely to keep him from Beating 
the Streets and playing Truant, to which he had allways been 
adicted, and not in the least intending him for a Sea Life. How- 


ever the Lord, who disposes of all things as he thinks best had now 
set before him and me a long chain of Suffering. 

After being toss'd at sea some days and running from one har- 
bour to another along the Coast for Shelter, we did on the 29th of 
december aforesaid put into Harbour — Letonge [Etang] a little 
to the Eastward of Passcadamaquady. 

Being at an Anchour I order'd the boat out and went on shore 
my self with Capt. Wm. Martin of the Royal Artillery, then a 
Passinger on board, and 4 men. I set the men to cut wood and 
to search for water (which last they found not by reason of the 
severe frosts which had been for some days before). Capt. 
Martin and my self strol'd about in hopes of shooting sea-fouU, 
and after being wearey of that I took the boat and went round 
the harbour to sound it. As I had never been in it but once 
before I thought it my duty to be Acquainted with it. In this 
Manner did we spend the first day in the harbour aforesaid, with- 
out finding the least Vestige of any humane creature Except our- 
selves. The second day was Verey stormy, so that we cou'd 
not well go on shore untill towards Evening. Then thinking it 
more adviseable to move our Birth so as to be able to sail before 
day light, which we could not well do from the Place we then 
lay in, at sunset therefore we hove up our Anchours and turnd 
up to the N Wt. side of the Harbour, then anchour'd again to 
waite a Convenient Oppertunity for quiting that place. At bed- 
time we set a watch of one hand which was the common Practice 
in all places where we were not afraid of Indians. As we had 
seen nothing of indians those two days past, thought ourselves 
quite secure. 

I order'd the watch to give me a call at 4 Clock next morning, 
and was accordingly called by Charles Conner, one of the Sailors. 
There was at that time a thick fogg or Vapour on the water so 
that we could not see the land. Consequently could not see our 
way out of the Harbour. I then order'd Henry Linkletter (the 
present watchman) to call me at day-light or before if the wind 
brees'd and cleard away the fogg, then went to bed again and after 
some time fell asleep. The watchman had walk'd the deck untill 
he Judged me asleep and then came down to the fire in the Steerage, 
call'd up Capt. Martins Servant (one Chandler) with whom he 
began to play at Cequers or somewhat like it. In this stupid 
careless way he spent his time untill at last hearing something 
move over his head and being ask'd by Chandler what Noise that 
was on deck, he Atempted to go up to see, but to his great Surprize 
was stop'd by two indians at the door of the Companion with each 
a Musquet presented at him. He suddenly Jump'd backward and 


caird out, the Indians at the same time giveing the usuall yells by 
which awfuU noise I was awaked in great Surprize. 

I instantly took off my capp and threw it at the candle to 
prevent being blinded thereby going out in the dark. I then 
took my Gun (which I had ashore shooting) and running as fast 
as possible to get on deck, was seized by Linkletter and Chandler 
who saw the danger I was running into. They hauled me back 
again, so that I fell with my face and Breast upon the Ladder. I 
soon saw the narrow Escape I had met with. For scarcely was I 
fallen when one of theire Hatchets which miss'd me as I fell stuck 
into the Ladder Just by my head. Had this blow reach'd me 
'twould in all Probabillity have ended my days; but the great Pre- 
server of man, who has his own purposes in View was pleased to 
spare me at that time. 

I had no time for recollections or Considering of my danger 
before this, being surprized out of my sleep; but now on looking 
round I saw my Situation clearly. Nevertheless I did not despair 
of Extrecating my self in a little time, knowing full well that if 
by any means we cou'd get on deck so as to attack those Vermin 
Vigorously, they wou'd soon give way. 

My first care was to place two men with Musquets in hand one 
on each side the Steerage, with theire arms pointed upwards, 
cross ways to guard the Companion door, for I perceived that the 
Indians were watching an oppertunity to take aim at some of us, 
of which they were now prevented. For no sooner did they offer 
to peep in at the door then they saw the Musle of a Musquet 
pointed at them from below, without being able to see the person 
who presented it. 

I then placed another man at a Loop hole in the bulkhead of 
the Steerage on the Larboard side looking forward to prevent them 
from cutting the Cable by which we rid. 

I then put on my own cloths and order'd all the people to do 
the same. By this time it was clear day-light. 

My first intention was to begin a random firing throu the deck 
at the Savages, thinking thereby to clear the quarter deck and 
then get out. But as we might probably fire a good many shot 
without doing Execution, it was necessary to Examine what quan- 
tity of ammunition we had before we began. On searching we 
found only a pound of Powder, very bad, mix'd with dust, in the 
Bottom of the Barrel. This made my heart faint within me; nor 
could I help curseing the ill-timed Parsimony of my owners, who 
had reffused me Powder before I saild from Boston, 'twas in the 
end the loss of theire Vessell and my Liberty and Verey nearly 
my Life. 


I never doubted beating off the indians untill I found my self 
so short of Powder. In order therefore to make the most of what 
little we had 'twas Necessary to make a Push for our Lives with 
all the resolution immaginable. 

I then told my People and Capt. Martin, as we had so Little 
Powder our guns could be of little use to us and that 'twas best to 
load each man a Pistol with which in one hand and a Cutlass in 
the other we might force our way out among the indians ; assureing 
them that they would jump over board the moment they saw us 
all on deck. 

Capt. Martin, John Whitty my mate and Charles Connor one of 
the Sailors were willing to Accompany me, but the others were all 
against it. In vain did I tell them that in case of delivering our- 
selves up to such a Barbarous Enemy as the indians we could 
hope for nothing more then to have our lives spared untill they 
got drunk (which coud not be long, considering the quantity of 
Liquor we had on board the Vessell) that therefore 'twas better 
to die like men endeavouring to set our selves free then to have 
our hands tied and be killed Like Sheep, in a few hours. No, in 
vain was all this repeated severall times. Nothing could rouse theire 
Spirrits or tempt them to Exert themselves on this Ocasion. 

I then began to reproach them who had by theire stupid neglect 
betrayd me into the present delima, and now throu Cowardice 
refused to asist me in Extrecating my self and them. One (whose 
name was John Jermyne) being stung to the heart with these 
reproaches, said, Sir, I am not a coward, nor is it throu fear that 
I refuse going out with you; but 'tis because I see no probability 
of succeeding. In the first place there is no Possibility of getting 
out more than one man at a time, and he must crawle out of this 
doorway on hands and knees, in which case two indians with 
theire hatchets may kill us as fast as we go up. In the second 
Place they are verey numerous upon deck so that there is the less 
cause to Expect they will be so soon frightened overboard as you 
think. To convince you that I am not afraid I will go up by my 
self, but it shall be naked as I am, not with arms. If I live long 
Enough to be able to reckon them I will let you know their Number. 
If they kill me instantly you will know the better what to Expect 
and may do as you think proper, I then told him that he shou'd 
not go up so; for to what purpose was it to lessn our numbers by 
puting himself naked into theire hands, when his takeing arms 
might be of so great Consequence to us all. He however continued 
to insist on it and the other People seeming to relish this proposeall 
better than mine, he did go up with only his Shirt and drawers on. 
For I could not persuade him even to put on his cloths, altho the 


Cold was so intense a man might have been froze to death in a 
little time. 

On seeing him come up to them naked they did not atempt to 
kill him, but haveing ask'd him severall questions they Orderd 
him to come down again and put on his Cloaths. 

At his return he told us they were thirty at least upon deck, 
and appear'd all Exceeding well arm'd. We then held a Consulta- 
tion what we had best do, and haveing lost all hopes of geting 
quit of them, we came to a resolution to give ourselves up to 
them. Especially if there should be none of the Mickmack Tribe 
amongst them. For I had come to a resolution within my self 
not to give my self up to them whom I had allways known to be 
a Cruel Bloody Bigoted Cowardly race of Vermine who took 
delight in sheding the blood of the English for religions Sake. 

Observeing the whole time they were on board to keep a cen- 
tinall on the Cable they were prevented once or twice from cutting 
it by my giveing orders to fire at the Indian who made the 
attempt. Happily for us the Gun did not go off. For had we 
shed the blood of one of them we must have Expected no Mercy. 
However it had the desired Effect, which was to hinder them from 

Extract from the Journal of James Boyd, 1764 '^ 

Some time before Quebeck was taken from the French, Capt. 
Hector McNeal was taken prisoner in the harbour Le Tong, It 
was Indians which took him. One Frenchman, who married an 
Indian, was with the Indians. They gave Capt. McNeal the names 
of sundry places. The Indians carried McNeal's vessell to Cona- 
squamkook [St. Andrews, New Brunswick], and there unloaded 
a good deal of the Cargo. McNeal had some small guns and swivels. 
The Indians kept one gun to give an alarm when needed. The 
Indians then carried the Vessell to Saint Johns River, and carried 
their Captives up this river to Quebeck. 

From James Lockwood^ 

Camp before Quebec, April 2Sth, 1776 

Dear Sir: I have just received your favour of yesterday and 
say in answer — The Gen' * thinks it will be better that M"" Lizott 

1 2 Proceedings, iii. 91. Winslow Papers. Deposition of James Boyd. 

2 A^. E. Hist, and Gen. Register, xxx, 333. 

3 Major-General David Wooster. 


should be sent by Water than through the Country. With regard 
to the two Vessels, Cap* Tenyck who takes command of Peppers 
Schooner has Orders to take up all suspected Vessels and boats, 
and those two have been mentioned to him; he will stop at Point 
au Tremble. The Gen' therefore desires you to direct him at any 
rate to secure those Vessels, he will receive proper information 
from you concerning them. Remember me affectionately to your 
family and believe me your most obed* Serv* 

Ja^ Lockwood ^ 
Cap* McNeil 
[Addressed] to Cap" Hector McNeil at Point au Tremble. 

From David Wooster ^ 

Camp before Quebec, April 26th, 1776 

Dear Sir, — I am much obliged to you for the information you 
give me in yours of yesterday which I have received and say in 
answer — I shall write Gen' Arnold concerning the Acadien and 
also to arrest Palmer. 

I have Ordered four Bar'^ Pork to be sent you from here, should 
be glad you would send two of them to Cap" Scott. If you can 
possibly procure flour at Point au Tremble I hope in a few days 
to be able to replace Cash for it. I am informed that M"^ Cole 
with a large sum was left at Crownpoint and was every hour ex- 
pected at Montreal. 

With regard to the Gaspee please to procure a Pilot and put 
some hands on board of her from Cap" Church's party and send 
her to Jackes Cartier with Orders to be left ashore there. Let 
Matherman follow his Cap*. The Articles for the Maria with a 
Gunner were sent from this place yesterday. I have sent for 
Cap" Goforth from Three Rivers, a very good man, to take charge 
of her — Prince, Peppers Mate, I shall send after immediately. 
Give me leave to congratulate you upon the Good News from 
Boston and believe me most affectionately your very hble Serv* 

My Comp*^ to your family 

David Wooster 

Cap* McNeil 

[Addressed] To Cap" Hector McNeil at Point au Tremble. 

[Superscribed] On the Service of the United Colonies. 

^ Colonel James Lockwood, aide to General Wooster. 
2 N. E. Hist, and Gen. Register, xxx, 333. 


From the Marine Committee ^ 

In Marine Committee. Philadelphia, 

Septem: 21 1776. 

Sir: — In consequence of a letter from the president of Massa- 
chusetts Bay dated the 13 Instant to the President of the Congress 
which was by Congress referrd to this Committee; we have de- 
termined to Comply with the wishes of your assembly by Ordering 
the Frigate ^ Commanded by Capt. McNeill and that ^ by Cap- 
tain Thompson of Newhampshire to be fitted immediately and 
proced on a Cruize on your Coast in hopes of taking the Milford 
Frigate * or of drawing her or any other Enemy away from those 

We therefore authorize you to accept the Profferd assistance 
of the said assembly or any Committee they appoint to assist in 
fitting equipping arming and manning that Frigate, You are also 
to accept their offer of Twenty four nine Pounders (cannon) and 
to Cooperate with them in getting this Ship to sea with the utmost 
Expedition, and we agree to reimburse the State of Massachusetts 
Bay for all Just and necessary Expences they incurr in Effecting 
this Bussiness. We shall in due time also cause their Cannon to 
be returned, unless they think proper to make Sale of them for 
the use of this ship and in that case we woud choose to purchase 
them provided their are good guns quite suitable for the service. 

You will please to purchase a proper number of swivell guns, 
good musketts, Blunderbusses, cuttlasses, Pikes and other arms 
and instruments suitable for this ship. You will apply to your 
state for powder. Ball, muskett shott other millitary stores to 
be paid or returned by the Congress and in short as this Ship will 
instantly go into Danger we hope nothing will be neglected that 
ought to be done in fitting and manning her. 

We are very sincerely, Sir, Your most obedient Servant, 

John Hancock. Richard Henry Lee. 

RoBT. Morris. Samuel Huntington, 

Joseph Hewes. Samuel Chase, 

JosiAH Bartlett, 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc. mss. 

2 The Boston. 

3 The Raleigh. Thomas Thompson was later made sixth on the list of 

* A British man-of-war cruising in Massachusetts Bay. 


P. S. If Mr. Langdon applys to you Mr. Bradford or to your 
State for assistance in fitting out the Frigate under his care we 
hope it will be granted and we shall reimburse all Just Expences 
and Charges. The intended Enterprize should be kept as secret 
as possible. 

Hon. Thomas Gushing, Esq. 

The above is a True Coppy. Thomas Gushing, Jun'r. 

[Endorsed] The Hon'ble Thomas Gushing, Esq., Boston. 
[Memorandum] Letter from Jo. Hancock Esq'r and others a Ma- 
rine Committee of Congress to Thomas Gushing Sept. 21, 1776. 
relative to the Continental Frigate call[ed] the Boston, Hector 
McNeil Master. 

Marine Committee to Captain McNeill^ 

[Philadelphia], September 21, 1776. 

Sir, — The Assembly of Massachusetts having offered their as- 
sistance in equipping, Manning and Arming the Frigate under 
your command, we have accepted the same, and therefore hope 
you will very soon be ready for the sea. We expect the same from 
the Frigate in New Hampshire commanded by Captain Thompson 
and our design is that you should join company as soon as possible 
and cruize in Concert. We are informed that the Milford Frigate 
now infests the Coasts of these states and does much injury to 
their trade. It is our duty to prevent this soon as we are able and 
as the two frigates mentioned will be an over match for the Milford 
or any single frigate of the enemy, and go in quest of that or any 
other of the enemies Ships in those Seas, provided they be such 
as you are able to Cope with, and we hope in due time that you 
have taken, destroyed or drove the enemy off the Coast. The 
rank betwixt you and Captain Thompson is not yet established, 
you are therefore to act in Concert and consult each other in all 
things that relate for the good of the service, to the safety and 
preservation of your Ships or to the Interest and honor of the 
United States of America. 

The Continental Agents in any State you put into will supply 
Provisions or any necessaries that may be wanted — to some of 
them you are to address your Prizes; and must advise this Com- 
mittee of your proceedings as opportunitys occur. You are also 
1 Out-Letters of the Continental Marine Committee, i. 14. 


to furnish us in due time with a Copy of your log book and Journal, 
and advise us of any important intelligence that may come to your 
knowledge. With the best wishes for your success We are Sir 
your friends, etc. 

[Captain Hector McNeill] 

Instructions of the Marine Committee for Captains 
John Manley, Hector McNeill and Thomas Thompson ^ 

[Philadelphia], October 23, 1776 

Gentlemen, — We expect the Continental frigates Hancock, 
Boston and Raleigh, under your respective commands, are either 
now ready for the Sea or shortly will be so. You are hereby 
directed to act in concert and Cruize together for the following 
purposes and on the following Stations. Your first object must be 
to inform yourselves in the best manner possible, if any of the 
British men of war are Cruizing in the bay of Boston or off the 
Coast of Massachusetts, and all such you are to endeavour with 
your utmost force to take, sink, or destroy. Having effected this 
service you are to proceed together towards Rhode Island and there 
make prize of or destroy any of the enemies Ships of war that may 
be found Cruizing off the Harbour or Coast of Rhode Island. 

The Prizes you make are to be sent into the nearest Port. When 
you arrive at Rhode Island, if Commodore Hopkins - should not 
be already sailed on his Southern expedition and the two frigates ^ 
built in that State should not be ready for the sea, in that case 
you are to join Commodore Hopkins and proceed with him on the 
said expedition, producing these orders to him to justify the meas- 
ure. But if the Rhode Island frigates should be ready for the 
sea there will be no occasion for you or either of you to go 
Southward. And you will then proceed taking with you any Con- 
tinental Vessel that may be at Rhode Island and ready, if Com- 
modore Hopkins should be sailed before you come there, and pro- 
ceed to Cruize against the enemies Ships and Vessels that may 
be found off the Coast between the Harbour of Newport and the 
Banks of Newfound Land. 

We have no doubt from your zeal and attachment to the cause 
of America, that you will execute this service with all possible 
dispatch and vigor, and so bid you heartily farewell. 

1 Out-Letters of the Continental Marine Committee, i. 42. 

2 Esek Hopkins, senior officer of the Continental Navy. 

3 The Warren and Providence. 


To The Massachusetts Board of War^ 

Gentlemen, — I am in want of good Swivle guns and as I 
understand there are fourteen such as would Suit very well now 
in Store at Rowes Wharf, which have been taken out of the 
Brig^° Charming Sally and the Ship Julius Ceasar, 

I humbly pray that you would Supply me with the above 
mentioned guns and their implements, the agent, or my Self will 
pay the price they may be apprized at with Thanks, I am Gentle- 
men your Most Obed' Servant 

Hector McNeill. 

Boston Jan^ i^' 1777. 

[Addressed] To the Hon*''" Board of War 

To the Council of Massachusetts ^ 
To the Honourable the Council of the Massachusetts State. 

Gentlemen, From the frequent proofs I have had of the 
baseness of the lower Class of Mankind, and from the proness I 
can observe in the different ranks above them to make use of the 
folly's or Vices of the common people, to serve their own particular 
private Views; I have often look'd with Surprise and infinite con- 
cern, on the inatention of the Fathers of this People, who are (in 
my Opinion) as much accountable, for the Conduct of those under 
their Charge, as any head of a Family can possible be suppos'd, 
if for want of proper regulations, they suffer the individuals under 
their care, to stray from the paths of Virtue. What I would 
more particularly point out at this time, is that there is scarcely 
a day passes but instances offer, of desertions from Regiments and 
Ships in the Continental Service, yet within my Knowledge there 
has not been a single instance of punishing an offender; nor is 
there a Law in being, to bring them to Justice. This is an evil 
which Gentlemen in your high distinguish'd rank sometimes hear 
of, but do not feel, nor are you in the least acquainted with the 
weight and discouragement it is to Officers who are more immedi- 
ately concern'd with these unguarded Mortals, and who from the 
nature of their Employments, are accountable to the Publick 
for their line of Conduct. With what Spirit can an Officer carry 

^ Mass. Archives, clh. 22. 

2 From the Gray Papers. No date; probably January, 1777. 


on the publick Service, if he be not guarded by the Laws of the 
land, or instead of being guarded, should find himself insulted 
by a petty constable with Benj'a Rents Authority in his hand, 
for having acted consistent with his Duty, in endeavoring to stop 
desertion, or quell mutiny among men in the publick Service, under 
his command? This has been the case with some Officers already. 
With what Spirit can an officer advance Monies to Cloathe the 
Naked Objects, who offer themselves, as willing to serve in their 
severall Capacity's, if the next moment those Men may with 
impunity go away in a Privateer, or enter into any other Corps, 
either by Sea or Land? and run no risque by being detected? For 
mine own part I expect to be accountable to the publick, not 
only for my Conduct, but also for all Sums I receive from the 
Agents from time to time, and notwithstanding, I see myself 
Exposed to bad Men who may leave me, and the Service also, 
(as many have done) within twenty four hours after I advance 
them Money; yet I cannot see them pinch'd for want of Cloath- 
ing at this rude Season of the year, without giving them at least 
what will keep them from Perrishing with Cold. In this day of 
Trial your Honors know, that one Months pay will buy but little 
Cloathing for either Seamen or Marines, more must be advanc'd 
otherwise no Service can be expected from them. The Conse- 
quence frequently is, that those Men run off, either in Privateers, 
enter into some Regiment, or walk off to the next Town and there 
do by some other as they have done before by me. What recom- 
pence have I, or how is the Publick Service to be carried on in 
this way! how shall I be accountable for Monies thus Expended, 
or (which is a consideration still more alarming) what will become 
of the Morrals of the common people, unless a stop is soon put 
to such infamous practices! Would it not be consistent with the 
Wisdom and Justice of the Legislative body of this State, to do 
as in like cases has allways been done by prudent people, in time 
of War in ail Countrys ; and which is now practised by our Sister 
States, to the Southward of us, that is to make some regulation 
whereby all Travellers, on the Publick Roads, should be obliged 
to give an account of themselves, to proper persons of the Com- 
mittee's of Safety, in each Town as they pass? This regulation 
would not be burthensome to honest Men but would Effectually 
stop all runaways of every denomination, and prevent many abuses 
which in our present deplorable Condition happens every day. 
Had such a regulation been attended to, some Months past, I 
had not been now loitering inactive in this port, nor would it have 
been in the power of the owners and Commander of the Rising 


States'^ to have carried on their iniquitous Schemes and Laugh'd 
with impunity at your Authority. 

[Memorandum] Copy to Council. 

To THE Council of Massachusetts ^ 

Boston, January 30th, 1777. 

Gentlemen: — I did apply last Monday Morning for an Order 
of your Honourable Board to Search a Certain Privateer call'd 
the Rising States, on board of which I had reason to think some 
of my Men were embark'd with an intention to desert the Publick 

The Order was Granted and a proper Officer appointed for that 
Service, but before these could be Accomplished the Vessell Sail'd. 

Your Honours thought proper on further information to order 
Mr. Cudworth down to Plymouth, as it was reported the Privateer 
would call in there to receive on board a Certain Captain Thomp- 
son and others, who were to proceed on a Cruise in the Vessell 
Aforesaid. Mr. Cudworth did proceed to Plymouth, or near it, 
and return'd to this Town last evening, and reports as follows: 

That being met on the road by the Hon'ble B. Genl: Warren 
to whom he related the Business on which he was going, the 
General told him that no such Vessell was or had been lately at 
Plymouth, on which Mr. Cudworth return'd in Company with the 
General and were met on the Road by our Captain of Marines 
whom I had dispatched after Mr. Cudworth to Assist him if 

He also returns with Genl. Warren and Mr. Cudworth and 
having taken Lodgings on Tuesday evening at Mr. Cushing's of 
Hingham, they were soon joined by the aforesaid Captn. James 
Thompson of the Brigt. Rising States who brought with him in a 
Coach five sailors. 

