Adams Papers

To John Adams from Pelatiah Webster, 13 June 1776

From Pelatiah Webster

Boston, 13 June. 1776


I Take this opportunity Just to advise You that if Your Congress will Appoint Capt. Job Prince (the Father)1 to the Command of one of the Continental frigates, he will Accept. His Great Abilities as A Seaman and Long Experience both in Mercantile and War Vessels Make no sort of Recomendation Necessary to You Who have Long known him as a foremost Man in the Character of an Able Seaman &c. His Great Influence and Authority Among the sailors will Make his Services peculiarly necessary At this Time, and he is Much Approved by Every Gentleman with Whom I have Conversed.

Last Night Dawson in Blewers Brig was Chased into this harbor by our Privateers.2

11 Enemies Vessels are at Nantasket Mostly Transports Lately Arrived.

The Bostonians will Occupy the heights of Alderton Point, Long Island and Petticks Island this Night and design to Clear the harbor soon of Enemy Ships.3 Forts at Dochester Point Noddles Island (Camp Hill) and Point Shirly, the Castle and Charleston Point are in Great Forwardness. I am Sir Yr. Mo. Huml. Servt.

Pelatiah Webster4

RC (Adams Papers).

1Job Prince (1723–1790), a wealthy shipmaster of Boston. No evidence has been found that he was given a commission (George Prince, Elder John Prince of Hull, Mass. A Memorial, Biographical and Genealogical, n.p., n.d., p. 25).

2Lt. George Dawson, commander of the brig Hope, formerly the Sea Nymph, taken from the Americans in Philadelphia by the British in Oct. 1775. Capt. Joseph Blewer was part owner of the brig (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev. description begins William Bell Clark, William James Morgan (from vol. 5), and others, eds., Naval Documents of the American Revolution, Washington, 1964-  description ends , 5:507; 3:1104– 1105).

3Unfavorable winds and “unforeseen obstructions” prevented the militia and Continental troops from reaching their destinations in the lower part of the harbor until the early morning of the 14th. After a brief encounter, the British fleet fled. The Hope stopped only long enough on its way out to sea to blow up the Boston lighthouse (Clark, Washington’s Navy description begins William Bell Clark, George Washington’s Navy, Baton Rouge, La., 1960. description ends , p. 159–160). For contemporary accounts of the action see Josiah Quincy to JA, 13 June (above), and Boston Gazette, 17 June.

4Pelatiah Webster (1726–1795), prosperous Philadelphia merchant, political economist, active whig, and Revolutionary pamphleteer (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ; Dexter, Yale Graduates description begins Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, with Annals of the College History, New York, 1885–1912; 6 vols. description ends , 2:97–98).

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