Primary tabs

Letter from Stephen Moylan to William Bartlett



Cambridge, December 10, 1775.

SIR: Your agreeable favour to his Excellency came last night to hand. It was very unlucky that the Captain of the ship threw his papers overboard. 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 and 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 vessel from Antigua two gentlemen, passengers, Mr˙ John Burke and Mr˙ Gregory. The former is strongly recommended to our good friends in Boston; though not a friend to American liberty, he still has the character of a gentleman; as such, it is the General' s orders that he be treated. The other was on board a man-of-war. You will offer these gentlemen a parole agreeably to the enclosed sketch, which I suppose they will not object to; if they should, you must send them to Headquarters.

The captain and crews of both vessels had best remain with you; and, if you see fit, they may remain on board their vessels until further orders; but do not run the least risk of their doing mischief 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 Committee 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 the paroles for themselves and their crews, a copy of which you will transmit to the Committee of Safety to whose care they are sent, and mention to the Committee that they be treated with humanity.

There are limes, lemons, and oranges on board, which, being perishable, you must sell immediately. The General will want some of each, as well as of the sweetmeats and pickles that are on board, as his lady will he here today or to-morrow. You will please to pick up such things on board as you think will be acceptable to her, and 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 armed schooner. It is his positive command that no person be suffered to go on board any of them, the officers and agents exeepted, that embezzlements be particularly guarded against. If any should happen, the agents will be blamed and held accountable, so that you see the necessity of being strict in enforcing this order. Pray when are you to send the porter, &c˙? We want it much.

I am, &c˙,


To William Bartlett, Esq˙, Beverly.