Capt: Thompson seem'd a little alarm'd at seeing Mr. Cudworth 
and our Officer of Marines at that place before him, but as none 
of the five Men with him were personally known by our officer, 
Mr. Cudworth let them all pass. Genl. Warren advised our Cap- 
tain of Marines to return to Plymouth, which he Accordingly did 
yesterday Morning before the Coach or its passengers were stiring. 
Mr. Cudworth informs no farther of his proceedings. 

1 A privateer which sailed from Boston January 26, 1777, and in April 
was captured by the British. 

2 Mass. Arch., cxcvi. 180. 


I had sent two Officers on Tuesday to Marblehead having had 
information that Men were to be collected at that place and sent 
over to Plymouth. Those Officers are now return'd and report 
to me that they found a Certain Mr. Fritz, now Captain of Marines, 
and a Certain Mr. Martin, now Carpenter of the Rising States, 
with them. They also found about Nine Men who were then 
waiting an opportunity to go off on board the above mention'd 
Brigantine, which was then in sight Lying off, and on; on the 
Harbours Mouth. 

My Officers apply'd to the Committee, who could give them no 
other Assistance than to call those Officers before them, and on 
examination they did confess that they were bound on a Cruise 
on board the said Brigantine Rising States, but would give no 
farther Satisfaction. 

I thought it necessary to give your Honours the above informa- 
tion as soon as possible; and am Your Honours most Obedient, 
Humble Servant Hector McNeill 

Records of the General Court of Massachusetts ^ 


April 26, 1777. In the House of Representatives. Whereas the 
Ships of our Enemies are daily making Captures of Vessels belong- 
ing to the Subjects of the United States and of their Allies and 
Friends, even within sight of our very Towns — which, if not 
prevented by a Superiour Force, may ruin the Trade of the said 
Inhabitants, etc. and be of the worst Consequences to the Interest 
of the United States at large — , and whereas the Owners of 
numbers of Armed Vessels belonging to the Inhabitants of this 
and some other of the United States now ready for the Sea are 
willing to go and Act for twenty-five days from their Sailing in 
Concert with the Continental Frigates the Hancock, commanded 
by Capt. John Manly, and the Boston, commanded by Capt. 
Hector McNeil, which Frigates are represented to this House as 
also ready for Sea, provided Capt. John Manly be furnished by this 
State with the Sum of four Hundred pounds and the said Capt. 
Hector McNeil the sum of One thousand six hundred and thirty- 
five pounds, eighteen Shillings and eleven pence, to enable them 
to put the said Ships to Sea, the said Manly and McNeil being 
accountable for the several Sums by them received. Therefore it is 

1 Mass. Archives. 


Resolved, that there be paid out of the Treasury of this State 
to Capt. John Manly for the purpose aforesaid the Sum of Four 
Hundred pounds; and to Capt. Hector McNeil for the purpose 
aforesaid the said Sum of one Thousand six hundred and thirty- 
five pounds, eighteen Shillings and eleven pence. They being 
accountable for the same respectively. 
In Council Read and Concurred, 
Consented to by fifteen of the Council. 

In the House of Representatives. The Owners and Agents of 
the Privateers hereafter mentioned expect that this State will 
Insure their Vessels at the full amount of their Outsetts from all 
Dangers of Seas and Enemy while under the Command of the 
Officer Appointed by the Court. 

The Commanders and Privates of the Private Armed Vessels 
expect in Case of Accident to be upon the same footing exactly 
that the Captains Manly and McNeil and their men are, as to 
pensions and one months pay. The Owners expect the Ammunition 
expended in time of Action on this Cruize shall be made good by 
this State. 

If any Vessel should be parted by accident from the Fleet and 
should take a prize or prizes before the Expiration of the Time 
agreed on, the prizes so taken shall be equally divided amongst 
the whole Fleet as tho' they had all been in Company. 

The Vessells shall Cruize under Command of Captain Manly 
or Commanding Officer of the Continental Ships for the term 
of twenty-five days from the day of Sailing, unless the Commander 
shall come into port and discharge them sooner. 

The State shall pay a Months pay to 

American Tarter 24 Guns 200 Men Capt. Grimes 

General Mifflin 20 do 200 do Capt. Day 

Portsmouth 20 do 180 do Capt. Parker 

Brig Hawk 14 80 do Capt. Oaks 

Sloop Satisfaction 14 100 Capt. Wheelwright 

Schooner America 14 100 Capt. [Daniel] McNeil 

Schooner Active 10 65 Capt. Gardner 

Schooner Speedwell 8 60 Capt. Greely 

Schooner Buckram 6 45 Marony 

Upon their producing a Certificate of their having performed 
the agreement from the Commanding Officer of this Fleet . . . 

The Owners shall give Bonds and the Masters be on Oath to 
comply with these terms and not to leave the Fleet, but through 
absolute Necessity untill the Time is expired . . . 


And the Officers of the above Vessels are permited to Inlist any 
man that Offer, they not belonging to the Navy or Army or any 
French Ship or Vessel that has or shall arrive in in this State . . , 

To John Paul Jones* 

You are hereby Order'd and directed to attend at a Court Martial 
tomorrow Morning at Nine o Clock on board the Hancock in Con- 
gress Road, there to try the following Persons, Viz't: 

Leblun Baker, Pilott Robert Stoutly 

Phillip Bass Jun'r David Ensigne 

Nath'l Winchester Joseph Petters and 

Peter Jennis Thomas Carren 

all of whom Stand Charged by Captain John Manley Commander 
of the said Ship for Mutiny. 
Fail not. 

Given on board the Ship Boston in Nantasket Road 
this 7th day of May 1777. 

Hector McNeill. 

To William Mackay and Jonas Clark Minott * 

Gentlemen, — You being unanimously appointed by the Ships 
Company of the Boston as joint Agents for them to receive any 
prize which shall be sent in to any of the Ports of the four eastern 
States of New England by the said Ship — This is to direct and 
order you in all cases which may hereafter happen how to Con- 
duct yourselves in the Libeling, unloading, and sale of such Prize 
or Prizes, Namely: as soon as any prize arrives, in this, or the 
States above Mention'd, you do in our Names and for our behalf 
— instantly Libell the same, taking care to keep our prize Master 
with some faithfull Persons constantly on board to attend to the 
unloading etc. of her Cargo. This you may do in concert with the 
Continental Agent, taking care that himself or some one by him 
appointed have sufficient warning from you to attend also, and 
receive whatever Share of the Goods may be allotted by Congress 
for the Continent their Share of the Prize. This Division must 
be made immediately on unloading of all such Articles as can 

1 John Paul Jones mss., Library of Congress. 

2 Letter Book. 


admitt of a division — the Hull of the Prize, or any thing else 
which cannot be divided and shared before the Sale, may be sold 
at publick outcry, the Money as soon as received must be divided, 
you taking care to Secure our parts in the most faithfull Manner 
— after the dividend made and you have taken our Share of the 
Prize into your Possession you are then to make the best of it 
for our advantage and keep proper Accounts of your Transac- 
tions, for which we shall allow you a Commission as in such 
cases is common, you will pay due attention to all such Instruc- 
tions as we may hereafter send you. I am Gentlemen at the de- 
sire and in behalf of myself, the Officers and Men of the Ship 
Boston — 

Dated on board the Ship Boston H. McN. 

igth May 1777. 

To THE Marine Committee^ 

To the Honourable the Marine Committee of 
The Honourable the Continental Congress. 

Gentlemen, — The long wish'd for hour is at last come in 
which I bid farewell, to the sleepy Agents, disheartned Tradesmen 
and distress'd Seamen who frequent the Streets of Boston. 

Happy should I account myself on my return from a Successfull 
Cruise, were I assured to find matters better conducted in this 
quarter than they have hitherto been but alas. Complaints Vanish 
into Air and there is nobody at home knock where we will. 

I have formerly taken the freedom to mention the most extraor- 
dinary conduct of the Agents in withholding prize Money and 
Wages from the poor distress'd Seamen who have hitherto Served 
in the Continental Vessells — 'tis true I have no reason of Com- 
plaint myself because I never have been in the way of taking 
prizes, but the common feelings of humanity for my fellow Men, 
and the regard for public Justice which should inspire every honest 
Man, makes me renew this Complaint, even at the risque of your 
Neglect. Is it Possible for your honest hearts to Suggest That 
many of the Men who first enter'd into the Service on board the 
Ships Equip'd at Philadelphia, Winter was a year, are now in a 
suffering condition, Scatter'd about our Sea Port Towns in this 
State; nay some who have Served as Officers are reduced to such 
Misery and distress that they have neither Cloaths to put on nor 
Victuals to eat. The cry among those unhappy Men is that they 

1 Letter Book. 


can neither recover Wages nor Prize Money for their past Services 
— can it be expected such Men will offer themselves again when 
we want our Ships Man'd, — or with what face can we ask them 
to enter, for heavens sake Gentlemen be pleased to enquire into 
the cause of such Complaints, and let the Wretches who would de- 
fraud the Labourer of his hire or the honest Seaman of his just 
due, be brought to Light; that the Odium be not cast (by our 
publick enemies) on the worthy managers of our affairs — indeed 
Gentlemen I have seen enough of this Misconduct to believe almost 
any Complaint in the power of Man to make — and there are such 
made every day by those Suffering Mortals, would Shock the 
heart of a Mussulman. For mine own part, I have Suffer'd so 
much in fitting out the Ship I now have the Honour to Command, 
that I do not think I would undertake such a Task again for any 
Sum whatever unless I was better Supported than I have been 

The very Interest of Money which I have borrowed and ad- 
vanced to Carry on the Service of this Ship, would have mentained 
my Family in Credits, and Mr. Cushing expects that I take all 
this trouble, and risque on myself without a Commission, nay I 
have been Obliged to quarrell for Money to pay Men and Officers 
their Wages up to the 31st of March last — so unreasonable has 
he been as to insist on the Men's going to Sea, some with Six, 
others Nine, and some a Twelve Months Wages due. This kind 
of Treatment to Officers and Men will not do. Gentlemen. They 
must be duely paid their prize Money as soon as the prize is 
Sold and the Accounts wound up. They must be paid their 
Wages allways up to one Month. This will enable them to sup- 
port themselves and their Familys. Whereas the Mode to this 
time has left both to starve, on which conditions no good man 
will stay in the Service. For my part I will freely tell you 
my Thoughts, be the event what it will, or may it respect 
whom it will. I have no croneys, or Acquaintance to whom 
I will either Sacrifise the Publick Service or rights of my 
Brother Seamen. I will not live, where they are oppress'd or de- 
frauded — you will therefore I hope Excuse my plain dealing — as 
what I Sincerely intend is the good of the Service I am Engaged 
in, and I know it is impossible that can be carried on to good 
purpose, unless the Strictest Justice be done to the honest fellows 
who must do the work. To secure which my present plan is to 
have Agents appointed by the Ships Companys, Officers as well as 
Men — which Agents shall Libel and receive the true proportion 
of all Prize Goods allowed the Ships Company by the Resolves 


of Congress and let the Continental Agent appear also and receive 
that Share which of right belongs to the Continent. This Rule 
to be observed in all things that can possibly be divided — the 
hull of the Prize or any thing which cannot be so divided to be Sold 
at Publick outcry and the N'tt Proceeds divided instantly to those 
Separate Agents for the use of their Constitutents. We have no 
Idea of the Justice there may be in the Continental Agents taking 
possession of a Prize the instant she arrives in Port — putting in 
creatures of his own making to attend the delivery and Sale of her 
Cargo — then keeping the Captors for Months and Years out of 
their dividend of Prize Money while they are Starving in want and 
Misery. This Method which I now propose if approv'd of by the 
Honourable Congress will cutt off all reasons of Complaint against 
the Publick Agent on the Score of Prize Money, and he may also 
be a Check on the Companys Agents; Then their will be a prob- 
ability of Mens receiving their Money as soon after the Prize is 
Sold as Possible — Whereas the Contrary has hitherto been Mani- 
fest. We are much at a Loss how to Conduct ourselves and 
earnestly wish for some Solid plan for the better regulation of our 
affairs. I think in Conscience a Man who takes so great a Charge 
on himself both in providing things for the Ship and paying the 
Men, ought to have a Commission on the Business he does and not 
the Lazy Agent who rather Mars than forwards things. I sub- 
mitt the whole to your Candour and am with all possible respect 
Your most Obedient and most humble Servant, 

H. McNeill 
Ship Boston at Sea, 
2ist May 1777. 

Supplement to the foregoing Letter to the Marine Committee of 
2ist May 1777. 

I cannot let this Letter go without putting you in Mind of two 
Sorts of Men who appear to be much Neglected by the Hon'ble 
Congress, I mean the Surgeons and Chaplains of the Navy, if 
something better be not done for them, you may be Assured that 
all the Able Men of both Professions will quit the Service. 

I am Gentlemen with true respect Your most Obedient Servant 

H: McNeill 

Ship Boston at Sea, 
2ist May 1777. 




Starb<^: watch. Austin Cato Gun N°: i 

Starb<^: watch. 
Larb^: watch. 
Larb'^: watch. 
Starb'^: watch. 
Larb'': watch. 
Starb<i: watch. 

Larb'': watch. 



BowEN Henry Gun N 27 

Balch Israel 


Bussell Abraham 

Brown Jeremiah F. Braces & Crossjack do 

Blasdell Jonathan Gun N 7 

Blackett Joshua Forecastle 

Brown, .. .SciPio to hand Powder main hatchway 

Balch Thomas Sentinel in Ward Room 

Bangs Chdpman Quarf: Deck 

Billiard John Quarf: Deck 

Brown John Gundeck forward [ist Lieut.] 

Balch Benj^: in the Cockpitt [Chaplain] 

Berry Thomas Gun N 3 

Barker Thomas Gun N 27 

Burns Patrick Gunn N 12 

Beal Ebenezer Gun N 11 

Broadstreet Northern 

Bradstreet Hannibal F. Topsail Braces 

Bathorick Abel 

Larb"J: watch. Carleton Sam': Fore Topsail Braces 

Starb"^: watch. Connor Patrick F. Braces & Crossjack do 

do Clark Peter Gun N 3 

do Crowningshield Benj*: Gun N 9 

do Cavey Peter Gun N 27 

Larb**: watch. Costelloe John Gun N": 8 

Larb"^: watch. Connell Phillip Gun N°: 25 

Larb'^: watch. Cutter Thomas Gun N 11 

Starb'^: watch. Crowely Barth'^: in Fore Top 

Larb**: watch. Calef Winter F. Braces & Crossjack do 

Larb"!; watch. Clough Duke Gun N 2 

Larb<i : watch. Calderwood John 

Larb'^: watch. Crowel William Gun N 4 

Larb"!: watch. Carrel John Fore Top 

Starb'': watch. Coker William M & Miz°: T. S. Braces 

Starb'': watch. Carr Phineas Gun N 9 

Starb^: watch. Crane Benj^: 

Choate John Gun N 11 

Starb"!; Watch. Cateran Will™: Gun N 4 

Larb**: watch. Connell Henry Gun N°: 2 

Starb^: watch. Chaddock John 

1 From the Gray Papers. 


Starb"': watch. Cowart Cornelius Fore Braces &c 

LarM: watch. Connell Patrick Gun N 29 

Starb'^: watch. Crowel Christ'": Gun N 9 

Starb<^: watch. Cossa. . . .Ezekiel Fore Top 

Starb**: watch. Connell Dennis to attend lights between decks 

Larb<^: watch. Coupi. . . . John F. Braces & Crossjack do 

Larb<J: watch. Davis Thomas Main Rigging 

Starb^: watch. Dalaney John Forecastle 

Starb'^: watch. Dodge Zachariah 

Larb'': watch. Dodge Hampshire Gun N 10 

Starb**: watch. Dodge James 

Starb*^: watch. Downs Joseph 

Davis William in the Cockpitt 

Starb**: watch. Dovrell Thomas Gun N 11 

Larb'^: watch. 
Starb^: watch. 
Starb<^: watch. 

Elmes James Main Top 

Elmes Elkanah 

Elliot John M & Miz°: 

T. S. Braces 

Larb'': watch. Faris William Gun N 12 

Starb**: watch. Frame Robert Gun N 25 

Starb'^: watch. Fitzgerald. .. .John Main Rigging 

Starb<^: watch. Fitzgerald James Gun N 12 

Starb"!; watch. Freeman Adam Gun N": 7 

Starb<J: watch. Foster Benj^: — Gun N 9 

Starb'^: watch. French James Gun N 6 

Starb'^: watch. Fullerton John M & Miz°: T. S. Braces 

Starb'^: watch. Freeman Nero Gun N^: 11 

Larb'': watch. Freeman Cuff 

Starb'^: watch. Fowles .... Lemuel Fore Top 

Faris Jack to hand Powder main hatch way 

Foster .... Thomas at the Magazine 

Furlong. .. .Lawrence Quarf: deck 

Fairweather C^sar to hand Powder fore hatch way 

Larb'': watch. Green .... Henry in the Ward Room 

Starb'^: watch. Gillard . . . . John Forecastle 

Starb<i: watch. Garratt John Gun N 25 

Larb'': watch. Gouge James 

Larb<^: watch. Gott. .. .Joshua Gun N 10 

Starb"^: watch. Gritfen. . . .James — Gun N 9 

Larb^J: watch. Gray Samuel Gun N 4 

Gilbert Prince to hand Powder fore hatch way 

Gragg Samuel to hand Powder fore hatch way 

Starb^: Watch. Gross Simon Gun deck abaft [Lieut.] 

Starb'': watch. Harris John 

Larb<i: watch. Hogg Eben"": — Gun N 10 

Larb<^: watch. Hall John 

Lard*": watch. Henderson. .. .Joseph Gun N 4 

Larb<^: watch. Harraden Dan': — Gun N 10 

Larb'' : watch . Horne .... Dan ' : 


Larb*^: watch. Hathaway Charles M & Miz°: T. S. Braces 

Larb'^: watch. Harraden Joseph Main Top 

Starb'': watch. Hopkins Nath': Miz°: Mast 

Larb<*: watch. Hudson Thomas Gun N^: 6 

Larb'': watch. Hutchins W™: Main Mast 

Larb*^: watch. Heck Francis M & Miz": T. S. Braces 

Larb**: watch. Henderson Benj'^: — Gun N i 

Starb'^: watch. Hewes John at the Wheel 

Starb*^: watch. Holliday John Main Top 

Starb'^: watch. Jennison .... William [Lt. Marines] 

Starb'': watch. Johnson Benj^-: 

Starb^*: watch. Jones Alex"": Gun N°: 8 

Starb"^: watch. Irish John Gun N 8 

Starb'^: watch. Ingersoll Joseph Gun N ii 

Larb'^: watch. Kelly Mathew Fore Braces & Crossjack Braces Star- 
board Side 

Starb'': watch. Knowles James Gun N°: 6 

Larb'J; watch. Kimball Edward Gun N 29 

Larb"*: watch. Killmarnock . . . . Alex"" : Gun N 5 

Starb"*: watch. Keef John M. Topsail Braces 

Larb'^: watch. Low John at the Wheel 

Larb'^: watch. Lowell Ezra at the Spare TUler 

Larb<J: watch. Lead an John Gun N 4 

Larb<^: watch. Lovering Tho^: 

Larb^: watch. Lunt Timothy Gun N°: 6 

Larb^: watch. Leblanch .... Lewis Main Top 

Larb^: watch. Lloyd Arthur Gun N 10 

Larb'': watch. Lee....C^sar F. Braces & Crossjack do 

Starb'': watch. Leadbetter. . . .Increase 

Larb'^: watch. Liscomb William Gun N 27 

Lamb William Quarf: Deck 

Lewis .... Joseph Forecastle 

Larbf^: watch. Lubey Richard Fore Tops': Braces 

L. Linn John in the Cockpitt [Surgeon] 

M<=:Neill Hector Esq"": Qu"": Deck 

Larb<^: watch. Mc:Neill Rob*: [ist Lt. Marines] 

Starb'': watch. Mitchell John Fore Topsail Braces 

Starb'': watch. Milne John Gun N 5 

Larb"!: watch. McNeill Hect"": Jun""; Gun N": 11 

Larb'^: watch. Mitchell George — Gun N 7 

Starb<J: watch. Murphy Michael in Ward Room 

Larb'^: watch. Morgan John — Gun N 8 

Larb<i: watch. Munro William Gun N S 

Starb'': watch. Mc:Kinnon Charles Gun N°: 3 

Larb<': watch. Mc:Dowell. .. .Edward Gun N 11 

Starb"^: watch. Meservey Phillip Gun N 25 

Starb'': watch. Masterman James M. T. S. Braces 

Starb**: watch. Morgan Thomas Main Top 

Starb'': watch. M^Intyer W°»: Gun N 29 


LarM: watch. Mitchell Joshua in the Hold 

Larb^: watch. Mitchell Joseph Gun N°: i 

Larb**: watch. Moulton Barth^: 

Larb<^: watch. Mehaney Jeremiah Sf*: M. Sh^^s: 

Larb'': watch. Mullcahey Michael Gun N 7 

Larb*^: watch. Murray. .. .John — Gun N 9 

Starb**: watch. McLaughlin Law<=^: Gun N^: 10 

Starb'^: watch. Mascoll Joseph larb^*: M": Shrouds 

Starb<*: watch. McNeill Charles to attend Ughts between decks 

Larb'': watch. Moody Sajmuel Main Top 

Larb<^: watch. Mugford W™: Gun N 6 

Starb<i: watch. Mulling W'": Gun N 25 

Meschinet Jn°: in the Cockpitt 

Starb"^: watch. McElroy David M & Miz^: T. S. Braces 

Larbi^: watch. Nobel Mark Gun N^: 7 

Starb<*: watch. Nowell Sam': Gun N 3 

Starb'' : watch. Nock James 

Starb^ : watch . Newman W™ : 

Larb'': watch. Nichols Rob': Gun N°: : 

Larb<^ : watch . No wlan Rich^ : 

