From William Watson
Plymouth [Mass.] 19 June 1776
I wrote your Excellency on the 20th April ultimo Desiring that the papers might be remitted to me, which were taken withe the two p[r]izes bro’t into this port Last Winter by Capt. Coit. my Letter must have miscaried, as I have recd no answer to it1—on this account the Tryal of these two Vessels has been postponed from time to time, as no evidence can be had against them, but from those papers. The former owners Lay Claim to them & urge, that their going to Nova Scotia for provisions, was absolutely necessary, for the support of their Familys & Connections, & that they did not intend to supply the garrison at Boston. these papers, can they be obtained, will elucidate this matter.2
Relying on your Excellencys giveing a few moments attention to this Business. I must beg leave to subscribe my self Your Excellencys most obedient much obligd & very humble Servant
1. Watson wrote Stephen Moylan on 20 April 1776 that the sloop Polly and the schooner Industry, which were captured by Capt. William Coit in November 1775, had not been brought to trial “by reason of my not haveing receivd the papers which were taken with them & which were sent to Head Quarters. . . . The Court is Adjourned to 15th May by which time I shall endeavour to get every necessary preparation ready, and in the mean time must ask the favour of you to let me know where the papers taken with Coits 2 prizes are lodged, that I may procure them seasonably” (DLC:GW).
2. GW replied to Watson on 7 July. Watson obtained the necessary papers in September 1776, and the two vessels were offered for sale at public auction in April 1777 (Oakes Angier, Receipt for Papers Concerning Two British Prizes, 6 Sept. 1776, Clark and Morgan, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 6:721; Continental Journal, and Weekly Advertiser [Boston], 3 April 1777).