Adams Papers

Ranger Crew Members to the Commissioners, 3 June 1778

Ranger Crew Members to the Commissioners

[3?] June 17781

To the honourable the Commissioners of the United States of North America, the Petition of the Jovial Tars Now on board the Continental Sloop of war Ranger, most humbley Sheweth,

That your Petitioners regard and love For their Countrey, and dutey to there ancient fore Fathers, have most of them left there wives, and Familey Cruized the wide Atalantick, in the most dangerous places, greatley Damadgeing and distressing, our enemys, and all the Satisfaction and recompence we receive for our Labour, are, Vain and Flattering promisses, likewise arbitrary Proceedings, which Causes a general murmer and uneasiness among all on Board. They therefore think it there Duty to make application to your honours for releive, From there pressent Greiveances.

That the greates number of them entered in the Service particulraly upon Mr. Simpsons our first Leiutenants account knowing him to be a Gentelman of honour, Worthey and capeable of his Officeships, and who is now confined inocentley, as we think in a Lousey Dirtey french Goal.

That they that entered for a Cruize, or a Twelve month Expected to be discharged at the expireation of that time, But Capn. Jones, since there entry and without there Concent, has ordered an uncertain term of time to be wrote Against there names, rendering them subservient to him during his absence from the eastern States, which we think Arbitrary and unconstitutional, and must when heard of in America be a hindrance and a preventment For aney Seamen to enter into the Service, or Depending upon the honours of Commanders, Like ours.

There is a number of Prizes brought into this port, but no Satissaction, or account for them, unless Your honours, will take it into Consideration, in those Material affairs, and to See Justice done by the captors. On our first arrival in France we brought in tow [two] prizes2 one of which fetchd not half the first cost, and the other deliverd to Mr. Delap of Bourdeaux of which can get no Account, or Satisfaction for.

We have been Lying in different ports in France since the first of December last and onley made one Cruize, and that to perfection had we our rights, But we can expect no more when we see our, Faithfull, true and Fatherley Officer our first Leiutenant used so abruptley, and we beleive and what wee have Seen without a Cause, thus have we been Deluded from our Freinds, Famileys by ungratefull and False Promises and deceitfull Advertisements, we have fought and Taken, Ships Sunk and Destroyd them and all the conslation we can send to our distressed and perhaps Famishing wives and Children, is, that there prizes is in the Hands of him, who has Deceived us, from the Begining.

We humbley pray you be pleased to take our Case into consideration and render us some veiw and Satisfaction Of what we have gone thro with and to Send us home and not For us to Let our poor wives, and Famileys Suffer with Dispair,3 and we in dutey bound will ever pray.

Ebenezer Watson

William Young

Saml. Odiorne

Samuell Lock

John Garoin

Daniel Sargent

Robert Moore

John Roberts

William Allen

Simon Staple

John Colbath

John Bettenham

Daniel Jacobs

Robert Poor

Edmund Boyenton

Peter Sontgerath

Oliver Crommett

William English

Joseph Rackyeft

Mark Staples

William Jones

John Parsons

Amos Kenneston

Eprahm Grant

Thomas Low

Obadiah Donell

Charles Ward

William Finnel

Nicholas Caverly

Daniel Sargant

Andrew Anderson

Joseph La Plant

John Monson

William Pirkins

Francies Andros

Charles Balls

James Smith

Gabriel Gautier

James Rickor

James Laighton

William Shores

Sam’l Ball

Edward Shapleigh

John Brown

Benjamin Racklett

Reuben Ricker

Charles Framton

Thomas Staples

Darby Dayley

Caleb Emery

Daniel Jackson

John Walker

Daniel Nelson

Daniel Sherburne

Davis Woodde

Willam Gerrith

Amos Abbot

Charles Gaudraw

Thomas Adams

Scipio Africanus

Theophilus Simpson

Joseph Mathieu

Willim Stacy

Joseph Afrin

James Robarts

Samuel Holbrook

John Casey

Cato Calite

Joseph Fernald

Thomas Becke

Abraham Knight

Reuben Hanscom

Solomen Hutchings

John W. Grohmarney

William Dahuere

John Doelan

Stephon Dickson

RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Petition from the Rangers Men June 1778.”

1The petition may have been sent with Hall’s letter of 3 June (above), for it lacks any separate address, and specific grievances mentioned by the crew members parallel those in Hall’s letter.

Sometime later the Commissioners received a second petition (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), dated 15 June and signed by 28 members of the crew, that stated essentially the same grievances, particularly in regard to the conditions of enlistment. It too was docketed by JA: “Petition from the Rangers Men.”

2These were the brigantines Mary and George, bound for England from Malaga (Morison, John Paul Jones description begins Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones, a Sailor’s Biography, Boston and Toronto, 1959. description ends , p. 114–115).

3In fairness to Jones, it should be noted that on 25 May the Commissioners had refused to honor a bill that he had drawn on them for 24,000 livres, the money intended in part for distribution to the Ranger’s officers and men for the support of their families (see Jones to the Commissioners, 16 May, and the Commissioners to Jones, 25 May, calendared, both above).

Index Entries