Starb-J: watch. Brien Will™: Gun N 4 

Larb'': watch. O Breen Joseph Gun N 2 

Larb^: watch. Osgood Nehemiah Gun N 29 

Starb'^: watch. Parrott John M & Miz°: T. S. Braces 

Starb^: watch. Pettit Joseph F. Braces & Crossjack do 

Larb'': watch. Parsons Zaccheus Gun N 12 

Larb'^: watch. Parker Caleb — Gun N 9 

Larb'^: watch. Perkins Thomas 

Larb**: watch. Pettingale Ephraim Gun N 4 

Starb**: watch. Parker Thomas Fore Top 

Larb^: watch. Plunket Abraham 

Larb**: watch. Phelps Aholiab 

Larb'*: watch. Pederson Hants Gun N s 

Starb**: watch. Peirce Benj'': Gun N 7 

Starb'': watch. Potter. . . .John 

Larb'': watch. Perry. . . .Jacob 

Starb<^: watch. Philbrook Joel 

Larb'': watch. Pitts Boston Fore Braces &c 

Starb"^: watch. Petters . . . . Pomp Gun N 8 

Starb*" : watch. Paine Richard Gun N 3 

Larb'': watch. Parsons W™: Gun N 12 

Larb^: watch. Parker. .. .Joseph Fore Top 

Palmes Richard [Capt. Marines] 

Larb'^: watch. Rogers Chace Gun N": 6 

Starb"!: watch. Ropes William Gun N 2 

Larb'': watch. Ryan Michael Gun No; 5 

Starb'': watch. Ricker John to attend the lights between decks 


Starb**: watch. Stockbridge Saai': 

do Smith .... John — at the Wheel 

Larb'^: watch. Smith Andrew Gun N 2 

Larb**: watch. Shaw Thomas Forecastle 

Starb^: watch. Sth-es Richard Miz°: Mast 

Starb^: watch. Snooks William Main Top 

Starb<*: watch. Sleeper John — in the Hold 

Larb<^: watch. Smith Joseph 

Larb'': watch. Sherburne Tho^: 

Larb*^: watch. Sampson Nath': 

Starb'': watch. Sims James Fore Top 

Starb'^: watch. Storow Jethro Gun N 12 

Starb*^: watch. Sprague Labon 

Starb**: watch. Sweetland Rich^: Gun N 5 

Sawyer Moses in the Cockpitt 

Starb^J; watch. Shoot Adam in Fore Top 

Larb"^: watch. Sulla way John 

Starb^: Watch. Tapping Benj^: Gun N 10 

Larb"': watch. Taylor James Gun N 3 

Starb<i: watch. Tobine Patrick Gun N 8 

Larb<i: watch. Terry London Gun N S 

Starb^': watch. Thornton James Main Top 

Starb<J: watch. Tott. . . .Mathew Gun N i 

Larb'^: watch. Tree Francis Gun N 2 

Larb'': watch. Webber Dan': Main & Miz°: Top S': Braces 

Larb'': watch. Willson John Gun N": 2 

Larb'^: watch. Whalon And*^: Gun N 12 

Larb<*: watch. Wisdom John Gun N 12 

Larb"^: watch. Welch Walter — Fore Top 

Larb<i: watch. Wise W™: to hand Powder after hatch way 

Larb'': watch. Woodbery. . . .Cornelius 

Larb<^: watch. Webb John — Gun N°: 8 

Starb<*: watch. Wood John 

Larb'^: watch. Willson James Main Top 

Starb"*: watch. Woodman Benj^: Gun N 6 

Larb<*: watch. Wood Cato Fore TopsaU Braces 

Larb"!; watch. Winslow Nicholas to hand Powder after hatchway 

Starb**: watch. Waters William 

Starb<*: watch. Wetherell Abel to hand Powder main hatchway 

Starb*^ : watch. Williams Benj^ : 

Wood WELL Gideon in the Hold 

Starb<^ : watch. Washburn Gideon 

Starb'' : watch. Williams Charles 

Starb<^: watch. Wood Cuff F. Braces & Crossjack 

Starb'': watch. Woodberry Lemuel Gun N i 

Larb<^: watch. Wright. .. .W™: Gun N 7 

Starb^: watch. Webber Richard Gun N 10 

Woodman Daniel Gun N 3 

Starb^: watch. Woodwell Gideon Jun"": Gun N i 

Larb^: watch. Welch Hezekiah, in the Waist [Lieut.] 


A Journal of our Intended Cruse in the Good Ship Boston 

Bound out a Cruse by God's parmission. 
Hector McNeill, Esq'r, Commander.^ 

On the 21 of May at 12 on meriden the Commodore fird Signal 
for Sailing. The fleet got under way at 2 p.m. and stood to Sea so 
God be pleased to send us to our desired port againe in Safty. 
This 24 hours Ends with a fresh Breeze. Nothing Remarkable. 

Thursday, May the 22. At 6 in the morning made the Land in 
off Boston. At 10 a.m. Bore away for the Eastern point. At 11 
the tartar ^ Joned us and a small privetare ^ Commanded by one 
Capt. Morone. She Inform us that She spake a Scooner from Cape 
Cod that was Chaced in by two frigats belongin to the British 
tyrants. It is Supposed that we are a goin in pursute of them. 
Their is 2 frigats and 2 20 Guns Ships and 6 armed Vesels of us 
all. This 24 hours ends Clear and pleasant. 

Friday, 23. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh Breeze. Lay of 
and on. Capt. M's Boat Came on Bord. Cape Ann Bore NNE 
Dist. 4 Leag. Stood to the N. 

At 2 a.m. Wore Ship. Laid hir head to the So. At 8 a.m. 
Cape Ann Bore NWBW Dist. 7 Leagues. Nothing Remarkable 
this 24 hours. 

Saturday the 24 of May, 1777. This 24 hours Begins with a 
Moderate Breze and Clear weather. At 6 p.m. TK [tacked] Ship 
Laid hir head to westward. Hald up the Coursees handed the 

At 8 p.m. saw a Saile to Leward. Bore up for hir. Sat F. S. and 
mizen. At 11 p.m. tack Ship. At 2 p.m. saw Capt. Manly in 
Chace of a Ship. At 3 p.m. saw Cape Ann. We Bore a way two 
for the Chace with all Sails sot. Chaced hir in off Portsmouth. 
It proved to be the Portsmouth * frigate Capt. parcker Commander. 
So Ends this 24 hours with moderate weather, 9 Saile of the fleet 
in sight. 

Sunday, May 25. This 24 hours Begins with Clear weather 
and Small Brezes of wind. At 4 p.m. Portsmouth Bore NBW 
dist. 5 Leagues. At 6 the Isle of Sholes Bore WBN dist. 4 Legues. 
Lay two with hir head to the SE with the FTS to the mast. At 
8 p.m. Spake the Commoder. At 4 a.m. made saile. At 10 a.m. 
the fleet hove two. Saw the Land. 

1 From the Gray Papers. 

2 The privateer American Tartar. 

3 Schooner Buckram, Captain Marony. 
* The privateer Portsmouth. 

Sketches by Captain McNeill 
illustrating the chase and 
engagements of yuly 7^ mi- 
Gray Papers^ 


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At 12 or meridian Wood Island Bore NWBW Distance 3 
Leagues. From that I tacke my departure Being in the Lattude 
of 43.43 and Longitude 68,18 W. 

Monday, 26. This 24 hours Begins Hazey weather. At 2 p.m. 
set the F. hove the mizen T.S. to the mast to speak the Com- 
mander. At 3 a.m. the Mifline ^Bore a way for falmouth. She 
had the small pox on Bord. 
No Obs. 

Tusday the 27. This 24 hours Begins Strong Gails and Drizlen 
Raine. Parted with all the fleet but one and that is the Commo- 
dore. Latter part of this 24 hours ends with Strong Gails and 
Shiped a Great Deal of water. Distance per Log 100 mils. 
No Obs. 

Wednesday the 28. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh Gale and 
a heavey Sea under Reeft Courses. At 6 p.m. Capt. Manly came 
up and Joined us. At 10 Hald up the M. S. 

Latter part of this 24 hours ends with Strong Gails and Larg 
Sea from the Eastward. 
No Obs. to day. 

Thusday, 29th. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh Breze and 
Clear weather. Capt. Manly in Company with us. Nothing 

Friday 30. This 24 hours Begins with modrate Breaze and a 
heavey Sea from the Eastward, At 6 p.m. saw a Saile to the So. 
Gave Chace. At ^ past 7 Came up with the Chace witch proved 
to be a Brig from London Bound to York Laden with Marchandize 
who Gave us Intelligence that she sailed in company with 7 Sail 
of transports having on Bord 3500 troops under Convoy with the 
Sumer Set [Somerset] of 64 Guns and the Marcerry [Mercury] 
of 28 Bound for York. At 5 a.m. saw 4 Saile to windward Stand- 
ing to the west. Gave Chace and Cleard Ship for Engagement. 
Lay by till they Came with in Gun Shot of Capt Manly. We Stood 
a Long upon a wind in order to Cut of Some of the transports. 
She fird Sevral Guns at Capt. Manly and he Returned the Same. 
Saturday, May 31, 1777. This 24 hours Begins with Modrate 
Breaze and a tumbling Sea. 

The Sumer Set Still in Chace of us. Capt. Manly to Leeyard 
all most out of sight. At 6 p.m. she tack Ship and Stood for hir 
Ship. Latter part Ends with Cloudy. L, 37.51. 

Sunday, June the i 1777. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh 
Gale and Large Sea witch makes our Ship Labour and Ship much 

1 The privateer General Mifflin. 


Capt. Manly in Company. Ends with fresh Gails and Raine. 


Monday 2d. This 24 hours Begin with fresh Gails and 
Cloudy weather. At 6 p.m. Spake Capt. Manly who desires us 
to hall to the South ward while he to the No. to keep the Better 

Tuesday 3. This 24 hours Begins a Modrate Breze and Squal- 
ley with Raine. 

Wednesday the 4 of June. This 24 hours Begins with Light 
Breze and Clear weather. 

Thursday the 5. This 24 hours Begins with Modrate Breze and 
hazey weather. All hands Employ'd a Bout Sundres Needful!, 

Friday the 6. This 24 hours Begins with pleasant weather. At 
3 p.m. Capt. Manlys Boat Came on Board. At 4 p.m. Saw a 
Saile Leeyard. At 6 Do. Came up with hire. She proved to be a 
Brig from St. Johns a fishing on gran Bank. Histed out our 
Boat and went on Board took out the priseners and Set hir on fire. 

Saw a Small Scooner to Leeyard. 

Saturday, June 7, 1777. The first part of this 24 hours was 
foggey. At 4 P.M. it Cleard a way. Capt Manly sent his Boat 
on Board of us. One of His Lievt, Mr. Adams came to acquaint 
us of what Signels to make in a fogg. At 6 p.m. see a Saile to 
Lewaid we Bore Down to hire when we Came up with hire we 
found hir to be a fishing Vessaile Belong to Dartmouth in England. 
Capt. Manly sent his Boat on Bord and we sent our Boat on Bord, 
took the people out and Sundery Small things and Set hir on fire 
and then we Steard NNE all Night. At Day Light we see Sevrall 
Small Bankers, At 5 a.m. we made a Larg Ship Laying by our 
two Ships. Stood for hire; at 6 a.m. Capt, Manly and she Ex- 
changed some guns and then she Runn and we in full Chace after 

Sunday 8, 1777. This 24 Begins with fresh Breze and Larg 
Sea. Betwixt the Hour of 12 and one P.M. Capt. Manly 
Began to Engage Broide Side and Broide Side, our Ship Coming 
up fast as Posable at Last we Came up and Gave them a Noble 
Broid Side witch made them to Strike a meadeatly a Bout half 
after one. Capt. Manly had some men killed and so had the 
frigate Cald the fox. Besides Both frigates ware Damaged in their 
Sails and Rigen. The fox had some of hir yards shot away. We 
had but little Damage done to us, no Life Lost thanks Be to God 
and after the Engage was over the fishing vesels tacking us to be 
British Ships they Came down to us for purtection. 

Monday the 9. This 24 hours Begins with fresh Brezes and 


Cloudy. Employ d Gitting the prize in order to Cruse with us lo 
Saile of fishermen in Sight. 

Tusday the lo June. This 24 hours Begins Cloudy weather. 
Nothing Remarkable. 

Wednesday the 11 June. This 24 hours Begins with Small winds 
and vreable. The jox and handcock in Company. 

Thursday the 12. First part of this 24 hours Begins with Cloudy 
weather. At 10 a.m. saw two Sails to the Eastward made saile for 
them. Came up with them found them to be 2 of our Concorts 
that saild in Company with us. 

Friday the 13. This 24 hours Begins with Clear weather and 

Saturday the 14. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh Breze. 

Sunday the 15. First part of this 24 hours Begins with pleasant 
weather. Parted with Capt. Grely. ^ 

Monday the 16. This 24 hours Begins with Cloudy weather and 
a Larg Sea from the Eastward. 

Tuesday the 17 of June. This 24 hours Begins with a pleasant 
Breaze. At 3 p.m. saw a Saile to the westward. TK [tacked] 
Ship, stood for hir. She proved to be Spannish Brig. 

Saw a Nother Saile to Leeyard. Capt. Manly Gave Chace for 
hir. Came up with hire. She proved to be a French Ship from 
Cape franceway. At 8 a.m. saw a ship to Leeyard made Saile. 
She prove to Be a Spannish Ship. Parted with Capt. Gardner in 
a small privtere. ■ 

Wednesday the 18 of June, 1777. This 24 hours Begins with 
hazey weather and something Cloudy. 

Thusday the 19 1777. This 24 hours Begins with Clear and 
pleasant weather. At 10 a.m. Thomas Shaw fell from the main 
top mast Cap Down in the m. top and Cracked his Scull in two 
places and all most dead. 

Friday the 20 of June. This 24 hours Begins with Clear and 
pleasant weather. 

Satrday the 21 of June. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh 
Breeze and Clear. 

Sunday the 22 of June. This 24 hours Begins with Modrate. 

At 4 p.m. Mr. Hill Come on Bord after some offercer to Gow 
on Bord the jox. Their went on Bord Mr. Groce and Mr. Milen 
and Mr. Knowls. 

Monday the 23 of June. This 24 hours Begins with Cloudy 

1 Commanding the schooner Speedwell, privateer. 

2 The schooner Active. 


Tusday the 24 of June. This 24 hours Begins with Clouse 
Cloudy weather and a few Shours of Raine. 

Wednesday the 25 of June. This 24 hours Begins with Clear 
and pleasant weather and Smooth Sea. Got up to[p]G yard. 

Thusday the 26. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh Breze and 
Cloudy. At I p.m. Gave over Chaceing a Small Scooner took hir 
to be one of the amaracan priveters. No Obs'r. 

Friday the 27. This 24 hours Begins with a fresh Breeze and 
full of fogg. No Obs'r. 

Saturday 28. This Begins with Clear and pleasant weather. 
Latter part ful of fogg. 

Sunday 29. This 24 hours Begins full of fogg. 

Monday 30. This 24 hours Begins modrate and Hazey weather. 

Tusday July 1. This 24 hours Begin with fogg weather and 
full of Raine. 

Wednesday July 2. This 24 hours Begins with hazey wather 
and small Raine. 

Thusday the 3, This 24 hours Begins with fresh Gailes. 

Friday the 4 of July. This 24 hours Begins with Hazey weather. 
At 7 full of fogg in all Small Sailes. At 7 p.m. spoke the fox they 
tould us that they had Lost Joshua Mitchel over Bord. At 8 p.m. 
hove two and Sounded found 45 fathom of water. At 9 made 
Saile. At 6 a.m. hove two and Caught Sevral Codfish. 

Saturday the 5 of July. This 24 hours Begins Hazey weather. 
Caught Sevrall Cusk 

Sunday the 6 of July. This first part Small winds and very 
foggey. At 4 a.m. a Squall of Raine Shifted the wind to the 
Norrad and fine Clear weather made the Land. At 5 a.m. see a 
Saile Barring WSW at 8 oclock came up with hir. She was a 
Sloop from Spanish River Bound to Halifax Capt. Hinkston, 
Command. We have made a prise of hir and Capt. Manly has got 
hir in tow. At 8 a.m. hoisted out the Pinnis and Capt. McNeill 
sent Leut. welch on Bord Capt. Manly with a Letter and at his 
Return the Pinnis went on Bord the fox with the Doctor to Tarrey. 

Mounday, July 7, 1777. At 12 p.m. Cape Sables Bore WBN 
Dist. a Bout 7 Leag. This 24 hours attended with Pleasent 
weather, Light wind. At 6 oclock p.m. see two vesails ^ to the 
Eastward of us. At 4 a.m. see them again Bearring to the East- 
wart. Still at 5 a.m. made a Saile ^ Bairing to W, we going WbS. 
She past us and gave us two guns, as soon as she got in our wake 
She put a Bout and stood for us and came up with us fast and we 

1 The British ship Rainbow and brig Victor. 

2 The British frigate Flora. 


playd a way with our Stairn Chases. At 1 1 a.m. Capt. Manly and 
the fox and frigate till Darck and could see the frigate two guns 
after 1 1 we began to Engage and had it very warm, the jox being 
to Lewyard the frigat at hir and she Run be fore the wind. Ther 
was a two Decker ^ under our Lee, we ware a Stoping our Shot 
holes, we thought Not Safe to follow. 

Tusday, July 8, This 24 hours Light winds Pleasant weather. 
At 12 p.m. Capt. Manly put a Bout Stood after the jox, the 
two Decker gave Chace to him and fird Sevral guns. He stood 
away as fast as posable. The frigate - and jox made a Running 
fight, they stood away a Bout NNE, we stood about NWBN. We 
lost Sight of Capt. Manly a Bout 4 p.m. But we keep Sight of 
the jox and our Ship put a Bout and stood for hir; at 35 Minnites 
shot off the jox, and thought the jox gaind of hir. The frigate 
mounted 32 or 36 Guns. We are Surrounded with Ships all Round. 
At 5 a.m. we heard Guns for a Long time. We Expect some En- 
gagement Soon. We had one Wasborn kiled out Rig[ht], one 
Green a Quarter master wounded in the Leg, had it Cut of at 8 
p.m., died at 4 A.M. See the Land. 

Wednesday the g. At 12 p.m. the Sile [Seal] Islands Bore N 
Dist. a Bout 6 Leg'e at 8 p.m. they Bore E't a Bout 9 Le'e. 

The first part of this 24 hours Modrate pleasant we going under 
all the Saile that we Could Tack, the Latter part a fresh Gale in 
all Small Sailes. Expecting Every moment to make the Land. 
Saw a plenty of Rock wead and old Logs of wood. I Could hearitly 
wich the Hancock and jox was with us for we are all Most in a 
Good harbour thanks Be to God. 

Thusday the 10 of July. The first part of this 24 Hours foggey. 
Sounded Seveiral tims got Bottom from 50 to 60 and 70 fathom. 
Cach plenty of Mackrell and Cod. At 4 a.m. the fogg cleard away 
and we made the Land off Menheagin [Monhegan] and fine and 
pleasa[nt] weather. A Number of Small Craft afishing. At 5 
oclock this afternoon we Came to an anchor in Sheeps Gut River 
all well Bord. We have had Sevral men on Bord witch Informes us 
that the Miljord ^ has Bin up the River. 

Fryday 11. This day pleasant weather. At 10 clock a.m. waide 
anchor. Came up the River as far as wishcasset Point ware we 
Murrey Came on Bord and sume more of the Pornceple men of 
the town. 

Saturday ye 12 of July. This Day Modrate Pleasant weather 
the wind to the Eastward. Laying at anchor in Sheeps Gut. 

Sunday ye 13 of July. This Day Pleasant weather the wind to 

1 The Rainbow. 2 Flora. s ^ British frigate. 


the Eastward. Our Capt. with Sevral Gentlemen went to townsend 
[Boothbay Harbor] in the Barg. Nothing Remarkable. 

Mounday ye 14 of July. This day Nothing Remarkable. Fine 
pleasent weather. The Capt. Returned from towns End. 

Tusday ye 15 of July. This day fine Pleasent weather but very 
warme. The Comt. of Saifty came on Bord to see Capt. McNeill. 
For my part i hope that we shall Saill from hear Son. 

Wednesday ye 16. This day very pleasant weather. At 4 a.m. 
Creand Ship Cleand hir Bottom and paid it with Sope and tallow. 
Nothing Remarkable. 

Thusday ye 17. This day very pleasant weather. We have 
watered our Ship and wooded and have onmored So that the first 
wind that will Permit us to gow down River I Expect we shall go. 
Our Prisseners forteen in Number set of this Day for Boston. I 
have mored our Ship how Long to Stay God onley knows. Parson 
hope we shall away to Morrow. 

Fry day 18. This day very pleasent weather Light wind but 
very veriable. We are all Redy to gow down the River. 

Saturday 19. This day Pleasent weather. Nothing Remarkable. 
The wind is at the Southward we Cant Git dow[n] the River. 

Sunday 20 of July. This Day Nothing Remarkable a most of 
the Officers a Shore to Meating. 

Mounday 21. This day Pleasant weather. Our Master and 
Pilot gone after some Provisions for the Ship. We are waighting 
for a wind to git out. Capt. McNeill Rec'd a Letter from Pourts- 
mouth from Capt. Tomson^ by an Express. I hope to be their 
very Soon my Self. 

Tusday 22. This Morning Raine wind NNE. We hove up at 
6 a.m. came down the River. Fine Breze. Left our parson on 
Shore. The wind Soon grew Small and Came to the Southward. 
We beat some time. Lost ground. It Sot in very foggey. at 
6 p.m. Came to an anchor and Cought some fresh fish and as we 
Come out we saw a Ship standing to the westward witch we toock 
to be a prise, thou we have had Not the Good fortain to tacke any. 

Wednesday 23. This day pleasent weather. At 8 a.m. came to 
Saile with the wind to the Northward and Stood to the Westward. 

Thusday 24 of July. This Morning Begins of Cape Elizabeth. 
Small wind to the Southward. Bore away. Came in to falmouth 
and Came to anchor a Bout 10 oclock a.m. we mord Ship. 

Fryday 25 of July. This day Pleasent weather winds to the 
Southward. Nothing Remarkable. We keep Employ d a bout the 
Ships Duty. Our Capt. dined on Shore. 

1 Captain Thomas Thompson, Continental Navy. 


Saturday 26 of July. This day Pleasent weather, the wind to the 
Southward. Now way Likely for a wind to go away. Our people 
Brewing Bear. Nothing very Remarkable. 

Sunday 27 of /w/y. This day we had a Sermon on Bord. Noth- 
ing Rema[rkable]. 

Mounday 28 of July. This day Pleasant weather small winds 
to the Southward. Our People on Shore a Brewing. Our pinnes 
Employd a fishing. 

