Imágenes de páginas


&. D know all men by these Jensen't, that we Josiah Coffin & Pliner Mitchell Jun both Of Thurboum in the County of Nantucket, Holdin, stands firmly bound to Kenny Gardener of Stow in the Canning of Middline Treasurer of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, a hug in said office, in the full & just him of Tada thousand pounds to the which payments, well ktokely to be made, He bind ourselfs, Car Ster Exce: Adminit. & assigns firmly by these firerent, scald, with ouritals dated twenty at do this fund right day of Seption bin in the hiftoirth year of the Majestys & Lu anno Domini 1775

[ocr errors]

The Constition of the above Obagation, ersuch. thats whereas the above Naveed Sorish Coffin arg : is about to adventure to sea on atthaling boyage in the Schoons Mainmaid Toriah Coffin dan master, if then the 3: Sonich Cötfür Jan: or any other Jusson that may have the Command, of the S: Schooner during The said Boyage, Shalecamy neonore provisions then are Neasse aid Voyage in the judgments of the select then of the Town of Raboure and shall als will & lovely bird or cause to be brought into some Post, or Harbour of this Colony, other Run the Porte de Boston or Nantucket, all of the Oil & whalbone that shall be taken by the said Desselt, Crew in the Coone of the said Goyage, & Shalt within rightan months from the date hereof produce a Colypcate from the Seliet men of the Town adjoyning such post or Harbour that he has there.__andid the same _Then the above Obligation to be void & of no Effel otherwise to abide & Remains Signed Seald & Deliver in Jensence of Raphen Aussag Fro Gentions.

Bond of a Whaler

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

were to be sent out to the various states for execution and, when ready, returned to the secretary's office."

In the Massachusetts Archives at the State House in Boston there is a collection of bonds representing nearly as many Massachusetts privateer commissions as those in the Library of Congress. They begin late in 1775 and end in August, 1780. In this collection there are two kinds of bonds, Continental and State, most vessels giving both. Besides these bonds there are, scattered through many volumes of the Archives, papers indicating that commissions were granted to more than a hundred and fifty additional vessels. These papers are mostly petitions, also bonds of special kinds, prize court records, and various miscellaneous documents. In such cases the original bonds have presumably been lost. That all evidence has disappeared in an unknown, but perhaps large, number is not to be doubted and is shown by mention in contemporary newspapers and elsewhere of very many vessels of which no trace can be found in the Archives. To make a complete and correct list of Massachusetts privateers would be impossible.

The first bonds of the Revolutionary period in the Archives, about seventy in number, were given by whalers during the summer and fall of 1775 and had to do with the disposition of their cargoes of oil and whalebone. They are interesting, but the whalers, having had no letters of marque, do not come within the scope of the present study. The first privateer bond issued

1. Mass. Archives, 202, 403 (Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress to the President of the Massachusetts Council, July 28, 1780). For other letters of Thomson and of John Jay on privateer commissions, etc., see Ibid., 200, 335, 404, 203, 345, 350.

2. The whalers' bonds are in Mass. Archives, 139. See Warren-Adams Letters, I, 181.




under the act of November 1, 1775, was for the schooner Boston Revenge, Captain Stephen Mascoll, who was bound to observe and fulfil such instructions as he shall receive from the Council of this Colony," and to conform himself to the directions given in and by the act aforesaid." This bond and the petition of the owners for a commission are both dated December 7, 1775, and were acted on by the Council the next day. The petition for the schooner Dolphin is dated December 1 and was granted December 8 also; but the bond of the Dolphin is dated December 15. Priority, therefore, should perhaps be assigned to the Boston Revenge. Three other privateers were commissioned under the same authority before the end of the year. In the case of State bonds, the signers were bound to Henry Gardner, Treasurer of the Colony, or, later, the State. The signers of Continental bonds were bound to the President and members of Congress, or, after August, 1780, to the Treasurer of the United States. There were of course no Continental bonds until after the passage of the act of March 23, 1776.

After some months, printed forms came into use for the bonds. In those for the State the amount of the bond is uniformly £4000, and where a different sum is stipulated it may be assumed that the bond was written, not printed. The amount prescribed on the Continental bonds is $5000, $10,000, or $20,000, the latter sum after August, 1780. The amount of the bond seems to have borne little or no relation to the size and value of the vessel. The State, in order to facilitate the exchange of prisoners and to prevent all persons in public service going on board any private armed vessel, bound the privateer captain "to deliver to the Commissary of Prisoners in some of the United States all Prisoners by him

[blocks in formation]

captured," and not to "carry out with him any Person in Pay of this State, or any Officer or Soldier belonging to the Continental Army." The Continental Congress required that the commander "shall not exceed or transgress the Powers and Authorities which shall be contained in the said Commission, but shall in all Things observe and conduct himself and govern his Crew by and according to the same, and shall make Reparation for all damages sustained by any Misconduct or unwarrantable Proceedings of himself or the Officers or Crew."


The later Continental bonds went further and demanded that the commander demean himself “by and according to the said Commission, Resolutions, Acts and Instructions, and any Treaties subsisting or which subsist between the United States of America and any Prince, Power or Potentate whatever; and shall not violate the law of Nations or the rights of neutral Powers or of any of their Subjects." These bonds, moreover, defined with greater particularity what property was subject to seizure and what was not. The commander was authorized "by force of arms to attack, subdue, seize and take all ships and other vessels, goods, wares and merchandizes, belonging to the Crown of Great Britain or any of the subjects thereof, (excepting the ships or vessels together with their cargoes, belonging to any inhabitant or inhabitants of Bermuda, and such other ships or vessels bringing persons with intent to settle within the said United States); and any other ships or vessels, goods, wares and merchandizes, to whomsoever belonging, which are or shall be declared to be subjects of capture by any Resolutions of Congress, or which are so deemed by the law of Nations." The exception in parenthesis relating to Bermuda,

« AnteriorContinuar »