George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Bartlett, 9 December 1775

From William Bartlett

Beverly [Mass.] 9 Decer 1775


I have the Pleasure to acquaint your Excellency that Capt. Manly has brought in here a Ship from London and a Brig from St Eustatia I Enclose your Excellency the Papers which I forward by Mr Cabot1 Shall Secure them Untill fu[r]ther O[r]ders from your Excellency The Brig is Safe arrived from Cape Ann.2 I am with Respect your Excellencys most Obedt Hume Servt

William Bartlett

N.B. The Capt. of Ship has hove Overbord the Cheafest part of his papers & Some Arms &c.3

I find by the Steward the Ships Cargo is Chiefly Coals 100 Butts of Porter 40 Live Hogs.


1John Manley captured the ship Jenny, William Foster, master, and the brig Little Hannah, Robert Adams, master, by tricking their captains into believing that his armed schooner was a British tender. For additional details on these vessels, see GW to Hancock, 11 Dec. 1775. The bearer of the papers was Stephen Cabot of Beverly.

2The Nancy.

3“It was very unlucky that the Captn of the ship threw his papers overboard,” Stephen Moylan wrote to Bartlett on 10 Dec., “he deserves to be severely punished, if It is true, that this was done after he was made a prize of, in any other war than the present, he would Suffer death for such an Action; But we must show him & such as fall into our hands that Americans are humane as well as brave, you will therefore Sir, treat the prisoners with all possible Tenderness: there are on board the Vessell from Antigua [Little Hannah], Two Gentn, passengers, Mr John Burke & Mr Gregory, the former is strongly recommended to our good friends in Boston, tho not friendly to American Liberty; he still has the Character of a Gentleman, as such, it is the Generals orders that he be treated, the other was board a man of War, you will offer these Gentlemen a parole agreable to the Inclosed Sketch, which I suppose they will not object to—If they should you must send them to Head Quarters—The Captns & Crews of both Vessels had best remain with you and if you see fit, they may remain on board their Vessels, untill further Orders, but dont run the least risque of their doing mischeif by so many being together—If any way apprehensive of them, Let them be Sent to some Inland Town in your neighbourhood, recommended to the care of the Comittee of Safety—who must provide them with necessaries for which they will be paid—Should they be disposed of in this last way Get the Captains to sign paroles for themselves & their Crews, a Copy of which you will Transmit to the Committee of Safety to whose care they are sent, & mention to the Committee that they be treated with Humanity, there are Limes, Lemons & Oranges on board, which being perishable, you must sell Immediately, the General will want some of each, as well as of the Sweet meats & pickles, that are on board; as his Lady will be here to day or to morrow you will please to pick up such things on board as you think will be acceptable to her & send them as soon as possible—he does not mean to receive any thing without payment, which you will please to attend to. The General is informed that the prizes are Crowded with people from Shore as well as those belonging to the Armd Schooners—It is his positive command that no person be Suffered to go on board any of them, the Officers & Agents excepted; That Embezzlement be particularly guarded against—If any should happen the Agents will be blamed & held accountable, so that you see the necessity of being Strict in enforcing this order” (DLC:GW). In another letter of 10 Dec., Moylan further instructed Bartlett: “The Cargo by the two prizes to be Laid up in a Secure place if you think the vessells are not Sufficient for that purpose” (ibid.).

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