Tusday 29 of July, 1777. This morning very Calm and warm 
the Middle part Raine and Some Thunder the Latter part Pleasant. 
We are still Brewing Bear. 

Wednesday 30, 1777. This Morning very pleasent wind to the 
Northward. Expecting we should come to Saile and go for Pourts- 
mouth but disapointed. At 7 oclock our Pinnis went on Shore. 
Brought of 4 Quarters of Beef. At 10 a.m. had a man flogd 3 Doz. 
Our Capt. Came on Bord with Sevral Gentlemen and orderd all 
hands to Quarters a Medeatly their was a Larg Ship a Comeing 
in. It proved to be a prize. 

Thusday, July 31, 1777. This day Pleasent weather wind to the 
Southward. Nothing very Remarkable. Arrived hear Capt. Green- 
leaf from Newbery to day and prise Brigg. Our Capt. and Doctor 
and Mr. Balch dined on Shore. 

Fryday, Aug't i, 1777. This 24 hours winds to the Northward. 
Latter part to the South. A Number of Gentlemen dined on Board 
to day with the Capt. and when they went on Shore we gave them 
a selute of Seven guns. This Day Mr. Winter Calf came on Board 
to see us. He Left Boston a Munday. Reports of a Number of 
Ships Cruseing between hear and Boston think it Not Safe to go 
from hear at preasent. 

Saturday Aug't 2, 1777. This day Light winds to the South- 
ward very vvarme. Our People on Shore a Brewing. Towards the 
Eaving we had thunder with Raine. 

Sunday Aug't 3 1777. This day Pleasent very warme. Capt. 
palms went on Shore and Mr. Welch Likewise to hear the prest. 

Mounday Aug't 4 1777. This day Pleasant weather wind to the 
North East. No thoughts of Saileing. I know not when we shall. 
This Day arived two prise Briggs and one Brigg belonging to hear 
from St. Crux and a Ship from Bilbo with Anchor and Cables for 
the two 74 Gun Ships. Our Barg was sent to help hir in witch 
they did at a bout 12 oclock at Night all hand Emploid Gitting 
of[f] a Ship that had Rune on Shore the Day before. 

Tuesday, Aug't 5, 1777. This day thick foggey weather. We 
have got our Ships Sides Scraped. The wind being to the East- 
ward Sevral vessails Came in hear. Nothing very Remarkable. 


Wednesday, Aug't 6, 1777. This day Pleasent wather most part 
of the Day. The Latter part foggey and some Showers of Raine 
the wind small and variable. 

Thusday, Aug't 7, 1777. This Day very warme wind to the 
Southward. We have Paid our Ships Sides with tare. 

Fryday, Aug't 8, 1777. This day pleasent weather the wind to 
the Southward. We have no thoughts of going at preasent. This 
Day a Rived Prise Brigg Loaded with Salt tacking by a Schooner 
from Beaverly. 

Saturday, Aug't 9, 1777. This Day very warm wind to the South 
ward. We are Laying hear with a Number of vessails waighting 
for a wind. We have a plenty of wood and water and Bear on 
Bord. Nothing Remarkble. 

Sunday, Aug't 10. This morning a fine Breze of wind at NNW. 
Several Coasters and Marchants Vessails went out Bound for the 
westward. At a Bout 7 oclock in the Morning the Capt. came upon 
the Deack and Orderd us to unmore as fast as we could. He went 
on Shore him Self. We got unmord, cleared, and Bout 12 oclock 
we Brock Ground and Came out with a fine Breze and as we Came 
out of the Sand we see a Brigg witch we took to be a vessaile of 
force Standing to the westward in full Chase after us and Came 
up with us fast and got the wind of us. We put a bout to Speake 
with hir but found we Could Not. We gave hir Several Shot but 
Could Not Bring hir two. She got in Shore of us and we Stood 
along againe to the westward with a very Small wind witch came to 
the Southvk^ard and then we whase oblige to Tack Backwards and 

Mounday, Aug't 11. This 24 hours small winds to the South- 
ward. At day Light made the Isle of Sholes a Brigg and a Ship 
after us. At 12 oclock we got into Pourtsmouth came to anchor 
in company with Capt. Tompson and Capt. Heyman.^ Nothing 

Tusday, Aug't 12. This Day pleasent weather. Capt. McNeill 
and Capt Tompson went to town. Two off Officers Belonging to 
the Aljord [Alfred] dined on Bord. 

Wednesday, Aug't 13, 1777. This Day pleasent weather Light 
winds. Our Capt. came from town. He is Determined to go to 
Boston the first wind. 

Thusday, Aug't 14, 1777. This Day very warme weather small 
winds. Nothing very Remarkable. I hope to have a wind soon 
that will Carrey us to our desired port. 

1 Thomas Thompson and Elisha Hinman, commanding the Continental 
frigate Raleigh and the ship Alfred. 


Fryday, Aug't 15, 1777. This Day attended with Variable 
winds and Rainey weather the first part pleasent. Nothing Re- 

Saturday, Aug't 16. This day Pleasent weather the first part 
the wind was to the Northward Latter part to the Southward. At 
4 oclock in the Morning we unmored our Ship, the Capt. Come on 
Bord, we got under way as fast as posable we Could, but the flood 
tide makeing so strong against us that we Could not git out But 
was obliged to Come to anchor againe. When we shall git out I 
know not for I think we are unlockey. 

Sunday, Aug't 17, 1777. This Day pleasent the wind to the 
Eastward at Sun Rise we hove up and tryed to git out but the flood 
tide macking and the wind so Light we was Obliged to Come to 
Anchor again. 

Mounday, Aug't 18. At 5 oclock this Morning the wind being 
to the NNE we hove up and Came out with a fine Brease of wind 
which Brought us up with Cape Ann and then it fell to a small 
Brease. We Sail'd a Long and at Soclock in the Eaving we Came 
to anchor in Merblehead. 

Tusday, Aug't 19. This Day attende with Light winds to the 
Southward So that we Cant Git out. Our pinnis is gone to Salem 
with our people that is Sick and Sevral others is gone to Sea their 
frinds. We shifted our Birth and went further up the harbour. 

Wednesday, Aug't 20. This day Light winds to the Southward. 
We are gitting our Vessaile in trim for Sailing and fixing quarter 
Neting. I am in hopes we shall soon git out of this Place and 
git to Boston. 

Thusday, Aug't 21. At 4 oclock this morning hove up at Marble 
Head. Came out with the wind at South. We got in as far as 
Niches Mate at 2 oclock in the After Noon it Being high warter 
we Came to Anchor parted our Small Bower Cable Let go the 
Best Bower Brought up at 9 oclock hove up Turnd up as far as 
Specti[c]al [Island] and then Came to anchor againe thanks Be 
to God we are Safe a Rived to the port ware we Belong. 

This a true Copey of Benjamin Crowninshie[ld's] Journal on 
Board the Boston Frigate, Hector McNeill Esq'r Commander. 


To Committee of Pownallborough ^ 

To the Gentlemen of the Committe of Safety for the Town of 
Pownalborough [Wiscasset] . 


As friends to your Country, and Men intrusted with the publick 
affairs of this place in particular, I request the favour of your 
Company on Board the Boston Frigate this forenoon, I having 
something to propose to you concerning the publick Service. 1 
am Gentlemen Your most Obedient Servant 

H. McN. 

Ship Boston 12th July 1777. 

To the Marine Committee^ 

To the Hon'ble The Marine Committe of Congress at Philadel- 


I think it my duty to give you as particular an account of my 
late Cruise as the hasty departure of the present opportunity will 
admit of. 

On the 2ist of May I sail'd from Nantasket in Company with 
Capt: Manley and eight or Ten small Privateers, some of whom 
parted with us by choice, and the remainder by bad weather in 
Six days after we Sail'd; Captain Manley and myself were so lucky 
as to keep Company except Two Nights in the worst of the Gale 
of Wind which happened to be easterly. 

On Thursday afternoon the 29th of May we fell in with a small 
Brigg from London for New York which we took, and Man'd that 
Evening, they acquainted us that they came out under Convoy of 
the Somersett ^ and Mercury " with 16 Sail of Transports having 
on board about 3500 Troops, for Reinforcing the British Army 
at New York. 

At break of day the 30th we discover'd the Somersett and three 
large Ships under her Convoy. Capt: Manley was not convinced 
of the size of our Opponent untill she was within Shott of him, 
when very Luckily for him the Hancocks Heels saved his Bacon. 
She nevertheless pursued him with great earnestness untill I tack'd 
upon her Convoy who was a good way a stern of her at that time, 
as soon as she saw me within random Shot of them, she left Capt: 
Manley and return'd to their protection. She then chac'd me about 

^ Letter Book. 2 British 64-gun ship. 3 British frigate. 


six hours but not being able to come up with me she rejoin'd her 
Convoy just as night came on. 

Capt: Manley and myself then Steer'd to the Eastward and 
Northward in hopes of falling in with some others of the fleet, but 
saw no Enemy except a few miserable Fishermen untill Saturday 
June the Seventh, on the Morning of which day we fell in with the 
Fox a British Frigate of 28 Guns Commanded by Capt: Patrick 
Fotheringham. She at first meant to Engage but thought 'twas 
best to try her Heels, which would have effectually saved her from 
me, but the Hancock coming up with her an Action ensued which 
did not end untill after we came up by which time the Hancock 
and the Fox were both very much damaged. The weather proving 
unfavourable for some time afterwards we were several days fitting 
the Fox and Capt. Manley his own Ship. I had sent my first Lieut't 
(Mr. Browne) on board the Fox the day she was taken but Captain 
Manley refused giving him the Command, and I was finally oblig'd 
to withdraw him for the sake of peace. I urged Capt: Manley 
to make the best of our way to Charlestown, South Carolina, there 
to join Capt: Biddle, fitt and Clean our Ships and then to Cruise 
for the West India Fleet untill towards the fall of the year by 
which time our own Coast would probably be clear and we might 
return without any risque compared with what must be now ex- 
pected. He at first attended to my proposal but afterwards did as 
he pleas'd. The event will prove whither I judged right or not. 
In short we loiter'd away three weeks or a month before we sett 
our faces homeward by which time the Coast of New England from 
Cape Sable as far as New York was so cover'd with cruisers that 
there was no escaping them. 

On Sunday the 6th of July being 15 leagues to the Eastward of 
Cape Sable we took a Sloop from Louisburgh bound for Halifax, 
but delaying some time with her we were chac'd towards evening 
by three Ships (we also being three). We did not make any efforts 
to avoid those Ships in Course of the night, on the Contrary Capt: 
Manley Tow'd the Sloop before spoken of untill next Morning, by 
which time one of the Ships ^ was a head of us and tack'd upon 
us. The Second Ship ^ which was a two decker was on our Lee 
Quarter about three Leagues from us, and the third Ship ^ about 
as far right a stern. Capt: Manley then thought proper to sett 
fire to the Sloop and quitted her and endeavour'd to make the 
best of our way, but the first Ship being up within Shott about 
noon we exchanged some Shott with her at a distance and then 
having spoke Capt: Manley we agreed to Tack and Engage her. 

1 British frigate Flora. ^ British 44-gun ship Rainbow. 

' British brig Victor. 


We immediately Tack'd and Capt: Manley begun the Action 
with his head to the Northward and the Enemy on the opposite 
Tack, we being close under the Hancocks Stern also fell in with 
the Enemy in our turn and exchanged about five broad Sides 
with her. 

Her Shott was so well aim'd that some of them pass'd through 
our Ship under the wale so that we could not Tack upon the Enemy 
untill we had stop'd those Holes. This was however done in a 
few minutes, but not before the two deck Ship had goten very near 
us. Unfortunately the Fox did not Tack at the same time we 
did, by which means the Enemy got between her and us, and she 
was oblig'd to pass under the fire of the first Ship above mention'd 
and the Fire of the two deck Ship also. Capt: Manley seeing that 
the Fox was beyond saving put about and stood to the Southward. 
The Fox bore away and run to the Eastward and we kept the Wind 
to the Northw'd. The two deck Ship then put about and follow'd 
the Hancock, leaving the Fox and me to the other two Ships. The 
Fox fled and defended herself bravely having also some advantage 
in point of Sailing. We were constrain'd to keep the Wind for 
our own Security being neither able to Run from nor fight such 
force as then appear'd to Leward. In a few hours we saw two 
more of the Enemy about two points on our weather bow — from 
these we were obliged to Tack to the Southward, the wind about 
WBS. After standing two hours to the Southw'd we espied another 
Ship bearing SW of us who appear'd to be in Chace towards us. 
I then hove about to the Northw'd again and stood on untill Nine 
oClock the Evening, the Chace coming down upon us very fast 
all the time, as soon as the Moon was down I tack'd and stood to 
the Southw'd and in less than an hour saw the Lights of the Chac- 
ing Ship standing athwart our Stern about | of a Mile from us. 
On Tuesday Morning the 8th Current I saw five Sail of the Enemy 
to the Leward of me three on the Lee bow and two on the Lee 
Quarter, at the same time saw Cape Sable bearing NNE five 
leagues. The wind coming to the Southward I stood across the 
Bay of Funday detirmin'd to Shelter my self in the first port I 
could make, and get intelligence, which happen'd to be this river 
where I arriv'd on Thursday the loth Instant. On my arrival here 
I found that the Milford Frigate ^ had been in about fourteen days 
past and that she had penetrated up as far as we now are. Namely 
at Wichcassett point. There is scarce a day but one or two of the 
Enemys ships are seen off the Mouth of this river and the Coasting 
Vessells are very much distress'd. In this my present Situation 
I am much at a loss what to do — my Ships Company are so de- 

1 British. 


minished by Manning the Fox and the Men otherwise lost since 
we Saild from Boston, my Ship is very Fowl (not having been 
clean'd since Novem'r last) and besides that we cannot make 
her Sail fast, trim which way we will, the certainty of Meeting the 
Enemy in pairs along the Coast and only two ports capable of 
yielding us Shelter between this place and Boston Bay — all those 
Circumstances Considered, I think it prudent to stay for a few 
days to get some more Authentick information of the Numbers and 
strength of the Enemy in this Quarter, for according to the present 
accounts I think it is impossible for Single Ships to pass or repass, 
without being Sacrifised to their numerous fleet. We have certain 
accounts of twelve Sail of the Enemys Cruisers between Cape Ann 
and Cape Sable, sevrall of whom are large Ships. Our best ac- 
counts report two between this river and Casco Bay which is but 
10 Leagues apart so that they are posted along shore at conven- 
ient distances to succour each other; I send you a return of the 
prisoners which I have brought here belonging to the Fox but for 
fear of Accidents have deliver'd them into the hands of the Com- 
mittee of Safety to be forwarded towards Boston. Thither I shall 
repair as soon as possible from which place I promise my self the 
pleasure of Writing you more fully. I am Gentlemen with all 
possible respect, Your most humble Servant. 

Ship Boston at Wichcassett 

in Sheepgut River i6th July 1777. 

To THE Council of Massachusetts^ 
To the Honourable the Council of the Massachusetts State. 


On my Arival at this place I did apply to the Committe for 
a guard to conduct Sixteen prisoners (Late of the Fox Frigate) to 
Boston. They set out from hence last Thursday, but I am per- 
suaded this will be with you before them. 

As I have three Lieutenants and fifty-three Men on board the 
Fox, who I fear is taken to Halifax, I beg as a particular favour 
that the Officers of the Fox may not be disposed of otherwise then 
to redeem mine. I think we have the first right and shall expect 
that they be kept safe untill my Arrival. Notwithstanding the 
expence of sending them so far by Land, I am perswaded my rea- 

1 Letter Book. 


sons for setting them on shore will be Satisfactory. 
Obed't Serv't 

Ship Boston at Wichcassett 
July 2ist 1777. 

Mr. John Perry, ist Lieutenant. 
Mr. Will'm Budworth, 2d do. 
Mr. Peter Burn, Master. 

Your Most 

Mr. James Malcolm '\ 

Mr. John Fitzgerald V Midshipnien. 

Mr. George Paris Monk ) 

Mr. James Harrison, Captain's Gierke. 

William Jennings 
William Gheeseman 
James Lamb 
William Sackveill 
Barth'w George 
William Tubes 
James Royall 
Thomas Paine 
Joseph Lyons 

> Seamen. 

The above is a List of the Prisoners dispatch'd from Wichcassett, 
July 17th, 1777. 

To Thomas Thompson ^ 

Capt: Thompson, 

I have this moment receiv'd your welcome Letter of the 19th 
Inst: On my arrival here I would have wrote you a Narative of 
our proceedings this last Cruise, but for want of an opportunity 
which could be trusted I refrain'd writing. 

On Friday last I had some thoughts of stoping one who call'd 
himself Harris, he was in a Whale Boat which he said he had hired 
of a Butcher at Portsmo: by this Harris I wrote a Letter to you, 
thereby intending to deceive him in case he had been what I sus- 
pected, a Spy. Should you receive that Letter burn it, for I had 
no other Motive in writing it then those already mention'd. 

To return now to Business I will tell you that I have spent a 
most painfull two Months on this Cruise. The General opinion 
which had prevail'd, that I was dissatisfied with being under Man- 
ley's Command, made me sett up a resolution to obey implicitly 
every one of his Commands, (as for Signals, I never could get any 
from him) to the utmost of my power. I did however endeavour 
to advise him now and then when in a good mood, and he often 
appear'd to attend to what I said; but the unstableness of his 
Temper led him rather to do as he pleas'd. Nevertheless I foUow'd 
him as the Jackall does the Lyon, without Grumbling except in my 

1 Letter Book. Captain Thompson's ship, the Raleigh, was fitting out at 


On Thursday 29th May we took a small Brigg from London 
Bound for New York, by this Brigg we found she was part of a 
Convoy which came out with the Somersett and Mercury. The next 
day, at day dawn we made four large Ships, the leading Ship I 
was well assured was the Somersett. I made the Signal to Speak 
with Manley that I might perswade him not to run directly into 
their Tract a head of them, they being to windward, in which 
possition 'twould be very hard to discover their Force before they 
were very near us. No notice however was taken of my Signal. 
I then made Sail to overtake him which I did and told him that 
I was perswaded the headmost Ship was the Somersett. Our Prize 
was still in Company and sail'd dull, so that we fear'd we should 
loose her. Capt. Manley then told me to Stand to the Southward, 
the Wind being at ENE, the Prize and myself stood to the South- 
ward and Manley Lay with his Courses up and small Sails handed 
untill the Somersett came within the reach of Grape Shott. Being 
then convinced of his Mistake he made all the Sail he could, but 
so Slowly did he get out of her way, That her Shott flew over him 
for an hour, by which Time I Tack'd to the Northw'd upon the 
Three Ships a Stern of her, and when I came within long Shott 
of them, the Somersett left chasing Manley and return'd to her 
Convoy; having Spoke with them, she wore and Chac'd me Six or 
Seven hours. At first she seem'd to Gain, but having alter'd the 
Trim of our Ship we then gain'd on her, A little before Night she 
return'd to her Convoy. 

Manley had run so far to the Southw'd that we were not able 
to see him till Sunsett and did not fall in with him untill the 
next day. We then stood to the Northw'd and Eastward in hopes 
to fall in with some of the Scatter'd Ships of the aforesaid convoy, 
but the weather was so bad for ten or twelve days that we see 
nothing untill we got on the Bank. On Friday June the 6th we 
took a Brigg belonging to Dartmouth; her Capt: Manley order'd 
to be burnt for Country Sake. The next morning we fell in with 
the Fox about 7 Oclock forenoon. Captain Manley being a head 
exchanged two broadsides. She then made Sail and endeavour 'd 
to gett off. She sail'd so fast that twas half after noon before 
Manley got along side of her, when a Spitefull Short Action Ensued 
for 45 Minutes before we came up. We did not fire untill within 
Pistol Shott and they struck the first broadside, but by some Mis- 
take of their Marines or Topmen, they again Fired into our Ship 
after I had spoke to one of the Officers and desired him to throw 
a burning wadd overbboard which had Lodged in the Miz'n Chains, 
there was no withholding our People and they return'd a few Shott 


before I could stop them. As the Hancock and Fox had Engag'd 
with all their small kites out, they were both in the most helpless 
condition at the end of the Action. The Fox had pegg'd Mr. 
Manley's ribbs so well that he had his pumps going, and both 
Ships were by the Lee, — with every Sail abroad. 

I sent my first and 2 Lieutenant on board the Fox, order'd the 
first to Stay and the 2d to take the Captain of the Fox on board 
Capt: Manley as a Compliment to my Senior Officer. This was 
immediately done and the rest of the Officers with about 96 of the 
Men were brought on board me, a dozen of Fishermen came down 
to see the Sport as I had hoisted British Colours immediately after 
the Action ceas'd. Towards evening Capt: Manley came along side 
and order'd me to put all the common Men on board one of those 
fishing Vessells and Let them go about their Business. I en- 
deavour'd to perswade him to come on board that I might tell 
him my thoughts on that Step. He said he could not enter on 
Acco't of Lameness but order'd me once more to sett about em- 
barking them before Night. I accordingly put 85 of the Fox's 
Men on board one of the Fishing Vessells by Sunsett, the Sea and 
Wind rising after Night prevented puting any more on board and 
it coming bad weather before Morning they left us and made the 
best of their way for St. Johns. I immediately foresee the Conse- 
quence and the next day wrote to Capt: Manley praying him to 
make the best of our way to the Southw'd and proceed with all 
possible dispatch for South Carolina, — there 'twas probable we 
might not be watch'd by a Superior Force, but so sure as we 
offer'd to return home we were sure to be way laid by Ships from 
York and Rhode Island, who would be sent out as soon as the 
Somersett arrived, and were sure to be pursued by the Newfound- 
land and Halifax Ships. Capt: Manley at first acquiess'd, but in 
a few days alter'd his Mind and his Course, upon the whole we 
spent three weeks before we Sett our faces to the Westward, in all 
which time we saw Nothing but Spaniards and French Men, who 
run us to the Eastward a great way from the place we had first 
met with the Fox. 

We at last sett out for home, and keeping well to the North- 
ward we made the High Land of Portmuttoon [Port Matoun]. 
On Sunday Morning the 6th Instant about 8 o Clock A.M. Capt: 
Manley brought too an old Sloop, Coal Loaded from Cape Britain. 
We Lost severall hours dallying with the Sloop untill the Morning 
breeze which was at N was Spent. He then took her in Tow and 
stood to the Southw'd and Westward. About 4 o'Clock that after- 
noon we Saw three Sail astern of us who appear'd to be in chace of 


us. Far from taking notice of the Signal made by the Fox who was 
then astern, Capt: Manley Tow'd the Sloop all Night and we to 
keep astern had our Miz'n Topsail to the Mast half the Night. 
When day come on we see the headmost Ship^ forward of our 
Lee Catthead, the Second Ship ^ (a two decker) on our Lee Quarter 
and the third Ship ^ right a stern. 

