Adams Papers

From John Adams to Francis Godolphin Osborne, 22 September 1787


Grosv. square Sept. 22d. 1787.

My Lord—

I do myself the honor to inclose to your Lordship a letter this moment received, from the Master of a Vessell belonging to the United States of America.—His name is John Douglass, commander of the Ship four friends—American built & the property of Andrew Van Tuyl mercht of New York—He informs me, that as two of his people were going on shore for provision for the day they were seized by the press–gang, and forced on Board His Majesty’s Brig dispatch then laying at execution dock—that the gang then came on board his Vessell and attempted to open the Hatches, when his cheif mate opposd them, and informed the officers <of the press> that they were American Citizens—That altho’ the officers of the press then went away there is reason to believe, that another disagreeable visit will be made before morning, which will distress him exceedingly as his ship is compleated for sea & bound for New York.

The names of the two men pressed, are Joseph Cowley a Native of the City of New York, the other is a Negro Man named Primus, the property of Mr. Andrew Van Tuyl Mercht. of New York but a Native of the City—It is my duty my lord to make this representation to His Majesty’s ministers and to request that orders may be given for the restoration of these Men to the Master of their Vessell & further to propose to your Lordships Consideration, whether it be not expedient that some general order should be given, upon this occasion to the officers of His Majesty’s Navy, to give a particular attention to American Vessells & seamen lest perplexities & inconveniencies of this kind should be multiplied

With great respect I have the honor to be—your Lordships / most Obedient / Humble Servt.

(signed) John Adams

DNA: Papers of the Continental Congress.

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