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Extract of a Letter from Captain Dempster of the Transport Blue-Mountain Valley giving an account of his capture by the Americans



I wrote you, from America, the misfortune which befel me in the loss of my ship; but as you probably never received it, I will inform you of the misfortunes that have befallen me from my leaving the Downs till my arrival in Ireland. I left the Downs towards the end of October last, when that dreadful gale of wind drove so many ships ashore on the coasts of England and Ireland; but I escaped from that tolerably well. The remainder of my passage was one continued gale of wind, until my arrival on the coast of America, where I found my ship disabled in every respect, being leaky, &c˙, having had a thirteen weeks' passage. The moment I came off New-York, I sent my chief mate on shore by a pilot-boat, in order to get on board the ships-of-war lying there, to demand assistance in carrying the ship into New-York; where we might refit, in order to proceed to Boston, our intended port; but unluckily for me, as I afterwards learned, my mate was taken prisoner, and was obliged by threats to discover what the ship was, where bound, and of no force. Upon this intelligence, they fitted out four armed vessels, with about sixty men each — in all upwards of two hundred men — an overmatch (as you may easily believe) for a ship with four small guns, and sixteen hands in all, after being thirteen weeks at sea, and hardly able to keep the ship from sinking. When the vessels made their appearance, I took them for vessels from the men-of-war, the officer who commanded the party being dressed in the uniform of a Lieutenant of the Navy, and I did not then know my mate was taken prisoner. They boarded the ship in every part, and carried her about ten or twelve miles up a river, where two of the King' s ships lay, to a place called Elizabethtown, making a prize of the ship and cargo, and myself a prisoner upon parole. After the Americans, by order of the Congress, had unloaded the ship, by an order from that same power, I was set at liberty conditionally — that I should not go near either the Army or the Navy, but return to Britain the first opportunity, which I gladly embraced by coming home in the Catharine, Captain Moore, bound for Newry; and happy was I to get away, lest they had recalled this indulgence. I arrived here the 5th of May, after a pleasant passage of five weeks, and shall proceed with all speed.