The headmost Ship, Tack'd upon us and pass'd under our Lee 
within Gun Shott, at 8 o Clock, as soon as she had our weak, She 
Tack'd after us, we being the Sternmost Ship Exchanged some Shott 
with her; about noon I got within hail of Capt: Manley, and he 
proposed Tack'g to Engage this Ship before the others came up. 
We did so immediately and both Exchanged a few broad Sides 
with her as she pass'd. The Fox did not Tack with us which 
Exposed her to this Ships Fire. She then attempted to Tack 
but Missing Stays was Obliged to wear which brought her under 
the Lee of the first Ship and just to Windward of the two decker. 
We then had all our heads to the Northw'd, the Wind at WBS. 
Manley being the Weathermost Ship he Tack'd and stood to the 
Southward. The Large Ship Tack'd after him. The Fox bore 
away and Run to the Eastward and I kept the Wind to the North- 
w'd. At 4 P M we discover'd two Square lofty Vessells to the 
Northw'd of us standing our way. We then put about and stood 
to the Southward for one or two hours, when we made another 
right to Windward coming down with all the Sail she could make. 
From this one we also Tack'd and stood on to the Northw'd untill 
the Moon was down. We then hove about to the Southw'd and in 
less than an hour saw her lights crossing our Weak right astern 
about I of a Mile. Next Morning we had five Sail and the Land 
of Cape Sable in Sight; the Wind coming to the Southw'd we 
hauled across the Bay of Funday and thick weather coming on 
that Night and next day, we see no more of them Except one at 
2AM Wednesday Morning. We were within hail of her before we 
discover'd her, but She being on one Tack and we on the other we 
Saw her Top light time enough to avoid her. We heard a Signal 
Gun of hers about two hours before. 

Now to come to our own Affairs, the State of my Ship is nearly 
as follows, Sixty Men short of what I brought out, the Scurvy 
taking every day, my Vessells Bottom very fowl. 

I intend to take the first good opportunity of running along 
shore as far as Casco Bay, or if the weather be favourable, as far 
as Portsmouth where I will certainly put in if I can. We have seen 
none of the Enemys Ships from the Mouth of this river this five 

^ Flora. 2 Rainbow. ^ Victor. 


days but as long as the wind Continues Southerly I cannot pre- 
tend to get out. If Capt: Hinman^ and you are able to join 
Company at Portsmouth and there be a Continuation of South'y 
Winds, should you stretch down as far as Casco, you may find me 
there. Should I be chaced by a Superior Force any where near 
Portsmouth I will come as near you as I can, in which case should 
the Wind be fowl for me to fetch in, perhaps you may be able to 
come out to my Assistance. 

As to your Cruising Singly, or even with two of our Ships, there 
is a great risque — the Enemys Cruisers are so numerous, and most 
of them Stout Ships so that light Ships stand little or no chance. 
May God bless and prosper you is the Prayer of your Friend and 
Obedient Servant, 

H. McM. 

P.S. I shall attend to the Continental Signals sent to Capt: 
Hinman from Philadelphia in case of our Meeting. 

Wichcassett 21st July 1777. 

My Compliments to Mrs. Thompson. 

To His Wife 2 

Dear Mary: — I wrote you soon as I arived here, but know not 
whither you have received it. I sent by way of Salem. This will 
acquaint you with my health. I intend to see you as soon as possi- 

I have sent 16 prisoners by Land to Boston, seven of whom were 
officers of The Frigate Fox. 

I have wrote the Council that those Gentlemen may be detained 
until my Arivall That with them I may redeem my Own officers, 
who I fear are taken and carried to Halifax. You must tell My 
Friend William, That he must make a point of obtaining one of 
them to redeem his Son Robert who with Mr. Gross, Mr. Harris, 
Mr. Knowles and Mr. Millen together with 53 men I put on board 
that Ship to help man her. My Love and Blessing remain with you 
and the Children. Your Husband, 

Hector McNeill. 

The Doctor sends his Compliments. 

Ship Boston 21st July at Wichassett. 

Addressed: Capt. Hector McNeill, Milk Street, Boston, fav- 
[ore]d by Mr. Ward. Falmouth, July 23. 

^ Commanding the Continental ship Alfred. 
2 From the Gray Papers. 


To THE Committee of Falmouth ^ 

Ship Boston 25th July 1777. 

Gentlemen: I am inform'd that two of the Prisoners late be- 
longing to the Fox which I forwarded here by Land from Wich- 
cassett last week have been Negligently left behind in this place. 

I cannot help Expressing my astonishment on this Occasion at 
the conduct of those Gentlemen who had the care of the Prisoners. 

Were our poor Countrymen who unfortunately fall into the hands 
of the Enemy no better guarded or let run at loose in this manner 
we might entertain some hopes of their being able to find their 
way once more to their own home, but alas the contrary is too 
well known. Many of them have been constrain'd to take arms 
against their Country, all who refuse so to do have been close 
confin'd and treated with such cruelty as would Shock the heart of 
a Barbarian untill they can be redeem'd by Exchange, suffer they 
must. Is it not then great cruelty in us to Neglect redeeming our 
own people knowing full well what hard measure they have while 
in the hands of the foe, what mistaken pitty that is which only ex- 
tends to our Enemys when they fall into our hands, and neglects 
our own people who meet such cruel Treatment among them. 
This is but poor encouragement for Men to enter into the Service 
of their Country, who tho they may take and convey home Prison- 
ers enough to redeem themselves in case of their being taken, yet 
have only this Melancholy reflection for their Comfort, Namely 
That their indolent, faithless Countrymen, suffer such to Slip 
through their fingers, while they poor Souls are sure to perish in 
a Prison unless they be redeem'd. 

I therefore call on you Gentlemen as the Active guardians of 
your Country and your brethren in Captivity, requesting that you 
would cause those Prisoners to be apprehended and deliver'd again 
into my Care, or sent under a proper Guard to Boston. I am 
Gentlemen Your most Obed't Servant 

H. McN. 

To the Gentlemen of the Committe of Safety for the Town of 

1 Letter Book. 


To THE Marine Committee ^ 

Falmouth Casco Bay 4th Aug't 1777 

Above you have copy of my last Letter dated at Wichcasset i6th 
ulto., since which I arrived with the Boston at this place, but when 
I shall reach Boston, or even Portsmouth, is uncertain. 

The Enemy keep such a look out and are so Numerous that 'tis 
no easy matter to Slip throw among them. 

Three Nights agone we had four Sail of their Frigates off this 
Harbours mouth in full sight, and by the letter now in my hand 
from the committee of Safety at Newb'y Port, it appears that 
four Ships and a Brigg are Stationed in Ipswich Bay, besides those 
Stationed in Boston Bay. 

Thick weather for a day or two has hid them from us, but in 
clear weather they are allway near in with the Land. 

They seem now to be posted in three divisions, within the dis- 
tance of forty leagues Coastwise, one division off Cape Elizabeth 
and a Little to the east'd of it, the Second off Portsmouth tending 
South'ly towards Cape Ann, the Third division between Cape Ann 
and Cape Cod. 

Notwithstanding all this I hope by the Blessing of God upon 
our care and good conduct to Save the Boston for a More fortunate 
cruise then has been our last. 

There are so many different reports circulated concerning Capt. 
Manley, That I know not what to write at this time, I am still 
in hopes, that he has Escaped the Enemy and gone to South 
Carolina. Happy had it been for himself and all concerned, if 
he had taken so much of my advice the day after we took the Fox, 
but alas his Obstanicey and want of refflection at that period, 
will for ever furnish him with matter for repentance. 

When I endeavourd to persuade him to go to South Carolina, 
my reasonings were grounded on the following circumstances — 

In the first place, the Enemy were well Acquainted with the 
time of our Sailing from Boston and with the length of our in- 
tended Cruise (the latter might be known by the quantity of 
provisions taken in) which was only for Six or Eight weeks. 

2dly. Our falling in with the Sumersett in the Tract for New 
York on the ninth day after we sail'd This Ship's arivall at that 
place would be the means of heastning out crusiers after us, either 
from York or Rhode Island. 

3dly. The Exceeding bad pollicy he had been guilty of in turn- 

1 Letter Book. 


ing away upw'ds of one hundred men lately belonging to the Fox 
within Six hours after She was taken. Those men were put on 
board some fishing Vesselis, and made the best of their way for 
St. Johns Harbour which was then within 24 hours Sail'g of us. 
At the Harbour of St. Johns Lay Admiral Montague with the 
Romney and some other Ships of war, and to me it appeared 
probable that he would use his Endeavours to recover the Fox, 
by sending out as many Ships in quest of us as he could muster. 
Those Ships of his might be joined by Others from Halifax, so 
that with the help of the Ships already spoken of from N. York 
and Rhode Island, a chain of cruisers might be form'd between 
Cape Sable, and Nantucket Shoals, which 'twould be difficult to 

After considering all these things I was totally Against return- 
ing home by the way we went out. Therefore I earnestly requested 
that we might immediately make the best of our way for South 
Carolina, there refitt and clean our Ships, and if Capt. Biddle 
could be ready to come out with us so much the better. With 
four Ships like ours, we might do much Service to our Country 
and ourselves. 

Capt. Manley Expressed much willingness to follow this plan 
at first, when I made him Acquainted with it by my Letter of the 
ninth of June last, but in a day or two he changed his mind, and 
his course, and notwithstanding all the remonstrances I could make 
he continued cruising three weeks or upwards to no purpose. Except 
that of going farther from home — thereby giveing the Enemy 
more time to take the proper steps for intercepting us, on our 

Part of the Consequences (namely the Loss of the Fox) you are 
but too well acquainted with by this time. What Capt. Manleys 
fate or mine will be, is not altogether yet decided. May God 
strengthen the Hands of the Congress and save our Country by 
his Mighty Power, joined with their honest Endeavours, for Sure 
I am that they have but indifferent prospects from the abillity of 
many of us Employ'd under them. 

I am Gentlemen with Sincereley your Most Obed't Servant 

Hector McNeill. 

To the Plon'ble the Marine Committee 
of Congress at Philadelphia. 


To John Langdon * 

Falmouth sth Aug't 1777 

I did my self the pleasure of writing you soon after I arived at 
Sheepscott river, praying the favour of you to forward my Letter 
to the Marine committee which I had left open for your particular 
Satisfaction. At that time I was in hopes of Seeing you long 
before this but the precarious State of a Single Ship in these 
times, and the want of a good Oppertunity has keept me at so 
great a distance. We have some Vessells in here now who have 
been drove in by three or four Large Ships who seem to be Sta- 
tion'd about the mouth of this Bay; three evenings agone we see 
them from the forts. When I shall be able to Slip by them I 
know not. Now My good Sir as my provisions are Nearly out and 
there appears no prospect of a Supply in or near this place, This is 
to request the favour of you to Save us from perishing for want 
of Provisions or being obliged to run a certain risque of Loosing 
the Ship rather then to Starve here. The Chance of getting any 
thing of provision kind from Boston at present must be much more 
uncertain then from Portsmouth. I pray you therefore that you 
would Send me down, three weeks Bread and flesh, which with the 
Little I have left will I hope be Sufficient to bring us to Portsmouth. 
Let it be sent in some small Vessell with some Faithful person 
and a good pilot so that she may run into aney hole for Safety. 

I am Sir with great respect your Most Obed't Serv't 

Hector McNeill. 
To John Langdon, Esq'r 
Continental Agent at Portsmouth. 

To John Browne ^ 

Inclosed you have an open Arrest for Capt: Richard Palmes,^ 
you will please to take a Copy of it and keep it by you untill a 
future day, the Original which I have Sign'd, you will be pleas'd 
to put into his hands as soon as possible. 

Yours Hector McNeill 

Commander of the Boston Ship of War. 

Sunday 6 o Clock afternoon 
loth day of August at Sea. 

To Lieut. Jno. Brov^^ne of the said Ship. 

1 Letter Book. ^ Captain of marines. 


To Richard Palmes^ 

Your unofficer like behaviour and repeated breach of my Orders, 
obliges me to confine you to your birth untill it may be in my 
power to bring you to a Court Martial, where I hope you will have 
justice done. At your Perril break your Arrest, in which case 
I shall treat you as you deserve. Yours 

Hector McNeill. 
Ship Boston at Sea this loth day of 
August 1777, 6 Clock afternoon. 


You may thank your own folly and impertinence for what has 
now befallen you. I dispise your insinuations of Cruelty, as 
indeed I do Every thing Else you can say of me consistent with 
truth. You may go to the house of Office as offten as Nature 
calls, provided you return immediately to your berth and keep 
your Tounge Still as you pass and repass. This you will attend 
to at your Perril. 

Hector McNeill. 
Monday 11 Clock Aug't nth 1777. 

To Capt. Palmes. 

Dr. Mr. John Billard in a/c with Hector McNeill Esq'r.^ Cr. 

May 20 To i Bed 1.4 

June 9 To 3 Shirts 24/ 3.12 

To 2 pair Worst'd Hose 

12/ I. 4 

22d To Cash 11 

Aug'st 14 To Ball'ce due J Bill- 
ard 4. 4 


14 To Cash p'd more 
than the above 

o By his Wages from 

- 14th May 1777 to 
14th August 1777 is 3 

- Months @ 12 Dollars 
3 per Month . .£10.16.- 

Ship Boston August 
14th 1777. 
5. 3 Errors Excepted. 

£11. I. 3 
1 Letter Book. 


To THE Marine Committee ^ 

Boston Aug't 2Sth 1777 
To the Hon'ble Marine Committee at Philadelphia. 

My last of the 4th instant from Falmouth as also copy of my 
former Letter from Sheepscott river dated the i6th ulto. I hope 
you have received before now. 

This comes to Acquaint you with my Arival at Boston on Satur- 
day last, haveing Stop'd a few days at Portsmouth on my way 
from Falmouth, it will also inform you of the State the Ship is in 
at present, and my thoughts of what is Necessary to be done 
to Equip her for the Sea. 

As it is my duty to Acquaint you with the property, and Trim 
of the Ship I command so I hope you will have patience with m.e 
untill I tell you all that I have been Able to Observe concerning 

In the first place I think something ought to be done in the 
Standing of her masts, to try if it may not have a good Effect on 
her Sailing; her bottom is allow'd to be as fine as any thing of 
the kind will admitt of. We have alter'd her Trim frequently 
and find great difference in her going, but yet we never have been 
able to make her go as fast as some other Ships we have fallen in 
with. One great hope I have that she is cappable of Sailing fast 
is That She is the most Ticklish Ship to keep in trim that ever 
I was acquainted with, for I have repeatedly found that the 
unequal Expence of one days Provisions and water would put 
her out of Trim. From this circumstance I am Persuaded that 
She will One day Sail fast if her Trim can be discover'd. One 
great disadvantage we have had in Triming her, is that we had 
little or none pigg Ballast wherewith to make the Experiment, 
consequently when we have been Obliged to alter, the men and 
Guns was our only resource, both of which bring great inconven- 
iencys, the one being as defecult to keep Still in the place you 
want them, as the other is to transport fore and aft. 

2dly. Such a quantity of Gravel Ballast as we are Obliged to 
cary to Stiffen the Ship, takes up a great deal of our room (of 
which there is but too Little at best) then being mixd in with 
the water Casks fore and aft, it composes such a dead Mass that 
a Ship thus ballast [ed] feels her self no more then an Island, 
and as it Layes so much higher then Pigg Ballast the weight 
deepens a Ship more then it Stiffens her for carying Sail, con- 

1 Letter Book. 


sequently when her body is in the water Hke a Loaded Vessell, 
'tis not possible for her to Sail so fast. This I have frequently 
found by our Ship, her being commonly so deep That when ever 
we have press'd her with Sail She has gone less Swift then before. 

To go best close haul'd she ought to be on an even keel That 
is 14 feet 3 inches forw'r and aft. To go Large, or afore the 
wind. She must be 10 or 12 inches deeper aft then forward, and 
there is not a good property a Ship can have (Except room within, 
and Speed of foot) but this Ship may boast of. When brought 
to her courses upon a wind She proved a much more weatherly 
Ship then the Hancock, but in fine weather the Hancock bore the 

She has been now Nine Months off the Ground, Six of which 
pass'd before we saild from Nantasket. How can it be Expected 
that the finest bottoms will sail foul equal to clean Ships. For 
the future then let me intreate you Gentlemen to Order Matters 
so that your Ships may have an equall chance with those they 
are Obliged to face. Dont suffer them to go out foul nor Cruize 
long in any particular Station Especially in this our State of 
infancy when we neither know what our Ships can do nor have 
expert men to mannage them. 

When the Marine Board meets here, I shall consult them con- 
cerning many things Necessary with which I would not take up 
your time at present. Shall now proceed to mention some things 
which respect my self more particularly. 

In my former Letters I gave you the Outlines of our Late 
Cruize, without entering into a circumstantial Account, or giveing 
my Opinion of men and things, with that freedom I now propose 
to indulge my self in this. 

I take the Liberty to assure you. That when I entered into the 
Continental Service I had not one Single thought whither I should 
be placed the third or the Thirteenth upon the List, my ambition 
was fully satisfied when I was favoured with a Commission place- 
ing me where I now am, and Altho I did then forsee that one 
day or other I might possibly fall under the Command of one 
man, whose Ability I had reason to doubt, yet I was determined 
that happen whensoever it might I would Obey and follow his 
instructions with all that Zeal which becomes a faithful Servant to 
the Publick, who will never neglect or loose Sight of his duty for 
any private veiw whatever. 

With these Sentiments I enter'd into the Service and have 
constantly made them my practice ever since. My conduct on our 
late cruize under the Command of Capt. Manley will Abundantly 


prove the truth of what I here advance, for never did a Pilotfish 
follow a Sharke, or a Jackall follow a Lion, with more Assiduity 
and Complisance then I follow'd him at Sea for Six or Seven 
weeks (chiefly in bad weather Latitudes), and that without any 
regular System of Signals, or instructions for my direction dure- 
ing which time he led me into severall Scrapes by his misconduct, 
and at last left me in one to shift for my self. 

I hold it criminal to asperse the character of any man, much 
more the Absent, and in some cases Scarcely Justifiable to Speak 
all the Truth, for which reasons were I not under a Necessity I 
should now say very little of Capt. Manley, but inasmuch as I 
find my self involved in a chain of difficultys by his blunders and 
misconduct, I must in justice to my self say, That he is totally 
unequal to the Command with which he has been intrusted, he 
being ignorant, Obstinate, Overbearing and Tyranical beyound 
discription, a man under whose command none can live with 
pleasure but such creatures as himself, and those also must be 
of his own makeing. Such is that Fellow of yesterday, Mr. 
Stephen Hill, whom he promoted over all Other Officers' heads to 
Command the Fox, who by his ignorance and Misconduct lost 
her at last, for had he Tack'd when Capt. Manley and my self 
Tack'd on the Enemy he might have weather'd them whilst we 
were engaged with the Flora, or had he keept the wind with me 
even after Manley left us, and Tack'd to the South'd from us, 
he might have Escaped, but to bear away, and run to Leward 
with all the Sail he could crou'd when a Third Ship of the Enemy 
was then in Sight to Lewward discovered the most Stupid igno- 
rance in Nature. 

All these things will Abundantly appear when ever a court 
martial happens, which God Grant may be soon. 

I have been curst with another composition of the Fool and 
Knave, I mean a certain Mr. Palmes who had a Commission as 
Capt. of Marines on board the Boston, which Commission he has 
distroy'd by casting it into the fire. His disobedience to orders 
and frothy foolish conduct Obliged me to lay him under an arrest, 
but as there is no means here of bringing him to a Court martial 
I shall leave it to you how to deal with him. In the mean time 
I shall take Notice of him another way. 

I am Gentlemen with great respect your most Obed't Servant, 

Hector McNeill. 

To the Honourable the Marine Committee 
of the Hon'ble the Continental Congress, 
at Philadelphia. 


To THE Navy Board, Eastern District ^ 

Your favour of the 2nd I receiv'd yesterday evening to which 
I shall pay Strict attention. 

Herewith I lay before you Copys of my different Letters since 
my return from a Cruise to The Hon'ble The Marine Committe 
at Philadelphia in the 3rd and last of which you will find the State 
and properties of the Ship Boston under my command, a Return 
of her Officers and Men I will furnish you with very Soon. 

An Indent also for such things as are absolutely Necessary, shall 
be laid before you as soon as I can examine the remaining Stores. 

Her Dimentions and Burthen I never have been able to come 
at my self from either Agents, Builders, or Mastmakers, neverthe- 
less I will make it my Business to Measure the Ship whenever 
an opportunity offers. 

The Ship Boston mounts 

Cannon Swivels 

5 of 12 Pounders] 

19 of 9 do. I 

2 of 6 do. I ^^ 

4 of 4 do. J 

There are a great number whose times with the Ship are Ex- 
pired, those Men expect their Wages and discharge incessantly, 
where am I to find Money to pay them. 

What Encouragement is to be given Men who may have an In- 
clination to enter for the Ship and how Long time are they to be 
Engaged for. 

What provision is to be made for the Familys of the Men we 
have Lost in the Fox. 

How are the relatives of the few Slain to apply for their 

What Stoppages are there to be allow'd on the Men for 
Venerials, for Barber and for Chaplains. 

What provision is there to be made for the Officers who live 
on board the Ship, as to their eatting and drinking. 

These are questions which I hope you will be kind Enough to 
Answer Speedily as the impatience of the Multitude requires an 
immediate application. 

1 Letter Book. 


As to the time t'will take to refitt the Ship for a Cruise, was 
it possible to know when she would be Man'd, I might easily tell 
you, but I am of opinion that the Ships Bottom should be the last 
thing Medled with, her Stores of all kinds ought to be ready and 
her Provisions ready so that immediately after Cleaning she should 
have nothing else to do but Take them in and proceed to Sea. I 
am Gentlemen Your humble Servant. 

Boston 4th Sept. 1777. 

To The Hon'ble The Navy Board appointed by Congress 
for the Eastern district at their Office in Boston. 

To John Browne ^ 

You are hereby required and directed to Muster the Ships Com- 
pany Tomorrow Morning by Seven o Clock. 

