James Madison Papers

Board of Admiralty to John Bradford, 12 May 1780

Board of Admiralty to John Bradford

FC (NA: PCC, Marine Committee Letter Book, fols. 284–85).

May 12th 1780


The foregoing is a Copy of our last1 since which we have not been favoured with any of yours. Within these few days your Packet relative to the Lord Sandwich packet Boat was handed to us by Lieutenant Brown which was immediately lodged with the Secretary of Congress and Council retained in the Cause when determined by the Court of Appeals shall advise you.2 As the Navy Board is directed to fit out the Dean frigate to proceed to this Bay with the utmost expedition, you are directed to put on board of her as much of the Humes Cargo of prize Rum as she can conveniently take in, reserving 60 hhds which you are directed to sell, and deliver the Money arising therefrom to the Commissioners of the Navy Board at Boston.3 The enclosed are Copies of Major Lees application for a pipe of Maderia Wine which he aledges was by Mr. Henley engaged for with you.4 We have answered that as you were not Authorized to sell any of the Continental Wines, and we had no information from you respecting this Matter we did not think proper to deliver a pipe of those in our possession, nor to decide respecting any engagement you may have made.

We are Sir Your Hble servts.

1Probably the letter of 14 April from the Board of Admiralty to Bradford, continental agent at Boston, requesting information about the disposal of prize cargoes (Charles O. Paullin, ed., Out-Letters of Board of Admiralty, II, 184).

2The frigates “Deane” (Captain Samuel Nicholson) and “Boston” (Captain Samuel Tucker) captured the sixteen-gun packet “Lord Sandwich” in the late summer of 1779 (Gardner W. Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution, II, 402). In 1780 the Continental Congress created the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture. The letter was probably delivered by Lieutenant Philip Brown of Massachusetts, who served as first lieutenant of the sloop “Providence” and then was given command of the captured brig “Diligent.” He commanded this ship in the Penobscot expedition of 1779, under Commodore Dudley Saltonstall (information from Rear Admiral E. M. Eller, Director of Naval History, Department of the Navy). There was also a Lieutenant John Brown, who was commissioned on “Private Service at Boston” on 12 October 1776 (NA: PCC, No. 37, fol. 473).

4These men were probably Major Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee (1756–1818) of the Continental Dragoons and David Henley (1748–1823) of the Boston mercantile firm of Otis and Henley (Journals of the Continental Congress, XVII, 569; Charles O. Paullin, ed., Out-Letters of Board of Admiralty, II, 193, 299; Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1921–36). description ends , V, 96 n.).

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