When Muster'd you are to place Centinels so as to keep them 
from dispersing, then you are to unrigg the Fore Topmast and 
put it on Shore, in like manner the Main and Mizen Topmasts 
taking care to have the rigging Tally'd so that no mistakes may 
happen. The Jebboom you will also have in and ashore, the 
utmost dispatch must be made to prepare the Ship for Sea. Your 
humble Servant. 
Boston sth Sept'r 6 o Clock P M. 

To Lieut. John Browne of the Boston Frigate. 

To THE Navy Board, Eastern District ^ 

Boston 6th Sept'r 1777 

Your Letter of yesterday I rec'd and shall Observe your Orders 
therein Contain'd. 

As ther are Severall things wanting to fitt the Ship for Sea, 
I have Set down at the foot, a few of the most Material Articles 
that you may have time to provide them. 

Should also take it as a favour, That you would be pleased to 
Order a Survey on the Ships Standing rigging, as we are of opinion 
that it is not Sufficient for a winters cruize. 

It will be Likewise Necessary for you to determine how I am 

1 Letter Book. 


to proceede in fitting the Ship, That is whither the work will de- 
pend wholley on our own People without any farther encourage't 
then their monthly wages. I am Gentlemen, Yours. 

2 New Cables of i6i inch 120 fatho. each. 3 New Steering saDs 

3 New Top sails i Jebb 

3 New Top Gain Sails So Tons of Pigg Ballast, 

Gentlemen ^ 

In my last Letter to the Hon'ble Marine Committe dated 
25th Ulto. you may remember that I have mention'd Capt: 
Palmes, his being under Arrest. The Solicitations of the other 
Officers on his behalf prevail'd with me to grant him all the 
Liberty he desired. Had he resumed his duty and behaved prop- 
erly since his Enlargement, I might have possibly overlook'd all 
that was past, but inasmuch as he has again misbehaved and 
appears incouragable, 'tis my duty to insist on his being brought 
to Tryal as soon as possible. The crimes I have to accuse him 
with are misaplication of the Ships Stores, Neglect of duty, dis- 
obedience of orders, and attempts to Excite Murmuring and 
Mutiny among the Ships Company, You will therefore be pleased 
to give orders that a Competent number of Officers be Collected 
together at this place as soon as may be to hear and determine on 
this Matter. 

Another request I have to make is that when those Gentlemen 
are Collected here for the purposes aforesaid a number of Sea 
officers only shall be Ordered to form themselves into a Court 
of Enquiry to hear and Examine Evidencies such as can be found 
Capable of giving information of the State of things on the 6th, 
7th, and 8th days of July last in the little Squadron Command'd 
by Capt. John Manley. 

To the Intent that Facts may be Established by the Testimonies 
of numbers who where then present on board the Boston. 

I am Gentlemen, Your most Obed't Serv't. 
Boston 9th Sep'r 1777. 

To the Hon'ble Gentlemen 
of the Navy Board at Boston. 

1 Letter Book. 


To Horatio Gates ^ 

Boston isth Sept'r 1777 

To His Excellency Major Gen'l Gates. 


A certain Benj'a Hall Tappin did inlist for three years in Capt. 
Jabez Lane's company in Colonel Nixon's regiment haveing had 
repeated promises that he should be appointed a Serg't. 

With these assurances he went into the country to recruite, and 
inlisted four men at one time, three at another time, and brought 
them to Boston, where meeting a certain Mr. Buckminster, then 
Adjutant to Nixons Regiment, Tappin was order'd to march as 
a private. His Captain being absent, Tappin refused to march 
untill he was reimbursed forty dollars of his own money which he 
had laid out for the Support and mentainance of the Seven men 
he had inlisted for the reg't, also insisted on the promises he had 
of being appointed a Serjant, 

A Misunderstanding arose between himself and the Adjutant, 
so that he (Tappin) left him and enter'd on board the Continental 
Ship under my command, concluding with himself That pro- 
vided he continued in the Continental Service, and return'd the 
Bounty he Should do no wrong. 

As this man proved an Active trusty Seaman, he soon Attracted 
my attention, so that makeing my self acquainted with his past 
life I came to the knowledge of the foregoeing circumstances, which 
I found bore verey heavy on his mind during the Cruize. 

On our return to this place I waited on Gen'l Heath praying 
him to give me up this one man as I had already given up a 
great number of Landmen who had first inlisted with me, and 
immediately afterwards enter'd into the army. This I have done 
repeatedly and there is scarcely a week passes but I have an 
opportunity of doing the like. 

The Principall I go upon is. That if an able bodied Landman 
inlists for One year on board my Ship, and in one week after 
chooses to enter into the Army for three years, I will consent 
that he shall goe because I think it is of more importance to the 
Service to have a man for three years in the Army, then it can 
possibly be to have the same man for Only one year on board of 
my Ship. With these Sentiments it has been off ten in my power 
to help officers to men, and it very seldom happens that I have 
Occasion to ask such favours of the Gentlemen in the Land 

1 Letter Book. 


General Heaths Answer was, That Colnel Nixons Regiment 
was now in your department; That nothing could be done for me, 
or my man in this case but by your Excellencys particular direc- 
tions, and desired me to Lay a State of the matter before you 
by Letter, which I have faithfully represented to the best of 
my knowledge. 

You will be pleased to consider that this man has been bred 
to the Sea, has been Mate of a Vessell in the Merchants Service, 
and has freinds who are able to give him good Employ as soon as 
the War is over, the Soldiers Life is totally disagreeable to him, 
and if ever he does well 'twill be in that proffession to which he 
has Serv'd his youth, he is content to Stay in the Continental 
Service by Sea and is worth prefferment. 

Will your Excellency be pleased to let me keep this man, on my 
returning the Bounty, or must I give a Landman in his room, or 
what Else will you be pleased to have done with him. 

Your former Friendship for me has encouraged me to hope 
that you will not refuse me this favour. I will therefore keep him 
untill your Excellencys pleasure concerning him be known, which 
I humbly pray may be by return of the post. 

May God preserve your precious Life and Crowne you with 
health, Success and Victory, is the ardent wish of your Most 
obed't Serv't 

Hector McNeill. 

To THE Council of Massachusetts ^ 

To the Honourable Board of Council of the Massachusetts State. 

I understand that your Hon'ble Board intend to dispatch a 
Flagg of Truce to Halifax. Suffer me the Liberty to Send you a 
List of my Officers, and men who are now prisoners there, Humbley 
praying that you would be pleased to take Such Steps as will 
Set them at Liberty as soon as possible, more Espacially such' a 
number of those first on the List, as may be an Equivalent for the 
officers, and men, of the Fox, now prisoners here. You will be 
pleased to Consider that many of my men have familys here in 
a Suffering Situation, which of Necessity will grow greater from 
their Absences. 

I am Gentlemen with due Respect y'r Most Obed't Servant. 

Boston 1 6th Sept'r 1777. 

1 Letter Book, 


To John Bradford ^ 

I have frequently apply'd at your Office for two peices broad 
white Bunting, and a piece of narrow also, this is to renew that 
demand as at present the Ship has no Colours to hoist. It will be 
necessary for you to provide Pitch, Tarr and Turpentine with 
Sulphur etc. and two Barrells of Tallow for the Ships use; we 
have not Tarr enough to Tarr the Yards which is much wanting. 

Hector McNeill. 

Ship Boston Octo'r ist 1777. 

To John Browne 

You may remember I told you on Tuesday last, That I had 
heard from Severall hands. That you had often said you did not 
intend going to Sea in the Ship Boston. When I put the matter 
to you, the answer you made me was not satisfactory. 

I do therefore insist on a positive Answer in writing whither 
you intend to Stand by the Ship the next Cruize, Or whither you 
intend to quit her before she goes to Sea. Your answer in writing 
will instantly determine me what to do. I am Sir Your humble 

Hector McNeill. 

Ship Boston Octo'r 3d 1777. 

To Lt. Jno. Browne of the Boston. 

To Robert Pierpont^ 

Captain John Johnston, now a Prisoner here, to my certain 
knowledge did in the year 1775 bring out a Cargo of Goods, and 
a Gang of Carpenters to Quebec there intending to build a new 
Ship; in Septem"" that same year I found him with his new Ship 
in some forwardness, when the news arriv'd of the Garrison of 
S* Johns being beseiged and Government began to put them- 
selves in a State of defence. They immediately took all Capt. 

1 Letter Book. John Bradford, Continental Agent at Boston. 

2 Mass. Archives, CLXxxm. 205. 


Johnstons hands off the new Ship and insisted on himself entering 
into the Artillery who were chiefly composed of Masters, Mates, 
&c. belonging to the Merchant Ships there detained. Sooner than 
comply, Capt. Johnston left his new Ship, his Cargo, and all, and 
took passage for England, as also did all his People, one only 
excepted and he was killed in the Storm of y« 31^* Decem'' when 
Gen' Montgomery fell. Capt. Johnston retum'd last year a pas- 
senger to Quebec bringing with him Sails and rigging for his new 
Ship, but on his arrival he found that she had been taken to peices 
and her frame carried up to Lake Champlain. He retum'd to 
Britain and was now on his way to New York in the Merchant 

Now this poor Man has a family and it is notorious that he 
has Kept himself as much out of Action as possible. May it not 
be hoped that he be not long detain'd here but sent to N. York, 
at which place he has some Bussiness to Transact; in the mean 
time may he be indulged with leave to stay on Shore at Lodgings 
here untill the Flagg of Truce be ready to depart. I am Sir 
with all possible Esteem Your most humble Servant 

Hector McNeill. 
Boston 6* Octo' 1777 

[Addressed] To M"" Robert Pierpont 
Commissary of Prisoners 

To Lawrence Furlong^ 

Your Letter of yesterday was handed me by Mr. Gregg. In 
answer to which I tell you that (my orders of the 17th Sep'r last 
which are placarded on the bulk head in common view) those 
orders have met with the approbation of the Navy Board, and I 
expect that you and every other Officer whose duty it is to keep 
Journals will comply with them. 

The misfortune has been that yourself and many others of the 
late Officers of the Boston fancied yourselves totally independent 
of me — consequently not accountable. The course of your whole 
conduct the last Cruise and since our arrival, proves this, but I 
am not that blockhead of yesterday you vainly immagine. I will 
have you and all Men know that as Officers under my Command 
you are accountable to me for your Conduct and without my 

1 Letter Book. 


approbation no Man has a right to Wages or Prize Money — as to 
paying the Wages to Officers and Men, I have done it too Long 
for mine own advantage. Whenever the Hon'ble Congress appoints 
a pay Officer it will take a great deal of trouble off my hands. 
As to your reference to the 9th Article of the Masters instruc- 
tions, it touches me not, the order I gave the 17th I had a right 
to give, and none but fools would have refused to comply with 
them. Yours 

Hector McNeill. 
Boston 7th Octo'r 1777. 

To John Browne ^ 

On the 3d instant I put the above Letter into your hand, to 
which I desired you would give a positive answer immediately. 

This you have Neglected to do, — in any Other way then by 
Absenting yourself from the Ship, and Neglecting your duty. 

From this circumstance and many others, togeither with the 
totall Neglect and contempt with which you have treated my 
Orders of every kind for some time past, I do conclude. That 
you Neither intend going in the Ship yourself nor wish that others 
should go. 

I shall therefore write to the Hon'ble Congress to Supply your 
place with some person who may be better disposed to cary on 
the Ships duty then you have been. 

In the mean time I think it my duty to Suspend you untill 
the pleasure of Congress be known. You are Therefore hereby 
Suspended from the Office of Lieutenant of the Ship Boston in 
the Service of the united States of America, and are hereby also 
strictly forbiden any farther Exercise of Authourity as an Officer 
on board the Said Ship or any thing belonging to the Same from 
the day of the date hereof. 

Given on Board the Boston Ship of War in the Harbour of 
Boston this 9th day of October 1777. 

To Mr. John Browne. 

1 Letter Book. 


To THE Marine Committee * 

Ship Boston at Boston gth Oct'r 1777 
To the Hon'ble the Marine Committe of the Continental Congress. 


Your Orders of the Sixth ultimo I have rec'd and shall do my 
outmost to Execute them with all possible dispatch. We have 
Shifted our Standing rigging on the Main and Fore Masts since 
our arival and are well on with evrey other kind of repair of which 
the Ship stood in need, and I prepose cleaning her Bottom the 
Next full Moon, as the tides will then fully answer to Lay the 
Ship ashore. Our main dificualty will be to procure hands, as we 
are daily robb'd of our men by both privatiers, and merchant men; 
the Extravigant wages given by the Latter, and the great En- 
couragements given by the former, togeither with some mismanage- 
ment amongst our selves has left us a thin Ship. Nevertheless 
I hope to get to Sea before the cold weather sets in. 

In my letter of the 25th of August I did inform you that Capt. 
Palmes of our Marines was under Arrest, and that I could not see 
how he could be brought to a Court martial as we were only a 
Single Ship in this Port. 

As Soon as the Navy Board mett here I did apply to them by 
Letter of the 9th of Sept'r last requesting that they would call 
a Suffeicent number of Officers from Providence to Sit on that 
court martial, Also to hold a Court of Enquirey on our proceedings 
the Last cruize, That all possible Evidence might be collected 
from our Ships company (before they Scattered) concerning the 
Loss of the Hancock and the Fox. 

I am now told that the Expedition in Contemplation Against 
Rhode Island, is the Cause why those officers have not been 
Ordered here as I requested. 

This happens a Little unluckey at present inasmuch as an Ex- 
ample of justice is wanting at this time on persons who commit 
such crimes as Capt. Palmes Stands Charged with — That other 
men may see and refraine in time from such misdeeds. His crime 
is Neglect of duty, Misapplication of the Ships Stores, disobedi- 
ence of Orders, and frequent attempts to raise discontent and 
Mutiny among the Ships Company. If either of these crimes be 
proved against him, I flatter my self that the Hon'ble Congress 
will never give him another Commission to Cast into the fire as 
he did that with which they Once honoured him. 

1 Letter Book, 


In Consequence of some altrication between Mr. Browne the 
first Lt. and Some of the people on board I have been led to Ex- 
amine narrowly into his Conduct, which I find so reprehensible 
that I have this day Suspended him untill the pleasure of Con- 
gress be known. 

I have charged him with Neglect of duty and a Designe of 
detaining the Ship in Port all winter by persuadeing some and 
threatning Others to quit the Ship, so that he may live ashore 
here in ease and idleness, some of his predominate vices. 

Our 2d Lt. Mr. Simon Gross, is now a prisoner at Halifax, our 
third Lt., Mr. Hazekiah Welch, is here, and is determined to 
abide by the Ship. Mr. William Paris, a young man who has 
served as a Mate and Midshipman on board, is both a Seaman 
and a Gentleman. Him I have appointed to act as a Lieutenant 
untill it shall please the Hon'ble Congress to Confirm, or Dis- 
approve, of my choice. The former I shall look on as a favour; 
the Latter will not make me uneasy. 

A Verey Singular instance has turn'd up here which I cannot 
forbear takeing notice of. When the Agents advertized in the 
publick prints that the Bostons Prize Money was to be paid I 
published the following order on board the Ship which I caused 
to be placarded in the most publick place of the Ship — 

The Officers, viz. Mates and Midshipmen of the Ship Boston, 
are to produce fair Copys of their Journals, Signed by their own 
hands, in order to intitle them to their wages and prize money 
for the Said Ship. 

Ship Boston 17th Sept'r 1777. 

H: McN. 

The above order gave offence to Severall of our officers, and they 
refused to give in their Journals, on which I stop'd the payment 
of their prize Money. As for Mr. Palmes, 'tho I Expected no 
Journal of him, yet as he was under Arrest I thought proper to 
detain his, untill his fate was decided by a Courtmartial. 

In this case those Gentlemen found themselves a Little Em- 
barras'd and tho they would not acknowledge my authority over 
them So much as to render copy of their Journals, yet they found 
that I had Stop'd payment of their prize money untill they 
should Comply with that Order. 

Messrs. Vernon and Deshon of the Na[v]y Board being at this 
time up at Providence, Mr. Palmes went thither and SoUicited an 


order to Obtain the Prize money for himself, Mr. Browne and 
Mr. Furlong, the Master, By his false representations of Facts 
he amused those Gentlemen so much that they wrote to the Hon'ble 
Gen'l Warren, requesting that he would take some Steps with the 
Agents to Oblige them to pay those men their Shares whither I 
would or not. This was not all but the most Extrordinary Step 
was that they also preposed to appoint Mr. Palmes to go on board 
the Warren at Providence as Capt. of Marines, and to shift the 
Capt. of Marines of that Ship into the Boston, and all this to be 
done without takeing notice of the Arrest under which Capt. Palmes 
had been, ever since the loth of Aug't last. 

This I must Complain of as a most unprecedented Step. Never 
was a man taken from under Arrest and preffer'd to any other 
Employment without first undergoing a Court Martial. Nor is 
it possible that ever good order should Exist in armys, or fleets, 
without takeing care to punnish, cashier, or repremand, such as 
shall on due trial be found guilty of such offences. If precedents 
of this kind be permitted once to take place, farewell Discipline- 
and good Order, farewell Honour, and honesty. The Service will 
then become a recepticall for unclean birds who will hereby be' 
Encouraged to take Shelter there, and all men of good principals 
will totally forsake it. 

Who the man is whom these Gentlemen propose to put on 
board the Boston in Palmes his room, as comeing from the Warren, 
I cannot tell; but I hear he cannot Live on board the Warren. 
'Tis an Old Proverb, that two cheats make the bargain even — 
but my determination is, never to receive a turn'd over Officer 
from another Ship without he brings an ample certificate in his 
hand from his former Commander. This I know to be consistant 
with good discipline and common honesty and nothing but a re- 
solve of Congress to the contrary will prevail with me to alter 
my opinion. 

God and Nature has said, That one head is indispe[n]sibley 
Necessary on board of a Ship. On that head or principal person, 
evrey other must have such a Measure of dependence as will 
urge them to Obey his commands with chearfuUness. His Authour- 
ity over his Officers and men should be such as to render all his 
Lawful] commands not only their duty but their intrest to obey 
them without hesitation. In this channell a Ship full of men 
may be Governed by a prudent man with ease and certainty, but 
if ever his authority be disputed by a Second person, a third and 
a fourth will arise. Consequently the whole will run into Anarchy 
and Confusion. 


To return to the duty of officers witii itspect to producing 
Journals, I must say that I know of no Sea Service in the world 
where Officers are Exempted from this so interesting a piece of 

Copys of their Journals must be produced at the pay office 
with their Captains certificates of their Services. Otherwise they 
can Expect neither pay nor prize Money, but as we in our Service 
are frequently in advance for our Officers over and above their 
wages, their prize money is the only cheque we have upon them. 
This I think will Justify my proceedings in Stoping their Shares 
for the reasons already given. Not only this but I will aver 
that there Never was a Ship on the Continent Either publick or 
private, whose prize money was paid so soon, and so faithfully as 
ours has been. 

I must now beg leave to give my Opinion respecting Marine 
officers for such Ships as ours, so much hampered for want of 
room. I think in concience a Subeltern is Enough, three Marine 
officers takes up so much room to accomodate them that we are 
pinch'd beyound measure to afford it. Then they have Little or 
no duty to do, are allways in the way and apt to disagree with the 
Sea officers so that it takes much trouble to mannage them, 
then they run away with so much of the prize money from Officers 
who are realy usefuU, that 'tis painfull to hear the murmerings 
it Occasions. Might it not be proper to Lessen their Number 
down to one on board the frigates and give what the other two 
did Enjoy between the Chaplin and Surg'n. Sure I am that- 
you must alter the System for the Surgeons in the fleet, otherwise 
you will not have one Man of abillitys in the Service. 

I have a young man with me whose Name is William Lamb — 
in case you think proper to appoint only one Marine officer for 
our Ship, he well deserves the prefference and I should take it 
as a favour. 

A young French Gentleman (his Name is Peter Cavey) who 
was with us as a Voluntier last cruize appears fond of a Brevet 
for a Lieutenancy of Marines. If it be Consistent to let him have 
what he desires, 'twill make him verey happy. I mention this at 
his request and partly as a recompence for his warm wishes for 
the wellfare of this country. 

This will be handed you by Doctor Linn, the Surgeon of our 
Ship whom I must beg leave to recommend to your particular 

I am Gentlemen etc. 


I cannot close this Letter without acquainting you that I am 
now upwards of three thousand dollars in advance for the Ship, 
not haveing rec'd one farthing since my arival either to pay off 
the old hands or Engage new ones. This has everlastingly been 
my case since I have been with the Ship — the Service I have 
Ever been Obliged to cary on unsuported, so that I am weary of 
such work; as both the publick credit, and mine owne have 
Suffered for want of due Supply s. 

To John Adams ^ 

This will be handed you by Doctor John L. Linn, the Surgeon 
of our Ship. He goes to Congress with designe to Represent the 
hardships himself and others in that capacity, Suffer at present, 
from the inadiquate appointment allow'd to Surgeons on board 
the Navy; I think that instead of crowding our Ships with Marine 
officers, who are only a burthen, and of no Service in life on board 
a Ship, 'twould be well to give the Surgeons more Encouragement, 
and reduce the Number of the Marine officers to one Subeltarn, 
on board the frigates; then let the Surgeon Share with the 
Lieutenants and master, in place of the Capt. of Marines, who 
is as useless a piece of furniture on board a Ship, as a broken 
pair of bellows at a fire side. 

How long shall we Languish here for want of Support — here 
am I, struggling with dificualtys inumerable; and want of cash 
has ever been our Lot, since I have been in the service. I was 
at one time last Spring four thousand pounds in advance for the 
Ship. I am now more than three thousand dollars in advance, 
and all this without fee or reward. I must Confess that I am 
weary of such work. May I ask the favour of you to think of 
me a Little now and then, if matters of greater importance will 
permitt your thoughts to range so far from your daily Toils. 

May God strengthen your hearts in this day of trial, and save 
our country by his Almighty power, your Most obed't Servant 
Boston Qth Oct'r 1777. 

To the Hon'ble John Adams, Member of Congress for the Massa- 
cussets State. 

Copy of the above was sent at the same time to Mr. Sam'l Adams. 

1 Letter Book. 


To John Butler ^ 

Boston Oct'r 14th 1777 

I make no doubt but some Sparks of your former Friendship 
for me will appear, when ever I stand in Need of your good 
offices ; 

Such is my case at present. Fortune of war has drawn a 
young kinsman of mine to Halifax. For him is the inclosed 
Letter with a bill on our Mutuall Friend Mr. Watson. Shall I 
intreat of you to pass this bill throu your hands, and give him 
the Money, he indorseing the Bill. I am Sir your most Obed't 

H. McN. 
To the Hon'ble John Buttler Esq'r 
at Halifax. 

To Robert McNeill * 

Boston 14th Oct'r 1777 
Dear Robert 

This brings you a bill of twenty pounds Sterling on Mr. Brook 
Watson of London. 

I have wrote to the Hon'ble John Buttler of Halifax, to take 
up this Bill and pray him to give you the Cash on your endorse- 
ing it. 

I send this to help you and your fellow prisoners (your ship 
mates in the Boston) and I hope if any of them stand in Need 
you will not see them suffer, John Garrat, Thos. Lovering, among 
the common men and Gideon Woodwell if he behaves well. 

You may Acquaint Mr. Gross and Mr. Harris That I have 
remitted Cash to both their familys. 

I would have sent you more credit but that I have hopes of 
your being soon relieved. Farewell. 

To Robert McNeill, prisoner at Halifax. 

To John Hancock * 

by which means I have got the Ship ready for the Sea (there 
being nothing to take in at this present time but the Sea provisions 

1 Letter Book. 

2 Letter Book. The first part of this letter is missing. 


the powder and a few small Stores), yet for want of money 
we are obliged to put off the discharged men with Tears in their 
eyes and are unable to Enter new men, haveing no money Either 
to pay the former or ingage the Latter. 

The incessant Complaints I am obliged to hear of those poor 
men who want their wages, and the poor women whose husbands 
are in Captivity while they and their children are Starveing is 
Verey discouraging circumstances, and must in the end be fatall 
to the Service. For Gods Sake, and for your own Sake and 
your countrys, be pleased to take some Steps whereby those com- 
plaints may be redress'd. 

Wishing you health and evrey bless [ing] I am Sir. 

To the Hon'ble Jno. Hancock. 

To THE Council of Massachusetts ^ 

Boston 28th Oct'r 1777 
To the Hon'ble Council! of the Massachusetts State. 


Last Lords day week a certain Mr. Baker who calls himself 
a Warden did insult a Centinel which I had placed for the 
Security of the Ships Stores, now altogether on shore at the 
head of the Hon'ble Mr. Hancocks Wharfe. The Lower Store 
on that Wharfe is full of them and the Cannon, Cables, Top- 
masts, yards, Schott and Water Casks takes up the whole Wharfe 
as far up as the said Store. The Centinel had receiv'd orders 
to Let no Person Trample upon, nor even go amongst those 
Articles thus Exposed, either in the Night time, Or on the Sab- 
bath, as the officers of the Ship and most of the Men, were then 
supposed to be absent, either taking their natural rest, or at 
some place of Publick Worship. 

The reason why such orders had been given the Centinel, was 
— that several attempts had been made Secretly to Stop up the 
Vents of our Cannon as they lay on the Wharfe. 

These with the Cables, Yards, Topmasts, Anchors, Shott Water 
Casks, etc. being all Expos'd on the open Wharfe none other 
Security could be obtained for them Except the Care of the 

I therefore Conceive it was my duty to appoint one and that 
'■ From the Gray Papers. 


I had an undoubted right to give such orders, and shall still do 
what I know to be my duty in this respect, oppose it who will. 

One thing I am sure of, that none but bad Men would oppose 
such a Measure, as the Safety of the Ship and Stores depends on 
the care that we who are intrusted with them may take of the 

On Saturday last a Person who call'd himself a Peace Officer, 
the' unknown to me applied desiring I would deliver up that 
person who had been Centinel on the preceeding Sabbath with 
whom Mr. Baker had the dispute. This I refused to do being 
perfectly assured that the Man had only done his duty, and as 
perfectly Satisfied that Mr. Baker's proceedings was vexatious, 
Litigious and Spitefull which has been Sufficiently proved by his 
vile Conduct Last Lords day, for instead of observing the Solem- 
nitys of the Sabbath, he (Mr. Baker) had made it his Business 
to assemble a band of ruffians, who came down the Wharfe in a 
Body, attack'd and partly disarm'd the Centinel, some of them 
Seising him behind his back, others attempting to wrest his fire- 
lock out of his hand, and one of them actually Snatch'd the Bayo- 
net from the Muzell of the peice, with it Stab'd the said Centi- 
nel, and another person who came to his assistance. Crying out 
all the time they were about this unhallowed work, that they would 
Support Civil Government. 

If Civil Government cannot be Supported without such measures 
as these, let it be remember'd that all Men may make the same 
pretences for Committing any outrage whatever. 

My reason for not permitting the officer to go on board the 
Ship is obvious to all Men who know the nature of Shiping and 
the Character of Seamen — in the first place, all Possible Excuses 
for doing Mischiefe or committing irregularitys shou'd be totally 
taken away from Seamen, their boisterous rude nature being but 
too apt to catch at any occasion that may offer as a pretext for 
their Leaping the bounds of good Government. For this reason 
they ought to be Strictly governed and closely employ'd about their 
duty as much as Possible. This I have made my Study and have 
Govern'd that Ships Company for several Months last Winter 
alongside of the Wharfe, without having one Complaint against 
any of them, and I think I can bid defiance to all who shall accuse 
them with unruly behaviour out of the Ship, either on the Sab- 
bath or any other day since the Ship has been in this Port. If 
this be truth as I can abundantly prove, with what face can it 
be expected I should give up a faithfuU Centinel to the Mallice 
of an officious durty fellow, who so far from observing the de- 


sign of his own appointment, was the first who broke through the 
rules of decency and good order by attacking and disarming a 
Centinel placed on our own bounds to take proper care of the 
Stores belonging to the Ship. 

Another reason I have for not suffering Constables to board 
the Ship, is that every pettyfogger of the Law have it in their 
power to send such creatures as Constables on their dirty Business. 

In this way, groundless, Malicious Prosecutions may be sett 
on foot. This we have suffer'd in the Course of last Winter more 
than once. It may be said the Law points out a remedy. I 
confess it does, but I answer that we have something else to do 
with our time and Money than to spend them both in disputes at 

A third reason I have against permitting Constables to Search 
Ships is, the moral certainty of their receiving ill treatment in the 
operation. This would be almost impossible to prevent, nay I 
shou'd think from what I know of Seamen that such a man on 
such an errand would be likely to Loose his life or some of his 
Limbs, rather than find the person he was in pursuit of. 

Therefore I am sure it will only tend to farther mischief to 
insist upon it. 

If the Men belonging to the Ship I Command Committ any 
disorder in the Town or injure the meanest Inhabitant, I Promise 
to do my utmost that he may be punished according to Law, but 
if any person comes on board the Ship, or amongst the Ships 
Stores, or into the Store House hired for the use of the Ship, and 
there quarrells with my people, I think they ought to reap the 
fruits of their own folly. 

On the Contrary whenever a Complaint is brought to me 
against one of my Men for committing an unlawfull Action, I 
will deliver up that Man to the officer of Justice ashore, but I 
cannot think it prudent to permitt an officer to follow a Man 
on board the Ship, where it is more than probable he will meet 
with Dammage rather than find the person he wants. 

The reason of my troubling you with this affair, is that I 
understand a complaint has been made to your Hon'ble Board 
concerning my refusing Constables, Wardens, etc. a permition to 
search the Ship. Whatever that complaint may be I am ready 
and willing to make my defence when call'd upon before your 
Honours, where I make no doubt I shall be heard with Candour. 
I am Gentlemen Your most Obed't Servant 

Hector McNeill. 

[Memorandum] Copy of my Letter to the Council Oct'r 28th 1777. 


Certificate ^ 

These Certify that Thomas Shaw, Seaman belonging to the 
Ship Boston, did on the 19th day of June last fall from the head 
of the Main Topmast, by which accident his Skull was fractur'd, 
his Collar Bone and Jaw Bone broke and has finally lost the use 
of his left Arm, he is therefore recommended to the Hon'"® Navy 
Board for such a Provision as they see Meet. 

Hector McNeill, 
Ship Boston, 27"^ Decem*" 1777. 

Petition to Congress ^ 
To the Honourable, the Continental Congress. 

The Petition of Hector McNeill, most humbly Sheweth, 

That your petitioner, haveing had the honour of commanding 
the continental ship Boston, did sail on a cruise from Nantasket 
road, on the 21st of May 1777, in company with, and under the 
command of John Manley Esqr. commander of the Hancock. 

That dureing the aforesaid cruise a Brlttish Frigate, call'd the 
Fox, was captured, by the continental ships above mentioned; 
which Frigate was lost on the 7th of July last, and the Hancock 
also on the day following, both taken by the Enemy. 

That in consequence of this Loss, courts Martial have been 
held on both the commanders of the Continental ships, by the 
proceedings of which court and more especially their finall Sen- 
tence, your Petitioner thinks himself exceedingly Agreived; inas- 
much as he finds himself thereby rob'd of his reputation and ex- 
posed to perpetuall infamy (as he humbly conceives) without 
even the Shaddow of Law, or justice, as will sufficiently appear 
by the severall reasons set forth in his protest of the 30th June 

Your Petitioner humbly presumes, that he can make it appear — 
That he has not been guilty of any offence within the compass of 
any of the Articles of war prescribed by the Honourable Congress 
for the government of the American Navy — and thinks it ex- 
tremely hard to be condemn'd by Opinion or Prejudice, without 
Law — he therefore most humbly implores the mercy, and jus- 
tice of the hon'ble Congress, to save him from the impending 
ruin, with which he is threatned, and prays that they would 
order the proceedings of the aforesaid Courts Martial to be re- 

1 Chamberlain Collection, Boston Public Library. 

2 Papers of Continental Congress xlii. S, 73. 


vised, or take such other Steps as their Wisdom shall think most 
Expedient for procureing him that Justice which he finds himself 
under a Necessity of Seeking from them alone, and your Peti- 
tioner as in duty bound will ever pray etc. etc. 

Hector McNeill. 
Philadelphia, 25th July, 1778. 

[Memoranda] Hector McNeill's petition to the Hon'ble Conti- 
nental Congress July 25th, 1778. 

Read 29 July, 1778. Referred to the marine Com'ee. 

To John Paul Jones ^ 

Philadelphu, September 4th, 1778 
Dear Sir, — 

Many are the Trials, Sorrows, and heartakeings which have fallen 
to my Lot since I had the pleasure of seeing you. 

There can be no doubt of your being acquainted long 'ere this, 
with the State of my affairs, and of the treatment I have met with, 
from those of whom I had a right to Expect better things; but 
as no Sinner can be completely fitted for damnation, without being 
guilty of the Sin of ingratitude, by this time 'tis to be hoped. That 
the Cup of the Measure of their iniquity of my enemies may be 
nearly full. 

Such have been my sufferings and so many and mighty are the 
Numbers of my unprovoked Enemies, That I cannot refrain from 
comparing my Case, with that of the man (we read of) who fell 
among the Theives. 

One of the greatest pleasures I have had, has been hearing from 
you, by three Letters; which I hereby acknowledge the rec't of; 
and since that hearing of your prosperity. May God preserve 
you, and send you safe back, to your american Friends among 
whom I trust you rate y'rs, 

Hector McNeill, 
To Jno. Paul Jones, Esq'r. 


To John Paul Jones, Esq'r of the Ranger, at Brest. Favour'd 
by Capt. Bell. 

Forwarded by Dear Sir Your assured h. St., 
L'Orient 23d Oct'r 1778. Moylan. 

[Memorandum] From Hector McNeill Esq'r, Philadelphia, Sept'r 
4th, 1778. Rec'd Brest Oct'r 28th, 1778. 

1 John Paul Jones mss., Library of Congress. 


To His Wife^ 

Philadelphia, [September] 14th 1778 
My dear Mary, 

I received your Letter of the 27th of last month. I am re- 
joiced to hear that you are in health. May that kind God who 
has hitherto preserved us continue his favours, and make us 

I have been detain'd in my affairs here, by a slight indis- 
position, but am now in good health again bless'd be God; I 
have wrote you several Letters since my being here, but none of 
much importance, so that theire miscarrying gives me no other 
pain, then that of your Anxiety about me. I have goten all my 
papers in such forwardness, that I hope Next week will enable 
me to Lay them before the Committee. Mr. Adams has been as 
freindly as I could Expect and will, I trust in God, continue to 
assist me throu with this dreadful Load of care and Sorrow. The 
heat of this place was exceeding troublesome to me, and the 
Expence enough to destroy me but as I am here I will see the 
matter ended if possible before I quit the place but you may be 
sure I shall make all the haste to your dear arms, that I possibly 

My Compliments to the doctor and all freinds, I would have 
wrote him but my Neck is almost broke with Stooping at the 
pen for three weeks past — during the whole week past, I have 
not stir'd out of my room except to go up and down Stairs to 
Victuals. As to our Liveing Over the winter, I hope God will 
open some door for our Support, at least we must comfort our- 
selves by compareing our own cases with that of other peoples. 
We shall not be so badly Situated as many others; the cry is 
generall in this place as well as with you. Many people are re- 
duced to great Misery here, and the Necessarys of life exceeding 

My Love to you, and my bles[sing] to my Children. May God 
preserve you all, 

Prays your affectionate Husband 

Hector McNeill. 

I wrote one Letter by the post this day fortnight, but of no 
Consequence. You need not write to me after the rec't of this. 

^ From the Gray Papers. 


John Paul Jones to Thomas Bell ^ 

Brest Nov'r isth 1778 
My dear Sir, 

It was reported and believed here that you had gone to Passy 
immediately on your Arrival; otherwise I should have written to 
you as soon as your return to France was anounced. I duely 
received the letter which you brought from Captain McNeill. I 
thank you sincerely for your obliging letter of the 3d which un- 
fortunately did not come to my hands till the 12 th, else I 
should have written a Variety of letters to America. I fear they 
would be after this too late to find you at L'Orient. I forwarded 
a Packet the 13th for Mr. Morris which I beg you to sink together 
with the inclosed, rather than suffer them to fall into the Enemies 

Your account of the particular affection towards me of Mr. 
Morris, Mr. Hewes and other worthy Characters affords me the 
truest pleasure. I would far rather have the Esteem and Friend- 
ship of a few such Men than the empty applause of Millions, who 
possess less liberal souls. Yet I confess to you that my Vanity is 
greatly Flattered by your Account of the generous Public appro- 
bation of my past Services. And I pledge myself to that gener- 
ous Public that it shall be my first care and my hearts supremest 
wish to merit the continuance of its approbation, by my future 
Services and constant endeavours to Support the Honor of Free- 
dom's Flag. 

I should have been happy to have received letters from my 
friends in America: you say they did not expect to find me still 
in France; but that need be no Objection after your return to 
Philadelphia, as you will see by the within copy of a letter from 
the Commissioners to the Minister of the Marine; which I send 
you in Confidence. Do not however conclude from what you read 
in that letter, that I mean to draw my Sword as a Commander 
under any other than the American Flag. The Mystery of my 
present situation has given foundation to the Vulgar error, that I 
am on bad terms with the Commissioners at Paris. The Mill'on 
cannot otherwise account for my not having proceeded in the 
Ranger — as they have seen a Man ^ in disgrace called back from 
Nantes to take that Command, who has not had gratitude enough 
to acknowledge that he owes it either to my lenity towards him- 

1 John Paul Jones mss., Library of Congress. 

2 Lieutenant Thomas Simpson, formerly first officer of the Ranger, 
who had been put under arrest by Captain Jones. 


self, my feelings for his Wife and Family, or to my duty, which 
obliged me to oppose the Commissioners who were about to super- 
sede every Lieutenant in the Service, by giving a Captains Com- 
mission and the Command of the Ranger to Mr. Livingston, who 
had only made one little Cruise from Bordeaux in the Boston, and 
had left that Ship immediatly on her return to L'Orient on pre- 
tence of Bad Health. I am sensible however, that this Vulgar 
Error has been and may be of great disservice to me as almost 
every person who has gone from France to America within the 
last three months, have taken with them, in consequence of it, 
the belief of my Disgrace. Be you my Friend well assured that 
tho' it has given me much pain to take the steps I have done with 
an officer, yet I can and will justify myself. They were measures 
of Necessity, not of choice; yet strictly within the letter and 
spirit of the Laws of Congress. And if I am blamable, it is for 
having shewn an ungrateful Man too much lenity. That however 
is an Error which the Head only will condemn: the Heart will 
pardon it. 

Your account of the situation of Philadelphia and of our Poor 
Marine distresses much; but let us not altogether despond. Tho' 
I am no Prophet, the one will yet become the first City and the 
other the first Navy, within a much shorter space of time than is 
generally imagined. When the Enemies land force is once con- 
quered and expelled the Continent, our Marine will rise as if 
by Enchantment, and become within the memory of Persons now 
living, the wonder and Envy of the World. 

I am exceedingly sorry for Captain Youngs ^ misfortune — the 
more so as I had the misfortune to advise him to go into Ockro- 
cock. I expect however that he will continue in the Service and 
have better Fortune. And I hope you have not quitted it. I 
really feel for my old Friend Captain McNeill and his Family. 
I'm afraid he has been sacrificed to appease the Cabals of a set 
of Bad Men, who to my knowledge, owed him the utmost Grati- 
tude. But without entering into the merits of his case, I attest 
to you that besides his general knowledge of shipps, he inherits 
more Marine Knowledge than any other Man, with whom I have 
had equal conversation, in the Service: Therefore the loss of 
such a Man would be very Great. 

I am sorry and much disappointed by not hearing from Young, 
who said so much about his wife's Friend my Fair Mistriss! by 
his Silence I fear I have a Rival who by Opportunity and im- 

1 John Young of the Continental brig Independence, wrecked at Ocra- 
coke Inlet, North Carolina. 


portunity may make great and Dancerous Advances towards the 
Heart before I can arrive to raise the Siege. I'm afraid this 
making Love by Proxy will not answer; and I shall Despair of 
its Success Unless I soon receive some Encouragement. I will 
write to Mr. Brown that good Friend to whom I owe singular 
Obligations, I will write to Young also and to McNeill, but 
that I may not loose this Post I have only time to beg you to send 
me the best Account you can of the Situation of the officers men- 
tioned in the within Hst, and if you have any Papers, Resolves, or 
Rules of Congress respecting the Navy in your hands you will 
much oblige me by Sparing them if you can. My late faithful 
Subjects have taken, I will not say pilfered, all mine, among 
other things " For Ships Use." I will see you if you do not 
depart very soon. If I should not, may the God of Ocean give 
you Safe Conduct. I am Sincerely your Friend, 

[J. Paul Jones] 
Thomas Bell, Esq'r ^ 

[Addressed] Thomas Bell, Esq'r, L'Orient. 

From John Paul Jones ^ 

Brest, Nov'r 17th, 1778 

I have received, my dear Friend, your letter of the 4th Sept'r 
last from Philadelphia. Beleive me I have felt and do feel for 
you and your good Family all that affectionate Sorrow and regret 
that ought to actuate the Mind of a Friend. I am to this hour 
unacquainted with the detail of your strange misfortune. Strange! 
It must be, since why did not your Enemies step forth with their 
Cabals immediatly on your return to Boston? I have had the 
mortification to see the Boston here, with such Officers! Our 
Navy makes no very Brilliant or promising beginning. Nine out 
of Ten of the actors in a certain Sphere as far as my knowledge 
goes, have the most selfish, contracted Souls that ever animated 
human Nature. But the supreme power of America will soon I 
hope have leasure to seperate the Wheat from the Chaff. There 
are in the World in some Classes a great Majority of Dunces, 
who wish to root out and extirpate every thing like genius that 
comes among them, least their little selfish Minds should be 
exposed and their grovelling actions outshone. And where it is 

'^ Captain of an American privateer. 

2 John Paul Jones mss., Library of Congress. 


the hard lot of a liberal Minded Man to be connected with such 
beings, he may well be said to have " fallen among the Theives." 
I have seen an old Lieutenant of mine on board the Providence, 
Mr. Pitcher, who tho I had but a moments time with him told me 
that your treatment had been very personal and Unjust, and that 
he had publickly given that as his Opinion at the time in Boston. 
I shall at present only return you my Sincere Thanks for your 
good Opinion and good Wishes. No man I believe ever had more 
Credit for a little service in Europe than myself. Yet I can 
assure you that my Roses have not been without a Superabundance 
of Thorns. I have experienced Ingratitude from Men to whom 
I had shewn the highest degree of Hospitallity and Kindness — 
even after repeated instances of their misbehaviour: But this is 
the way of the World and we must do good without views of 
thanks. Captain Bell will inform you further. I have written 
to him and hope he will favor me with the particulars that re- 
spect you: In that Case you will hear from me again by him if 
a letter can overtake him at L'Orient. I wish you Happy in every- 
thing and I wish America may not overlook your principles and 
Abilities to support the Honor of her Flag. I am My dear Sir 
with real Affection Yours, 

[J. Paul Jones] 

Hector McNeill, Esq'r 
Captain in the American Navy. 

N.B. When you write to me direct to the Care of Mr. James 
Moylan of L'Orient, Mr. John Ross or Mr. Jon'a Williams ^ of 
Nantes, or his Excellency Doctor Franklin, Paris. 

To His Wife ^ 

Philad'a, Jan'y 13th 1779 

My Dearest Mary, 

May God grant you a happy New Year, and ease your Anxious 
thoughts concerning me. Little did I think to have been so Long 
detained in this place when I left your dear company but such 
has been my hard fate, that all my endeavours to compleat the 
busness I came upon has only amounted to a Shaddow without 
Substance. It is now no Longer kept Secret here, That the Com- 

1 Moylan, Ross, and Williams were United States commercial agents. 

2 From the Gray Papers. 


mittee of Congress to whom my affair was commited have given 
their opinion in my favour and do acknowledge that the treat- 
ment I have met with, has been most cruel and unjust; but 
notwithstanding they have Agreed on this more then two months 
past, yet Such is the Multiplicity of busness, and continual hurry 
of congress, that no convenient oppertunity has yet offer'd for 
the committee, to deliver in their report, so as to have the matter 
finnished by them, So that I am determined (please God) to set 
out for you in the course of all next week whither it be finnished 
or not. 

Pray keep the contents of this Letter as much to your self as 
possible for some weeks to come, least it should awaken the 
persecuteing Spirit of mine Enemies who have taken all the pains 
they possibly could by writeing here to prejudice me with the 
members of congress. 

My Love and blessing and the blessing of God rest on you and 
my poor children who I fear have begun to feel the want of a 

My compliments to Doctor Linn and all Freinds. I have sent 
by Mr. Brewer the Flour of Zinc which the doctor wrote for so 
long agon. Your Loveing Husband 

Hector McNeill. 

[Addressed] To Mrs. Mary McNeill, Boston. Favour 'd by Mr. 

[Memorandum] January 13 1779. Philedelfe. 

Hector McNeill to Samuel Adams ^ 

Sir, — Although I know that your time is constantly taken up 
with matters of importance, yet I cannot help begging your atten- 
tion for a few moments to the case of a person now under distress 
in this City whose situation formerly I was well acquainted with. 

I believe you are no stranger to the deplorable circumstances 
our army in Canada were reduc'd to, immediatly after the death 
of General Montgomrie. 

I my self am a witness, of the amazeing fortitude and perse- 
verance of that handfull which remained under Gen'l Arnold, who 
with a number much less than half the Garrison, keept up the 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc, xu. 276. This letter and the three Paul Jones 
letters of 1782, printed below, were read to the Society at the October 
meeting, 1872, by the late William Sumner Appleton, Esq. 


Blockade of Quebec for some months untill reinforcements arived 
from these States: it was at that critical time the General stood 
in great need of the assistance and friendship of the Canadians, 
who although they were well disposed towards the american 
army, and their cause, yet were frightened by their preists, who 
threatened them with Excommunication, and had actually refused 
evrey church privelidge to any who served or inclined to serve 
on the side of the Americans; On this occasion the person above 
spoken of step'd forth, and offerd his services as a clergey-man for 
the Canadians, which good pollicy, and the Exigencey of our 
affairs, inclined the Gen'l to accept, and Mr. Lobenier was accord- 
ingly appointed chaplain to a Canadian Reg't, much to the satis- 
faction of those poor men, who thought their eternall fillicity de- 
pended on the assistance of a priest. 

It is beyound a doubt that the part Mr. Lobenier had taken 
rendered him obnoxious to the Brittish, consequently he was obliged 
to quit his native country with our retreating army and throw 
himself on the mercy of a people whose part he had taken in the 
darkest hour of their distress. 

Since our arival in this City he has enjoyed, by the Bounty of 
congress, a small pittance, which has made his Exile Tollerable 
untill the setting in of the present Winter; but as the times grow 
worse, even with those who have much greater Resources then 
this poor gentleman can possibley have, so has it fallen heavyly 
on him ; for ever since the Last of november he has been retrench'd 
of fire and candle, which at this pinching season of the year are 
undoubtedly among the Necessarys of Life; Espacially to a man 
in his situation, burthened with age, an utter stranger among us, 
and totally unable even to begg in our Language. 

I know this man as a Gentleman, to belong to one of the Greatest 
familys in Canada, and as a clergyman I believe the only one of 
that country honoured with the Religious Cross of Malta; I know 
also that he enjoyed a Liveing worth between four and five hun- 
dred pounds sterling a year, besides a Patrimonial Estate, all of 
which he has Lost through his friendship for the americans. What 
pitty it is then, that in addition to the sacrifises he has made for 
our sakes, he should be suffered to pine away in want and misery, 
during his Exile from his friends and Countrey — in short I am 
shocked at the idea of the consequences this mans case may pro- 
duce hereafter; a time may come once more when we may stand 
in need of the Freindly offices of the Canadians, who I fear in- 
stead of assisting us, will have reason to take warning, and re- 
proach us with the unhappy fate of the Refugees from that coun- 


try, many of whom are now Exposed to Extream poverty, and 
Little or no Notice taken of their sufferings. 

I think it my Duty to make you acquainted with Mr. Lobenier's 
Case in particular, not doubting of your disposition for doing 
all the Good you can on evrey Occasion. 

I am Sir, with due Respect and Defference, Your most Obed't 

Hector McNeill. 
Philadelphia, January 14th, 1779. 

The address " To the Honb'le Samuel Adams " has a pen drawn 
through it. The letter is labelled, " Copy to Mr. ... on 
Lobeniers Situation Jany 14th 1779." — Eds.^ 

Report of the Marine Committee ^ 

The Marine Committee to whom was referred the Trial and 
Sentance of the Court Martial upon Capt. McNeil beg leave to 

That after examining with great Care and attention, the 
several Charges exhibited against Capt. McNeil, and the Deposi- 
tions of the Witnesses produced to support them, they are of 
opinion, the Charges are not supported by Evidence, and that the 
Sentance against Capt. McNeil ought not to be carried into 

Amendment. That the Sentance of the Court Martial against 
Capt McNeil be not caried into execution. 

Memorandum: Report from the Marine Com'ttee on Capt. 
McNeil's Trial. 

Read Jan'y 15, 1779. An amendment made then whole post- 

Memorial * 

To His Excellency The President of Congress. 

Sir, — The Sacrifice which I chearfully made of a Large intrest 
in Canada for the sake of my country, and the Impossibility of 
ever making good any part of that Loss, renders me but Little 

1 Footnote, Proceedings, xn. 276. 

2 Papers of Continental Congress, xxxvn. 163. 

3 This paragraph is crossed out in the original MS. 
* Papers of tlie Continental Congress. 


able to Support the Expences of a journey to this city, and a 
Residence in it for the Space of eight months; Yet the Reason of 
my attending upon the Congress, Namely to recover what is dearer 
to me than Life, my Reputation and Honor, and the confidence I 
have in the Candour and justice of that Honorable Body, and in 
mine own Innocence and Integrity, promise me a full Reward 
for this Expensive Attendance; as soon as the Happy moment 
Shall arive when Attention can with propriety be given to a Memo- 
rial which I was permitted to Lay before them in July Last and 
their Determination can be had thereon. 

It may be a Misfortune to me to be Little known to the Honor- 
able Members; but I have carefully avoided makeing personal 
Applications to any of them, Least I might give offence; being 
Sensible that this was a point of Delicacy, and that they must 
be jealous of their Honor as I am of my own. I have on the 
contrary, perhaps too Scrupulously, kept my Self at a distance 
from them during the whole time that I have been patiently wait- 
ing their Leisure. 

May I be permitted to say, That when I first enter'd the pub- 
lick Service in the American Navy, I had a Character unspotted 
and unsuspected; It might be thought vain if I should add, that 
my Ability as an officer had been Acknowledged by the best sea 
officers. Viz Admirals Boscawen, Saunders, Durrell, and Colvil, 
under each of whom I had served as Commander of an Arm'd 
Vessell of war, and I flatter my Self Should have been Rewarded 
with a better Ship, had not my Superior Atachment to this 
country withdrawn me from that service. 

My Appointment in the continental Navy gave great Satisfac- 
tion to some of the most Zealous of its Freinds, which unfortu- 
nately for me they express'd, in such Terms, as tended to render 
me the Innocent Object of Envy. To attempt to point out the 
Rocks and Quicksands on which my poor Bark has been Ship- 
wreck'd, would on this Occasion be impertinent; Although the 
most Experienced and best officers in the Navy may Suffer the 
Same Misfortune. I hope however I may be indulged in only Sug- 
gesting, That by the rules of the British Navy, which perhaps are 
as well digested as any in the known world, a courtmartial for 
the trial of a Captain shall consist of captains, who are in full 
pay and have Ships under their Command. Thus he may be 
said to be tried by his peers — but for the trial of an officer of 
the same Rank in the American Navy, it is Otherwise; the court 
consisting of three captains and three Leiutenants of Ships and 
three captains and three Leiutenants of Marines — I am by no 


means Arraigning my court-Martial ; but the circumstance of 
so great a part of it being not Seamen but Landsmen was mate- 
rially important in my case; for although I humbly conceive it 
must be Obvious to any one who Examines the witnesses that 
appeared against me, that in diverse Material Instances they con- 
tradicted themselves and each other, my dependance in my deffence 
was on the Propriety of Navigating the Ship at a Most Critical 
Juncture, of which those gentlemen with the most upright inten- 
tions could not possibly form any Judgement. As there is no com- 
mander in cheife at present in the American Navy, I am deprived 
of the Benefit which was provided for, by the wisdom of Congress 
when I was appointed to a Command ; — Namely of Appealing to a 
most able judicious and impartial Seaman, to determine whither 
Sentence Should be carried into Execution. Under this circum- 
stance I was induced to throw my Self on the candour and justice of 
the Honorable Congress; and it is my most humble and earnest 
Request that my case may be taken up, considered and finally 
determined as Speedily as can consist with a Necessairy attention 
to other Matters of greater publick importance. 

I am Sir with the highest Respect and deference your Most 
Humble and Obedient Servant 

Hector McNeill. 

Philadelphia Feb'y 15th 1779. 
To The Honorable John Jay Esq'r 
President of Congress. 


State of Mass'tts Bay. 

To the Hon'ble the Council of the State aforesaid. 
The Petition of John Tracey and others of Newbury Port 
Humbly sheweth 

That your Petitioners have fitted out the Brig, called the 
Pallas burthened One hundred and forty Tons, mounting Sixteen 
Carriage Guns and navigated by forty five men, 

having on board as Provisions twenty Bis. of Beef and Pork 
and two thousand W. of bread, 

as Ammunition two hundred W. of Powder and Shot in Pro- 

Said Brig, is intended as a Letter of Marque. 

1 Mass. Arch., clxxi. 164. 


Your Petitioners therefore humbly request your Honors to 
Commission Hector McNeil as Commander of said Brig, for the 
Purpose above mentioned. And as in Duty bound will ever 
pray etc. 

Hector McNeill on behalf of the Concerned 
Boston May 2 2d 1780. 

In Council May 22, 1780 Read and Ordered that Hector McNeill 
be Commissioned as Commander of the within Vessel, he comply- 
ing with the Resolves of Congress. 

John Avery, D.S.N. 

[Memorandum] Petition of Hector McNeil in behalf of John 
Tracey and others of Newbury Port for a Commission for a Letter 
of Marque, with Order thereon. May 2 2d, 1780. 

Petition ^ 

To his Excellency the Governor and Hon'ble Council of the 
Commonwealth of Mass'tts. 

The Petition of Hector McNeil and others of Boston 
Humbly sheweth 

That your Petitioners have fitted out the Ship Adventure bur- 
then 'd three hundred Tons, mounting Six Carriage Guns and 
navigated by forty five men, 

having on board as Provisions thirty Bis. of Beef and Pork and 
thirty hundred of Bread, as Ammunition two hundred W. of 
Powder and Shot in proportion. 

Said Ship is intended as a Letter of Marque. 

Your Petitioners therefore humbly request your Excellency and 
Honors to Commission Hector McNeil as Commander for the pur- 
pose above mentioned. And as in Duty bound will ever pray etc. 

Hector McNeil 
Boston Nov. 21st 1780. 

In Council Nov'r 22, 1780, Read and Advised That his Ex- 
cellency Commission Hector McNeill as Com'r of the Ship Adven- 
ture he complying with the Resolves of Congress. 

Jno. Avery. Sec. 

[Memorandum] Petition of Hector McNeill and others for Com- 
mission for Ship Adventure and Order. Nov'r 22, 1780. 

^ Mass. Arch., clxxi. 307. 

Paul Jones to Hector McNeill ^ 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, March 21st 1782 

I am honored, my dear friend, with your favors of the yth by 
Post and by Mr. Brown. I need not tell you I am sorry for the 
difficulties that seem to stand in the way of what I mentioned 
respecting you to the Minister of Finance and of the Marine; 
who wrote me he had given Orders to Mr. Brown in consequence. 
Mr. Brown has not shewn me his Orders, and I cannot ask him 
how far they extend; but when we take leave of each other I will 
mention your subject and say everything I can on the occasion. I 
think he will do whatever may be consistent with his Orders. — 
I am greatly obliged by your kind intention of honoring me with 
a visit here. If this could be done consistent with Business, I 
should be ernest in Urging it; but purely as a compliment to 
me, however flattering it is, I must not — I cannot expect it. If 
your Business should bring you to Newbury, it would be easy 
for me to meet you there; and if you could then conveniently 
come on with me to Portsmouth to see the America^ and spend 
a few Days with your Friends here, I should be very happy in 
your Company. — It is probable that Business may bring me to 
Boston in the summer, so that I hope to have the pleasure of seeing 
you at all events before I again leave the Continent. I am happy 
to hear Mrs. McNeil and your Family are well, and pray you to 
return them my respectful Compliments. — Excuse the liberty I 
take of enclosing a Guinea which I pray you to Invest in good 
Hair Powder, and ship it to my address, on a Coasting Vessel said 
to be now at Boston and bound here. Entre nous there is none 
of that Luxury to be had here; except such as is impregnated 
with Luxurious Mites. I am always Your affectionate 

Paul Jones 
Hector McNeil, Esq., Boston. 

Paul Jones to Hector McNeill ^ 

Portsmouth, May 25th 1782 

I am honored, my dear friend, with your esteemed favor of 
the 20th. I am altogether in the dark about what has been done 
or is doing to re-establish the credit of our Marine. In the 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc, xn, 277. 

2 The 74-gun Continental ship on the stocks at Portsmouth. 

3 Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc, xn. 278. 


course of near Seven Years service I have continually suggested 
what has occured to me as most likely to promot its honor and 
render it serviceable to our Cause; but my Voice has been like a 
cry in the Desert: I know no remedy but patience. No man can be 
more in suspence than I am — and my reason as well as my feel- 
ings correspond with yours in lamenting the protraction of Jus- 
tice to men who have merited the smiles of the Sovereign Author- 
ity. Whatever I have written or may Write to you on so delicate a 
Subject must be in confidence — I fondly hope the times will mend, 
and that Merit and Abilities will yet find encouragement; but 
were I used ever so ill I determin to persevere, till my Country 
is Free. When I hear any thing farther I shall not fail to write 
you, meantime present my affectionate respects to your family 
and believe me Your 

Paul Jones 

N.B, I duly received the Hair Powder; which is very good 
and is a great favor. 

Hector McNeil, Esq., Boston. 

Paul Jones to Hector McNeill ^ 

Portsmouth, N. Hampshire, Sept. 17th 1782 

Your Letter, my dear friend, by Monsieur Ravy, was delivered 
to me by that Gentleman Yesterday. I conducted him and his 
companion over the River to see the America, but as he departs 
this morning I am precluded from showing him the attentions 
due to every recommendation of yours. I expect we shall launch 
the America within four weeks, and the present prospect of affairs 
leaves me some room to think I may shortly visit Boston. You 
will believe the pleasure of seeing you and yours well will not be 
my least inducement. I am sincerely and affectionately Your 

Paul Jones 
Hector McNeil, Esq., Boston. 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc, xn. 279. 


From John Paul Jones 

Cape Francois, April 26**^ 1783 ^ 
Dear Sir, 

After a variety of Storms on the Coast of America in which 
while we endeavoured without Success first to join the Ships of 
War from Portsmouth, and then the Fantasque from Rhode Island, 
having separated from our Convoy, the Squadron arrived on the 
coast of Portorico. There we learned that Admiral Hood was off 
this Harbour with Sixteen Ships of the Line. Having cruised and 
practiced the Tactic Navale off Porto Rico for a week, we took 
under Convoy part of a Fleet of Store Ships arrived in the Port 
of S* Johns from France, and steered to the Southward between 
Porto Rico and the Mona. On the 10*^ Feby the Triomphant 
Anchored at Porto Cabello in New Spain, having beat to wind- 
ward many days along the Coast, We found in that Port the 
two Ships L'Auguste and le Pluton from Portsmouth, and all the 
rest of the Squadron arrived afterwards except the Bourgougne 
of 74 Guns that was totally lost on the Coast with 200 of her 
Officers and Men. The Transports also at last arrived except a 
few that bore away for this Island and one that was lost on 
little Curacoa. We remained at Porto Cabello to refit till the s*^ 
of this Month and then Sailed for this port, having a few days 
before received by a Frigate from France the glorious and agree- 
able News of a general Peace. Porto Cabello was the Rendezvous 
given by Don Salano to the Marquis de Vaudreuil. We found 
the Spanish Squadron here, they having learned the News of 
Peace at Porto Rico. The squadron of France and the Army are 
Ordered for France — that of Spain with thier Army are ordered 
to the Havannah. I embark to Night in a Vessel bound for Phila- 
delphia, I shall be happy to hear from you on my arrival there 
and to be favored with your opinion on the present situation and 
the most prudent measures to be adopted for the first three Years 
respecting the formation of our Marine, both as to Officers, Ships ^ 
and Regulations, as well as materials and building &°, I have 
not been Idle since I saw you, but have collected many Ideas 
on the Subject, If I can render you any Acceptable Service at 
Philadelphia, you will avail of the Occasion of my being there, 
and if you please you will mention what is done with my Horses, 
I pray you present my respectful compliments to M" McNeil 
and your young Ladies, Accept my compliments that the posi- 

1 From the Bostonian Society. 

2 This word is crossed out in the original MS, 


tion of Public Affairs will now enable you to reclaim and withdraw 
your Interest from Canada, and be assured that no circumstance 
that concerns you is to me indifferent. It will give you pleasure 
to know I have been treated with perfect and Uncommon Kindness 
by all the Admirals, Generals and other officers of the Fleet 
and Army.^ I am your friend and Servant 

Hector M'^Neil, Esq"" Boston. 

J. Paul Jones 

To John Paul Jones ' 

Boston June nth 1783 
Dear Sir, 

With inexpressible pleasure I Rec'd your kind Letter of the 
26th of April, writen at Cape Francois; it came to hand yesterday, 
and brought me the wellcome News of your health, and your in- 
tention of returning once more to this continent. 

I thank you for the narrative you have given me of your Late 
Excursion with the Marquis de Veaudrile and find my self ex- 
tremely happy, that you are so well pleased with the reception 
you mett with from the french gentlemen; who it must be 
acknowledged, are truely polite on all Occasions. 

As to your Horses, Mr. Russell sent them out into the country 
for keeping, and towards the Spring I sent a certain Colonel Hull 
(who wanted a pair of Horses) directions where to find them. 
Whither he liked them or not I cannot say, but I reather think 
he did not like them, as in case he had Seriously thought of pur- 
chaseing them he would have call'd upon me again, but Mr. Russell 
told me that he had a prospect of Selling [them?] to our Mr. 
Lowell a Member of [illegible] Since which I have said nothing 
to him about them. 

Your Sleigh I did endeavour to have it brought to Town, but 
was not able to effect it oweing either to the want of snow, or 
the infidelity of the several Messengers by whom I sent. 

I shall take an oppertunity of answering the other part of 
your Letter, and in the mean time assure you of my sincere 
wishes for your health and prosperity. My family who are in 
good health Joine with me in those wishes. I am Your freind 
and Humble Servant 

Hector McNeill. 
To the Chevelier Jno. Paul [Jones]. 

1 Captain Jones was with the French fleet, on board the flagship of the 
admiral, Marquis de Vaudreuil. 

2 John Paul Jones mss., Library of Congress. 


Henry Knox to Mrs. McNeill^ 

New York 2 October 1787 
Dear Madam, 

Yesterday I received your favor of the 14th of last month 
together with the accounts and vouchers, of my much valued 
friend your late husband. I most willingly undertake the office 
you have assigned me. I have delivered the papers to the Com- 
missioner for the marine department and I am flattered with the 
hope, that in a few days a statement of the accounts will be made. 
You may rest assured that this business shall be brought to the 
speediest issue consistent with the essential forms of office. 

In every instance within my power, I should experience real 
satisfaction, in being able to promote in any degree your interests 
and those of your family. I am dear Madam with sincere respect 
Your most obedient humble Servant, 

H. Knox 2 
Mrs. Mary McNeill. 

New York October loth 1787 ^ 
Dear Madam, 

I wrote you on the 2d instant that I had received the accounts 
of your late husband with the United States and that I had de- 
livered them to the Commissioner of the marine department. 

I now enclose you a statement made by the commissioner which 
with the explanations accompanying it will point out the difference 
between it and the account you forwarded. 

Although I had perfect confidence in the equity and abilities of 
Colonel Walker,^ the commissioner, yet I conceived that it might 
afford you more solid satisfaction were the accounts also minutely 
investigated either by me or some other person on your behalf. 
I employed a gentleman in whom I could confide, who has satisfied 
me of the accuracy and propriety and even liberality of the settle- 
ment of Colonel Walker. 

You will find that Captain McNeil overcharged the public 
with the sum of £4,193.8.0 and that he also credited himself for 
more than he ought by the amount of £3,246.3.9 and that the 
difference against him in these debits and credits amount to 
£947.4.3. which sum when reduced to specie is 1018 ^^ dollars. 

The great article of deduction from the account forwarded is 

1 From the Gray Papers. 

2 General Henry Knox, Secretary of War. 

3 From the Gray Papers. 

* Benjamin Walker, Commissioner of accounts, Marine Department, 
Continental Congress. 


the commissions amounting to £448.8.11, which has never been 
allowed in any similar case. 

On the whole the result of the account as stated by the Com- 
missioner is not different in any considerable degree from the one 
stated by Captain McNeil of March 30, 1778 and herewith re- 
turned together with the account settled by Mr. Cushing. 

Captain McNeil stated a balance due him of 6176-5-^ which when 
liquidated by the scale of depreciation would be 1992-5^ dollars. 
The sum in specie allow'd by the Commissioner is 2091-5-^ which 
is more by qS-S^ specie dollars than the liquidated sum stated 
by Captain McNeil. 

It is to be observed that had not the commissioner seperated 
the articles of pay and subsistence of Captain McNeil from the 
general account that the balance of specie would have been less 
by two thirds than it now is for those articles of the account. 

The article of subsistence is the only article which has been 
assumed — all the others were supported by evidence in the 
office: if this article should not be agreeable to you and you 
can produce satisfactory evidence to make it appear that he was 
a longer period on shore and will please to forward it, the account 
will be conformed accordingly as will also any other parts on your 
producing evidence to support a different statement. 

But if you should consider the account as stated by the Com- 
missioner as the proper settlement or the best that can be obtained 
and will signify the same to me I will receive the certificates from 
him for the balance due and remit them to you by the first oppor- 
tunity. It is to be observed that the certificates for the balance 
will be for specie. It is however to be lamented that they are at 
present most exceedingly below par, but it is the only payment 
that can be obtained and such as has been given to the late army 
and all others to whom the United States are indebted. The 
certificates will bear an interest of 6 per cent from the time the 
balance became due. 

I am Dear Madam with great sincerity Your most obedient 
humble Servant 

H. Knox. 

Mr. NoRCROSS exhibited, with brief remarks, the original 
return of the coroner's jury on the death of Michael Johnson, 
alias Crispus Attucks. 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. 
Dowse, Norcross, and Shattuck.